Yokoso Japan!


Finally, one of the countries in my “been there” checklist has been partially crossed-out. Why partially? Click here.

But again, I had a splendid time there, and how I wish I could get back really soon!

Papi in Japan, finally!

Papi’s Note: This entry is picture-loaded, and rather long. Try not to get bored… Please. πŸ˜›

This is just part 1 of our Japan journey. πŸ˜‰

Banzai!

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Onwards to Japan!

Pats and I arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo at around 10:30 PM, and were able to get pass through immigration at past 11:00 PM. With worries of not being able to ride the train towards our accommodation – train closes at 12 midnight, we were on a total “rush” mode. Fortunately, we made it just on time. So, we pushed through Plan A, and checked-in at Sakura Hostel in Asakusa. Plan B was to sleep at the airport. Whew!

Papi’s Note: A good site for tips on sleeping in airports. I should have checked this when we went to Maldives and planned to sleep at it’s airport…

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Finally arrived at Asakusa Station! No sleeping at the airport!

As usual, our trip is a free and easy one. Preparing our itinerary days before was really stressful: lots of places to go to, places closed on Mondays, etc. It’s really better to plan way ahead if you’re visiting Japan. Believe me. I got stressed out planning our Tokyo itinerary in a week.

Here are some of the places we’ve been at, just to tease you guys a little bit. πŸ˜€

Asakusa Our homebase in Tokyo.

This is where our Tokyo accommodations are located: Sakura Hostel and K’s House Tokyo Oasis. These two hostels are just a 5-minute walk away from the Sensoji Temple – one of the must-see Buddhist temples in Tokyo, IMO. And towards Sensoji Temple is Nakamise Shopping Street or Nakamise-dori – a stretch of various souvenir and food shops.

ingesting Japan… Day 1 at Sensoji Temple

bikes for hire

cleansing

YOKOHAMA – A relaxed stroll, away from the busy streets of Tokyo.

Roughly 50 minutes train ride from Asakusa, we ventured towards Yokohama to meet-up with Pats’ friend and former colleague, Ms Roch, along with her 2 sons: Kenji and Yuugo.

We spent Day 1 in a very relaxed manner, after the stressful and worrisome arrival the night before. We strolled around Minato Mirai 21 area, which has various tourist spots that are just a “walking-distance” away: Redbrick Warehouse, Yokohama World Porters, Queen’s Square, Cosmo World. etc.

With the cold and cloudy weather, not to mention the 2 cute little kids we were playing with, our walk in the park was indeed relaxing and was a great escape off the busy city that is Tokyo.

Pats and Ms Roch, reunited.

Papi’s in Yokohama πŸ˜€

Taught me the word FUNE, which means SHIP. It’s the only new Japanese word I learned there that I still remember to date. πŸ™‚

waiting for his Onigiri

Time together by the Guardian of Water.

CEO’ lunch break

Plain pretty πŸ™‚

of green and pink

past, present, and future

Strolling around the Red Brick Warehouse

a sweet walk in the park

Japan’s version of a pedicab… classy!

sideline: pedicab driver

KYOTO – Temples and Shrines overload. But, better than Tokyo, in my opinion.

A 3-hours bullet-train ride from Tokyo is Kyoto. TokyoTokyoTokyoTokyo……… We’ve only seen a part of Kyoto, but I liked it better than Tokyo. I can’t explain why though. Let’s just say that I felt more “at home” in Kyoto. πŸ™‚ We also loved the food. I think most of those we ate were delicious. Ahh… Probably that’s why I liked Kyoto. Hehe.

Also, we were able to stay at a Ryokan – a japanese traditional inn, where we experienced (somehow) the customary life of the old Japan.

Gion is also in Kyoto, where you can spot Maikos (Geisha apprentice) and Geikos (Geisha) walking around. Unfortunately for us, we only saw a few (but we saw something very unexpected! hahaha!). If we had the budget, we could have watched a performance. Maybe next time.

rushing towards Kyoto, our first Shinkansen ride

My sassy girl checking-in at Kyoto

my turn to check-in πŸ˜‰

Kyoto Tower from afar

munching at Kyoto Shoyo

summoned

Kinkakuji Temple – The Golden Pavilion. This, we liked. πŸ™‚

waiting for the right bus

vendos are everywhere in Japan, and so are we… πŸ˜›

ooohhh… ice cream…

Zen at Ryoan-ji Temple

exquisite work of art

prayer at Yasaka Shrine

Takoyaki break at Gion

the best Takoyaki we had in the entire trip πŸ˜€

off to work… our first Maiko sighting at Gion.. πŸ˜‰

eye-ing for more Geikos at Hanami-Koji

Coffee with Mr and Mrs Ishimoto. Such very nice people. πŸ™‚

Tempted at first sight: Issen Yoshoku for dinner

public morning exercise at Kyoto station

arrived at Fushimi Inari Shrine

Got it???

summoning jutsu!

ahhh.. so Japanice…

’twas a long walk…tiring indeed… (you could have seen this place in Memoirs of a Geisha)

Ken Watanabe (Chairman? Memoirs of a Geisha), is that you??? Hehe

pretty colorful @ Tofukuji Temple πŸ˜‰

the tourists

waiting for Takoyaki

Great landscape at the Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)

playtime at Heian Shrine

jumpshot sensei!

our turn!

engulfed in greenery at Kyomizudera.. a

Kyomizudera. A must-visit πŸ™‚

Otowa Waterfall, not for the greedy ones..

watching Pirates of the Caribbean

Nara – Oh deer.

They are everywhere! Nah, just exaggerating it. πŸ˜› But, there are quite a lot of them at Nara park, where they roam and cross the street freely, poop anywhere, chase kids holding biscuits – even paper, and anything you can think of when an animal is out of its cage. But, they are rather harmless, to be fair. Most were just sitting quietly, people-watching. 3:>

We’ve spent around half of our day at Nara since there were only a few interesting spots, for us, to visit there.Take note that there are students around Nara Park that offers free tour of the area. I think it’s a way for them to practice their English skills, nifty indeed.

where deers roam free… and poops everywhere…

Deer you are!

Deer Pats… Love Tots.

Deer John

Todaiji Temple

Nope, not Honda.

Kikufuji Temple

Meet Maria Ozawa. Our catch at an arcade in around Kintetsu Nara.

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Now that’s Edo! πŸ˜€

Osaka – We have to get back here and spend a day or two.

A half-day trip here is really not enough! We only managed to visit the Osaka Castle and Umeda Sky Building. Though these two attractions were fantastic, there were still lots to see, especially at night.

I loved Osaka Castle. Aside from its beautiful exteriors, inside is a museum about the history of Osaka, its wars, and this particular castle. I have always been fascinated with Japanese history, and stories. Sorry Jose Rizal.

Funny thing was we were able to doze off at it’s audio-visual room while waiting for the rain to stop. πŸ˜€

Umeda Sky Building was also great. My soon-to-be-hopefully-soon architect sister will definitely like it as well. It’s design and structure is simply superb, especially if you get to the roof top. Unfortunately, it was raining that time. So, we were not able to enjoy the sky deck as it was wet and uber cold.

Osaka Castle on a cloudy day. Rain poured after a while. Good thing, there’s a theater room where we were able to take a nap… πŸ˜€

The Siege of Osaka, miniature style

at Umeda Sky Building, and partial view of Osaka

garden by the castle

Katsudon, Osaka-style. Soupy, yet delicious. πŸ˜€

enjoying my katsudon πŸ˜€

Again, this is just part 1. There are more to come. Hopefully, I get the time to edit the photos and write the entry… Boo…

Anyways… Watch out for more photos taken using my phone, and those taken by Pats… Also, some Papi’s Tips coming up. So, stay tuned. πŸ˜‰

UPDATE!

Papi’s Transpo Tips:

Japan’s railway system is rather complex but efficient. Trains arrive and depart the station on time,Β religiouslyΒ following their timetable. This makes planning your trip a bit easier. Visit Hyperdia for a more detailed guide on how to get from one station to another.

A Japan Railway Pass (JR Pass) is of great use, especially if you’re going to ride the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to various places in Japan. However, it’s onlyΒ usableΒ in JR lines.Β More Info. This is highly recommended. In Malaysia, it cost around RM1,100.00 for the 7 Days pass. They also have 1 or x-days passes for the other trains. Though, we didn’t manage to check on it.

Their bus system is similarly effective and on-time, well based on our experience in Kyoto, not sure about Tokyo. In Kyoto, you may opt to buy a City Bus All-Day Pass for Y500.00. This is all you need in order to get to all the tourist spots in Kyoto.Β More info.

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18 thoughts on “Yokoso Japan!

    1. beautiful photos papsikel! mahusay ka! your blog made me want to visit Japan all the more. πŸ™‚ teynkyu for sharing this to us. nice view and blooming model, kasing blooming ng cherry blossoms. o ha! pakape ka naman! πŸ˜€

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  1. i like i like! πŸ™‚ you actually saw a geisha? geikos? … huwow! cool … ako gecko palang nakikita ko .. and i dont like them ahahahaha …

    (but we saw something very unexpected! hahaha!) —- so what is it???

    i want to go to japan … please convince mr. tabarina … πŸ˜€

    Like

  2. sorry just visited this now. wonderful wonderful photos here!

    I especially like the “Strolling around the Red Brick Warehouse” photo!

    Kyomizudera looks incredibly relaxing and an evidence of how nature can be gripping!

    These are the reasons why travelling can be so addictive. I am off to Barcelona this weekend, and am expecting to be able to take more street shots there XD

    Like

  3. wah, kuya di kayo dumaan sa akihabara.
    maid cafes~ XD

    next time visit tokyo tower ha, maganda ang view sa taas lalo na kapag gabi πŸ™‚

    gusto ko na talaga tuloy pumunta.

    Like

  4. sugoi desu ne! hehee great photos Jare! nice to see you went to japan too!
    will always miss that country too! can’t wait to someday go back! =)
    i wanna experience their autumn next time! πŸ˜›

    Like

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