Today was to be the day for us to head to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. We started our morning normal and collected all our things and headed out into the wild Japanese sea of people. Finding the best JR train route to Mitaka, we easily maneuvered our way to the new town, now becoming pros of the railways and subways. We took a beautiful walk along a canal until we arrived at the Studio Ghibli Museum, filled with anticipation.
Once we got to the gate, we quickly noticed the lack of people and found a sign at the gate that stated they were closed on Tuesdays. Doh! Turns out we bought our tickets for Monday and well… we failed to update our itinerary…. Ahhhh!! Can’t have a trip with out some swift change of events.
We gathered our wits and headed back to our AirBnB where we started game planning how we were going to go see the Museum the next day. The new plan cost more than the original, but it included some places we did not have on our itinerary to visit…Whew crisis adverted!
Since we were back in Shibuya earlier than expected we decided to go on a mission where we walked two miles one way to Harajuku for the Sailor Moon Makeup store and the One Piece Official store, it was a night of bright lights and massive landmark fashion department headquarters!
Plenty more pictures below from our urban adventure, next up is ACTUALLY going to the Studio Ghibli museum, along with a few other sites around the city such as Hotel Gajoen Tokyo and the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum!
Our first plan for a full day out of our base in Shibuya was to head to Akihabara (Akiba) and Harajuku for some shopping and site seeing. These districts are widely popular for their massive shopping centers, fashion and otaku culture bases. Since our JR rail pass was now expired, we had to pick up a Suica card which is a card you can preload money on and use for the JR East rails that run through Tokyo.
So on the agenda for the day was shopping!! Time to get rid of that yen before our journey back. We hopped on the Yamanote line that circles around all of Tokyo and stops at all the major hubs. Our first stop for the day was Akiba since it was on the other side of the loop from Shibuya. By the way, the Yamanote is a JR rail, which is covered by the JR pass and makes it super easy to get around Tokyo.
Not only is Akiba the most known for Otaku merchandise, it is also an electronic gadget mecca. Prior to us visiting Japan we had agreed a goal of ours was to purchase a nice camera, so we googled the area to filter the many electronic department stores to choose a place of purchase. Our search lead us to Yodobashi Akiba, a 9 story Colosseum of electronics. Each floor featured a different type of product, so we made our way to the 3rd floor for cameras.
After a few hours getting lost in the department store for a few hours we finally made our purchase on a Canon g9x Mark II, then it was time to get some grub.
After shopping and checking out the many maid cafe’s in Akiba it was time to head to our next destination the ever so fashionable Harajuku.
Harajuku is the modern day fashion capital of Japan. Lets just say, we felt very under dressed. Loads of people and shopping, we loved it so much we actually walked from Shibuya to Harajuku the next day (they are only a stop away on the Yamanote line).
After two hours of shopping the main streets of Harajuku, we went to Yoyogi park for an evening stroll before heading back to the rails for Shibuya. The park was absolutely stunning as the sun was setting.
Once we arrived back in Shibuya it was time for a traditional Sukiyaki meal. This was the most expensive meal of our trip and well worth it. A little intimidating for our uncultured taste buds, but I must say the raw egg is very complimentary to the meat!
Tummys full it was time for bed, Ghibili Museum to look forward to the next day…or so we thought. Stay tuned and enjoy the photo dump below of anime and fashion related experiences while visiting these two hubs of Tokyo! Thanks for stopping by!
After our wondrous week in Osaka and surrounding areas, it was time to move on to the last leg of our journey. For our last stay in Japan, we were going to be living out of an AirBnB in Shibuya, Tokyo. Time to jump on the Shinkansen bullet train again for another 3 hour trip back into Tokyo. We were sad to lay our JR Pass down to rest(we only had a 7 day pass), but it was time. We encourage all travelers to purchase the pass, it basically pays for it self after a few Shinkasen rides and there are extensive rails in Japan and Osaka that you can utilize the pass on.
Once we arrived in Shibuya station, we headed out of the station into a massive swirl of people. Shibuya is a heavily dense population center. It’s famous for its Shibuya crossing, which is one of the largest pedestrian crossings in the world. We found our way to our new Air BnB following the detailed map provided to us by our host. Our new apartment was smaller then our last one but it was cozy enough for the both of us and right in the center of the exciting Shibuya district of Tokyo! It was also on the 7th floor, so I’m glad elevators exist.
We got settled in and decided to hit the town and see what local mischief we could get into, this setting was a lot more busy then our time in Osaka. Walking the streets we were surrounded by countless people, shops, and restaurants. We were ready to sit down and get some food, so we started looking for a place.
The first place we located was called goodbeer faucets, which had a fairly decent draft selection and food – so we took a seat! We tried some pizza, which… For all the good food in Japan, pizza doesn’t seem to be their thing. However the beer selections were great, and we tasted a few different local craft beers. After that, I looked up another place nearby which was known for their no nonsense bartender owner and his vast collection of vinyls. We collected our things and headed over!
Shortly after that, we got to our location the Jazz Blues Soul Bar – this guy has thousands of vinyl lining all his walls in his bar. He’s the only employee, picks the records himself, and serves you one kind of beer – mix drinks too, with everything at a seemingly flat rate of 500 yen. He plays some of the most awesome music some of which I had never heard, in addition to taking requests – if you’re nice. The place is tiny, so if it’s too full – don’t be surprised if he asks you to leave. It was fantastic and we loved the atmosphere.
After that, we decided to head home and wind down for the coming adventures on the next day of our journey. Plenty more pictures below, check it out!
Greetings, this is Kyndra from the Shinkasen on our way to our AirBnb in Osaka. While we have nearly a 3 hour train ride I figured it was a good opportunity to share yesterday’s unique experience in Kabukicho.
Kabukicho located in the heart of Shinjuku is most famously known as Japan’s largest entertainment and red-light district. I think Taki described it perfectly as being the “Manhattan Times Square” of Japan.
The only plan we had set for the day was the Robot Restaurant, so we headed out early to explore the area.
The first thing we did was find our favorite Japanese pop-culture icon.
From there we had lunch at our first authentic ramen shop. Most restaurants in Japan you place your order and pay at a kiosk before sitting down where the chef will gladly take your receipt and make your meal.
After lunch we went to the SEGA store that was filled with claw games that were on a whole different level of difficulty, but out of pure luck I was able to get a hello kitty. ^_^
Soon after gambling on claw machines it was time to go to the robot show, I think it is best if we just drop some photos and videos below to best describe the sensory overload.
During the show Acea made a friend, his name was Ben who was from Perth, Australia. We went out for a drink to talk about the show and our experience so far in Japan. After a few more drinks we decided it was time to brave the ultimate Japanese Karaoke experience and found a nice place called Big Echo. The English song choice was limited (they didn’t even have Bohemian Rhapsody!) but thank goodness they had Smashmouth….
Anyhow, sorry for dragging on…yesterday was a great day to break us out of our shells. Tomorrow we plan to explore Osaka, until then thanks for reading!
Third day of the trip…. Mount Fuji and Hakone! Definitely the highlight of our short time here in Japan so far. It was a beautiful experience and we were lucky to have clear skies to not impede our view of the mountain.
We took a tour that lead us up to Point 4 of Mount Fuji, and then to the surrounding lakes. Eating an authentic Japanese lunch at a cozy and quaint café near one of the lakes. From there, we then headed to various viewing spots around the Mount Fuji national park for different breathtaking views of the mountain.
After that we then headed to Hakone, where we enjoyed a boat ride on Lake Ashi. After the boat ride, we took a cable car ride up to the top of the 2nd tallest mountain the Hakone area for an awesome view of the lake below and Mount Fuji. There was also an old Shinto shrine a top the mountain that we got to investigate. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I hope the pictures give a glimpse to the epic scale of the mountain.
We woke up at 5am today, still adjusting to the time difference…. Went to bed at a decent time the night before, but still couldn’t get that full night’s rest. We went and got breakfast (for free from the airline, by the way) and then grabbed our bus to the airport.
We arrived at the airport and saw this in the waiting area for our next flight and instantly knew we might be having some issues….
Joking aside, after a slight delay – our flight did finally get off the ground and we successfully arrived in Japan with little further trouble. Side note – Incheon airport was awesome. It was huge, very futuristic and had a lot of cool stuff going on.
Once we finally got off the plane at Narita Airport, we then headed to our hotel and the culture shock already started to set in…. It was basically like we were on an alien planet but we had finally made it!
The crazy toilets are a true story by the way…. Anyhow, more to come later!