Wednesday, May 18, 2016

📍 Tokyo; Japan

Every time I return from a trip I feel compelled to pen a post on my experience as a keepsake for memories or perhaps to seek closure closure as I guide my heart back home. Don't get me wrong, I love how routine brings stability but this wave of emotions is real and I need to get sorted out.

Tokyo is like a whole new world. Clean and green pink, it was spring and the sakura trees in full-bloom lined up on the side walks and painted the city pink. Everything is amazing at Tokyo! Their efficient but slightly complicated metro, high standards of customer service, garbage disposal system and a personal favorite - cool high-tech public bathrooms. Imagine the joy of having a warm toilet seat on days at 10 degree Celsius~ Read on to more photos and places I hope you visit for your trip. 



Shinjuku Gyoyen


One of the parks that I'd strongly recommend for hanami - Shinjuku Gyoyen. Never mind the entrance fee because this is where you will get the best photos of sakuras. Sure, there're free parks like Ueno or Yoyogi but be prepared for crowds and expect picnic space constrains & long bathroom lines. Then again, Japan has great parks and should you have time, check them out. If not just Shinjuku Gyoyen would do. 





Monzen Nakacho 
The best secret place for sakura viewing

When the well-known parks are flooded with tourists and locals, there is this gem Monzen Nakacho hidden from the crowds. It's a goal for me to find less touristy spots at a country that I'm visiting and it has became unconsciously important over the years as I travel. The novelty of discovering new places that were less sought out and having good shots with no photo bombs is what motivate me to spend hours combing through Google pages and refining my search. 




 



Disney Sea 

Disneyland or DisneySea? The dilemma that I was stuck in before the trip, it's almost impossible to make a decision but C and I came to a conclusion that Disney Sea was a better choice because of its exclusivity to Tokyo. At the planning stage for the trip, both C and me were super positive and adventurous that we could conquer both worlds in a day. HA! Let me tell you we never did.
Trust me on this, if you wanna get the best experience at Disney, the plan would be have two days reserved for both parks each.



Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 

The best place for skyline shots is at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and even more awesome, it doesn't require you an entrance fee! Well, didn't they say that the best things in life are free? With that you get an overview of what Tokyo looks like from above and if the skies are clear, spot some of the iconic landmarks of Tokyo from above. 


 Tsukiji Outer Market

Sadly the fish market was closed when we visited, but the morning hasn't gone to waste. We roamed the outer market and had the freshest tuna maki, tamago on a stick and sashimi don. Of course I'd encourage you to go on a empty stomach, you certainly don't wanna miss out on the delicious food and snacks. 









Shibuya 

Your one stop shopping and food heaven and this was where C & I spent our nights eating our way through Tokyo. This is also where the famous pedestrian scattered crossing (aka Shibuya crossing) is at, if you're up for people watching, head up to the Starbucks and get window seat for the view. 
As we talk about shopping in Tokyo, the iconic Shibuya 109 building, Don Quijote and famous drugstore Matsumoto Kiyoshi are all found in the Shibuya district. Keep a lookout at their drugstores because they carry special products that you wouldn't see in your regular Watson's or Guardian. 



Food 



Being a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, I had absolutely no issues with having it every single day. The food scene in Japan is pretty affordable, a good SGD$10 can buy you a decent meal to fill your tummies. Pricing wise it's comparable with Singapore but taste wise, Tokyo wins hands down.


Getting Around 

The subway system can be a little confusing, you gotto know if you're taking the subway or the JR line. Some place might be accessible by JR lines while others may only be accessed through the subway. For this trip, we got 2x 72 hour ticket passes and a PASSMO card for a six day trip. A pro-tip from me is to always have a pdf version of the subway map stored somewhere in your phone so that you can always refer to the station names to prevent you from getting off at the wrong stop. Also, have the Tokyo Subway app installed on your smart phones because this helps you with finding the fastest routes from stations to stations and lastly, never fall asleep on the train (don't miss your stop and start panicking).






Budgeting

Now here comes the most important part- budgeting. The total damage which includes air fare, accommodation & transportation was capped at 2.4k. We could have went for a stricter budget but it was the peak period we're travelling on, so air fare and accommodation costs significantly higher. Now, you've got to be wondering what other ways are there to stretch a dollar, here it is.

1) If you decide to give Disney a miss, you're most likely be saved from throwing your money on expensive merch. I'm embarrassed but I did went a little crazy at the Disney store but just the park tickets alone costs SGD$90! But if you still made it to logically holding tight to your finances in the Disney store, then I'd say kudos to you. 

2) Summer Japan 2016/17. Ah summer is when you'd most unlikely to need sweaters in your  luggage. Oh and if you're a person who travels light (which I'm obviously not), good for you because if you can fit everything you need in a hand-carry luggage, you're good to go. Flying on a low-cost carrier means you save on the money that's needed for having luggage checked in.

3) When booking your flight, always check out different combinations for timing and departing airport for your flights, they do affect the prices of your air ticket. Well, many chose to fly in & out via Haneda airport because it's closer to Tokyo and nobody would probably wanna deal with travel journey back to the city after a long haul flight. I remembered frantically searching for flights that fits my budget and discovered that flying into Haneda airport and departing from Narita airport would lower the cost of air tickets. That is when the golden opportunity presented itself that turn my sakura dreams into a reality... TOKYO 2016!

That's all I've got to share. I think everyone should go to Japan for its high-tech toilet, for its fatty salmon or even their silent morning train crowds. It has been a month post-trip and I could still remember the immense hospitality from kind strangers when Google maps failed, the beautiful days that I could wrap myself in layers and fortuitous food finds round the corner in a train station. You'll always have a special place in my heart. Till next time.

On a side note, follow me on my new Instagram account @sweetsx3! I'd be posting makeup of the day photos as well as makeup mess photos, if that is what interests you, seeya there! And if you don't, you can touch me at my social media handles below. 

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1 comment:

  1. I can't write a line without music - it provides just the right amount of distraction to keep me focused. Clearly, I still miss the noisy roommates.
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