#Destinartion #3: Japan… and more to come!

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Hi… This has been delayed for so so so long. I have my reasons, and I’ll explain later by the end of this post, I also have an announcement at the end of this post regarding my blog.

I went to Tokyo & Osaka in May last year, I actually finished writing the Japan post a day after I arrived back in Jakarta. But, something just felt off, I didn’t want to post the writing, I didn’t even know why! I had doubts since Tokyo is my favorite city, I wanted to treat the Japan post a little special, either with drawings, etc. But it never came to a point that I was satisfied, and then work came along, my thesis came along, and it was forgotten. However though, I know that I have to post it somehow, so here you go.

Note: This is a long post…

Tokyo has always been my favorite city. I’ve been there a few times before, but I never really explored the city on my own. So it has been a dream for me to go alone or with a friend, with my own money too.

So the dream came true! I went on a 10-day trip to Tokyo & Osaka with a friend of mine.

Aaaaand since it’s my favorite, I’m going to write about all the details of the trip. Not just my top spots and highlights of the trip. Here are the details of the trip (flights, things I did, things I ate, internet, accommodations).

FLIGHTS:

ANA Airlines (Bought the tickets in February 2016 at a Japan travel fair.)

Jakarta ~ Tokyo (Haneda Airport)

Osaka (Itami Airport) ~ Tokyo (Haneda Airport) ~ Jakarta

USD360/person

They were the last 2 tickets too! Always be on the lookout for travel fairs.

PEACH Airlines

Tokyo (Narita Airport) ~ Osaka (Kansai Airport)

USD 71/person (With a system like usual budget airlines, free 10kg baggage, but it’ll cost more if you have more than 10kg of baggage.)

Through my (probably very unreliable) research, to travel between cities in Japan, it’s mostly cheaper to go by planes instead of a Shinkansen. Which was why we decided to go by on a plane instead of a Shinkansen. AND, Peach Airlines has the cutest name (okay this was somewhat a priority).

ACCOMMODATIONS (Airbnb – I always search for apartments below USD 45/night)

Tokyo (6 Nights = USD 337)

Link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/8996929

A small apartment but big enough for two in the Nogata Area. Nogata is a residential area, so it’s not in the middle of everything. But the apartment is located near to a train station, which was great. Aaaand staying in an apartment not in the middle of the city means we came across a lot of random train station stops, which was fun! We got to eat and walk around in different parts of Tokyo. I actually would like to stay here again since the place was clean, I loved the area, and the host was very nice. The photos on airbnb don’t do them justice.

Osaka (3 Nights = USD 165)

Link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9889168

A small apartment with bunk beds! It was surprisingly homey though. We stayed in an area called Ebisucho. Just right across of Shinsekai, and only 2 stops away from Dotonburi. The apartment was near a train station and it was right above a 24 Hour supermarket YAY I love food.

P.S.: Do note that prices may change at any time

ESSENTIALS (Visa, Internet, Train Tickets)

For Visa, I applied to the Jakarta Japan Embassy on my own. I got it for free too since I’m a university student.

For Internet, airbnb hosts in Japan usually provide portable hotspots. But there are also apps available such as Japan Wi-Fi and NAVITIME Japan Travel, which help you search for free wi-fi spots. However, the Indonesian provider, XL, provides quite an affordable Internet package for Japan, I paid around IDR 300,000 for a 7-day 6GB package. There are packages for 30 days, etc.

For train tickets, get a PASMO or a Suica Card, a card that works everywhere. They also work for buses, getting things from konbinis (convenience stores), or vending machines, pretty much an e-money type of thing. I got the PASMO card (no particular reason whatsoever, bought it back in 2012), the card is 1500yen, and I charged it with 12000yen, it was enough for the amount of traveling I did (which was a lot), and it was also enough for my 10 days of use.

THINGS I DID

TOKYO

 May 4:

  • Ghibli Museum at Mitaka City, Tokyo:

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Once you get off from the station, you’ll start seeing these signs along the way!

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Movie tickets as souvenirs

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Wouldn’t complain if this was my house

I have always failed getting tickets for the Ghibli Museum for the last 4 years, that is until I discovered Voyagin, which is a ticketing agent that will buy the tickets for you. I picked up my tickets at their Shibuya office.

Anyway though, Ghibli Museum is as whimsical and wonderful as any of their movies! It’s located in Mitaka City, a 40-50 minute train ride from Nogata.

The Museum is located in the middle of a park, with lots of trees and greeneries. There were small doors, which led to big doors, stairs that didn’t seem to end, a gigantic Neko Bus, and much more. It was extremely enchanting. A room stood out to me though, a room, which exhibits how the Studio Ghibli animators work, with their sketches, used pencils, etc. up on display.

Plus, the Mitaka area is really cute, I met a very cute dog….. yes.

  • Takashi Murakami’s Bar Zingaro & Art Space at Nakano Broadway:

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Look at this place though

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Always up for anything cute

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Would like to have this in my house

I went there because I’m a huge fan of Takashi Murakami’s works. I also didn’t make it to his Mori Art Museum Exhibition, since it only lasted until March. ANYWAY though, it was incredibleeeee, the art space was holding a special, a room full of his floral prints. The coffee are said to be good, but I’m not a coffeephile, so I just ordered a latte and I think it was good… My drink was around 900yen since it was a special drink with Murakami’s flower print. They have a good-looking barista too!!!! (#important)

  • Nakano Broadway:

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Some of the secondhand be@rbrick figurines

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Was very into the Neko Atsume game at the time, so I was (still am) very proud of this

It’s a mall that sells lots of new and used toys. I bought 3 used (and in good condition) Kamen Rider figures for 1500 yen, which was such a great deal!!

May 5:

  • Purikuras!:

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We took a few but this was the best one!!! We looked way too ~alien-y~ on the other ones

Took purikuras in Shinjuku & Harajuku, each is 400 yen.

  • Don Quijote at Shinjuku, but they have lots of other locations:

Bought lotsssss of random goods. This store sells clothes, socks, phone cases, undies, cosmetics, food, and sex toys, pretty much everything. Everything’s pretty much affordable, which means it will get expensive very fast. So be wise on what to buy if you’re on a budget like me.

  • Tadanori Yokoo Pop-Up @ Isetan Shinjuku

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A bunch of Tadanori Yokoo’s merchandises and prints. Most of them were expensive though, so I only bought postcards! They were only around 120 yen each.

  • EPIK HIGH at Studio Coast, Shin-Kiba:

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No photos inside the venue!!!! But the sky was really beautiful that day

Epik High is one of my fave music acts. It’s a Korean Hip Hop group. I got their tickets easily (which was such a BLESSING since my experience with Japanese concert tickets was actually very difficult, read the post on my old blog here) I got help by my airbnb hosts for buying the tickets though.

May 6:

  • DISNEYLAND all day. That was it. Ticket is USD 66 each park.

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May 7:

  • Tsukiji Fish Market

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Lots and lots and lots of people but of course we had great sushi

We didn’t go to the tuna auction since we were not that dedicated to wake up at 2AM. We arrived there at 9AM, just to eat. 9AM was too late for Tsukiji time though, there were lines everywhere, and it was pretty packed. All we did was eat a sushi set which costs around 1000yen at Sushi Sen.

  • Gudetama Airline & Neko Atsume at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro:

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Not real food

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Not real food too

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You guessed it, not real food

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Real food!!! Not

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Died and went to Gudetama heaven

Our initial plan was to eat at the Neko Atsume pop-up café/theme park at Namco Namjatown (also located at Sunshine City). But the pop-up thing was made into a game… in which we had to solve clues just to eat some Neko Atsume food. It was best for people who are fluent in Japanese. To us it was just way too much work for food. It costs 500 yen to enter Namco Namjatown.

But Gudetama came to the rescue!! There was a special exhibition called Gudetama airline. In which we were treated to a Gudetama themed “airport”, with exhibits, photo booths, and food!! It was so fun, the entry was 1000 yen.

May 8:

  • Fuji Shibazakura Festival @ Kawaguchiko:

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Sorry I ruined the photo

We spent half of the day chasing trains. It was such a tiring day, but the view of Mount Fuji with the beautiful flowers at Shibazakura Festival made the day way better. It was my first time seeing a clear view of Mount Fuji!!! The Yakisoba I got there also helped enhancing the experience I had there… lol

Anyway though, there were a few ways to go to the festival. Buses/Trains. We chose the train though.

The route was:

Shinjuku Station ~ Otsuki Station ~ Transfer to Fujikyu Railway ~ Kawaguchiko Station ~ Bus to the Shibazakura Festival site.

All in all, the transportation costs around 7000 yen, which was wayyy above our budget. This wasn’t something we planned for, but it was great.

May 9:

  • Time to say bye to Tokyo, went to Narita Airport with the Airport Friendly bus from Shinjuku. Special discounts for people under the age of 25! My ticket was 2000 yen.

OSAKA

 May 10:

  • Universal Studios Osaka! Tried out the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ride a VR indoor roller coaster ride with the cutest graphics, and of course the Harry Potter ride too. The ticket ended up being 12000 yen each person since we purchased the express tickets to enter some rides like Harry Potter.

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Kyaryyyy love u girl

May 11:

  • Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum at Ikeda City, Osaka:

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Ramen wall!!!

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Choosing toppings for my own cup noodle!!!

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Decorated my own cup noodles!! To this day this hasn’t been eaten yet

This museum offers a history on Cup Noodle and how its founder invented the Instant Ramen. It showcased the history of it in a fun and interactive way. The place is free, but you have to pay 300 yen if you want to customize your own cup noodle. Also, I think the location of the museum is kind of unique. It’s located in a quiet upscale neighborhood (based on my very unreliable observation…..), the museum is surrounded by houses that have quite large front yards, something you don’t see everyday in Japan.

  • We cancelled our Kyoto and Kobe trip since it was raining a lot and… we ran out of money!!!! $_$. All we ate were onigiris from Lawson.

WHAT I ATE (I’ll only write the notable ones I ate lol)

TOKYO

May 4:

  • Takashi Murakami’s Bar Zingaro at Nakano Broadway:

Takashi Murakami’s coffee, that’s the only reason. But they serve some cute cookies and stuff. They are said to have good quality coffee beans… it’s not something I understand though… whoops.

  • This Sushi Place at Nakano Broadway:

I forgot the name, but it was the usual sushi-go-round restaurants. But I think, anywhere in Japan is good sushi. At least now I know how to say “Tamago kudasai! (Tamago please!)”.

May 7:

  • Sushi Sen at Tsukiji Fish Market:

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They had some great tamago!! Our initial plan was to eat around the market, but since it was too packed, we ended up eating at one of the restaurants. It was around 1000 yen for a selection of 8 sushi.

  • Gudetama Food at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro:

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I’m only putting this here because it’s Gudetama. Taste wise it was just ok. The ones I had in Hong Kong were better! Probably because they were actual buns and egg tarts. The one I had in Tokyo was simply… egg, rice, and bonito flakes. No meat whatsoever.

  • GYUKATSU MOTOMURA (!!!!) at Shibuya (I think they have other locations too):

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Hands down… the best gyukatsu (okay, I haven’t had a LOT of gyukatsu, but please let me exaggerate) I’ve ever eaten. We queued outside for 2 hours, I have never queued that long for food. The seating capacity was only 6-10 people?? Anyway, these Gyukatsus though!!! They didn’t feel greasy, they melted in my mouth… I think it’s also quite affordable for such a famous name. It costs 1300 yen for the smallest size. You can order additional meat for 800 yen.

May 8:

  • Ramen Ichiran at Harajuku (many branches though):

This is one of the places in which we had almost zero interactions with the servers there. We ordered the food via a ticket machine, and then we sat in individual booths, which were separated by a divider (though we can open the divider). Afterwards, we call a waitress with a button, to let them know if we want pork broth or not, etc. The waiters would show up in “windows” in front of us with their faces behind the window blinds.

Anyway though, despite the reviews of Ichiran being really tasty, etc. My friend and I just found it ok. It was good… but we don’t think it’s worth a long queue. That’s just our opinion though.

OSAKA

 May 9:

  • Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki at Dotonburi:

Tried out some good Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki, there were lots of restaurants serving them in Osaka, we chose at random, and we liked ours.

  • Pablo Cheese Tart at Dotonburi/Shinsaibashi:

There were already lots of people raving about how good Pablo is. The reviews are trueeeeee!! They’re THAT good. We bought the mini ones. My top favorite is the cheese tart, the green tea comes a close second.

May 11:

  • YAYOI at Ikeda City, I think there are lots of branches:

We stumbled upon this restaurant while we were walking around Ikeda. We decided to try this one cause they seem to have lots of food options. Aaaaand the result was, it was one of the best food I’ve ever eaten. I had this cheese + beef hamburg meal. Once you slice the meat open, melted cheese emerges. But I guess anything with cheese is always good for me. It was around 900 yen.

  • Gram Pancakes at Shinsaibashi:

It was an OK pancake, nothing wonderful. They actually offer these fluffy, premium pancakes, but I was too full so I didn’t order them. I’m just putting Gram here since I ate dinner here with my first ever best friend in Pre-school. She’s Japanese. She used to live in Indonesia, but moved back to Japan when we were 5. So, shout out to Kaori!

Soooo, above were all the things I did, I ate, and I spent on during my last Japan trip. I hope it’s fun and insightful! I had a great time during the trip. Japan has always been my favorite country, I wish next time I can visit more cities other than just Tokyo & Osaka (Especially Kobe & Kyoto since they’re only 40-50 minutes away from Osaka!).

***

The end!!! As I’ve said before, I had my reasons for delaying this post for so long. I also explained above that I had doubts about posting this, feeling unsatisfied with the writing, etc. I felt (still feel) like Japan is a very sacred thing for me, so I just have to make it special, I didn’t know what to do… so here comes the announcement (does anyone read this? But I’ll go ahead lol) I will be moving to Tokyo… in a few hours! As this post is posted I’ll probably be on my way to the airport.

Aside from studying Japanese, I will dedicate my time in Tokyo to visit one art museum/art exhibition/art gallery/museum/any place that excites me weekly, and also review them weekly! So there will always be a new #destinartion post every week. This feels like something that I can “give” to Tokyo, something that will assure me that I’m treating Tokyo right.

Do tune in and let’s keep in touch. I will sure notify when there’s a new post. I am very nervous to finally live in the city which is very dear to my ~heart (seriously though), yet I’m extremely excited. I can’t wait to share all the museums, exhibitions, and tons of things I see in Tokyo with the people who read my blog! Thank you so much.

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