DAY 7 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Shibuya District, Don Quijote “Donki” and Narita International Airport

Minasan, konnichiwa! 🙂

I can’t believe it! It’s DAY 7 already! HAHAHA I just realized that it took me almost a year to finish blogging about my Japan trip. I’m not that busy! LOL

I mentioned in my previous post (DAY 6) that I’ll include Shibuya and Don Quijote on this post since DAY 6 is very lengthy already. LOL

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Our last stop on our 6th day was actually in Shibuya District. And the photo below is the very famous Shibuya crossing which is tagged as the world’s busiest intersection or pedestrian crossing (not that obvious in this photo though haha)

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Hachiko is definitely one of my favorite movies. It’s a heartbreaking drama based on the true story of an abandoned dog named Hachiko which was eventually adopted by a college professor. Hachi would escort his master to the Shibuya station every morning and return every afternoon to greet him after work. Until one day, his master did not return from work. He suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died. However, this loyal dog still waited for his master at the train station for almost ten years and that only stopped when Hachi died. 😥 So as a tribute to this legendary dog, a statue was erected near the Shibuya station (Hachiko Exit).

Being a fan of this dog, a photo with his statue is definitely a must! 😀

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Don Quijote “Donki” is a very famous shop in Tokyo with over 160 stores. The one we visited is in Shibuya, just in front of H&M store. Donki sells almost everything! It’s a great place for souvenir items, chocolates and snacks like Kitkat and Oreo matcha, cosmetics, bags, shoes, gadgets, liquors and so much more. And I’m very sure you’ll like this, they are TAX FREE!!! 🙂 Just present your passport and pay at their cashier designated for foreigners. Prices indicated below are the prices per item. 🙂

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Oreo matcha soft cookies 148 yen (P65)

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Kitkat green tea 298 yen  (P130)

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Oreo matcha bar 298 yen (P130)

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Cheapest one costs 97 yen (P43) and the most expensive one costs 199 yen (P90)

I honestly don’t know what these dried snacks are hahaha But I guess they’re all squid. LOL Slices, coated, shredded and strips! HAHAHA

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Seasoned seaweed 98 yen (P44)

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1 kg of chocolate pair (This is YUMMY! ) 1,300 yen (P580)

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Doritos Mix 129 yen (P58)

Disney pens 99 yen (P45)

Japanese lady pen 648 yen (P290)

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Pores Cream 980 yen (P440)

Side ami supporter 600 yen (P270)

Masks 100 yen (P45)

I saw a lot of beautiful items in Shibuya and I really wanted to buy  ’em all!!! BUT. There was no enough money left in my pocket. 😥 HAHAHA

On our way to our AirBnB, we saw a mini resto and decided to try their ramen.

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DAY 7

Kotake to  Ikibukuro 170 yen (P75)

Ikubukuro to Nippori 170 yen (P75)

Nippori to Narita International Airport 1,030 yen (P460)

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Obviously, my favorite. 😀 Takuyaki!!! 550 yen (P245)

Bought these from a souvenir shop at the airport.

Ref magnet trio 486 yen (P220) 

Shot glass for a friend 540 yen (P240)

And the famous Tokyo Banana! 🙂 Click the left photo for the prices.

That’s all for our last day in Japan. 😦 Thank you for reading! 🙂 I’ll upload our Tokyo travel video in my Youtube account very soon! :*

Sayonara and domo arigato, Japan! 🙂

 

Xoxo,

Kulit.

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DAY 6 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Akihabara “Akiba” and Ueno Zoo

Hello everyone! 🙂

FINALLY!!! You’re now reading my Day 6 itinerary in the Land of the Rising Sun! 😀 Some of my friends have been waiting for this post because they are certified OTAKU. Hahaha

Otaku (おたく/オタク) is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom. (Wikipedia)

So I guess you already have an idea on where did we spend our 6th day in Japan. 😉 But since we really wanted to see a panda, we decided to also include Ueno Zoo on this trip.

DAY 6

We started this day with a quick visit to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. The nearest stations to this place are:

  • Otemachi Station (Exit C13B): 5-minute walk
  • Takebashi Station (Exit 1A): 5-minute walk

From Kotake-mukaihara station, which is the nearest one to our accommodation, to Takebashi, the following would be the route and total fare.

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200 yen (P90) – 27 minutes

The Japanese Imperial Palace Gardens are open to the public daily except Mondays and Friday. Admission is free. Yey! 😀

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“Be careful of heat stroke” We didn’t take this warning seriously. We were so unprepared. Hahaha We felt we were being roasted while walking through that very huge park!!! We went there last August 2016 so ’twas summer.

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We did a lot of walking because the place is really big. Look how dead tired my companions were. HAHAHA We all slept for 30 minutes. I strongly suggest you wear light clothes and comfy shoes. And don’t visit this place during summer. 😀

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That lady with ‘ella was obviously the only girl scout in our group. HAHA

Next stop was the Anime and Manga capital of the world – Akihabara or popularly known as “Akiba”. This district located in Central Tokyo is also famous for its many electrical shops, hence it’s also called Tokyo’s “Electronic Town”.

Takebashi Station – Kayabacho Station – Akihabara Station (Exit 5)

170 yen (P75) – 25 minutes

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Time to refuel. HAHAHA

Long beef sandwich – 490 yen (P220)

Cheese bites – 100 yen (P45)

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We walked for almost ten minutes before we reached the center of Akiba.

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I noticed that some Japanese still prefer flip phones than smartphones. Well personally, I also prefer flip phones. I used to have LG Lollipop (blue) which was being endorsed by my dear hubby Lee Min Ho before. HAHAHA Korea’s and Japan’s flip phones are so kawaii.

Took these shots using one of the tablets being displayed in this shop. HAHAHA I didn’t delete the photos so proof of shamelessness is still there until now, I guess. LOL

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There are so many electronic shops and dozens of stores that sell manga comics, video games, cosplay costumes, figurines, card games and other anime collectibles.

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We saw some cosplayers in the streets. I wasn’t able to take a snap of ’em though. There are also different anime cafes where waiters or waitresses dress up like anime characters.

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That’s all for Akiba. We haven’t bought anything because everything is a bit pricey. HUHUHU

From anime to animals. 😀 Our next stop was Ueno Zoo.

Akihabara Station – Ueno Station

140 yen (P65) – 13 minutes

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While we were on our way to the zoo, we saw these temples below.

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We were also able to witness a fun performance by this amazing juggling artist. 🙂

A mini theme park for the kiddos. 😀 We tried their matcha ice cream! 😉

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Almost there…

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Yeyyy!!!! Oh my!!!! Oh my!!! Oh my pandaaaa!!! 😀

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Entrance Fee: 600 yen (P270) 

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Welcome to Ueno Zoo! 🙂

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Ueno Zoo is the oldest one in Japan. For me, it’s a world class zoo with more than 500 species from around the globe. I saw some endangered species and a lot of wild animals for the first time but there was only one animal which I was most excited about and that was…… PANDA! 😀

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I’m not really a fan of zoos because I love animals. I feel that those who are kept inside the zoos are denied of everything that make their lives meaningful and enjoyable. However, I appreciate the staff and management of this zoo for providing an environment to the animals that is similar to their natural habitat. I just hope that they continue to take care of all these beautiful animals. 🙂

Our last stop for DAY 6 was Don Quijote in Shibuya for “pasalubong” or souvenir shopping but let me just include that on my DAY 7 instead since we also bought some souvenirs at the airport. 🙂

Thank you for reading! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

DAY 4 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Osaka to Tokyo via Shinkansen (Bullet Train), Tokyo Skytree and Shibuya Crossing

Konnichi wa guys! 🙂 Osaka and Kyoto itineraries were already posted on my DAY 1, 2 and 3.

DAY 4

On this blog entry, I’m gonna share how I got to Tokyo from Osaka. There are actually 5 ways to travel between Osaka and Tokyo, and these are the following:

By bus

Duration: 8 hours

Price: Regular bus costs 3,520 (P1,550) while Premium bus costs 10,000 yen (P4,400)

By airplane

Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Price: 6,000 to 20,000 yen (P2,500 to P9,000) There are more than 60 flights per day operated by multiple airlines. It’s recommended to book months ahead to avail cheaper fares.

By car

Duration: 6 hours

Price: Expressway toll costs 10,000 to 12,000 yen (P4,400 to P5,300).

By local train

Duration: 9 to 10 hours, 4 transfers

Price: 3,000 to 9,000 yen (P1,300 to P3,900)

By Shinkansen (Bullet train)

Duration: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Price: 13,620 yen (P6,000) for a non-reserved seat and 14,200 to 14,500 yen (P6,300 to P6,400) for a reserved seat on a Nozomi train. You can also try Hikari and Kodama trains if you are using a Japan Rail Pass.

We took the bullet train because it’s one of the things we’ve been wanting to try in Japan. It’s also the most expensive one though! HUHU More expensive than our plane ticket. HAHA

But before heading to Namba station, we had our first meal at Pepper Lunch. This one below costs 780 yen (P350).

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The Shinkansen’s gateway to Osaka is Shin-Osaka station. From Namba to Shin-Osaka, the fare costs 280 yen (P125). The picture below is my bullet train ticket. It’s a non-reserved seat via Nozomi train.

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Our AirBnb in Tokyo is quite far from the center so I don’t really recommend it. But Niki, the owner, is really nice and friendly. Her space is also clean and very secured. The security lock for the locker was a bit challenging. HAHA For more details about her room, check my Japan Travel Guide here.

We arrived in Itabashi-ku (AirBnb address) at 4pm and decided to leave for Tokyo Skytree at 6. The nearest station from our accommodation is Kotake-mukaihara. And the nearest station to Skytree is Oshiage.

Kotake-mukaihara -> Ikebukuro -> Otemachi -> Oshiage  for 240 yen (P105)

You can actually use Google to look for the best or fastest route. Just type “origin station to destination station”. See pictures below.

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Choose the train option and it will give you different routes with duration and total fare.

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Click your chosen route and it will show you the number of transfers and the stations.

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Skytree is the tallest building in Japan which gives you a breathtaking view of Tokyo. The highlight of this tower is its two observation decks located at heights of 350 and 450 meters respectively. We paid an observatory admission fee of 3,000 yen (P1,300) each for Tembo Deck (Floor 350). For more details about Tokyo Skytree and ticket prices, you may check their website here. Or click the following link if you want  to avail a discounted package of Tokyo Skytree and Sumida Aquarium.

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Our last stop for Day 4 was the famous Shibuya crossing. From Oshiage to Shibuya, the fare was 240 yen (P105). And from Shibuya station to Shibuya crossing, you still need to walk for 7 to 10 minutes. Shibuya is one of the busiest districts in Tokyo which has a lot of department and fashion stores, nightclubs and restaurants.

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I mentioned in my previous post that Japan is expensive. Thus, the pizza above was my only dinner for Day 4. HAHAHA In fairness, it was already enough. Wasn’t even able to consume it all. But the price? Shall I still mention it? Haaay. Alright. I paid 740 yen (P330) for that small pizza. HUHUHU

We enjoyed walking around Shibuya, jumping from one store to another without minding the time. That was why we forgot that the last trip for the train leaves at 11pm. 😥 We had no choice but to ride a cab and paid the most expensive taxi fare  we’ve ever had – 5,680 yen (P2,500)!!! That time I really wished I have wings! HAHAHA

To sum it up, DAY 4 is the most expensive day of our Japan trip. HUHUHU It’s actually breaking my heart while writing this post and remembering how expensive this day was. HAHAHA

I hope this will make you realize to save a lot of money before going to Japan for you to really enjoy the country and every amazing thing there! 😀

Domo arigato! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

DAY 3 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Kyoto

Hello there guys! Happy happy New Year! 🙂 I’m so sorry for posting this late, hello 2017! HAHAHA

Before reading my Day 3 itinerary, I hope you’ve already read my DAY 1 and DAY 2. *winks*

DAY 3

We spent our third day exploring the cultural center of Japan – KYOTO! 🙂 Kyoto is famous for its classical Buddhist temples and imperial palaces. This is where I had my authentic Japanese culture experience which I will forever treasure and laugh about! HAHAHA To know why, keep scrolling! 😀

Kyoto is an hour away from Osaka. From Namba, take a train to Minamikata station for 240 yen (P100). Then transfer to Hankyu Line which is actually outside the station, maybe just a 2-minute walk. You may ask the officers for direction. Mwaah! When you reach Hankyu, you will see the HELP or INFO machine (see picture below), use it to start a video call with the assigned station officer. Uhhmeyyzing! 😀

Take the train going to Kawaramachi for 400 yen (P165). Initially, we just took the regular train but during our trip, we were able to talk with a local and he said that we may transfer to an express train going to Kawaramachi for FREE. If my memory serves me right, it was at Ibaraki-Shi station when we transferred to the express one. 🙂

After almost an hour, tadaaaa! Konnichi Wa, Kyoto! 🙂

Before leaving the station, we went to Hankyu Tourist Information Center to get some maps and travel guides -DIY travel essentials. HAHA

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KYOTO Tourist Spots Map

I don’t know but we instantaneously felt a totally different vibe when we arrived at Kyoto. Prolly because there are only few skyscrapers and a lot of locals are wearing their traditional costumes while walking down the street. The main roads are not that wide and there are  numerous historical buildings everywhere.

Before we started our Kyoto tour, we must fill our tummy first. HAHAHA Burger King was our savior! LOL (can’t find the pictures, Gomenasai!)

Since we saw a lot of Japanese girls were wearing Kimonos, we asked them where we can rent such OOTDs. 😀 We really didn’t understand the direction they gave us but we easily found one. There are a lot of rental shops actually but the one below was the first one we saw. 🙂

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Dress: 3,000 yen (P1,300)

Hair: 1,000 yen (P440)

Ribbon: 500 yen (P220)

Tax: 360 yen (P160)

TOTAL: 4,860 yen  (P2,120)

We’re so lucky that we chose this shop because the owner/stylist was very nice and so friendly! 🙂 His name is Ryo. He’s very amazing because he finished styling or fixing my hair for just ten minutes! Woaaah! Kindly follow him on Instagram @ryo.first18 and @ryo.11.12 to see more of his beautiful hair creations. 🙂  Domo Arigato! *winks*

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How do I look? 😀 We didn’t expect that we could wear this Kimono for the whole day around Kyoto for FREE! Unlike in South Korea, we only had our photo ops inside the shop. So yeah, we got really excited! Hooray!!! 🙂

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First stop: Yasaka Shrine “Gion Shrine”

They said if you will visit this shrine, your body and mind will be blessed with beauty. Furthermore, if you will wash your hand and face with the “beauty water”, your heart and skin will also be beautified. ‘Twas too late for me to know about this, thus, I was able to wash only my hands and not my face (the reason why my face is not yet beautified atm haha)

I swear this is my favorite street food in Japan! Giant crab stick for 500 yen (P220). So delicious!!!! Oishi!!! Thank goodness I don’t have any food allergies! 😀

‘Twas so funny because while we were eating this, two Chinese tourists asked us to have pictures with them. HAHAHA I posted the video on my personal Instagram account but below are the screenshots. LOL

We decided to just walk going to our next destination not knowing that it’s very far! hahaha But it was still worth it because we were able to observe and discover many things along the street.

Second stop: Kiyomizu Temple or Kiyomizudera Temple “Pure Water Temple”

After more than 30 minutes of walking, we finally decided to take a bus.We took bus No. 100 and alighted at Higashiyama Gojo bus stop. Fare was 230 yen (P100). However, we didn’t know that it’s a long uphill walk to the temple plus the road was a bit crowded that time.

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Yey! After ten attempts, I finally had a photo with only few photo bombers. LOL

There are a lot of Matcha, maaatcha, matchaaaa, MATCHA!!! and souvenir shops in the area. Some sell fruit shakes and ice drops to beat the heat. But this one below caught our attention. It’s called Iced Kuzu Mochi– a new sensation of Japanese sweets!

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This is the entrance of the temple. We actually saw the temple from afar but were already too tired to go up because of the scorching heat of the sun. Entrance fee btw is 400 yen (P174).

Third stop: Fushimi Inari Shrine “Tori Gates”

ICYDN, we were wearing these traditional Japanese slippers called Geta while doing the deadly walkathon. LOL

We took bus No. 5 and the fare was 230 yen (P100). This bus ride was really unforgettable because a group of Filipinos thought we were pure Japanese. HAHAHA Their convo went like this…

Pinay 1: Girl, papicture ka dyan sa katabi mo (referring to me) para may panghawakan tayo na nakapagpapicture ka sa isang local.

Pinay 2: Nakakahiya girl at saka baka di nakakaintindi ng English.

Pinay 1: I-selfie mode mo lang phone mo, magegets nya na yan

Pinay 2: Wag na, nakakahiya.

HAHAHA We were going to the same destination so my travel buddy Naima and I decided not to speak Tagalog or Filipino anymore. LOL.

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Wasn’t able to try this 😦

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We weren’t able to see the whole place because it was already late and we must return our costume before 7pm. We took a cab from Tori gates to Kawaramachin (where the rental shop was located) for 1,200 yen (P500).

Tomodachi de itekurete arigatou Ryo! 🙂

Before leaving Kyoto, we looked for a resto that serves white rice! HAHAHA

Did this answer our prayer? LOL

Their Tandoori chicken was really good that we forgot to take a snap of it. 😀 Tandoori chicken meal costs 980 yen (P420).

Unexpectedly, we passed through this food festival something, I obviously don’t know what this is. HAHAHA

There were actually a lot of street food being sold but my phone battery didn’t want to cooperate. 😦

Time to say “Sayonara” to Kyoto! T____T One day was indeed not enough. We weren’t able to visit the famous Golden Pavilion. Well, it’s alright, at least I have another reason to go back to Osaka,  Japan! HAHAHA

Kawaramachi (Hankyu Line) to Umeda (Limited Express ) : 400 yen (P174).

Umeda (Midosuji Line) to Namba : 240 yen (P100)

I made a short travel video for Osaka, just click this link! 🙂

That’s all for now tomodachi! 🙂 My apologies btw for the poor resolution of some photos (ALL photos I think hahaha) Thanks for reading! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

DAY 2 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Universal Studios Japan (USJ), Osaka

Check my DAY 1 itinerary in Japan here. 🙂 Domo Arigato! 😀

DAY 2

One of the major reasons why we decided to also visit Osaka is their Universal Studios where the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be found. 🙂 We spent the whole day exploring this amazing theme park and I’m already excited to share my USJ experience with you! 🙂 So just continue scrolling, darling! :*

We started this day with a light breakfast because we’re penny-pinching like that. HAHAHA

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Pasta 498 yen (P225) and Flavored Water 118 yen (P55)

From Namba station to Nishikoju station 200 yen (P90). From Nishikoju station to Universal City station 160 yen (P72).

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We got so excited upon seeing Harry’s face in the station! Waaaaah! 🙂

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Meet my Japan travel buddies Naye and Princess! Before reaching USJ, you will pass through their official hotel named The Park Front Hotel and a lot of restaurants.

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Welcome to Universal Studios Japan!!! Fortunately, this year is their 15th anniversary! 🙂

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Obligatory shot with the iconic globe for the 2nd time. 😀

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Entrance Fee (with tax): 7,400 yen (P3,350)

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To reduce your waiting time for popular attractions, you may purchase an add-on which is an Express Pass. Express Pass for 7 attractions costs 6900 yen (P3,100) while for 4 attractions costs 4500 yen (P2,040).

(As of June 2018,  the table below is the updated price list)

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Click the following link if you want to avail discounted Universal Studios Japan 1 Day E-Ticket. 🙂

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Of course, our first stop was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! 🙂

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Remember this? 😀 Well, I don’t even know what this is. HAHAHA Not a fan, tbh. LOL

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(singing) On the brooms of love up and above the clouds, the only way to fly is on the brooms of love…. harhar! 😀

 

Didn’t miss the chance to taste the popular frothy drink in the wizarding world – Butterbeer! 🙂 600 yen (P270)

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It’s time to try the motion-based dark ride of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! 🙂 We initially planned to buy an Express Pass but the number of this kind of pass being sold was very limited and we arrived a bit late so we spent almost TWO hours queuing. HUHUHU

There are lockers provided and strictly no phones and cameras are allowed during the ride. If you want to have a souvenir,  you may purchase a picture which was snapped during your ride and you’ll be given a claim stub like the one posted below.  The staff had a hard time looking for our picture in their computer, she just then offered us to have another ride without the need of queuing up again provided that we will purchase the picture which costs 2800 yen (P1,300). Of course without thinking twice, we happily agreed! HAHAHA Halerr? That’s way cheaper than going back to Osaka! hahaha We really enjoyed the ride! The only thing we didn’t like was the characters were speaking Japanese! We couldn’t understand a thing. hahaha That’s no biggie though, so don’t leave USJ without trying this!!! To all HP avid fans out there, you’d surely love everything inside the castle! I promise! 🙂

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There are soooooo many Harry Potter merchandise or souvenir items being sold inside the castle. Pens, towels, notepads, robes, magnets, key chains, wands, chocolates and a whole lot more!!! They’re very pricey though. 😦 So I only bought two sets of playing cards which costs 2,300 yen (P1,000) each.

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“Wingardium Leviosa!”

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Which wand do you want? 🙂 Cheapest one costs 3500 yen (P1,500).  There are actually few areas in the park where you can use your wand to do some spells and tricks. I even saw a young boy who got so amazed with the power of his wand. HAHAHA Credits to the special effects! LOL

 

After spending almost three hours in Harry Potter’s world, we proceeded to the next popular attraction. We queued for almost two hours just to try THE FLYING DINOSAUR which is considered as the world’s longest Bolliger & Mabillard flying coaster, according to the park. This was such an over-the-top, thrilling experience! I certainly felt like I was flying the whole time and was spinning 360 degrees on air! HAHAHA So unforgettable! Been praying a lot of times during the ride. LOL This was actually the first attraction to mark the park’s 15th anniv. 🙂

 

I love this unique frozen mango! 🙂 It’s very cold (duhh! frozen hahaha) but soft on the inside and very sweet. So delicious! 🙂 Bought this for 500 yen (P225)

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While I was looking for my companion, I passed through this Jurassic Park Ride and noticed that there were only few people in the queue, so I decided to try it alone. HAHAHA I didn’t know though that I will get very soaked after. As in head to toe! T_T

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We really wanted to try the restaurants inside the park but our wallets only said “Yes!” to this chocolate churro. HUHU hahaha 480 yen (P215)

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I truly had an unforgettable experience in this park but the only thing I forgot was my companion! hahaha We separated ways inside the park and forgot to agree about our meeting time and place. Princess and  I spent almost an hour waiting for Naye at the park’s entrance while Naye was waiting for us on the other side. HAHAHA Because we were both confident of each other’s capability to go home just by ourselves, we both decided  to leave the park when ’twas already closed. And yes, we were all able to arrive home safe and sound. 🙂

That’s all for DAY 2. Thank you for reading! I’ll post my DAY 3 itinerary pretty soon! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

Japan Travel Guide

Japan has been every Filipino’s dream travel destination in Asia. And I think I don’t need to explain why. LOL. Honestly, I’m just feeling a bit lazy now so let’s just get straight to the point, shall we? HAHAHA

AIRLINE. There are a lot of airlines that offer direct flights from Philippines to Japan. And since thousands of Japanese visit our country every year, the flights are not limited to their capital city which is Tokyo. Some airlines offer flights to Osaka, Nagoya or Fukuoka and some of these flights are departing from Cebu or Davao. There are two airports in Tokyo: Haneda and Narita. Haneda International Airport is located closer to central Tokyo than Narita International Airport. To check the flight schedules for every airline, just click the icons below. 🙂

pal

delta

jal

ana

ceb

jetstar

 

 

Among these airlines, the cheapest one is Jetstar. I learned about their promo when I attended Travel Tour Expo 2016 last February at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. I’ve been attending this kind of event since 2013 and I find it really helpful for a budget traveler like me, trust me! HAHAHA To know more about this annual event, you may check my previous post here.  It was my first time to try Jetstar and their online booking system is the easiest one for me. You can easily check for an alternative date with the same or cheaper price.

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Yes, that price in the photo above is in pesos. One way ticket to Japan can be as cheap as P1,998 ONLY!!! However, Jetstar is very strict with their hand luggage (carry-on baggage). They strictly follow the 7kg rule (14kg in business class) and that includes your handbag and other personal items such as your gadgets.

VISA APPLICATION. Unlike applying for South Korea, applying for Japan is through their accredited agencies only; one cannot apply directly to Japan Embassy except for diplomatic or official visa. The following are the accredited travel agencies:

Based on my brain-squeezing research (chos! haha), UHI is the best one. And I was riggghhhttt! 🙂 I consulted first my requirements through their email address and they responded on the same day. I submitted my requirements in their office on the 19th of July and got a text and email that my passport was already ready for pick-up on the 22nd. That fast, amazing! 😀 UHI has two offices: Makati and Cebu. Their office in Makati is located at Mezzanine Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel. It is just beside SM Makati and the nearest train station is MRT Ayala. While their office in Cebu is located at 2nd Level JY Square Discovery Mall, 1 Salinas Drive, Lahug. By the way, you can send your application and documents via courier if you’re not from Metro Manila or Cebu. Just check their website for more details. 🙂

There are different requirements for each type of applicant, you may check the complete list here. But I will only focus on the requirements for a tourist without any family or relative or guarantor in Japan.

  • Philippine passport (more than six months valid with at least two blank pages)
  • Visa application form (download the form here)
  • Photo (4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background)
  • Birth Certificate (issued within one year)
  • Marriage Contract (if the applicant is married, also issued within one year)
  • Daily Schedule in Japan (see sample below)
  • Bank Certificate
  • Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy
  • Visa application payment of P950 to P1,500 depending on the travel agency.

japan schedule photo

OSAKA, KYOTO AND TOKYO. Osaka is Japan’s second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. Some tourists prefer this city than Tokyo because of the famous The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan. For a complete list of tourist spots and travel guide to Osaka, you may check this page. On the other hand, if you want to see countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures, include Kyoto in your itinerary. This city is just an hour away from Osaka but one day is not enough to visit Kyoto; an overnight stay is recommended. 🙂 For Kyoto travel guide, visit this page.  Lastly, if you want unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, anime and dining, Tokyo is undoubtedly the best city for that. There are a lot of amazing things in Tokyo and it’s really a beautiful and  peaceful city. And also, this is where Disneyland and Disney Sea are located. Tokyo is six hours away from Osaka if you will take the regular train and only two hours if you wanna try the very expensive bullet train or Shinkansen . That’s the reason why some tourists only visit Osaka and some only visit Tokyo. But in our case, we visited both because it’s more pricey to have another Japan tour. HAHAHA And we really really wanted to try their bullet train! 🙂

JR PASS. Japan Rail Pass is the most economical means of travelling throughout Japan by rail. It is valid for reserved and non-reserved ordinary car travel on all Japan Railways (JR) Group Shinkansen “bullet trains” (except for the “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” services), limited express trains, express trains, and local trains (Green Car passes are valid for Green Car travel) and the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit system). But then, you cannot buy this pass within Japan. You must purchase first a voucher from an accredited agency here in the Philippines and exchange it with an actual pass when you arrive in Japan. Or you may also purchase it online DISCOUNTED 7-DAY JR PASS. But I’ve read in the Facebook page of The Japan Times that it will be available within Japan very soon. The 7-day validity pass costs P13,200 (As of June 2018, it costs P14,000). We weren’t able to buy our JR passes before we left Manila and ’twas a good thing because our total transportation expense within Japan was only around P10,000 which already includes Shinkansen (P6,150). So that’s around P3,000 cheaper! 😀 But it’s more convenient to use JR pass since you no longer need to buy tickets in every station and do the Math every now and then. HAHAHA

jr pass

TRANSPORTATION. “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation” by Gustavo Petro.  Japan, so far, has the best transportation system I’ve been to. You can see a lot of businessmen and rich people who take the public transport particularly the train. There are more than a thousand of train stations in Japan and every city railway map looks very complicated. Posted below are the railway maps of Osaka and Tokyo.

Told yah! You’d surely get totally confused on your first try of finding the station you’re looking for. HAHAHA But like I said before, worry no more, train mobile apps will be your savior! 😉  Hyperdia is one of the famous train app in Japan. I also recommend Osaka and Tokyo apps by Mapway.

But during our trip, Google Maps was more useful. 🙂

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Bicycles are widely used in Japan; you can see a lot of cyclists and bicycle parking racks everywhere. We forgot to look for their amazing underground parking system like the one in this video. 😦 Anyway, a friendly reminder: always be alert while walking in the street because some of them don’t blow their horn. I was almost hit for more than ten times already. HAHAHA

TIME. UTC/GMT +9 hours. Japan is 1 hour ahead of Philippines.

SEASONS. Spring: March to May; Summer: June to August; Autumn: September to November; Winter: December to February. But the most famous season is the Cherry Blossom season! 😀 This starts from early March to late April. Below is the Cherry Blossom Map for 2016.

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ACCOMMODATIONWe booked our rooms both in Osaka and Tokyo via AirBnb. You can download their app or use their website to rent unique accommodations from local hosts. AirBnb provides great choices and with it, you can really feel at home anywhere in the world. If you will go to Osaka, I suggest you look for a room in Namba district. This is regarded as the center of Osaka. And if you will just stay within Tokyo, the best place would be Shibuya.  However, the room we booked for in Tokyo was in Itabashi-Ku which is a bit far from the center. But I still recommend it since the local host named Niki was very friendly and helpful. Her unit is clean and comfy. Both of these rooms have free Wi-Fi and toiletries. But our stay in Niki’s place was way better than in Osaka. 😀 I’ll share the whole story on my next post. HAHAHA

Our local host for Namba, Osaka was Noriko, you can check her AirBnb profile here. 

While in Itabashi-Ku, Tokyo, our local host was Niki. She’s a Vietnamese who currently works in Japan. Check her AirBnb profile here. 

LANGUAGE. Most of them can speak and understand English. But still, you need to prepare your translation apps. 🙂 In our group, I was the one assigned for this. I mean, for communicating with those Japanese who can’t understand English. HAHAHA (One was assigned for route planning or transportation and the other one was for photography. That’s actually a travel tip! Assign roles to your travel buddies! :D) I actually had fun using their language and it was so fulfilling whenever they understand everything I was saying. haha I started learning their language when I was still 15 years old but up to now, I only know the basic. LOL

JAPANESE YEN. One (1) Japanese Yen equals .45 Philippine Peso. Your Philippine pesos would be of greater value if you convert it beforehand in the Philippines than in Japan. Japan is an expensive country. You should definitely double your budget. HAHAHA We lost weight during our tour because of their expensive drinks, meals and fares. Actually, almost everything is expensive! hahaha Well, if you’re rich, forget about what I said. LOL

ELECTRICAL PLUGS OR SOCKETS. They are using types A and B. Type A is a two flat identical sized parallel prongs while type B is a two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin.  In the Philippines, we also use Type A so you no longer need to bring an adapter. 🙂

WI-FI. We expected for many free Wi-Fi access points in Japan but only find few ones. We just found some in convenience stores and cafes and you need to “Log-in with your Facebook account” when prompted with log-in options. It’s a good thing though so we can fully enjoy the city and just surf the net before hitting the hay. 🙂 But if you want, you may rent a pocket wifi at any airport in Japan by clicking this link.

TOURIST GUIDES or MAPS. These can be found in every train station. In the airport, there are only few ones being displayed in the Tourist or Information Desk.

VENDING MACHINES. There are thousands of vending machines in Japan. Like every 10 or 15 meters, there is a vending machine and I’m not even kidding! Really amazing. HAHAHA I believe it’s because Japanese love walking and biking and their summer is hotter than ours so they need to stay well hydrated. By the way, they love flavored and sparkling water. It was only on my fourth attempt that I was able to buy a natural drinking water. LOL  And this one below is my favorite flavored water!!! This one is so hard to find. Only 1 out of 20 vending machines offers this drink and I wasn’t able to find this in convenience stores.  This sounds like an exaggeration but to taste is to agree! HAHAHA

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SELF-SERVICE. “Self-service” culture of Japan is truly remarkable especially in restaurants, parking areas, gas stations, laundry stations and some grocery stores.

Whew! This post is already the longest one I think. HAHAHA Spent almost three hours for this, time to sleep! 😀

That’s all for now sweeties!🙂  I will just update this if ever I forgot something to be included here.😀 If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me! 😉 I will share my 7 Days 6 Nights Itinerary in Japan on my next posts!🙂Domo Arigato!😉

Xoxo,

Kulit.