March 24th, 2016
Tokyo, Kyoto & Nara.
I landed a few hours ago in London. I’m very sleepy because of the jet lag, but I couldn’t wait to share with you some photos I took and the overall experience. This wasn’t my first time there – it was my 5th, actually – but this time we stayed longer, experienced more, and went with our friends PJ and Sophie!
We begun with some of the most known districts of Tokyo, particularly Akihabara and Harajuku: the first one is a modern area dedicated to video games, figurines and collectables; the other one is more focused on fashion.
After doing a bit of shopping in Takeshita Street, we walked in Yoyogi Park.
Leaving this last one, walking towards the station, we spotted a cat café, and so we decided to check it out. Not going to lie, I don’t love cats, I’m more of a dog person, but I’m glad we went there as the experience was so surreal and relaxing at the same time… plus the cats were cute, I have to admit.
On the way back to Nishi-Waseda (the area we stayed in) we stopped by the underground mall in Tokyo Station and had fun browsing through all the shops. Quickly enough, the day was coming to an end, as the energies were abandoning us, and so we went back to our AirBnB.
Time to do my yearly visit to Ueno Park, one of my favourite places. Being there in the middle on March meant that we caught a glimpse of some cherry blossoms; the area was being prepared for the event.
We didn’t spot that many, but the ones we did see were absolutely stunning.
The park is pretty big, and not only there are several shrines and a zoo, but there is also a lovely lake you can rent boats at and go around in. We spent most of our time in Ueno, and then had dinner in Korea Town.
Disneyland! Oh, and DisneySea!
That’s right… we went to both.
I had only visited one in the past, but I really wanted to check out DisneySea this time, as it looked so beautiful in the pictures I had previously seen.
We were lucky enough to have a guide showing us around, and so we managed to get most rides done at Disneyland, but when we got to the other park the weather became really windy and the jet lag started to kick in. We only did 3 rides, but one in particular, “20’000 Leagues Under the Sea”, made the entrance to the park totally worth it – not to mention how spectacular each area was!
We took the shinkansen (fast train) from Tokyo to Kyoto. We got there at midday, checked into the Japanese style room we booked for the night, rented some bikes and rode around the city.
We reached the Golden Temple, which was absolutely stunning, and strolled around the park. We weren’t able to do much more, but the day was so much fun because it really felt like an adventure.
From Kyoto, we moved to Nara. We were all looking forward to check this location out as it’s known to be full of deer living in its ground. When we got there, we were so surprised to see them walking all around the streets, not just the green areas, and they were fun to look at: they could be dangerous, sings were placed everywhere so you would be careful, but overall I found them to be very playful and polite. Fun fact: they taught them to bow before receiving food.
Shrines and pagodas are scattered across the main park, and although we couldn’t possibly see everything in just a few hours, we all agreed to get tickets to see the Great Buddha.
The statue is safely stored inside a massive temple, alongside with many others. It was so big we ended up getting lost for about 40 minutes; the panic was real, but luckily we all found each other at the exit.
Back in Tokyo. Our trip is coming to an end, and so we must make sure we visit all the places we are interested in: next in the list, Asakusa and the Sky Tree.
We went out early in the morning as usual, despite the fact that at this point PJ was getting ill and we were all exhausted by walking hours and hours each day. We thought the market place would be fun, but we didn’t realise it was a National Holiday and because of it way too many people were there.
We moved out of the area pretty quickly and decided to go to the Sky Tree, thinking it would be a relaxing activity. Wrong. It took us hours of standing in line before we could get in. But eventually we did, and the view of the city from up high was incredible.
Our last day in Japan. The plan was to visit the Imperial Palace and Shinjuku Park, but little did we know that due to the holiday both would be closed… not sure what to do, we ended up chilling by the park in front of the Palace, playing card games and eating snacks.
To save the day and put an amazing ending to our trip, we managed to book seats at the Robot Restaurant, which consisted on a 90 minute show of absolute madness. It was great.
And that was it. At 5am we left the little house we had lived in all together for the week. It was such a fun trip!
And now I’m home, cuddling the pugs, answering over 200 emails and hoping the time difference won’t mess up my schedule too much. I’m planning to stay awake, but… it’s so… difficult.
PS. I’m going to upload a vlog from the trip tomorrow,so you will see a lot more!