Our Ja-FUN Adventure

Before I even start writing about our Japan trip, let this be a warning that this is a picture heavy post. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you, ayt? Apologies for going overboard in uploading all these photos from our Japan escapade. We were in Japan for a week so yeah, allow me to flood this post with lotsa photos of Japan’s stunning and picturesque landscapes and of course, our faces! Hahaha!

My husband and I had our church wedding last December 2014 and we haven’t really gone away for our honeymoon yet. When we were in the Philippines for almost a month last June, we really didn’t go anywhere. We basically just spent quality time with family and people close to our hearts (at home most of the time) before leaving the Philippines for good last July. This Japan side trip was a big break for us. Though we really wanted to go during spring, we had to do some last minute changes and opted to visit the Land of the Rising Sun in summer instead. I’d like to think that this trip was our ‘gift’ to ourselves for working hard in Singapore/first backpacking trip/trial honeymoon trip (if there’s such a thing). Since this was our first backpacking trip, we’ve learned so much more about each other like how my husband could stretch his patience figuring out the directions and how my witty comebacks (including all my ‘knock’, ‘knock’ jokes) could make him smile after a very tiring hike all the way up to countless temples. Hubs and I are beach bums so we’re really looking forward to a beach holiday for our honeymoon say, somewhere in Hawaii or The Bahamas, perhaps? 😉 For the mean time and while the real honeymoon is still in the works, let me share our exhilarating week in the land of sushi and kimonos. Scroll down for our million photos!

Day 1: Tokyo

No platform screen doors. 

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Too happy to find snacks kiosks in the train stations! There are even some kiosks where you can eat ramen in the stations.  

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Jampacked. We didn’t know that there was an annual festival the day we arrived. Many wore their colourful kimonos. Beautiful outside, sweaty inside. Haha!

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It was a grand welcome indeed! Fireworks galore along the Sumida River. This is the annual Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival held every summer. 

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The Tokyo Skytree (the newest observation tower in Tokyo) from afar. We joined the massive crowd, clueless of what the brouhaha was all about.

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We crossed the bridge that led us to a better view of the fireworks. It was a true test of patience. 

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One of the many street food vendors during the festival. Authentic Takoyaki Balls with lotsa wasabi mayo, please?

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My Japanese crew. Heehee.

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Blocked roads were perfect for leisurely strolls and taking selfies

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Day 2: Senso-ji temple, Ueno Park and Tokyo Tower

Temples in every corner.

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Parking in Japan

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Ironic how hot the days were yet locals wore layers and layers of clothes despite the scorching weather!

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At the Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and one its most significant. 

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We did touristy things as well!

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I managed to pick an excellent fortune! It says marriage and new employment are well.

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At the Ueno Park. This park is too huge; it has museums, theatres and zoos! This park is gorgeous during spring because cherry trees abound the entire park.

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We enjoyed our time in The National Museum of Western Art. Aside from lazing in the beach, we love visiting museums! This museum boasts exquisite and fine Renaissance arts and pieces. Truly worth every penny. Here are some of their collections.

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On our way to Studio Ghibli Museum

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Kinokuniya: not a bookstore but a bakery

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Sadly, tickets were sold out. Will defo be in our next Japan itinerary

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I loooove how Japanese love their bikes! 

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Quaint cafes everywhere in Mitaka. Patisserie Cafe Du Bois.

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Didn’t I say that vending machines are everywhere? 

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Some random houses on our way to the Tokyo Tower- our last stop for the day

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Of grand temples and gigantic towers

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View from the second tallest structure in Japan as the sun sets

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the Mystery Ball

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I am not afraid of heights

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We ended our long day with a good bowl of genuine Japanese ramen in a very modest ramen place a few metres away from the Tokyo Tower. The restaurant is small, has very few tables but they serve the best ramen I’ve tasted during this trip not to mention how affordable their price per bowl is. 

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I was also fascinated with how you place your order- through a vending machine! 

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Here’s what I ordered. Oooohlala! My sure ticket to ramen heaven! Simut sarap hanggang sa huling patak! 🙂

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Day 3: Kyoto

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After a 2-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, we headed to our first stop: Kiyomizu-dera Temple. We were welcomed by the Kyoto Tower on our way to the temple.

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The preserved streets of Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka wowed me. My excitement was calmed down by the very zen and traditional Japanese houses and shops that line the streets. 

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At the Temple’s entrance.

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I recommend you to try this. A totally different experience. 

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Alberto tried his luck to lift this really heavy metal. Nobody could. 

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Hello, craft beers! Of course, we tried all three.

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Too cool. You can have an ice-cold beer anytime, anywhere!

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A mailbox in the middle of nowhere.

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Another temple near the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. 

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We went to the Maruyama-koen park too!

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Next stop: Shimbashi in Gion. Had to visit this place because it reminds us of our first movie together, Memoirs of a Geisha.

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The whole street seems unfrequented but these restaurants are all packed with rich Japanese businessmen dining inside. This has got to be my fave street! 

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This place reminded me so much of Clarke Quay in Singapore. Those bright lights illuminate the restaurants along the river bank.

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Takashimaya!

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Passed by the famous Pontocho Alley

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Day 4: Osaka

This ramen place is in one of the stations. They serve piping hot ramen for tired Japanese workers.

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A walkalator now, an escalator later.

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First stop in Osaka: Osaka Castle

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Artistic and historic walls of the train station nearest to the Osaka Castle 

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Second stop: Osaka Aquarium

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One thirsty dolphin

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One of the two whale sharks

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Alaskan King Crab. 

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Our last stop in Osaka: Dotonbori

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Day 5: Back in Kyoto. We went to Arashiyama Shrine, went for a Sake Tour and experienced the green tea ceremony all in one day! Wew! For dinner, we went back to Gion to have a yakiniku feast.

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For our last dinner in Kyoto, we had all-you-can-eat yakiniku at Chifaja somewhere in Gion. Here, excitement is written all over my face! 

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Before leaving Kyoto the following day, our gracious Airbnb host, Kiyoko, with the help of another guest from Singapore, prepared one of my fave Singaporean dishes, laksa. Yummz!

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Here is Kiyoko’s famous cat, Omiyata. 😉

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Day 6: Back to Kawasaki. We left Kyoto before lunch so we reached Kawasaki in the afternoon. We managed to visit just a temple nearby and have dinner in the mall near the bus terminal. Dead tired, we hit the sack early that day.  

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Day 7: Tokyo

First stop: For the love of seafood, our first stop had to be Tsukiji Fish Market. If you love crustaceans and the crisp smell of the sea, this place is a must see. As early as 5am, the tuna auction starts. We didn’t go around that time but what we saw was truly a learning experience.DSC03558 DSC03559 DSC03564 DSC03566 DSC03567 DSC03569 20150731_101438 20150731_101604 20150731_102150DSC03572 DSC03573 DSC03578 DSC03584

Of course, we had to have the husband’s fave, uni sushi. 20150731_104604 20150731_104938

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Second stop: Akihabara. A gamer’s and collector’s haven.

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This has got to be my fave shot I took of my husband. Wishing he’d return the favor when we reach Shibuya Crossing. Find out later if he did a good job or not. Haha! 

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Love ’em flowers! 

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Third stop: Shibuya. Hachiko, finally we’ve met!

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Ready, set, cross!

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Went shoe shopping.

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Out of all the stores we went to in Shibuya, Alice on Wednesday won my heart. Whoever thought of this store’s concept is a pure genius. Visit their website to know more about their cool items www.aliceonwednesday.jp  

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Our last stop: Yokohama, where we met up with good family friends. It was indeed a good catch up with the Gonzales-Mino family. 🙂 Yokohama, we will definitely visit you again when we go back. 

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The star of the night, little miss Z! 🙂 

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We bid Japan goodbye the next day for our flight to the Big Apple. Hubs and I both learned new things and got to know more about each other during this trip. It was fun and filled with laughter all throughout. Arigatou gozaimasu, Japan. ‘Til we meet again.

 

 

 

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