The Thousand-Year Capital

The Thousand-Year Capital, That’s how Kyoto known as.

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Kyoto

Just a brief intro, The meaning of Kyoto name is not The Thousand-Year Capital ūüėõ Kyoto is know for The Thousand-Year Capital, probably due to it’s history as formerly Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years. (However that’s all my thought so please don’t use this as your references tho :D)

Kyoto or capital city (Yup, that’s what the real name of Kyoto) was formerly the Capital of Japan before it was moved to Tokyo. So, as the city with a lot of historic event Kyoto¬†is one of the main tourist destination every year in Japan. You will find Kyoto as an exciting city if you were a fond of culture or history like I do. Well, they still have a big shopping mall like most of the big city, but it’s not the main attraction of Kyoto. The city of Kyoto very much remind me as an old beautiful city of Japan (at least that’s how I get informed thru movie or books). By the time you take a stroll thru the Sanjo Bridge you will see¬†all the houses¬†was so¬†well preserved along the Kamo River. Even the Starbucks building itself! You can imagined it¬†by take a look at my picture above. I do really¬†enjoy my nice relaxing strolling around the centre of Kyoto. You can see a lot of beautiful architecture and the cityspace as well. If you were really¬†love photography then you need to get off the main road and stroll by alley to alley to¬†find¬†some real inspiration.

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Such a gem in the middle of the city

My ‘off from¬†main road’ thing¬†took me into finding this treasure above. Place such as Pontocho Alley or Gion Shirakawa hold such a lot of beautiful treasure,¬†which will take you back to the beautiful old Japanese era. All you need to do just your fully charged camera/smartphone, off the main road and get lost! That’s how you will uncovered the beauty of this beautiful city.

Apart from their beautiful heritage, Kyoto was also a well developed city in Japan. So you will also find a metropolitan life here (if you want to get back to your so-called civilization) such as a big shopping mall or department store¬†such as¬†Takashimaya. Getting around Kyoto is also very convenient and easy as they have metro/subway there, so there’s nothing to worry that you will get lost in the old Japanese era without ever going back to see civilization ūüėõ

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One of the alley where ‘Geisha’ usually spotted in¬†Gion,¬†Kyoto

You will probably (or not) know the movie called ‘Memoirs of Geisha’. Yup,¬†one of the¬†box¬†office hit and won numerous prestigious award that starring Chinese actress as Japanese woman….. Seems like those in Hollywood did not really care after all. The movie screened out in¬†US and Kyoto as well.¬†So you can see a lot of beautiful place in that movie¬†(which now became the main tourist attraction) here in Kyoto.¬†Well, you can say that Kyoto is the center of Geisha in Japan and Gion¬†is the centre of Geisha in Kyoto. So¬†if you want to catch a glimpse of¬†Geisha just head to Gion district. Nowdays we as¬†a foreigner could also experienced¬†how it feels to be served by Geisha. There’s a lot of travel company that offers you that tour experience. They also have Geisha school around Gion area as well.

Just to be noted It¬†was so common for Geisha to wander around Gion area. If you want to take a picture of Geisha please do it with some respect and manner! There’s a lot of reports¬†nowdays when there’s a Geisha passing by it suddenly became¬†a red carpet moment where¬†everyone take their mobile phone or camera. Please be respectful as this Geisha is a human being and as we all know those who choose to be a Geisha, They need to keep the image of Geisha which was formed during Japan’s feudal past. So this is now¬†the image they must keep in order to remain Geisha. I didn’t took any picture of Geisha (eventho I was lucky enough to meet them a couple of time during my wandering time in Gion and believe me they were really beautiful!) in order to respect their privacy and their choice to value their heritage.

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Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto

Well,¬†I really loved Kyoto during night time¬†it was a joy to photo hunting that beautiful city during night time, but¬†it was something for day time.¬†¬†Since Kyoto was the first capital city during Japan’s feudal past, it will offer you a lot of cultural or architecture as their main tourist attraction. They have a lot of temple or shrine in Kyoto.¬†Kiyomizu-dera is one of¬†many famous temple in¬†Kyoto.¬†Personally I really loved their architecture and everything (if it more less crowded then it will be perfect!). Also when you start to hike to go there (Kiyomizu-dera located in the high area so in order to get there you can either take an uphill walk or you can use taxi as well) and as usual I take a walk ūüėÄ When you approached the entrance of Kiyomizu-dera you will take a walk thru the shopping street which have a lot of souvenir and local delicacy as well! Just for your information Kyoto was really famous for their Uji Matcha (Green Tea), so make sure to try or at least bought it home since it was really expensive at your home country doesn’t it? and one more thing since it’s Japan so they product did not contained any preserved so it was so natural and be sure to check on their expire date since they did not contained any preserved material so it usually did not last up to a year.

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The city of Kyoto from afar

You can also see the city of Kyoto from Kiyomizu-dera, so eventho you said you were so fed up to go to another shrine/temple during your time in Japan make sure you did not forget to check on Kiyomizu-dera if you happened to be in Kyoto.

Speaking of ‘Memoirs of Geisha’¬†then¬†it’s time for Fushimi Inari Taisha (Fushimi Inari Shrine).¬†Yup you just right the most famous tourist attraction here in¬†Kyoto! The Shrine that was so famous for it’s beautiful torii path. For those who did not know about torri These are the yellow pillar that make Fushimi Inari so famous. Btw that was not pillar actually it’s a Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of Shinto¬†Shrine.

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The famous torii path at Fushimi Inari, Kyoto during night time  

Since¬†Fushimi Inari always super crowded with tourist, so I decided to go there during night time. It turns out to be beautiful (well some of you might say it’s creepy during night time since it was so dark and surrounded by trees) but for me it was so peaceful. There’s no sign of outcry tourist¬†just you and the silence. You will still also¬†find one or two local people¬†perform worship here in Fushimi Inari during night time. Didn’t mean to disrespect towards Chinese people, but the thing is most Japanese tourist attraction will always packed with Chinese tourists and since most of you probably knew and hate their habit, so in order to avoid those unpleasant experienced you might need to plan your trip carefully. Usually most of them will visit most of the main tourist attraction before lunch time so it was probably best to avoid during the peak hour of each attraction. Google maps will also help you to know their peak hour so like I said from my first post it always good to have your mobile data on whenever you travel ūüôā

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One of the torii gate at Fushimi Inari during night tim

I really love strolling around temple area in Kyoto during night time, it¬†was so peaceful yet beautiful. Beside it’s great for photo hunting as well (as long as you bring your own tripod :D). Gion area once again is a great choice for this. After you finished wandering around the bar area and the ‘Geisha’ district you can start your strolling to the south from Yasaka Shrine up to Kiyomizu-dera. (just for your information eventho they were saying there was a light show in Kiyomizu-dera you still need to double check the schedule of it) Kiyomizu-dera close at 6 pm. We were informed they have a light show so it will close late at night, but we found out it was close sooner. (at 6 pm, based on what they wrote at the board in front of the entrance)

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Yasaka pagoda during night time

Enough with my night strolling photos, let’s head up Arashiyama (well for this one I do suggest you to do it during day time :D) To reach Arashimaya there are many ways (of course!!) I preferred the more ‘local’ way which you will stop at Uzumasa-Tenjingawa Station and changed to Randen-Tenjingawa Station; which you will take a tram up to the Arashiyama Station. The tram will travel more slower and it will pass by some local neighborhood which is I found it interesting things to experienced.

Once you arrived at Arashiyama Station you will found it more like a tourist market which packed with souvenir stalls, local delicacy and many more. But, wait! That’s not the main point to go to Arashiyama (eventho they’re Green Tea¬†dessert¬†taste really good tho :P) Once you arrived there (well it’s actually your choice either to chill out and try out some local snacks/dessert or find a way to go straight to where the beauty lies) you can start to find your way to get to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Yup! That’s where those bamboo forest of Japan photo came from when you look thru social media or google.

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Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama

You might probably expect it to be like in the photos! So relaxing, peaceful well it’s not!! Once you get there you will see it was packed with tourist! From tour guide whose waving their so annoying flag to blogger who try to find their way to get the¬†best selfie ever ūüėõ It will be so crowded at the beginning but once you start to walk deeper and deeper it will be much more less crowded. Well, there will be still a lot of people but it will be much more less crowded. So just relax, and take your time to strolling around this relaxing bamboo forest of Arashiyama.

So, this is my highlighted journal of Kyoto. I will be continue my Journal to Osaka! Before we leave Kyoto, I will give you some highlighted about the famous shopping street, near our hotel. It’s Nakamise Street, it is easy to find as it was centrally located in Kyoto. It’s a big shopping street where you can try some local food or shop for souvenir or anything about Japan. So, remember to visit this if you want to find some local delicacy or buying some Kyoto authentic souvenir to bring back home. Also if you want to buy some green tea or matcha powder, which Kyoto famous for (they called it Uji Matcha) I will recommend you to buy it in the stall around the Arashiyama (you will find that stall on your way from Arashiyama Station to the Bamboo Forest it was on the right side of the road in front of some big gallery store). I was personally love matcha so much and that stall had a real authentic yet natural¬†uji matcha powder and considered the quality of the products it was actually reasonably cheap. You can find a lot of matcha powder at Nakamise Street but it’s just some recommendation coz I bought one packed of the matcha powder from that stall in Arashiyama and it does taste really nice and I should really buy more ūüė¶ Anyway thank you for keep following my Journal hope you still find it interesting, and you might (or might not) find this as useful for¬†your reference on¬† travel to Japan coz I didn’t share my complete itinerary or write about all the tourist attraction coz as I told you this is not that kind of blog. You can find those kind of blog by searching thru google or tripadvisor coz that’s what they made for! ūüėõ See you in OSAKA!

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As I told you I always get off the main road to find some different angle, here’s one from Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama, Kyoto

TŇć (east) kyŇć (capital) Part 2

So here’s the Part 2 or the Volume 2 (like Marvel Guardian of the Galaxy Vol 2 which currently in cinemas)

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Another shoot taken from ZŇćjŇć-ji temple ūüėõ

Alright I promised you this is gonna be the last time I mentioned about ZŇćjŇć-ji!

So, let’s forget our journey to one of the most exciting red light district in the world last night (for those who confused about what am I talking about, there’s a category just beside this post that said Japan, click on it and you will get that ūüėÄ cheers)

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Sayonara Shinjuku!

So let me ask you question, what do comes on your mind when you hear about Japan? Well for me it’s sushi! For you who did not have any idea what sushi is.. Well sorry guys can’t help ūüė¶¬† Google images will help you tho :)) As I promised you that I will not talk anything about food (coz it’s the material for my other Djournal) So, why¬†I did I mentioned about sushi? coz it was related to one of the place I want to share with you. Yup, well some of you probably guessing it right. It’s the Tsukiji Market. Actually there’s nothing you can see here. If you been to fisherman wharf of San Fransisco or Seattle’s Pike Place Market that’s Tsukiji Market. Well for you who haven’t got any chance to visit any of that location I mentioned which is in the US, it’s a local market but packed with tourist and it’s selling a lot of sea products. The difference about Tsukiji Fish Market compare to those two was it’s more ‘traditional’ (please be noted since we are in one of the most well developed country in the world that world traditional doesn’t refer to the real traditional)¬†or maybe we can say it’s more local but still packed with tourist since¬†early in the morning (coz¬†that’s when the fish auction begin)

(Please be noted that this picture below might seems inappropriate for some of you, it is not mean that I was supporting the ‘slaughter’ of the living creature, it’s just to show you how it does looks like)

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Tuna’s auction early in the morning

So, for you who did not wish to witness this then my advice will be go there later in the morning or during mid day. Why? Coz¬†I told you it’s like Fisherman Wharf of SF or Seattle’s Pike Place market! They sell a lot of Japanese food (yup including fresh sushi) and they also had many little food stall just outside the market. From the Whale ice cream (please don’t asked me¬†whether it’s a real whale coz that’s what they¬†write on the board) up to the grill unagi on the stick. For those who have no idea what am I talking about from ‘sushi’ up to the ‘unagi’, well I can explained you the letter (unagi¬†means eel) so if you were looking for a great sushi be sure to check this place out. Mostly¬†it will be more cheaper compare to the famous sushi restaurant in downtown and beside at least you know they were using the fresh fish! Oh, and one more advice you might see some of the restaurant had a long line, while some of it almost empty seated. My advice will be go for the almost empty seated! The one that had a long line it’s probably because they were advertised it online or have English menu so¬†it¬†had a long line.¬†As we all know since sushi’s main ingredients was¬†sea products, so the main importance things about sushi¬†(beside the rice) is the freshness of it’s main ingredients.¬†So all the sushi shop main ingredients here came from the same source which is the fish market itself. So my advice will be brace yourself and go for the local!!!

So after you finished your time exploring this awesome fish market, let’s head up to one of the most exciting part of Japan (which also feature in a lot of¬†Hollywood¬†movies¬†such as Fast and Furious)

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One of Shibuya crossing

Well, you probably guess it right again! It’s Shibuya. If you were still looking for shopping that this is the place to be! Even if you weren’t either!!! Coz nowdays people come to Shibuya just to witness the crossings of hundreds of people at the same time. So you will find a lot of tourist in the side of the street waiting when the crossing sign turned up green with their camera on, as well as those who wanted to take some awesome selfie. Just please do keep in mind to your own safety since this was a highway intersection.

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Another crossing in front the famous 109

Shibuya also¬†had 3 big intersections, so you can go to either of it. Nevertheless the biggest one was the one nearby the¬†HachikŇć Statue. For those who wondering about HachikŇć, it was a faithful dog whose watching his deceased owner for more than 9 years!¬†The story became worldwide known¬†up to the Hollywood which starred by Richard Gere! As I told you earlier from my Djournal I will skip all the history lesson (eventho I was really tempted to give you some history lesson LOL) So if you want to know more about Hachi (that’s how Gere called him in the movie) There’s google for you.

FYI I didn’t took any picture of HachikŇć due to a lot of tourist pose for selfie there, so my advice will be either go there early in the morning or late past midnight. Coz Shibuya it’s like New York Times Square! It never sleep at all. But to satisfy your curiosity about that statue here’s the pict of it from google (I didn’t really know when they took this but it does really nice, compare to the one I witnessed which is a super packed crowd that circling around this statue with their mobile phone, go pro, slr, or¬†everything they had)

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Hachi statue stand proudly¬†at the HachikŇć Square, Shibuya St

Yup! You¬†read it right they even named it HachikŇć Square!

Alright, after finished your satisfy to oversaw one of the¬†crowded crossing movement in the world and fulfill your appetite for shopping it’s also kinda fun to check out the¬†Shibuya nightlife. Coz Shibuya is¬†one of the main entertainment district here in Tokyo! So it does packed with club as well.¬†Although it’s not as big as kabukicho (in term of the nightlife entertainment)¬†but for me it does¬†still offer you a lot of fun as well and it’s¬†less crowded as well. Coz most of the tourist concentration were the shopping mall, the shibuya crossing and¬†HachikŇć. It did not have a lot of young man that offering you¬†Japanese girl (like the one I wrote about at the first part of this Djournal). It does actually¬†had¬†a lot of¬†gorgeous¬†yet cute¬†young girl who try to attract visitor’s attention¬†to the club they work for!¬†So, it will be a fun strolling night tho! ūüėÄ

PS: Not to be sexism, but the thing is here you will¬†feel¬†more comfortable¬†coz they did not keep offering you girl, girl and girl like those young man did at Kabukicho. They just standing there and look for your attention, that’s it!

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One of the entertainment corner of Shibuya

That’s how you enjoy Shibuya, it’s one of the biggest entertainment area in Tokyo just remember to¬†bring your money :))

So, let’s forget about entertainment for a while and let’s head up to (also) one of my favorite area which is: strolling around Asakusa!

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You can see the in ‘between’ by strolling around Asakusa area

Well, I always love a place where I can saw the ‘in between’. What does that even mean man?! That’s mean I love to see a¬†modernization x¬†old tradition. Like this picture I took above. So strolling around Asakusa really satisfy my appetite for¬†photo hunting. If you been to The Bund, Shanghai then¬†that’s how you picture Asakusa. There’s two area which separated by a big river,¬†the other side you can oversee the¬†majestic¬†Tokyo Skytree (please be advice that this is not Tokyo Tower)¬†while the¬†opposite side¬†you can enjoy old Japan either by ride a rickshaw, so you can really experienced the local or strolling around by foot.¬†Since I don’t have any partner to accompany me, I will always prefer by foot coz that’s how I experienced local things. The main attraction of Asakusa will always be SensŇć-ji temple. Especially their super huge lantern!

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The huge lantern at one of it’s complex gate

The picture above is not the gate of SensŇć-ji temple. It’s just the gate to¬†it’s super huge complex! Or Nakamise street. Ohhh, Nakamise street if I could recall my memory there, I really love that street!¬†It’s always packed with tourist but¬†it does offer you many things about Japan! From the local¬†delicacy up to the many kind of souvenirs! Trust me by many kind I mean it’s really-really so many things to choose. My advice will be go deeper to buy your souvenir. I found out the store that close to the gate¬†had pricier price compare to the¬†store that located deeper. Eventho you see something so cute, only 1 left and you think you might not gonna find it, just stay calm and keep going on!¬†(coz that’s what I do and I¬†get what I want with more cheaper price as I keep browse thru store and store.)¬†But there’s¬†one store nearby the gate that sell a lot of cute¬†yet¬†unique keychain so without¬† any hesitation¬†I just grab a couple of it and it turns out to be a good call coz I didn’t go thru the same route on my way back and more importantly I can’t found any other store that sell so many kind of unique keychain like that store ūüėÄ

How about the local delicacy? Well you will find a lot of local delicacy, but most of it were snacks or sweet delicacy and¬†you will find one of the best¬†Taiyaki ever!¬†Trust me, if it’s not one of the best then i’m pretty sure it will still at least be nominated to be one¬†of the best ūüėõ¬†What is Taiyaki and how come I¬†was so sure it was¬†one of the best Taiyaki ever?!¬†To answer your question, well it will be later in a different Djournal ūüėõ

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My selfie ūüėõ in front of the gate of SensŇć-ji temple with IPhone 7Plus portrait mode, well it does gave you some great in depth effect for your selfie

First of all a big pardon for my selfie! I try to find the proper image to picture you the gate of SensŇć-ji temple, too bad can’t find it ūüė¶ So if you think the lantern at the gate of Nakamise street is big enough wait until you see the the lantern of SensŇć-ji temple gate which is in the picture above. You can take a selfie under it, in front of it or whenever you want just keep in mind during windy time it does could knock you down. Last but least it’s not the last huge lantern you will see

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Another ‘not so huge’ lantern in front of the entrance to the temple itself

So, there’s another ‘not so huge’ lantern located just in front of the entrance to the temple itself. This ancient temple was actually really great but it’s always packed with people, since the nakamise street itself was one of the main tourist attraction in Asakusa area. So no matter what time you came here it will always packed with people, unless probably early in the morning or at least after most of the shops were closed at Nakamise street.

So, after you finished strolling around the old town of Asakusa it’s time for you to explore the modernization at the other side.

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The picture of the opposite of the river which is clearly show you the different side of Asakusa

Please do not pay attention to that random guy in the picture, I know it’s kinda disturbing ūüė¶

Well that was what lies in the opposite side of the old asakusa with¬†only¬†separated by Sumida River. I know¬†it was still a far cry from the The Bund Shanghai but at least you got the picture right? :))¬†If you want to take Tokyo Cruise, then you should came here coz this is their start point. So, how to go across that river or to taste what you called as modernization?? Well, the easiest way to be just go to Asakusa Station then get the Tobu Skytree Line. although it’s just a regular metro train, but¬†the Skytree Line will offer you some panoramic view of the river so it was also worth a ride ūüôā and it’s only cost you ¬•150JPY per person (as this is just a regular metro train). The Skytree Line will take you right to the Tokyo Skytree station.

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Tokyo Skytree

Finally here we are at the bottom of the majestic Tokyo Skytree! So, after you get off the train, just head exit to the Tokyo Sky Tree. You will enter a big shopping mall (TOKYO Solamachi) which kinda nice! It has a lot of store, restaurant and they also have a lot of Toy Store here from Hello Kitty up to the Disney. The ticket counter will be at the 4th floor. They have two choices here, fast pass or the regular one. The regular one will cost you about ¬•2,000JPY it will take you up to the Tembo Deck (floor 350); while an extra¬†¬•1,030JPY will take you up to the Tembo Galleria (floor 450). Meanwhile the fastpass gonna give you the advantage to skip the line for almost double the price which gonna cost you ¬•3,000JPY and it will take you up to the floor 350; while you can also get a combo (floor 350+450) for slightly cheaper price at ¬•4,000JPY. While you were there, there’s¬†also an alternative attraction located at the 4th floor as well, Sumida Aquarium. For me I will actually prefer to go to the Sumida Aquarium unless the weather was really nice. The Sumida Aquarium didn’t really have any line and you can see their cute penguin there, while if you go up to the Tokyo Skytree and the weather is not that good then it’s just a waste of money (however, this is only¬†my opinion coz I love to take a picture and for me weather is my best friend) We skip the chance to go up to the Tokyo Skytree because the weather was not really good that day.

After a day well spent at the Asakusa area you will probably asking where to go next or for having dinner? Well there’s Ameyoko Market which located just across the Ueno Station and it’s just 3 stops away from Asakusa Station. You might need to know that most of the shopping street or food street in Japan usually close early compare to most of the country. most of the store at Nakamise Street will close at 5pm (but there will be a lot of local restaurant around that area that will open until 10pm). Ameyoko Market will still open until 8pm, so for me it was a great idea to explore the new area as well.

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Wasabi Pistachio

You can find a lot of Japanese local snack here with a bargaining price! The price were even cheaper compare to Don Quijote. Don Quijote is¬†one of the largest chain store in Japan. It had everything about Japan! So if you were love wasabi I will suggest you to try this one! Here in Ameyoko Market I found the price was cheaper, but my advice will be the same go deeper in the market trust me on this one as well ūüôā

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Wasabi tempura seaweed

Another my favorite Japanese local snack! Yup it’s Wasabi tempura seaweed and you will find it here more cheaper as well. Please be noted that this had the same feeling as when you eat wasabi, coz this is¬†a real wasabi they used (for both of the pistachio and the seaweed) so if you were not a fan of wasabi then this is not the snack for you.

(Well you can actually do some prank¬†to your friend who really hate wasabi tho ūüėÄ )

We almost hit the last of my TŇć (east) kyŇć (capital) Djournal, well maybe some of you still feel like you haven’t got much info about Tokyo coz I did not specifically explained you the itinerary like you will get from other travel blog, coz that was not my point since the very first beginning. This is about my travel Djournal which I will more than¬†happy to share¬†to all of you and it may not consist of my entire itinerary. I just want to show you the highlighted of every trip I done so it will not gonna bored you and to give you some reference.

Okay, now thank you for your understanding and last but not least let’s head up to Meguro River.

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Meguro River during Sakura season

If you want to have one of the best spot to see Sakura in Tokyo¬†(well first of all please do keep in mind that Sakura season’s in Tokyo was really short due to the moist of the city) then Meguro River is your place to be. I didn’t really know if most of the tourist knew about this, coz when I get there it’s almost as empty as the picture showed you. Fyi I¬†arrived here at around 3pm. So it’s really a peaceful yet relaxed afternoon for us. We really enjoy our time there especially it’s spring time so the weather was really nice. Make sure you check on the date to know if the sakura was already in full blossom. Too bad we missed the full blossom by 5 days ūüė¶

So I think we really hit the end of my TŇć (east) kyŇć (capital) Djournal here. There will be no more sequal about Tokyo as I will work on my Kyoto Djournal. Well some of you might wonder I even haven’t write¬†any other part of Tokyo¬†for example the famous ¬†Roppongi area, well as I told you that this Djournal is only the highlighted of my trip in Tokyo. I didn’t really share the whole itinerary here coz I didn’t want to be the same as the other travel blog. As Roppongi you can see it almost the same as Ginza. While I didn’t really want to bored you¬†with¬†a same different writing about places. So¬†if I can’t satisfy you¬†enough I was really sorry about that, thank you for reading this blog and¬†see you in Kyoto! :))

go pro tokyo

Sayonara Tokyo!

TŇć (east) kyŇć (capital)

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SensŇć-ji temple, Tokyo

Here I am in the Eastern Capital aka TŇćkyŇć! The most populous city in the world! The most Michelin stars of any city in the world (that’s what the Michelin Guide said), The most safest city on the planet, one of the most expensive city, The most city that produced the most cutest character like pokemon, gudetama, hello kitty,¬†and all of their friends or even their¬†enemy looks cute….¬†What else?! From the peaceful yet relaxing Meiji Shrine strolling to the Cabaret full of lights with Robot that for some it is viewed as the sexism towards woman. That’s TOKYO!

Well, speaking of this city you will never able to make one phrase for this city. Just look how many ‘the most’ they got?! LOL That’s how I ended up to put what¬†Tokyo name¬†means instead, looks so¬†creative huh? But, actually it’s because I can’t find words to described this amazing city at all!!! :p

So.. What do you think should I write on this new djournal? Should I described you what to do in Tokyo? 100 place to visit in Tokyo? 10 things to do in Tokyo? How to get the cute Japanese girl?¬†Where to buy their famous signature¬†KitKat? Well if you were looking for any of this, then sorry to disappoint you my friends! This is not that kind of blog ūüė• You can find there just by type it in Google! or even Trip Advisor! Come on?! This is abut Mi Djournal aka My Journal from place where I visited that I would like to share to all of you out there who have the same passions as mine, so enjoy it (while you can) ūüėÄ

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ZŇćjŇć-ji temple, Tokyo

So, let’s get started with this new djournal shall we? ūüôā

I stayed the most of my days here in Tokyo during my visit to Japan. We stayed here for a total of 5 nights. The first 2 nights at the so-called M2 Apartment (Airbnb)¬†just 10 mins walk from Tokyo Station cause we will leaving for Kyoto on the third day. You guys might wanna noticed this if you plan to travel across cities in Japan, well mostly your international flight will be arrived in Tokyo. So, if you planned to stay for your very first few days in Tokyo do keep in mind that taxi or Uber is really expensive so choose the right accommodation will totally ease your mind. The reason I choose this apartment was simple it’s only 10 mins walk to Tokyo Station, which I could take Shinkansen from there to Kyoto. So my itinerary was Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-back to Tokyo. The last remaining days of my stay in Tokyo was e hotel Higashi Shinjuku. I would also recommend that hotel for you if you want to stay around Shinjuku area. There’s a nearby metro station (which is just 1 min walk from your hotel); 10 mins walk to Kabukicho so you can feel the excitement of the Kabukicho without even worry that you will still gonna hear that loud noice in the middle of the night when you going back to your hotel. Last but not least the size of the room we got was big enough for the three of us with our 3 25″ luggage, so I would totally recommend you this nice cozy hotel.

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One of that cute character¬†‘Gudetama’

So, let’s start with Tokyo station area. It’s like one of the center area of Tokyo. Well it got the biggest station at least (if I was wrong about one of the center area :p) So you will find it¬†really modern, cleaned, crowded. The Tokyo¬†Station itself¬†was really huge, you could even lost your way there. I’m really serious about¬†this, well i’m not lost of course cause my gps¬†was on all the time¬†ūüėĬ†They have shopping mall there, hotel as well and there were a lot of office building surrounded that area. So it was actually kinda nice to walk around there since it was nice and cozy (at least for April).¬†Well, based on our yelp app there’s a famous tonkatsu restaurant there and it was nearby our apartment as well, but I¬†will not gonna talked about food here. I will write about food on my other Djournal.

After that quick intro about Tokyo Station area, let’s talk about my next destination which is ZŇćjŇć-ji¬†Temple. I think it’s probably one of my favorite¬†temple in Tokyo. I just loved their architecture and how the temple photo-angled! Well you can get a really nice postcard picture here! You can see it from my picture above (well not the ‘Gudetama’ one for sure! LOL) The temple had¬†a lot of spot to take a shoot so I was really love wandering around this area! And also if you were looking to just get away for a while, you should go inside the temple! It was suddenly like you were out of this bustling city! It was so quiet and so peaceful. Well I do recommend you to avoid the peak hour coz it will be packed with Chinese tourist. Luckily I did not encounter with them coz I went there after the peak hour.

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Another spot where you can take the photo of the magnificent Tokyo Tower

If you go to the other side of the temple you will find a little park there with a lot of stone statue¬†known as¬†JizŇć or the guardian of the unborn children. These¬†JizŇć statue was so unique,¬†These statue can be seen wearing¬†little¬†children’s clothing, or with toys. It was said that these was put by the grieving parents¬†as a token to help their lost ones and hoping that JizŇć will specially¬†protect them.

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Picture of JizŇć at the ZŇćjŇć-ji¬†Temple

In Japanese mythology it is said that the souls of children who die before their parents are unable to cross the mythical Sanzu River on the afterlife because they have not had the chance to accumulate enough good deeds and because they have made their parents suffer. However let’s move on and don’t get carried away by this. I know it was really painful when you lost your love ones ūüė¶

Here’s to cheer the mood up a little bit ūüôā

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Another photo of ZŇćjŇć-ji¬†Temple

Told ya I was love this place so much, that’s why I got a lot of media content about ZŇćjŇć-ji¬†Temple.

Now let’s head up to the upper class area that light up during night time, Ginza!

So if you were looking for special signature KitKat, they have one KitKat chocolatory in Ginza. I preferred this store over the other KitKat chocolatory, simply because it’s near my apartment in Tokyo Station area LOL!¬† Just kidding!! (eventho it’s a good reason tho) This¬†KitKat chocolatory had their own store in Ginza.¬†Usually it was inside the Takashimaya department store or any other department store. But from my point of¬†observation it’s actually just the same so whenever you wanted to go it will be just fine.

Like I said before, if you wanted to¬†shop for your ‘Harajuku’ style you should browse around¬†Harajuku, Shinjuku area. But, if you were looking for an upscale shop than¬†Ginza is your place to be! It had all the branded stuff store just down the street of Ginza. All you need to do just walking from the other end up to the other end to window shop all the store :p there. It was raining and cold night when we went there, so it’s a little bit uncomfortable especially for both of my parents. Yup I do travel with both of my parents.

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One of the famous spot in Ginza

So, that was the awesomeness of Ginza! If you were like ridiculously rich then you should go there and just buy anything you want to. I’m pretty sure it will satisfy your appetite :p Beside for those who really love photography you should check on Ginza! Especially after they were closed coz that means less people and you can see all the neon lights there, just don’t forget your tripod and do check the weather as well ūüėÄ

From one of the most prestigious area in Tokyo let’s head up for one of the hippiest area Shinjuku! This was also the touristy area which always packed with people, people, more people and more more people. From the teenage area, the famous yet touristy Takeshita street to the night life of the red light district of Tokyo, Kabukicho! It will be always packed with people. Even the Meiji Shrine just across the Takeshita Street will always be packed with people.

Like the slogan of Standard Chartered Bank about ‘seeing is believing’ here’s my proof

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All I can see was people, more people, more and more people

Let’s not overreact and you suddenly decided it’s time to canceled all your plan to Tokyo. It does packed with people but actually it’s just fine! I also found out if you were looking for souvenir like magnets, here’s in Takeshita Street you will find a lot of it and it was considered cheaper compare to any other places we go in Tokyo. You can also find that famous crepe you always crave for! Well I can’t show you the picture here since I promised to write about food at the other Djournal ūüėÄ So if you look for¬†shopping here in Tokyo and you were under strict budget then remember this: open your maps (google maps/apple maps or any kind of maps!!) type Harajuku Station, get to the nearest subway, go there and just get off the train and exit the station and it was there! You don’t need to asked which exit, just get off the train take the escalator, elevator or run thru the stairs up and you will know it. It’s not only Japanese brand or even Chinese garment here. You can also find new era official store here¬†(which is very limited in Asia) Yup! New Era official store only had 2 store across Asia:¬†the first one in Korea (please do notice we have 2 Koreas, make sure you go to the¬†South one to find this store :p) which is located in Seoul and here in Japan, Tokyo.

Okay, so let’s say you done your day here in Harajuku area and you wonder where should you go for the eve. Then let’s go to the Kabukicho! It was nearby you can either walk for like 35 mins or go back to train station and take the JR Yamanote line to either Yoyogi Station or Shinjuku Station. Well the nearest one should be Shinjuku Station, it’s only 2 stops from Harajuku Station.

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Kabukicho

So whenever you saw a lot of neon lights then you are at the right place! When you keep strolling around you will knew that this was the red light district. You can see from this photos a lot of Japanese cut girl banner, DVD’s, and many more. And for you who¬†was a ¬†little bit concerned about your safety since this was the red light district which is Yakuza area just calm down. You will be totally fine! Eventho you stuck all your ¬•10.000 JPY all over your clothes you will still be safe wandering around this area, even it’s 1 am in the morning! The Yakuza (The most famous and feared Japanese Mafia) was there but you won’t see them and more importantly they don’t have any business with you. (Unless you owe them money………please don’t go here¬†for your safety concern¬†LOL) There will be a lot of young man offering you a girl or whatsoever, that’s not Yakuza! So, don’t be scared. Just politely say No to them. They can be a little be persistent especially when they saw you as a single man or a group of man, but do not worry at all, you are totally safe! I experienced this as well but nothing harm came to me, just politely say No and everything will be fine. Beside Yakuza didn’t want any trouble in their area, so these bunches of young man will not gonna look for trouble or whatsoever. There’s also a lot of police presents lately¬†there. There’s also¬†the famous SEGA building there you should check it out as well.

How about the famous Robot Cabaret? You are in the right place! I didn’t took any picture of the Robot Cabaret, since both of my parents did not wish to go there and please be noticed if you were a little bit concerned about sexism, then this is probably not the cabaret for you. Cause I read a couple of blog that put their concerned about the show and mentioned the sexism thing. Well, for me it’s depend on you, I will totally understand for some woman to think about it. But, to be honest the woman who took part of this show did not feel that they were being harass or whatsoever.

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Whenever you go you will see a lot of neon lights and a lot of young man standing in front of store and offering you to ease all your tiredness :p

But for you who really wanna try your ‘adventure of a lifetime’ be sure to know that you really get a Japanese girl. According to my source most of those woman were infact illegal worker from China. Since you were foreigner and you did not speak any Japanese, so it was highly likely you were getting scammed. If you have Japanese friend than it will be really helpful to taste the night life of Tokyo.

I didn’t know if you were concerned about the other side of the colorful Kabukicho. There’s also what it called Golden Gai. Golden Gai is like bar alley around Kabukicho, so it feels like you travel in time when you go to Golden Gai and the Colorful Kabukicho. While Golden Gai offers you more peaceful feeling without any hustle, you can also spend your quality time here with your loved ones or just enjoy it by yourself. There’s plenty of bars there you can choose and they also do understand English or have English menu so you don’t need to worry at all.

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Golden Gai area

PS: Please do not be worry of your safety, eventho it was more darker compare to Kabukicho you will still be totally fine. It was even safer than the downtown of Toronto in the middle of the night!! ūüėÄ

So I will end up this Djournal (for now) and decided to make 2 part of it! So, you won’t get tired with me ūüėÄ Thanks for reading my journal and¬†see you on my TŇć (east) kyŇć (capital) Djournal part 2!

To be continued……

Land of the Rising Sun

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Peaceful fushimi inari during night time

From the colorful robot cabaret in the colorful red light district of kabukicho in Tokyo¬†to the peaceful Fushimi Inari in Kyoto (at least at night or early in the morning :p) Japan has so much to offer. Their advanced technology which make them a so well developed country, their interesting culture and their beautiful well preserved nature which attract millions of tourist from all over the world. Let’s follow my new¬†story, in my¬†djournal ¬†called the Land of the Rising Sun.

To be honest this is my first ever blog…. and to be honest this is my first time visiting Japan :p

So here I am at the Land of the Rising Sun aka Japan. I will skip all the history lesson, although I was really tempted to lecturer all of you who read this blog.. So, my trip to Japan took time from April 16-27 2017¬†with Singapore bound flight. Let’s head up for my djournal!

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Some random alley I found during my strolling around asakusa, Tokyo

So as I arrived in Tokyo thru Narita Airport, I was so excited to begin my journey here in the capital city of Japan yet The most crowded city in the World! By the most crowded city in the World I really mean it. You will also find it from google by the Most Populous Cities of the World. It’s seriously packed with people! The thing about Japan, eventho they were became international city from such a long time they were lacked with English capability. I was a little bit worried because since this is my first time to be in Japan and from my experience,¬†you will find it¬†difficult to live there especially in some country in Asia that unfamiliar with English, for example : China. However due to my excitement to explore this beautiful Land of the Rising Sun I soon forgot about all of my worries.

So as soon as I arrived in Tokyo, we jet our way to the apartment where we will staying for 2 nights before we leaving for Kyoto. As you all probably know Japan had the advanced public transport system. For example from Narita airport to the heart of Tokyo (Tokyo Station) you can take 4 kind of transport, from Taxi, Uber, Train or Bus. It seems like every major cities in the world had the same public transport system, but (there’s a but here) you really need to experience Japan advanced public transport system. For example even for the Train leaving for Narita to the central of Tokyo, you will find a lot of choice from the express train to the¬†regular one, and for your information even the express one still have choices as well. Here’s¬†some information about all kind of transport in Tokyo or how to get to Tokyo from Narita Airport:

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Train                                                                                                 

This is probably the cheapest yet inconvenience way to get to Tokyo from Narita Airport. Well, I didn’t even think about using this one since there’s three of us with three¬†25″ luggage size¬†and you will travel from Narita to Tokyo which is approximately 69 km on a regular subway train and one of the most busiest city in the world! So if you traveling with family I would not really recommend this especially during their rush hour. (I didn’t put the picture of the regular train cause it’s just a regular metro train)

Express Train

This is probably the fastest yet convenient as well to get to Tokyo. There’s JR Narita Express and the N’EX TOKYO (which is kinda cool for me¬†coz it looks like the train from the future lol) it will cost you around ¬•3.220 JPY and¬†you can also ask¬†any info about the round trip¬†ticket from Narita to Tokyo City and back. They have the return ticket for around ¬•4.000 JPY with the validity period of 14 days¬†or the Sky Access Express and ¬†Skyliner. Sky Access Express¬†offer you better access to central Tokyo then Skyliner. While Skyliner offers you the speediest travel time, and also if you¬†raring¬†to go straight to one of the hippiest spot in Japan¬†then take the Skyliner,¬†get off at Nippori Station then take¬†the JR Yamanote line Platform 11 to Shinjuku Station¬†which gonna cost you around ¬•2.670 JPY (it will¬†take you to the centre of fashion district where ‘Harajuku Style’ was born aka Shinjuku Area).

Bus

If you not really in a rush I would strongly recommend you to use the Bus especially if you have luggage like I do. There’s Airport Limousine which is gonna cost you around ¬•3.000 JPY and KEISEI Airport Shuttle which is gonna cost you around ¬•1.000 JPY. I took the cheapest one (KEISEI) since I thought it will be just bus and the trip just for an hour (well it’s depend on the¬†traffic tho). PS: you don’t even need to worry about your luggage, all you need to do just drag your luggage to the designated bus station and they will take care all of your luggage, even for the cheapest one!

Taxi or Uber

Well, I think I really need to skip this one since this is the easiest way to get to. All you need to do just look for the taxi sign or open your mobile phone and find the app called Uber ūüėÄ One thing for sure¬†Japanese Taxi is really comfortable, tidy and modern as well (even the old one, by the old one I mean the 90’s¬†Toyota Crown)¬†Their driver dress up really nice as well.¬†I do need to remind you that taxi or uber service is really expensive here in Japan. For example from Narita Airport to the Tokyo Station it will cost you about 27.000 JPY for Uber, while it will also cost you over 20.000 JPY for taxi as well.¬†Please note Uber service only available in Tokyo (as far as i’m concerned) They don’t have any Uber service whatsoever in Kyoto and Osaka. I didn’t really know about any other cities in Japan.

So after an hour bus ride finally we arrived at Tokyo Station. So all we need to do just walk for around 10 minutes to arrived at our apartment from Tokyo Station. Just after we took off from¬†the bus and about to begin our walking trip to our apartment, we can see how advanced Japan’s technology has got. Just as we passed¬†an electronic store down the street¬†we encounter with their robot store assistant. We didn’t really had much time to interact with the robot (since it’s a Japanese speaking robot) and we just can’t wait to arrived to our apartment to put our luggage off! Finally after some sakura-glance walk from Tokyo Station, we arrived in our tiny apartment. Well you do need to consider this when you choose your accommodation in Tokyo (Either hotel or apartment thru site like airbnb). But, actually I feel Tokyo had much more better sized in accommodation if you compare to Hong Kong.

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If you planned to explore Japan all by yourself it is strongly recommend to purchase a JR PASS. You can purchased it by the time you arrived at the airport or any major station in every city or you can also purchased it thru any trusted travel agent in your country. You can also purchased it online thru the JR official website or any other website that offer JR PASS. I do also recommend you to buy PASMO CARD or SUICA CARD, either of this two were fine anyway. Cause just so you know that JR PASS did not covered all the train line in Japan. But JR PASS do cover the bullet train or Shinkansen (but not all the Shinkansen). They usually cover for the slower Shinkansen such as HIKARI. While PASMO or SUICA is your e-money you can just tap it to the IC Gate in every station to board the subway or metro, you can also purchased the Shinkansen ticket or even pay your grocery at the supermarket or mini market like 7-Eleven, Lawson, etc. One more thing you need to noticed that JR PASS has the validity period, so make sure to plan your trip carefully before you activate your JR PASS. My tips will be if you plan to spend your very first few day in Tokyo you might want to consider other option than activate your JR PASS. Just so you know the Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto itself gonna cost you around 13.910 JPY one way. I know it is different kind of Shinkansen (The JR PASS covered was hikari and slower one while the other was much more faster than hikari) but still you can save a lot using the JR PASS especially if you travel across any other city in Japan.

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One of the busiest crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo

 

PEOPLE

It was so much easy to wander around Japan (I mean Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka). The matter about the language difference not bothering me anymore. The Japanese people, evetho they¬†can’t speak¬†English they were infact so familiar with English! I know it’s kinda confusing LOL. Whenever you go or you get lost you can ask someone for helped (but make sure you have the map or picture or the Japanese word of your destination) They will helped you out eventho they did not understand any single of your words! From school kids to the 70-80 yo granny in the subway (well according to¬†my base knowledge which is can be true or not ūüėÄ due to their healthy lifestyle the Japanese people did not ageing fast compare to most well developed country and¬†Japanese people in Japan ¬†have a longer lifespan compare to any other country in the world). So I assumed those granny in the subway that chat with me probably around 70-80. ūüėÄ I was also really amazed by their culture. It was so common in Japan you will se people nod their head towards each other or even towards you. Well, a simple nod back (eventho it’s not necessary) is a¬†warm gesture to show them some respect as well. Be aware that people in Japan also stand at one side at the elevator so if you want to chill at the elevator be sure to noticed where they were standing at. Coz different city has different rule, for example Tokyo you will noticed they all standing at the left side, while in Kyoto and Osaka you will noticed they all standing at the right side of the elevator. It’s not a rule nor they will push you like people’s in Hong Kong or China but we need to at least understand that people in Japan always in a rush due to their culture and¬†in a city like Tokyo (as the most populated city in the world)¬†a simple block on the elevator will caused a long line behind.

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Picture of Japan Railway Train, Kyoto

WELL DEVELOPED

Japan has the world busiest railway network. It’s estimated about 18.5 million people use the train everyday¬†in Japan. There are 26.000 daily train services in Japan #funfact¬†(according to Wikipedia) :p¬†but I do noticed this by the time I arrived in Japan. You can see their metro map is like a needle all over the board! So I do really suggest you to download some japan metro app in your phone or actually google maps could assist you as well along with the timeline (thanks¬†for being so well developed Japan!!!!) So, all you need to have just a smartphone and you will conquer Japan!!! ūüėĬ†like a phrase a tiger¬†without it’s fangs it’s useless, the same with having just a smartphone without any connection is the same! So¬†you will find Japan is really easy to travel to as long as you keep your mobile data on! Well you can either buy a local sim card or a wifi portable which could connect up to 4-5 devices at the same time. I rented a portable wifi from Indonesia, and as we can expected I found 4G everywhere I go and eventho we connect it to our 4 devices at the same time it still offer a 4G internet speed. You can go anywhere you want in Japan just using your google maps or apple maps or any maps you have!

Well, this is my general djournal about the Land of the Rising Sun. This is just the beginning and we are not started yet! I will continue my next djournal on Tokyo!