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Tourism

Things to Do on a Fall Trip to Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto in 7 Days

Note: Suuuuper late post as in years late. This trip was in 2018 or 2017 (??) lol. But the words are here and they are still informative I think! At the very least, this is a good travel diary. Enjoy ūüôā

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Sounds tiring? You’re not wrong. Will I do it again? Not Amazing Race-style like this, no. I’d take my time and stick to one part of the country next time. But if you’re a first-timer who wants a sampler tour and enjoys the rush of seeing so many firsts at once and also wants to experience riding a shinkansen, then this is for you.

I’ve been to Tokyo and Osaka in the summer and Tokyo in spring, but this was my first time coming in the fall. I wanted the pretty autumn leaves, Japan-style, but October was too early for most of them apparently. The weather was supposed to be kinder in October, however, which was the point of choosing this month instead of my usual November. But alas, Typhoon 21 was right on our tail, so what welcomed us was chilly winds and nonstop rain and a full-blown typhoon. And I thought I’d look silly if I brought a waterproof down jacket. Sigh.

This didn’t stop us much, though, nope. We were travel-happy, sight-hungry, sushi-starved, adrenaline-pumped machines!

Still with me? Good. Itinerary below:

Tokyo

Day 1. Manila to Narita, Dump bags in Shimokitazawa AirBnB apartment, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku Takeshita-dori, Cat Street

Day 2. Shimokitazawa, Ghibli Museum! Shibuya

Day 3. Tsukiji (SUSHI CAPS LOCK), Ginza (shopping and tea), Shimokitazawa

Kansai

Day 4. Shinkansen to Osaka, check in at Osaka business hotel, Nara, Dotombori

Day 5. Kyoto. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Gion, Dotombori

Day 6. Check out hotel, Osaka Castle, check in ryokan (onsen!)

Day 7. Check out ryokan, Hep Five, Kansai to Manila

What to wear

The promised Japan temperature was in a mild below 20 C range, so we packed sweaters, jeans, long skirts and dresses, light jackets and thicker cardigans. I brought scarves and my trusty Uniqlo Heattech thermals just in case, which turned out to be great packing sense because early fall + surprise typhoon = strong winds + freezer chills. Temperature math, see? Sister and I ended up buying proper coats to stay warm (thank you Muji and Shimokita vintage stores), and also those very nice transparent umbrellas everyone was sporting. Available at your local 7-11 or Lawson for a few hundred yen (100-500Y).

Also, wear comfy shoes! The most comfortable you have, because unless you are game to spend yens and yens on taxis, you will be running around their amazingly huge train system and doing a lot of walking from the station to your actual destination. Sometimes you will walk instead of taking the train if it’s only a couple of stations’ ride because trains don’t go cheap and you like the adventure anyway. Also, stairs.

Pro tip: make sure you bring shoes that are easiest to take on and off. I know this but I still wore my high cut Onitsuka sneakers which hugged my feet like a mother so they were yes, comfy and warm but also hard to take off and even more challenging to put back on. You will take your shoes on and off multiple times, thus is now my ultimate reminder to my hard-headed self. At the threshold of your apartment and hotel room for one, in some restaurants and in all changing rooms. So yes, comfy, slip-on walking shoes.

Tl, dr.¬†For this fall in Japan trip, I layered as thus: Thermals + sweater + coat + scarf + jeans/long skirt (didn’t need thermal leggings) + socks + sneakers.

Do note I am a tropical girl and the cold does bother me. Adjust the settings as necessary ūüôā

Tourism

Things to Do on a Spring Trip to Tokyo: Harajuku, Shibuya, Sumida River, Sensoji

Day 2 of my first ever spring in Tokyo had us running around Harujuku and Shibuya in search for sneakers, because the day before’s rainy trek destroyed my friend’s¬†old pair. We found the Onitsuka Tiger flagship store and the Nike flagship store, both in Harajuku near Takeshita-dori. Then we got on the train to Shibuya and found¬†Hachiko. He was corded off–I think there was an event–so I only got to wave at him.

We participated in the Shibuya crossing, and spent the afternoon going up and down the streets, whiling hours away inside¬†Muji, Tokyu Hands and Tower Records. Tower Records was something I really had to see. It’s been so long since I saw so many CDs in the Philippines. And even then, record stores didn’t go as high as 6-7 floors. Japanese CDs are expensive though. I bought the¬†Arctic Monkeys¬†AM¬†album and tried to check for gold slivers inside. I¬†found none. But it’s okay, because Alex Turner <3

Said hi to Tower Records Hachiko instead. Shibuya, Japan.

Said hi to Tower Records Hachiko instead, because the original one at the Shibuya Station was corded off. Shibuya, Japan.

It's hard to explain why the sight of so many CDs excited me. But if you're a music lover from the Philippines too, you'll know what I mean. Tower Records, Shibuya, Japan.

It’s hard to explain why the sight of so many CDs excited me. But if you’re a music lover from the Philippines too, you’ll know what I mean. Tower Records, Shibuya, Japan.

"No indie, no life?" "Yuhuh." Tower Records, Shibuya.

“No indie, no life?”
“Yuhuh.” Tower Records, Shibuya.

The Arashi wall. It wasn't very hard to find. Hehe. Tower Records, Shibuya.

The Arashi wall. It wasn’t very hard to find. Hehe. Tower Records, Shibuya.

 

Before the sun set, we headed back to the hotel for some rest for our tita bones. Then we walked a good 20 minutes to the nearest hanami venue, Sumida Park. On the way, we passed Sensoji Temple, lured towards it by the bright red lights. It was deserted, as was Nakamise Street, so it was a good time to go around and take pictures of the shrine, the temple, and the famed bells of the Kaminari Gate.

Noodle vendo machine. You choose your meal, slip in your yen note, press a button and voila! Food comes out! Kidding, hehe. An order slip comes out then you go in and wait to be called. Asakusa, Japan.

Noodle vendo machine. You choose your meal, slip in your yen note, press a button and voila! Food comes out! Kidding, hehe. An order slip comes out then you go in and wait to be called. Asakusa, Japan.

My vendo meal. Noodles with a hot, spicy dipping sauce. Perfect for the cold. We asked for house tea but the kind shop man told us it's better to slurp the sauce and drink water instead. Asakusa, Tokyo.

My vendo meal. Noodles with a hot, spicy dipping sauce. Perfect for the cold. We asked for house tea but the kind shop man told us it’s better to slurp the sauce and drink water instead. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Sakura on the Sumida Bridge. Crossing it to get to Sumida Park. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Sakura on the Sumida Bridge. Crossing it to get to Sumida Park. Asakusa, Tokyo.

"Try to get a shot of the entire temple." "Okay but you'll look like an ant." "Cool." Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo.

“Try to get a shot of the entire temple.”
“Okay but you’ll look like an ant.”
“Cool.” Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo.

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Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. We were lured by its striking red color and the bright yellow lights on our way to Sumida park.

Nakamise Street, quiet and deserted for the night.

Nakamise Street, quiet and deserted for the night. Went back here in the morning of our last day and it was mad chaos.

Spring blossoms and lights at Sumida Park, lining the banks of the river. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Spring blossoms and lights at Sumida Park, lining the banks of the river. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Salarymen and women toasting the end of another work week along the Sumida River. Kanpai!

Salarymen and women toasting the end of another work week along the Sumida River. Kanpai!

When we finally reached Sumida, we found cherry blossoms lit up with garlands of fairy lights. Under the trees, in full view of the water buses floating along the river, the locals celebrated the end of the week. There were couples on dates eating from disposable wares, side by side the salarymen who were guzzling their beers with chips and yakitori. TGIF indeed. Kanpai!

All photos belong to me. 

Tourism

Things to Do on a Summer Trip to Tokyo: Tsukiji Market, Ebisu Garden Place, Shibuya, Akihabara, Ueno

This day could best be described as a day of leisurely cramming.

Day 3 and 4 was dedicated to music-festivaling, because really that was the entire point of this trip. This day therefore, day 5, was our last full day, since the next day was the one wherein we fly back home to Manila (sadness). So tired and bruised though we were from two consecutive days of dancing under the sun, Hazel and I were still hell-bent on getting the most out of our last day in Tokyo. Continue Reading

Tourism

Things to Do on a Summer Trip to Tokyo: Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya

Day 2 was kind of Tokyo-drifting day 1 proper, that being our first full day to roam the city. Our hosts said we arrived in Tokyo at a very opportune time, just after the heat wave had come and gone (32+ degrees! Boiling heat just days before). It was cloudy and a bit dry that day, and we left the cool comfort of our air-conditioned apartment for the great outdoors.

Continue Reading