Browsing Tag



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 🙂


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:


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


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 🙂

Music Dance and Lyrics Tourism

Tokyo or Osaka: Where to Go for Summer Sonic

This is a legit question my friend Hazel and I agonized over once the decision to go to Japan’s annual music festival Summer Sonic was made. That was in 2015, and we picked Tokyo, and the following year headed on over to Osaka. Both were awesome trips, memorable weekends, stellar lineups ikidyounot, but we did come out of it with a solid winner. Read on and I hope our past summers will help you plan your future escapade. Continue Reading

Life and Lemons Writing Now

The Year I Didn’t Turn 30

I realize this is my second 2015 year-end post, and there will be some overlapping highlights. I guess the double-post of sorts is testament to how remarkable last year had been.

And I did turn 30, technically. But going into 2015 I thought that’s all this year will be: the one when I turned another decade, wherein I would embark in a more serious hunt for anti-aging implements that worked, and I would solemnly swear that I’d watch what I eat, and that I would figure out if I like my day job enough. But I think it’s that fear exactly, of aging, of a bucket list I can’t keep up with, of being more than ever required to be an adult, that pushed me to take the leap on things I’ve only dreamed about. This year, I looked at some of those dreams in the face, and went ahead and grabbed them by their slippery tendrils. Continue Reading


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


Things to Do on a Summer Trip to Tokyo: Chiba Castle, Ginza

Going to Tokyo was one of those dreams I never thought would come true. Even with the news of dirt cheap plane fares, guesthouse-type accommodations, and more lenient visa rules, the Tokyo-plan remained in the airspace of dreams. The trip just had to be perfect, you know? Sakura blossoms raining from the sky, sushi platters floating in the air towards me, and maybe Oguri Shun escorting me around the city. That kind of perfect. This year, however, I realized I cannot keep waiting for the perfect timing, or the perfect weather (or the perfect celebrity bishounen date. Sad face), or else I will never get there. I just needed the perfect travel buddy, and the perfect excuse. Continue Reading