JAPAN 2 0 1 7
TOKYO – KYOTO – OSAKA | 10 DAYS Trip
Duration: 22nd September – 1st October 2017 (10 days)
Weather : Ending Summer (One jacket is enough at night while on the day just wear casual dress similar to Malaysia)
Siblings Trip (Me, my sister and my brother)
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KUL – HAN (HANEDA AIRPORT)
1400 – 1130 Check in Airbnb Place in Sumida, Tokyo.
Roppongi Hills Mori Tower
Tokyo city is viewable from the observation decks on the 52nd and 54th floors. Here, I created a time-lapse using my camera for my Japan Video. Unfortunately, on that day, the rooftop deck was closed so, we were unable to access the area. Nevertheless, the 52nd floor was definitely high enough to enjoy the breathtaking view of the city.
Square Enix, Artnia Café, Shinjuku
My siblings are part of the fandom and were ecstatic to be able to visit the official store of Square Enix. Items and merchandises from popular characters /video games (Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and etc.) are sold here. What’s unique about the store is that it has a café and bar space which mirrors the elements of the video games.
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
This is the highlight of the trip. I have been wanting to visit the museum but the ticket are always sold out. Previously, you have to purchase the ticket through a machine in any Lawson’s Konbini (Convenience store) in Japan. Now, everyone can easily purchase it online.
The Ghibli Museum is a museum showcasing the work of well-known Japanese animators. (Hayao Miyazaki and the team) Their animation is internationally renowned and one of their movie; Spirited Away won an Oscar. The level of Hand Sketching details is tremendously superb.
Online website: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/ticket-information/
Ticket Price: ¥1000 each.
P/s: Do book your ticket one month before your desired date of visiting. When I say it sells fast, I mean it’s really fast. The tickets are gone a few minutes after the announcement of the dates. The Japanese do not waste any time when it comes to this. They are punctual and fast so, if you’re an international visitor, make a decision quick and buy your tickets!
Ticket Price: ¥7400 (Adult) ¥6400 (Age 12-17) ¥4800 (Age 4-11)
Purchased tickets through JTB Malaysia.
DisneySea or Disneyland?
I have been to both of the attractions and I would recommend DisneySea for adults as the rides are more extreme and Disneyland for children.
Tips in DisneySea
Things you have to be prepared for:-
Number of humans: A LOT! Queue lines: LONG! Standing up: MOST OF THE TIME!
Here are a couple of tips to avoid the long queue lines: First, access the entry place as early as possible before it gets crowded. It is an advantage if you have more than two people in your group. Why? Because you can use one of your players to get a fast pass on your favorite ride and the others to queue up on other rides. The fast pass will give you an access to the fast lane and enjoy the attraction without having to wait in a long queue. Once you have taken the fast pass, you may continue the line that your friends queued up for you. However, you can only obtain the next fast pass on another ride two hours from the time you have taken a fast pass. You can see the fast pass counter near to every ride there. (no extra charges, It’s Free!!)
Recommended Rides (for my age):-
1. Tower of Terror
2. Journey to the Center of the Earth
3. Indiana Jones Adventure
*I’m an adrenaline junkie so these are the thrilling rides that I would recommend. The other rides are mostly 3D rides/live theatre which would be more suitable for children.
Tokyo – Kyoto (Shinkansen Express)
I used the Japan Rail Pass Tickets that I purchased from JTB Malaysia. It is cost and time-efficient as I can go in/out JR Line Train station to go wherever I want to.
Fushimi Inari, Kyoto
The Shinto Shrine is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates. (The red gate pillars with sacred words on it). Prepare some mineral water as you need to climb up thousands of stairs that are, only if you have the will to walk up to the top. If not, you can just stay on the ground floor and enjoy the street marketplace.
There are fewer people in the morning so, if you want to take some photos of the area, arriving early would be the best decision.
Here, you can visit the Yasaka Shrine and Gion Street. Gion Street comprises of different food stores, souvenir shops, teahouses and offers a traditional Kyoto Street vibe. We were told that Geishas would make an appearance late in the evening. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to see them on our next visit for dinner on the 7th day of our Japan trip.
Kyoto-Osaka (Shinkansen Express)
Check-in Airbnb Nishikujo.
This is a shopping street equipped with fashion stores, bags stores, food, and desserts places etc. You can find the famous Glico man poster here. A lot of the visitors would imitate his pose for a photograph.
Osaka Amazing Pass Day
We used the 1-day Osaka Amazing Pass for unlimited train rides (not applicable to JR lines) and enjoy the sightseeing spots for free (only on certain attractions but most of it are the main attractions in Osaka) in 1 day.
Ticket Price: ¥2800 (1-day Amazing Pass) ¥3600 (2-day Amazing Pass)
Purchased tickets through JTB Malaysia.
FREE Attractions that we explored: –
2.Bay Cruise Santa Maria
3.HEP FIVE Ferris wheel
4.Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory
5.Umeda Joypolis Wildriver
*There are more free attractions you can explore. You will be given a full Osaka amazing pass pamphlet that shows all the free and discounted attractions.
Universal Studio Japan, Osaka
I purposely chose this day because I learned from various sources that USJ was less crowded on Wednesday and Thursday. True enough, the crowd was reasonable, although it would still be considered a lot when compared to the number of people we saw in DisneySea. Alhamdulillah (Thank God!) 😀 Besides, we had purchased a Universal Express® Pass 4 Package ADD-ON and the entrance ticket in advance from JTB.
Our Universal Express® Pass 4 Package ADD-ON includes:-
1. 4D Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey
2. Hollywood Dream (Front)
4. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
1. Hollywood Dream (both front and back)
2. Flying Dinosaur
3. 4D Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey
4. 4K 3D SpiderMan
5. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
It was Halloween month when we were there so zombie lured and performed everywhere starting at 6 pm. But it doesn’t enter children zones such as minion park and wonderland. There are also several Halloween Attractions which are maze houses and theatres.
Maze Houses: –
1. Cult of Chucky Chucky’s Hospital Ward of Madness (Walk-in/Express Pass)
2. Deadman’s Forest Escape from the Forest of Death (Walk-in/Express Pass)
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Maze 3 (Require Numbered Ticket or Express Pass)
4. The Exorcist The Devil’s Manor (Require Numbered Ticket or Express Pass)
5. Trauma 3 (Require Exclusive Ticket (paid))
* The Numbered Ticket can be obtained at a specified hall. Do proceed to information counter for more details.
Saga Arashiyama, Kyoto
We rent a kimono near Arashiyama station. The shop name is Wargo; Kyoto Kimono Rental. The price is in the range to rent a kimono but if you can find a cheaper price somewhere else, do proceed with it.The customer service here is polite and they help you wear your selected kimono nicely. You can put your stuff there and return the rented kimono by 5 pm. If you desire to rent it overnight, you have to pay extra for it.
Website Link: https://kyotokimono-rental.com/
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Trail of forest packed with bamboos along the road. Such a nice scenery and an Instagram worthy location. Come in the morning to prevent from the flood of humans.
55-meter bridge over the Katsura River flowing leisurely in Saga Arashiyama. Do take a sit near the river as you can witness a breathtaking view near the mountain area.
Dinner at Gion
Managed to see Geishas luring around Gion Street. Do stroll around here at night because they have such beautiful scenery especially near the riverside that is visible to all the expensive restaurants.
Shopping! Don Quijote(Tax Freeeee) Takoyaki! Lunch at Luke’s Lobster
Osaka – Tokyo (Shinkansen Express)
Dinner at Shibuya
Gyumon Yakiniku Halal Restaurant
-2 stations away from Sumida Station
-Electronic Department Stores Building
-Anime Department Store
– Don Quijote (Tax-Free Store)
– The famous and biggest crossing street; Shibuya Crossing Street
– Hachiko Statue
– Cat Street; a back lane that connects Shibuya and Harajuku (unfortunately there are no cats strolling around, only humans)
– Kiddy Land
– Takeshita Street (fashion stores, bag stores, shoe stores, one of biggest Daiso department store and etc.)
Tokyo Camii Mosque
The largest mosque in Japan. I took Meiji Jingumae Harajuku Station to Yoyogi Uehara by Chiyoda Line. Then, you have to walk several minutes to reach the mosque.
*We used Rome2Rio & Google Maps through our journey to help us find our way to the destination that we want to go.
We had sushi at Sushi-Ken(Halal) near Senso-Ji Temple
Observe the temple’s ritual and cheap souvenirs!
Last minute Shopping!
HAN – KUL
2420 – 0520
List of Airbnb; –
*2 Stations away from Akihabara
*2 stations away from Universal Studio Japan
Mobile Applications that we used: –
1. Google Maps (directions)
2. Rome2Rio (directions and accurate train time depart and arrival)
3. Halal Navi (Halal Restaurants, reviews and directions)
4. Have Halal, Will Travel (Halal Restaurants, reviews and directions)
5. CityMaps2Go (Attractions’ Reviews)
Halal Restaurants that we went (more options can be seen through Halal Navi/Have Halal Will Travel Apps) : –
1. Gyumon (Halal Japanese BBQ Restaurant), Shibuya
2. Sushi-ken, Asakusa
3. Halal Ramen Ouka, Shinjuku
4. Bento Halal, Tokyo Station Zenmai
5. Naritaya, Asakusa
6. Sekai Café, Asakusa
7. Naritaya, Asakusa
1. Halal Yakiniku Naritaya, Gion
2. Yoshiya, Arashiyama
1. KENNY Asia, Dotonbori, Osaka
2. Ramen Honolu
Credit : Adila Zaas