Well, I have to say that I was really excited for my rather impromptu trip to Japan because I never thought that I would be going on another long trip after my 9D8N Taiwan trip (you can read my Taiwan travelogue HERE) back in February.
This is actually the bf’s family trip, but his mom kindly invited me along and in return, I did all the itinerary planning and booking of tickets and hotels – good deal right, hehe? The initial plan was to go to Korea but in the end, we switched plans and decided on Japan instead a few months ago (yay!)
One thing difficult that I found planning for the itinerary is that unlike Taiwan, I noticed that there aren’t as many Japan Travelogues / Travel Blogs; especially for Tokyo in the recent years (2012-2014) so it was hard for me visual how the place would be like. There were some useful blogs around but generally, my sources of information on where to go and directions to the place had to rely mainly on websites such as Japan-Guide and Tripadvisor forums.
So hopefully, if you like me were looking out for a Japan or should I say – Tokyo Travelogue; I hope that this travelogue would be useful to you! Meanwhile for the rest of my blog readers, I hope that it will be an interesting read for you!(:
Oh yes, just like my Taiwan Travelogue, prepare for a visual treat as I plan on spamming at least 90% of my photos in my travelogue. Muhahahahas, I think I took like 2k photos or so if you were wondering! Oh and all photos featured in this travelogue were taken by me on my Note 3 while some photos were contributed by the bf’s mom’s iPhone 5!
Again, I foresee that this travelogue will take me a couple of months to complete but I’m pretty excited to finally start on it! Note that many of the days will be split into different parts so it is easier for me to write each post. For a sneak preview for the 8D7N trip and the daily itinerary, you can refer to my previous post HERE!
Okay, that was a long introduction..but shall we begin with Day 1 now? Or well, just Part 1 of Day 1 that is.
You can read all my previous posts on my Japan trip here:
8D7N Japan (7 – 15 June 2014)
- Day 1 (Part 1): The Trip Preparation / Haneda Airport / Transportation
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 1 (Part 1)
- Day 1 (Part 2): Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku / Exploring Shinjuku
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 1 (Part 2)
- Day 1 (Part 3): Shinjuku Station / Sunshine 60 Dori / Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro / Cat Cafe Nekorobi
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 1 (Part 3)
- Day 1 (Part 4): Coco Ichibanya / Sunshine City / Namja Town / Sunshine Dori 60
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 1 (Part 4)
- Day 2 (Part 1): Breakfast @ Villazza / Harajuku Station / Kiyomasa-Ido Well / Meiji Shrine
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 2 (Part 1)
- Day 2 (Part 2): Harajuku / Shopping at Takeshita Dori Street
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 2 (Part 2)
- Day 2 (Part 3): Hachikō & Shibuya Crossing / Shibuya 109 / Uobei Sushi / Club Sega Shinjuku
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 2 (Part 3)
- Day 3 (Part 1): Studio Ghibli Museum
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 3 (Part 1)
- Day 3 (Part 2): Akihabara
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 3 (Part 2)
- Day 3 (Part 3): First Avenue Tokyo Station (Tokyo Character Street / Omiyage Plaza / Tokyo Ramen Street / Tokyo Okashi Land) / Niyu-Maru
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 3 (Part 3)
- Day 4 (Part 1): Shinjuku Washington Hotel / Mt Fuji 5th Station / Misaka Farm
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 4 (Part 1)
- Day 4 (Part 2): Cherry Picking / Chateraise Belle-foret Winery / Shinjuku (KEIO & LUMINE EST) / Dinner at (る)ハレノヒ / Club Sega
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 4 (Part 2)
- Day 5 (Part 1): TripleLights / Imperial Palace East Gardens / Tokyo Tower
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 5 (Part 1)
*Day 5 partially sponsored by TripleLights Japan
- Day 5 (Part 2): TripleLights: Ryogoku / Asakusa
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 5 (Part 2)
*Day 5 partially sponsored by TripleLights Japan
- Day 5 (Part 3): Odaiba
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 5 (Part 3)
- Day 6 (Part 1): Good Bye Shinjuku / Hello Sunroute Plaza Tokyo!
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 6 (Part 1)
- Day 6 (Part 2): Tokyo Disneyland
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 6 (Part 2)
- Day 7: Tokyo DisneySea
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 7
- Day 8: Kasai Rinkai Park / Tokyo Sea Life Park / Diamond and Flowers Ferris Wheel / Ikspiari Shopping Mall / Haneda Airport / Home & Japan Loots
mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 8
The Preparation & Anticipation!
To me, a holiday trip only gets real when you are actually prepping all your documents and packing your luggage don’t you think so? Feeling excited would be an understatement to what I was feeling while I did my last minute document checking before the flight that night. This was also the first time that I had planned for such a big group (a total of 6 people in all including myself) as usually it’s a trip for 2 and I was pretty worried on how everything would turn out in this case.
Had prepped a set of essential documents including the flight tickets and an itinerary for each of them while I held the Master copy holding my precious Studio Ghilbli museum (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館) tickets that I had my friend help to buy from Lawson’s during his previous trip there the month before.
I did my packing at least 3 days in advance and I have a packing list app in my phone that I also use to double check just in case I would forget anything. I knew that we were definitely going to be shopping like crazy in Japan so I brought along 3 carry-on bags along with my essentials. And yes, I used every single bag in the end LOL!
And in Japan, I was planning my daily outfit coordination for each day. Plus due to my weight loss thanks to Han Dian TCM (read my slimming journey HERE); I feel more confident and slimmer as compared to my weight and current size back in February when I went to Taiwan!
Ughhhss~ Oh and because we were going in June, the start of the summer season and the extreme rainy season, I prepared many lightweight apparels to match with stockings and leggings. Included in a scarf just in case and jeans for the trip up to Mt Fuji during one of the days.
Using the packing cubes that I bought from Daiso, I was able to squeeze 8 days worth of clothes(including 1 extra set just in case and my sponsored apparels from Style Bliss) into 2 packing cubes. They are seriously awesome as I can stuff so many things inside HAHAHA!
Obligatory photo with the passport and my OOTD taken at Changi Airport, lol
There are many carriers that fly to Tokyo, Japan including some budget carriers. The bf’s mom didn’t want a budget carrier so I gave her a choice between ANA (All Nippon Airways) and JAL (Japan Airlines) and she decided on JAL even though it was more expensive.
Lol, please note that this trip is a relatively expensive one (as compared to what I would have paid); not a budget trip at all.
Our air tickets were $1023 including taxes for JAL. ANA prices were $700 including taxes at that time if you were wondering <_< The good thing here is that we were able to check in 2 pieces per person excluding our cabin luggage so that means 6 x 2 = 12 luggages in total. Good for shopping huh?
Collection of MIFI Device
If you didn’t know, you can’t rent a SIM card or MIFI device at the airport or phone shop in Japan like that in Taiwan or even in Singapore. Very weird yes, but if you really need Internet (or are social media addicts or gamers like the whole family and myself); you’ll definitely need to rent one(either online or physically) BEFORE you reach Japan.
Usually most people I know will rent online from the Japanese companies such as Global Advanced Communication and B-Mobile to name a few. But collection will be at the post office at the airport or it’s shipped to your hotel in Japan.
For me, I wanted to play safe by renting the device right here in Singapore before we reached Japan just in case of any issues.
But I must tell you that the rates are not cheap whether you choose to rent it in Japan or Singapore, the cheapest being $50 for a 1GB SIM Card (1 week usage). For our case, I decided to rent MIFI devices (basically a portable/pocket WIFI device) instead. Our rental fee was $12 per day for each device, $3 per day for a spare battery and $3 per day for insurance adding up to about $144 per device during our trip there.
Fortunately, I had communicated with the company, Telecom Square prior to our trip to book 3 MIFI devices and managed to get 2 extra batteries for free. That’s good because the batteries really came in handy; thank goodness I also paid for 1 more battery for the 3rd device as we utilized the devices a lot.
The MIFI device can actually connect up to 5 persons and there is no data limit but because I knew that we would split up occasionally to go our separate ways, I thought that it would be better to ensure that there was 1 device shared between 2 persons.
Not much to set up nor is there a SIM card needed (in case of compatibility issues), we just had to connect it as how we would do to a WIFI router and key in the password at the back of the device to start utilizing it. Of course, you can only use it once you land.
We were still pretty early so we headed down to the MIFI device rental collection place at the 24 hours Changi Recommends counter located at the arrival hall one floor below and got our hands on the 3 MIFI devices!
Killing Time Before the Flight
More obligatory shots. This time with the bf’s family – me, the bf, his sister, mom, younger brother and cousin!(:
Quick meal before the flight as we wanted to catch some shut-eye onboard without eating much.
And it was finally time to get on board!
Here’s us at the departure lounge and camwhoring.
On Board JAL (Japan Airlines) Singapore to Tokyo (Haneda Airport): 1.50am – 9.50am
Time to board!
Random shot of Yi Cheng (now known as YC) as we passed by him to our seats; it’s his first time on board a plane if I remember right o.o
There’s no food menu onboard the plane so you won’t be sure of you’ll be eating for your meal. But well, at least there’s a drinks menu on the go. Oh and if you feel like it, you can always ask for the JAL instant noodles (choice of soba/ramen/udon/somen) onboard anytime. I hear that it’s really good and it’s JAL exclusive. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try it though ><
It was a night flight so it was around 1.55am when we said our good byes to Singapore and onwards to Japan! If you realized, I seem to have a preference for night flights as I try to take flights that would land in the early hours of the day (around 8~9am as much as possible) because I feel that I can get most out of the day.
Kiasu Singaporean mindset right? But here’s the SUCKY thing about night flights – there’swayyyy more turbulence in the air as compared to day flights. Ugh; did I mention that I am actually quite scared of plane rides? Lol, I usually clutch nervously to the bf or the armrest during any turbulence or if the plane dips, really dislike the feeling of my tummy dropping. Luckily I did manage to get some shut-eye on board and that really helps.
By the time I opened my eyes, it was about 7am and the sky was a bright beautiful blue. Breakfast was served slightly 2 hours before we landed and I realized that there were quite a number of people who didn’t sleep throughout – instead they were glued to the movies played on the in-flight entertainment system: New Sky Entertainment JAL Mooove.
While watching a movie on-screen, we were also busy filling up the immigration form.
And then, breakfast was served. A few airlines that I took would offer 2 meal choices but there is only 1 fixed meal for JAL – though I have to say that the hot towels served before that was a nice touch. The food was fine but pasta for breakfast was too heavy for me so I didn’t really eat much. Besides, my tummy was all prepared for a good meal in Japan upon landing!
It wasn’t too long before we reached our destination – Haneda Airport and we landed in the rainy weather, but well it was the rainy season in Japan after all.
If you were wondering why I chose our landing area to be at Haneda Airport instead of Narita,that’s because it would take lesser time for us to reach our hotel in Tokyo (1/2 hour – 45 minutes via car depending on traffic) as compared to 2 – 3 hours from Narita via car depending on traffic.
The issue with Haneda Airport is that the public transportation is slightly more complicated but fortunately, the bf’s mom was fine with hiring a 6-seater limousine cab instead. Actually, this was also the first time that I landed in Haneda because during my previous trips here back years ago with my mom, we were always at Narita.
Anyway, even though I’ve been here about 3 times when I was younger back in my Primary/Secondary School days; I am sad to say that I don’t really have many memories of the Japan trip. So I will be treating this as a whole new experience for me to remember for a lifetime!
It was a really long walk to get to the immigration counter from where we disembarked and goodness me, it was also really cold!
Had our first experience at the super cool Japanese toilet. Ah~ extremely clean toilets and warm toilet seat covers – I miss you!
Took awhile, but we finally made it out to the luggage belt area to collect our pieces before heading out to meet our driver.
Transportation from Haneda Airport to Shinjuku
There are also various public transportation to get to our hotel such as the Airport Limousine Bus or by taking the train. But for this trip, there was a bigger budget (hehehe) so I decided hire a mini-van from Tokyo Airporter. Later, we also used their transportation services for our transfer to our hotel located near Disneyland and the trip back to Haneda airport. Again, the price for this service was not cheap; it came up to a total of 36,000 Yen (S$450) for a total of 3 transfers – but without the hassle.
The driver (dressed in a suit) as well as an English speaking assistant from the company met us immediately outside the arrival gates bearing a huge card with my name on it. Payment was done on the spot to the assistant for all our 3 transfers before we were immediately whisked away to the van waiting at the carpark so.. pardon the lack of photos taken. The service received from the company was really good and very efficient while the van was impeccably clean and super comfy.
There was a slight traffic jam heading towards our hotel from the airport but all-in-all, we reached within 45 minutes or less. And now before I end off this post, here’s the first glimpse of the surrounding Shinjuku area where we were staying at!
Meanwhile, stay tuned for Day 1 (Part 2) for the review of our hotel, Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku and our first lunch in Tokyo, Japan!