mitsueki, My Travels, OOTD & Fashion, Personal Life

mitsueki Travels | 8D7N Japan June 2014 – Day 2 (Part 1)

Our first day in Japan was a really fruitful one and I was so excited for the rest of the days to come! Day 2 started on a high note when all of us managed to get up on time for breakfast at the hotel. No surprise there because there was a mom alarm thus we never overslept during any of the days (unlike that in Taiwan during the last few days and ruined our plans LOL!). It’s a good thing too to get up early so that you have more time to explore the area with what little time you have >_<

You can read all my previous posts on my Japan trip here:

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OOTD

#Firstletmetakeaselfie using the full length mirror in our room at Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza Hotel (read HERE for my review). Specially chose to wear this outfit kindly sponsored by StyleBliss because it gave out this Lolita feel! Matched it with my kitty tattoo stockings and boots from Taiwan – perfect in my opinion; for a day out at the fashion districts of Harajuku and Shibuya!(:

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Buffet Breakfast @ Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Headed down to the lobby with our meal coupons to have our breakfast (inclusive in the price) at the hotel restaurant as seen below. In the morning, it is a breakfast buffet spread while it turns into an Italian restaurant and bar in the afternoon and night respectively.

More photos taken very quickly at the restaurant; pardon the blurry ones but it’s a pretty big restaurant with a large variety of both Japanese and Western cuisine available for your selection in the morning. The variety however, doesn’t really change that much daily but if you are good with eating similar breakfast foods everyday then it’s alright. I liked the breakfast there though! Hehe

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Here’s what I ate: a serving of cereal with some milk as well as some Japanese selections and a glass of water. Yummy!

Oh by the way, trays are provided for you to place all your plates and drinks on them. Makes it so much easier to carry them around rather than just holding the plate. Less messy on the table too in case you spill any ;p

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Heading to Harajuku from Shinjuku

We were already pretty familiar with the route to Shinjuku station since our exploration of the area the day before. Basically you just have to walk out of the hotel, cross the road, walk down a straight path (filled with loads of restaurants and the Family Mart that we frequent) till you reach the main traffic junction then turn right and walk straight till you see the entrance of the train station. Er, I know it sounds complicated but once you’re used to staying there, it’s really easy to navigate!(:

Meanwhile, you just look for the green JR Yamanote Line and head towards it and once you are in the area, look for the one leading to the platform [for Harajuku, Shibuya & Shinagawa). If you need more detailed instructions on how to navigate Shinjuku Station  – you can refer to my previous post HERE where I shared my experience!(:

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Here’s a photo of the train platform from where we stood. It can get really crowded especially during the peak period so avoid the morning/evening rush if possible. Oh don’t forget to double check the sign on the approaching train to see if it is going the right direction!

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Harajuku Station

I think that Harajuku Station is one of the nicer looking stations I’ve been too and just sharing some shots of it. Especially love the exterior of the station; really beautifully designed!

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Quick selfie while walking towards our next destination!

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Heading to Meiji Shrine (Meiji-Jingu / 明治神宮)

Before spending our day at Takeshita Dori street where all the shops are at, we headed towards Meiji Shrine first. Included this in my itinerary because I figured the mom would like some cultural aspects to the whole trip rather than just pure shopping lol. It was a great choice anyway because we had a really fun time there(:

Meiji Shirine is the largest Shinto shrine in Tokyo, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his consort, Emperess Shoken, who passed away in 1912 & 1914 respectively. It was constructed just after the first world war – Tenkai Japan

To get to Meiji Shrine, you first have to cross the bridge as seen below. This bridge overlooks the train station below and it’s a pretty nice spot for phototaking as well.

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The best spot to take a photo will definitely be at the entrance of Meiji Shrine at the shrine gate, a short walk away from the bridge.

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I have to warn you that it is a pretty far walk (at least 15 ~ 20 minutes via a strolling pace) on pebbled ground to get to Meiji Shrine from here. We did spot many of the Harajuku fashionistas in their heels, boots and wedges walking the same path but as a Singaporean, I would recommend that you prepare comfortable walking shoes.

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Along the way will be picture perfect spots to take really pretty photos and selfies like below if you are interested.

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Kiyomasa’s Well 清正井

Halfway during our long walk towards Meiji Shrine, we spotted a little sign that pointed towards a well.

Curious, we approached the place and realized that it was leading to a whole different area. Decided to pay the entrance fee of 500 yen, $6.10 (they called it contribution for maintenance) per person to check it out.

Was issued these tickets before we headed down towards the ‘unknown’.

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Essentially, the whole area features a garden with a large pond, a blooming iris garden and the main feature known as the Kiyomasa’s Well. Again, it’s a pretty long trek but I think it’s pretty worth it especially because the well is said to give people luck!

This below is the garden area and I think that the landscaping is really picturesque and very well maintained; well at least we know that our maintenance fee we just paid is going somewhere good hehe.

There’s a small pond here with a number of koi fishes and a turtle that I spotted!

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Along the way to well, you will pass by the gardens filled with iris flowers. I’m not sure if there is a season for them to bloom but they were pretty much fully bloomed when we were there in June as seen below! The flowers are really pretty too in various shades of white, pink, purple and white!

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After a short walk, we finally reached our destination which is Kiyomasa’s well aka Harajuku’s Magic Wishing Well! Don’t expect anything mystical looking or anything but hey, apparently this well is a lucky one!

The Kiyomasa’s well ( Kiyomasa no Ido) is said to have been dug by famous feudal warlord Kato Kiyomasa, whose family, according to the shrine, had a mansion in the area during the Edo period, although it is unknown if Kiyomasa lived there. The site became famous after some television programs featured it with people claiming that their luck improved when they used pictures of the well as background screens on their cellphones – Tenkai Japan

You have to queue up to take a photo of the well / or with the well and there’s even a security guard on duty there the whole day! O.o

There are a few things you can do at the well that is said to bring you luck!

1. Take a photo of it or yourself at the well and use it as your phone background wallpaper
2. Cleanse your hands with the pure well water and make a wish while doing so

As you can tell, all of us did both! Be careful not to fall or trip into the well though, lol!

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The well is the end of the trail and you have to make a U-turn literally to walk back to Meiji Shrine. Fortunately, there is a shorter exit rather than walking back all the way to the entrance and we quickly made our way there.

Meiji Shrine 明治神宮

It was still quite a distance to walk but we finally spotted the shrine gates leading to the entrance of Meiji Shrine.

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Chozuya

However, before entering the shrine, it would be advisable to head towards the chozuya or temizuya (手水舎) to do the ceremonial purification rite known as temizu.

1. Go to the chozuya (pavilion for ritual washing of hands and mouth/wash basin). Dip water using right hand and pour it over left; then reverse.

2. After washing, shift dipper to right hand, pour water into left palm, rinse mouth, and quietly spit out the water.
**DO NOT WASH YOUR FEET OR FACE with the water

3. Hold dipper handle upright in both hands; rinse it with remaining water to purify it. Return dipper to its original position

Instructions HERE!

That’s the traditional way above, but the easier and faster method is to just purify your hands with the water like what we did.

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Meiji Shrine Gift Shops

There are a couple of gift shops located at Meiji Shrine here and there and that’s where you can pick up a great souvenir for your friends and families – good luck charms mainly! We bought quite a number of items here such as the luck / health / happiness / fortune charms. Pretty affordable pricing as well.

Hehe and we saw this girl, not sure if she is a real Shinto priestess / miko or just wearing the priestess robes.

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A couple of shots around the area before we went in to make our prayers.

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Traditional Shinto Wedding Ceremony

And we spotted a Shinto-style traditional wedding ceremony! Do note that this is a common occurrence especially over the weekends(:

Was so glad to be able to witness a wedding ceremony in Japan, but this wasn’t the only one we saw. Later on at our Disneyland Hotel, we spotted a Western style Japanese wedding on our last day, stay tuned for that!

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I love the little girl’s kimono, super pretty!

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Meiji Shrine Wishing Tree / Sacred Camphor tree.

Other than the Wishing Well, Meiji Shrine also has a Wishing Tree aka the Sacred Camphor tree.

Write your wish or prayer on the wooden tablet that can be bought from one of the shrine shops and hang it on one of the walls. The Shinto priest will pray for all the wishes on the tablet and who knows? They might come true!(:

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Sharing photos of some of the wishes (both meaningful and hilarious) below.

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Praying at Meiji Shrine

After that, we went into the shrine and did our prayers. No photos there as it would be disrespectful and it’s prohibited anyway. No worries if you don’t know how to pray properly at the shrine as there are instructions in English written there.

First you throw in the money into the box, preferably the Japanese 5 yen coin because it’s in a lucky golden color! Then bow twice, clap twice and bow once more(:

Bonsai Exhibition at Meiji Shrine

As we were in Japan in June, we were fortunate to be able to catch the bonsai and suiseki exhibition that only happens yearly in the month of June. Usually in Singapore, we only see these tiny potted bonsai plants (my mom has one!) but these were totally different because they were like 50~2500 years old! Don’t forget the fact that they are HUGE and some of them were even at full bloom! Super super pretty!

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Kakaka and we spotted yet another Shinto wedding going on before we left the shrine!

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The grounds of Meiji Shrine

Off at a corner near the entrance of Meiji Shrine is this picture perfect spot that many wedding photos are taken at. It’s also a good spot for OOTD if you catch the right time! It was about 1pm or so that day so the lighting was pretty bright so you have to like move around a lot to get great lighting.

Love the gravel here, it’s a nice base!

The women (including myself) were busy taking selfies and other camwhore photos here and the guys were just standing at the side, muttering: why no one take our photos?

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Okay, so here’s one with YC who gamely posed this way! HAHAHAHA! And a random shot of myself – should have made the bf take more proper OOTDs on the future! ;x

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Walking out towards Harajuku Station, we spotted this HUGE raven; yes just being random!

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And ending off this post with some shots taken outside the shrine(:

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Stay tuned for the next part of my posts as I share my experience at the fashion district of Takeshita-Dori street in Harajuku and Shibuya!(:

Don’t forget to stay tuned to my blog / like my blog’s Facebook page / follow me @mitsuekion Twitter & Instagram for the latest updates!

Till later,
♥ mitsueki

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Author: mitsueki

Hello! I'm mitsueki aka Daphne and I blog at mitsueki.sg! Follow me on IG for more updates too!

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