october teen

Tokyo, Japan September 2014: To Shinjuku for a view of Tokyo

Good morning from our hostel in Asakusa! (For those interested, I’ll be writing about Sakura Hostel in a different post sometime soon.)

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The bikes parked behind me were for rent to use for biking around Tokyo

I said in my previous Tokyo post that we had to pass by the Sensoji Temple, the Kaminarimon and the Nakamise-dori Street every day to get to the train station and here they are:

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My parents with the Kaminarimon in the background

It was only around 8 AM then so notice how there were very few people around and the stores along Nakamise-dori were not yet open. We weren’t sure what time they started business because they seemed to open at different times depending on the day of the week.

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The nearest stations to our area were the Tsukuba Express and the Asakusa Line but we mostly used the latter because it was easier to navigate, plus it was connected to the Yamanote Line, which was what we used all the time to get around Tokyo. The walk from our hostel to the Asakusa station takes us about five minutes (or more if we were feeling trigger happy). It’s a smaller station compared to those in the other subway lines but serves as many people.

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Our itinerary for that morning was to go to Shinjuku, which included the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and the Tokiya Cafe. The Shinjuku stop is on the Yamanote Line, only one interchange from the Asakusa Line via Ueno. This is what the crossover to the Yamanote Line inside Ueno Station looks like.

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The fare for the Yamanote Line usually costs between ¥170-200

Getting to the TMG Building was relatively easy because there were a lot of signs around the Shinjuku Station. The only challenge, really, was that there was a lot of walking involved.

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My brother feeling excited to get to Tokiya Cafe

About 15 minutes later, we arrived at the TMG Building. We caught an exhibit about Japan on the ground floor and I hoarded some free maps from the rack.

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If you are visiting Japan, you’ll be happy to know that ALL the information materials about getting around Japan are for free. (Also the case in other developed countries in Asia, such as South Korea and Taiwan.)

Anyway, the TMG Building allows locals and visitors to go up their two observatory decks for free. We used the elevator on the ground floor to get to the north side of the deck.

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The observatory deck had a souvenir shop and a cafe, in case anybody wanted to dine overlooking the city.

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We didn’t have our lunch at the cafe but instead looked for the nearest Family Mart or 7 Eleven. The information desk at the ground floor of the TMG Building led us to a 7 Eleven (Lucky us!) which was just on the southern wing of the TMG Building. 

Here are what my brother and I had for lunch:

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Prices of meals start at ¥320 but these ones were around ¥450. The bigger the container and the more food it contains, the higher the price, of course. If you think this is steep, let me share with you how much the same meal cost at a restaurant: ¥1200.

Also if you’re worried that convenience stores do not carry good food, make an exemption for Japanese ones because everything was delicious.

After lunch, we got lost around Shinjuku for about an hour, looking for Tokiya Cafe. This small cafe sells the original dorayaki that inspired Doraemon’s favorite snack. If you get out on the right exit, it’s only a minute walk away from Shinjuku station.

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The first one we looked at was priced at ¥660 and we almost turned around and went home! Turned out it was a meal set that made it more expensive than it was because you can actually get the dorayaki ala carte at only ¥300.

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Worth its price because the red bean inside was very tasty

Afterwards, we went back to the train station to transfer to Harajuku for our early afternoon itinerary. See you in the next post!

Bonus: Most train stations had mirrors around.

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Family selfie at Shinjuku Station

Food and drink choices at 7 Eleven

Tokyo, Japan 2014

Tokyo, Japan September 2014: To the city we go

I’ve been wanting to visit Japan for the longest time and this year, it happened. Here I am at the arrivals area of the Narita International Airport, obviously happy about it.

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The hostel - Sakura Hostel (good service; worth your money!) - we were staying at was around the Asakusa area so we got on the Keisei Main Line, which station was on the first floor (basement?) of the airport.

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Our ride was at 12:22 PM so my brother and I thought we’d kill the time waiting for the free WiFi desk to open:

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The WiFi Card works with certain stores and restaurants that have pink stickers

Inside the train going to Ueno Station:

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Her feet are so 1920s

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After the hour-long ride, we got off at Ueno Station. We were still a bit confused on where we were going so we also got out of the subway and walked around Ueno a bit.

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Ueno Park

After our little walking tour (and late lunch at KFC! Haha), we headed back to the train station to get to our main destination. Check out how clean the place was:

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I mean, compared to the underground in Quiapo, right?

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There was an information booth (only the first of many!) where maps and booklets were given away for free so of course, we dropped by that.

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¥170 = Php70

When we got to Asakusa, we were greeted by these tourist traps.

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And an eye-catching building.

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To get to our hostel, we had to pass by the Kaminarimon Gate, the Nakamise-Street and the Senso-ji Temple. (That was actually our daily routine. Aside from those, we also saw the Sky Tree every day.)

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Nakamise-dori

Check-in at the hostel was quick but we ended up staying at our room until the evening because SLEEP. Below is a view from our window where you can see how nearby we are to the temple (left) and the Asakusa View Hotel (right).

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Because HUNGER, we decided to go out to explore a little bit of Asakusa.

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That was pretty much it for the first night in Tokyo. The next day, we went to Shinjuku and Shibuya. Sounds like a lax itinerary but that night was the first time we ever had to use efficascent oil to soothe our calves and feet in travel.

Anyway, bonus pixx: Gigantic dog and souvenir machines!

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