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Tokyo

Akihabara and the Many Cafes

Japan is one of our favourite destinations. We love Japan and the many sights to be seen. Not to mention, the trinkets, the oddity, the food, and the cafes to try.

I am very happy to have visited Tokyo last Dec. 2013 with my husband and daughter for a brief pre-Christmas get-away gift for our daughter. She loves Japan and anime stuff so much so visiting Japan as her Christmas present was the perfect choice. We were lucky enough to visit Akihabara, a nice area for cafe and cosplay lovers.

Akihabara has plenty of cosplay and maids’ cafe for various types of people. It is also home to many action figure shops and souvenirs. During our visit, we didn’t see much cosplayers because it was during the weekday. We saw some staff wearing costumes along the streets near the west side of Akihabara Station but we could not take picture of them.

The whole place is really interesting. We managed to spend almost an hour in one of the buildings with claw machines and those that dispenses capsule containers with toys inside. We did spend a lot there but the experience was worth every penny! We managed to get lots of kawaii trinkets too from those machines. And we also realised that people actually spend their time (and money) there for fun. I thought we were the only foreigners sucked in there out of curiosity. But the whole building is just meant for those machines or what the Japanese call as gashapon. It is quite addicting! I had to stop because I was spending way too much on the dispensing machines just to try my luck completing a set of miniature toys.

We strolled along Akihabara but didn’t go inside the cafes. Some cafes were not open when we visited in the morning after our stop from Shibuya. It was fun to stroll along the many themed cafes and I bet, it would have been more fun if we went inside to check them out.

We also went to some shops with action figures for our collections. I managed to buy a toy robot (I forgot which one) for my brother.  Akihabara is also known as the Electric city.

Visiting Akihabara is just one of the many things you can do while in Tokyo. It’s easy to reach by train.

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Our Visit To Tokyo Disneyland 2014 Part 2

Visiting Tokyo Disneyland will not be complete if you haven’t even visited the other half of the theme park.  I have featured the other half of the theme park in the first part of this post. The other half of Tokyo Disneyland is featured in this post. The resort map below is for illustration purposes.

Taken from http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en

Fantasyland

Of all the attractions in the park, this is my favorite because I can ride in most of the attraction rides here. Also, my favorite Haunted Mansion is in this lot!

  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Snow White’s Adventures
  • Cinderella’s Fairy Tale Hall
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant
  • Castle Carrousel
  • Haunted Mansion
  • It’s A Small World
  • Alice’s Tea Party
  • Pooh’s Hunny Hunt

Toontown

  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Minnie’s House
  • Chip ‘n Dale’s Treehouse
  • Gadget’s Go Coaster
  • Donald’s Boat
  • Goofy’s Paint ‘n’ Play House
  • Toon Park
  • Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey

Tomorrowland

  • Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
  • Space Mountain
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
  • Captain EO
  • StarJets
  • Grand Circuit Raceway

The whole day is not enough to explore the whole area. And we are talking about 1 part of the Tokyo Disney Resort. Next time we come back in this place, I will really make sure to book another extra night so we can enjoy the other theme park.

Here are more pics around Disney.

and lastly…

Tokyo Disneyland is located in 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan. There are various ways to get there. For more information, please visit their official site.

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Our Visit To Tokyo Disneyland 2014 Part 1

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth! And this is the third time I have to say that. We have been to the other Disney franchise in Paris, Hong Kong and this one, in Tokyo.  And they exude the same kind of happiness no matter which Disneyland park you visit.

Our one-day pass to Disney, again, is not enough. When will I ever learn? Each time I plan for a trip, I would say 2-days then we end up buying only 1-day pass. Next time, I will make sure it is 2 days. Besides, we have yet to visit the ones in Anaheim and Orlando.

Park ticket rates varies per season. At the time of our visit, it was still not peak season and it was a weekday. I bought the 1-day pass for: 1 adult is JPY 6,200 and 1 junior (from ages 12-17 ) is JPY 5,300 and 1 child (from 4-11)is JPY 4,100 (excluding taxes).

The Tokyo Disney Resort comprises of 2 theme parks – Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea Resort.

I will only feature Tokyo Disneyland here as we didn’t have time to visit the other. We also only bought 1-day pass for Tokyo Disneyland. Below are some snaps from our adventure in Tokyo Disney. Let me just break it down for you per areas of the park.

Photo from http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/

What are the attractions in Tokyo Disneyland?

World Bazaar

  • Penny Arcade
  • Omnibus
  • The Disney Gallery

Adventureland

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Western River Railroad
  • Swiss Family Tree House
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room

Westernland

  • Country Bear Theater
  • Westernland Shootin’ Gallery
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Mark Twain River Boat
  • Tom Sawyer Island Rafts

Critter Country

  • Beaver Brothers Explorers Canoe
  • Splash Mountain
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Things To Do In Harajuku and Omotesando Area in Tokyo

Harajuku and Omotesando are nice places to visit in Tokyo. They are both located in Shibuya Ward and are close to each other so if you visit one place, you cannot miss the other.

Harajuku was formerly referred to as Onden which is a low-lying area near the Meiji Street. Now, it is very famous for its quaint little shops in Takeshita Street and the young cosplayers walking around during weekends.

Nearby area is Omotesando. It stretches from the foot of Takeshita Street all the way down to Aoyama Dori where the Omotesando Station is located. It is known for as home to some of the well-known brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Herzog and many more, all close to each other. It is sometimes touted as the Champs Elysees of Tokyo.

If you find yourself wandering in Tokyo, make time to visit these 2 places for a nice walk along the famous streets and a look in some of the high-end brands in Tokyo. There are other things to do aside from window-shopping. Here are things you can do in Harajuku and Omotesando.

HARAJUKU

  • Visit Takeshita Dori
  • Shop at the quaint stores in Takeshita
  • Walk the stretch of Takeshita all the way to the other end leading to Omotesando
  • People watch, especially the young cosplayers during weekend
  • Try out their famous crepe in cone
  • Visit the Yoyogi Park
  • Visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • Shop at the big Daiso Shop
  • Visit Yoyogi National Stadium

OMOTESANDO

  • Shop along the “5th Avenue” of Tokyo
  • Visit Kiddyland if you’re the kid at heart. It has loads of toys and has several floors full of fun!
  • Visit the Oriental Bazaar which sells Japanese souvenirs
  • Visit Cat Street
  • Visit the nearby Shibuya Crossing
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Things To Do In Harajuku and Omotesando Area in Tokyo

Harajuku and Omotesando are nice places to visit in Tokyo. They are both located in Shibuya Ward and are close to each other so if you visit one place, you cannot miss the other.

Harajuku was formerly referred to as Onden which is a low-lying area near the Meiji Street. Now, it is very famous for its quaint little shops in Takeshita Street and the young cosplayers walking around during weekends.

Nearby area is Omotesando. It stretches from the foot of Takeshita Street all the way down to Aoyama Dori where the Omotesando Station is located. It is known for as home to some of the well-known brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Herzog and many more, all close to each other. It is sometimes touted as the Champs Elysees of Tokyo.

If you find yourself wandering in Tokyo, make time to visit these 2 places for a nice walk along the famous streets and a look in some of the high-end brands in Tokyo. There are other things to do aside from window-shopping. Here are things you can do in Harajuku and Omotesando.

HARAJUKU

  • Visit Takeshita Dori
  • Shop at the quaint stores in Takeshita
  • Walk the stretch of Takeshita all the way to the other end leading to Omotesando
  • People watch, especially the young cosplayers during weekend
  • Try out their famous crepe in cone
  • Visit the Yoyogi Park
  • Visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • Shop at the big Daiso Shop
  • Visit Yoyogi National Stadium

OMOTESANDO

  • Shop along the “5th Avenue” of Tokyo
  • Visit Kiddyland if you’re the kid at heart. It has loads of toys and has several floors full of fun!
  • Visit the Oriental Bazaar which sells Japanese souvenirs
  • Visit Cat Street
  • Visit the nearby Shibuya Crossing
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Things To Do In Harajuku and Omotesando Area in Tokyo

Harajuku and Omotesando are nice places to visit in Tokyo. They are both located in Shibuya Ward and are close to each other so if you visit one place, you cannot miss the other.

Harajuku was formerly referred to as Onden which is a low-lying area near the Meiji Street. Now, it is very famous for its quaint little shops in Takeshita Street and the young cosplayers walking around during weekends.

Nearby area is Omotesando. It stretches from the foot of Takeshita Street all the way down to Aoyama Dori where the Omotesando Station is located. It is known for as home to some of the well-known brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Herzog and many more, all close to each other. It is sometimes touted as the Champs Elysees of Tokyo.

If you find yourself wandering in Tokyo, make time to visit these 2 places for a nice walk along the famous streets and a look in some of the high-end brands in Tokyo. There are other things to do aside from window-shopping. Here are things you can do in Harajuku and Omotesando.

HARAJUKU

  • Visit Takeshita Dori
  • Shop at the quaint stores in Takeshita
  • Walk the stretch of Takeshita all the way to the other end leading to Omotesando
  • People watch, especially the young cosplayers during weekend
  • Try out their famous crepe in cone
  • Visit the Yoyogi Park
  • Visit the Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • Shop at the big Daiso Shop
  • Visit Yoyogi National Stadium

OMOTESANDO

  • Shop along the “5th Avenue” of Tokyo
  • Visit Kiddyland if you’re the kid at heart. It has loads of toys and has several floors full of fun!
  • Visit the Oriental Bazaar which sells Japanese souvenirs
  • Visit Cat Street
  • Visit the nearby Shibuya Crossing
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Our Studio Ghibli Experience

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My daughter and I are avid fans of Studio Ghibli. We have both watched a lot of Studio Ghibli movies countless of times and we could repeat the dialogues over and over. You can now imagine how fanatic we are of Studio Ghibli!

So, it is a dream come true to visit the place where beautiful Japanese animation started. Well, technically, it’s the museum but to be in that place is just magical! So, when we finalized the plan to travel to Tokyo as early as October, I booked our Studio Ghibli Museum entrance tickets in advance because you couldn’t enter the museum without the voucher of the paid entrance pass and booking.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation production company created in 1985 by Hayao Mizayaki and Isao Takahata. It is the famous studio behind the animation releases like Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, The Cat Returns and many more. The English-dubbed version of the movies were dubbed by famous Hollywood thespians like Christian Bale (Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle), Billy Crystal (Calcifer in Howl’s Moving Castle), Kirsten Dunst as Kiki, Anne Hathaway as Haru in the Cat Returns. They are just few amongst the top actors and actresses who lent their voice in the English version which were all released by Disney.

I guess you can see by the pictures I have posted here how wonderful we felt stepping in the realms of our beloved Studio Ghibli Museum. I compare the feeling to stepping inside Disneyland, the happiest place in the planet. And yes, even if I am exaggerating, I cannot put into words the happiness my daughter and I felt being there, soaking all the wonders and beauty of the museum even for just few hours. It was worth it!

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We started our journey in the morning of Dec. 4, 2013. We left Shinjuku around 9 a.m. and caught the JR Chuo line train going to Mitaka. It wasn’t really hard to find because as soon as you exit the Mitaka train station, you could see the sign leading to the exit to Studio Ghibli area.  We just followed that direction and saw a very big, yellow and super cute bus that really stood out from the other buses around. It was the bus that would take you to Studio Ghibli. I forgot how much the fare was.

It was brief ride from the Mitaka train station to Studio Ghibli. We passed by residential areas and small stream and there are markers that show how far Studio Ghibli is which is fitting to Studio Ghibli’s norm – cute and antiquated!

Alas, we reached Studio Ghibli and we started taking pictures here and there! There’s a big Totoro stuffed doll inside a ticket booth for decoration purposes. The entrance was actually in the other direction where the big Totoro was. People just loved that area because of the photo op with Totoro.

Our voucher was exchanged to 3 film reels of famous Studio Ghibli movies which are ours as keepsake.

Picture taking is not allowed once inside so I can’t share anything about the wonders we saw inside. The museum is like a big mansion with several rooms to explore. There is a coffee shop and playroom for the little tykes around. There is also a souvenir shop in the higher floor and I bought several keychains, pin and face towel.

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I don’t mind going back to Studio Ghibli, probably stay a bit longer and maybe watch some of the movies inside too.

If you’re planning to visit Tokyo anytime soon, please include Studio Ghibli in your itinerary. It is certainly something you shouldn’t miss. I bought my museum pass from UK and the voucher was sent to me via Royal Mail. Just visit this site for more info and depending on which country you are in. Don’t forget to arrange for your Studio Ghibli Museum pass even before you arrive in Japan. There are also outlets that sell the tickets but you’ll never know if the dates you prefer are fully booked if you buy during your vacation in Japan. I say, plan it and purchase it in advance that will fit within your scheduled vacation in the Land of the Rising Sun.

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