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I love to explore various dimensions of Japan. Today, I want to bring you to one of the best locations for vacation in Shizuoka prefecture, Izu Peninsula. If you love natural scenery, fresh seafood, and onsen (hot spring), you will love the trip to Izu Peninsula!

Izu Peninsula: How to get to Izu?

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can take the Tokyo East Line from Shinjuku, Shinagawa, or Ueno to Izu. However, you need to spend at least 4000 yen (40 USD) for the round trip from Tokyo to one of the Izu stations. This is uneconomical and inefficient. Go to one of the JR ticket offices in Tokyo and buy a JR Wild Pass (10000 yen, or 100 USD). Using this Pass, you can travel without restrictions throughout Izu for three days.

What can You Do at Izu Peninsula? Three Recommended Stations!

Izukyū Shimoda Station

(伊豆急下田)

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Since Shimoda located in the southernmost part of Izu Peninsula, we have to take the train from Shinjuku to Shimoda station for three hours. Shimoda is the cradle of Japan’s modern history. During the Edo period, Tokugawa Shogunate remained self-isolation. In order to break the barrier and develop business partnership with Japan, Western countries decided to take action. Accompanied by black battleships (Black Ships), Matthew Perry, a commodore of US Navy, arrived Shimoda and intimidated the Japanese Government to open their ports for business by signing up the Japan–US Treaty of Peace and Amity, or the convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

Mount Nesugata

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You should take the ropeway to Mt. Nesugata. From the top of the mountain, you can take an aerial view to the Shimoda Bay and the Pacific Ocean. There is a map on the top of the mountain. When you look at it, you can see exactly where the Black Ships were located. On the other side, you can overlook the Shimoda city. This mount is also a national park. The local government spends money to plant seasonal flowers and different vegetation in this park. With the sunshine, you will discover that you have integrated yourselves with the natural beauty.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can visit the official website here for the detail. Website (English)

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Izu Cruise

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Ancient Chinese wisdom speaks, “It is better to travel far than to read voluminously.” Instead of reading history, we can relive the history by taking the black ship together. The tour guides will show you the different islands of Izu and tell you the history of the islands. Furthermore, by spending few hundred yen, you can get some chips and feed the seabirds during the cruise.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can visit the official website here for the detail. Website (Japanese only)

Hours of Operation: 9:10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Last Departure)

Red Snapper and Other Seafood

It is one of the most luxurious meals in Japan. The Japanese people love to use red snapper to make sushi, sashimi, shabu shabu, and dried fish. Although tourists usually prefer to eat tuna or salmon, you should try this white fish. When you chew it carefully, the sweetness and freshness of the fish will gradually flood into your taste buds. You will also fall in love with the aroma of red snapper.

Furthermore, spiny lobster and abalone are the other famous seafood from this area. Because they are expensive, I can only afford the abalone.

Izu Peninsula: Jogasaki-Kaigan

(城ヶ崎海岸)

Kadowaki Suspension Bridge and Lighthouse

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Kaigan means coast in Japanese. Because of the lava of Amagi Volcano, Jogasaki is a national park and beautiful coast. Two of the tourist sites do not require any entry fee. First, climb up to the lighthouse. You will see seven islands of Izu: Oshima (伊豆大島), Toshima (利島村), Niijima (新島), Kozushima (神津島), Miyake-jima (三宅島), Mikurajima (御蔵島), and Hachijojima (八丈島). Like the islands of Hawaii, there are certain numbers of residents living in those islands of Izu. Although you are not able to travel to all of the islands, at least you know a little more about the geography of Japan.

After you climb down, you will cross the Kadowaki Suspension Bridge. Want to feel like Indiana Jones? When you step on the bridge, you can feel it shake. You can only continue your adventure by crossing the bridge, and then you can walk the natural trail.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

I think that you need to know something first. After you get off the train, you are required to walk 1.3 km before getting to the coast. However, you will pass by a cherry blossom tunnel. You can appreciate sukura each spring, and maple trees each autumn.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can visit the website here for the detail. Website (English)

Hours of Operation:

Suspension Bridge: 24 hours

Lighthouse: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Izu Peninsula: Atami City

(熱海市)

Atami literally means, “hot ocean,” which refers to the famous onsen in this area. According to the historical record, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, always came to Atami for hot spring. He thought that Atami is one of the best onsen in Japan because this place contains pure and high quality spring water.

Besides onsen, visitors will also take pictures of Kanichi Omiya no zo. This statue portrays the romantic tragedy from a novel, The Golden Demon.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Higashikaigancho

Trip to Izu Peninsula

If you like ocean activities, such as canoeing or swimming, you should come here. During weekends, some adolescents will play volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee at the beach. You might be able to meet some new friends here. Along the shore, you can also find some restaurants to fill your belly. If you just want to have a walk, Higashikaigancho is also a good spot for you.

Atami Castle and Trick Art Museum

Trip to Izu Peninsula

This castle was built as a tourist attraction in 1959. You can dress up in costumes and become samurai. You can go to the top of the castle to overlook Atami city. If you want to know more about the history of Edo Period, you can come here. I also recommend that you to go to the Trick Art Museum, which locate next to the castle.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

In the museum, you will enter to an illusory world. Artists utilize certain angles to portray a painting and lead the audience to believe that they are watching a 3D painting. If the staff know that you are a foreign tourist, they will offer you a free-tour and help you take all of the photos. After you go in, you will discover that you have a lot of interaction with animals. Some of them will play with you. Some of them will try to hunt you down. It’s worth the 900 yen entry fee!

Caution: When you go to Atami castle or the Trick Art Museum, you will need to take the ropeway. When you get off of the ropeway, you will pass by the Hihokan – Adult Museum. It is restricted to adults age 18 and over. If you feel uncomfortable about what you see, please don’t go in and run out the entrance as quick as you can. When you go out the entrance and turn right, you will see the castle.

You can visit the official websites here for details. Website for Castle (English) and Website for Museum (English)

Hours of Operation for Both: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Nakamise Shopping Street and Heiwadori Shopping Street

You can go to these two streets as your last stop before going back to Tokyo. There are some famous souvenirs and specialty that you can buy here. For example, you can purchase lobster ramen, onsen streamed bun, and miso soup powder. If you are renting an apartment in Japan while traveling, you can buy dried red snapper or frozen red snapper belly. Thus, you can bring a “taste memory” back to your apartment.

Japan is waiting for you to discover her variety. Take a trip to the Izu Peninsula for a weekend getaway and appreciate the natural scenery, delicious cuisine, and miraculous power of onsen!

April 26, 2017 0 comment
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Parasitological Museum

You know that you’ll find weird and interesting things once you come to Tokyo. Check out our article on Bizarre Museums in Tokyo you might want to visit while you’re here!

 

Bizarre Museums in Tokyo: Meguro Parasitological Museum

Parasitological Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

 

If you like weird stuff, this is the right place for you. This place is known as the number one most bizarre museum in Tokyo. Meguro Parasitological Museum is a private research facility focusing on parasites. A must-see at this museum is definitely the world’s longest tapeworm that is 8.8 meters long. Don’t forget to visit their museum shop where you can buy parasite-related merchandise!

 

Parasitological Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

Hours: 10:00-17:00
Holidays: Monday and Tuesday (when a national holiday falls on Monday or Tuesday, the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays
Admission fee: Free (donations are welcome)
Access: 15 min walk from JR Meguro station

Bank of Japan Currency Museum

This museum was opened in 1985 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Bank of Japan. Here you can find exhibitions of money from ancient Japan up to the present day as well as money from all over the world.

Hours: 9:30-16:30 (No entry after 16:00)
Holidays: Monday (opened when Monday is a holiday) and New Year holidays (Dec 29 – 4 Jan).
Admission: Free
Access:

1 min walk from Subway Mitsukoshimae Station (Hanzomon line Exit B1)
2 min walk from Subway Mitsukoshimae Station (Ginza line Exit B5)
6 min walk from Subway Nihonbashi Station (Tozai line Exit A1)
8 min walk from JR Tokyo station’s Nihonbashi Exit

 

Tokyo Trick Art Museum

Tokyo Trick Art Museum comprises of 3D artworks and optical illusions that will blow up your mind. There are different areas for you to explore, including the “Edo Area,” “Japanese monsters” and the “Trick Art Gallery.”

WARNING: MUST BRING CAMERA!

Hours: 11:00-21:00 (No entry after 20:30)
Holidays: Closing days are not fixed
Admission: Adult (ages 15&over): 900 yen, Child (ages 4-14) 600 yen, free admission for children ages 3 and under.
Access:

2 min walk from Odaiba Kaihinkouen station (Yurikamome line)
5 min walk from Tokyo Teleport station (Rinkai line)

 

Tokyo Kite Museum

Kites are known to have a long history in Japan. At every corner of the museum, you will find a collection of over 250 kites on display from all over Japan and other Asian countries.

 Hours: 11:00-17:00
Holidays: Sunday, National Holidays
Admission: Adult: 200 yen, Child: 100 yen
Access:

10 min walk from JR Tokyo station (Yaesu exit)
1 min walk from subway Nihonbashi station (Exit C5)

 

Showa Retro Packaging Museum

This museum gathers product packages such as tobacco, medicine packages, snacks and confectionery from the Showa period (1929-1989). The building is a refurbishment a former furniture shop, which gives you a nostalgic feel once you step inside.

Hours: 10:00-17:00
Holidays: Monday (closes the following day if Monday is a national holiday) and New Year Holidays
Admission fee: Adult 350 yen, Child 200 yen
Access: 4 min walk from JR Ome station.

 

Postal Museum Japan

Located on the 9th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town, the Postal Museum Japan exhibits collections that are related to postal service and communications.
Hours: 10:00-17:30 (Last entry 17:00)
Admission fee: Adult 300 yen, Child 100 yen
Access: a short walk from Tobu Skytree line (Tobu Skytree station).

 

Philatelic (Stamp) Museum

 

Stamp Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

 

With a collection of 300,000 stamps from Japan and other countries, over 850 stamps are being displayed at special exhibits at the Philatelic Museum. The theme changes every three months. There are also workshops where you can participate and even make your own stamp!

 

Stamp Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

Hours: 10:00-17:00
Holidays: Monday and Tuesday (when a national holiday falls on Monday or Tuesday, the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays
Admission fee: Adult 200 yen, Child 100 yen
Access: 3 min walk from JR Mejiro station

 

Tokyo Museum of Sewage

You can spend a whole day learning about Tokyo’s sewage system. If that’s not enough, here you can even get a chance to go inside the main sewer pipe!

Hours: 10:00-16:00

Holidays: Monday (when a national holiday falls on Monday the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays (Dec 27- Jan 5)
Admission fee: Free
Access: 7 min walk from Takanodai Station (Seibu Kokubunji Line)

 

Tobacco and Salt Museum

 Here you can get to know more about the history and culture surrounding tobacco and salt in Japan. The museum has a collection or resources and researches about tobacco and salt, and besides the normal exhibition, sometimes there are special exhibitions held for a limited time

Hours: 10:00-18:30 (Last entry 17:30)
Holidays: Monday (when a national holiday falls on Monday the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays (Dec 29- Jan 3)
Admission fee: Adult 100 yen, Senior 50 yen, Child 50 yen. (There is an extra charge for special exhibitions).
Access:
12 min walk from Subway Oshiage station (Exit B2)
8 min walk from Subway Tobu Skytree Line Tokyo Skytree Station (Exit 1)
10 mins walk from Honjo Azumabashi Station

 

Tokyo Toy Museum (Toy Communication Museum)         

The building of this museum was once an old elementary school and the goal of this museum is to promote friendship among different generations in the family. Feel free to play with the toys and join the toy workshops they offer!

Hours: 10:00-16:00 (Last entry 15:30)
Holidays: Thursday, New Year Holidays and special holidays in February and September
Admission fee: Adult 800 yen, Child 500 yen, Child and Adult pair ticket 1200 yen
Access:
7 min walk from Yotsuya- sanchome station
8 min walk from Akebonobashi station.

 

March 20, 2017 0 comment
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Buddha Kamakura

Need to get out of the city for awhile? If you don’t mind an hour on the train, one of the best short trips from Tokyo is to the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture. With several temples and shrines, a beautiful beach, and a shopping district specializing in Japanese sweets, you’re sure to find a relaxing way to spend your day.

Buddha Kamakura shopping

Directly outside of Kamakura train station is the Komachi Street shopping district. Although there are some big names, most of the stores here are of the mom-and-pop variety. Traditional Japanese candy, handmade umbrellas, toys, and Buddhist iconography make for interesting souvenirs or small gifts to send back home.

One of the greatest things about Komachi is that it is mostly a mom and pop district, with no big chain stores making shopping here superfluous.  whether you are looking for interesting souvenirs or just some small gifts to send back home Komachi has you covered.  Be it traditional Japanese candy, handmade umbrellas, traditional toys for the kids, or perhaps you are looking for a crystal carving of Buddha you are sure to find it there.

Temple Kamakura

After walking through Komachi Street, you can visit the Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shinto shrine.  Founded in 1063, Tsurugaoka Hachimangū has a long political and religious history, which you can learn about by visiting the museum on the grounds of the main shrine. Visitors can learn the details of the assassination of Minamoto no Sanetomo and the 1868 Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order while viewing a variety of historical artifacts.

Buddha Kamakura

One of the biggest tourist attractions in the city is the Kamakura Daibutsu, the Buddha of Kamakura. Located on the grounds of the Kotoku-In temple, the 13-meter tall bronze statue of the Amida Buddha is the second biggest statue of the Buddha in Japan. For a 200 yen entrance fee, you can be visit the Kamakura Daibutsu from 8:00 to 17:30 any day of the year.

rickshaw-1Kamakurarickshaw-2 Kamakura

If you are really interested in seeing everything Kamakura has to offer, do yourself a favor and use a rickshaw.  Kamakura is rather large, and having to walk from shrine to shrine is a daunting task, so why not let someone else do the walking for you?  Rickshaw are easy to find on Komachi St.–just keep your eye out for a man in a straw hat and bicycle shorts.  A rickshaw can take you anyplace you want to go, and all of the drivers know the best spots to go see.

Kamakura Beach

And finally there is Kamakura Beach, a nice little patch of sand on the coast.  The beach itself is worth the trip, as it is a popular getaway from the cities and is a popular destination for windsurfing. Or you can go for a walk along the beach at sunset to cap off a perfect day’s getaway from the busy city.

Kamakura Day Trip Information

Tourism Website

Nearest Station: Kamakura Station

 

 

Click on one of the links below to explore other day trip and getaway options in Tokyo–

October 3, 2016 0 comment
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Mount Fuji 8

Mount Fuji 1

Climbing Mountain Fuji is a dream for mountain climbers and visitors alike. You can climb all the way up to the summit and watch the sunrise beside the spectacular caldera. What an amazing life experience! Here, I am going to tell you my story about climbing Mt. Fuji and let you in on all of the things you need to know before departure. So get ready with me! Here is all of the essential information to consider before your departure. So when you’re ready, double check your backpacks and head to the 5th station!

Why Should I Go?

Mount Fuji 13

Fuji-san is 3776 meters tall and it is the highest mountain in Japan. On clear days, Mount Fuji can be seen from as far away as Tokyo, Yokohama and Hakone. If you are visiting Tokyo at the right time of the year, there is no reason not to check out this breathtaking natural masterpiece. It does not matter whether you have determined to climb all the up to the summit, or just want to appreciate from a far view, or even chill around the lower levels, these are all amazing stories you can share with your families and friends.

When Is The Best Time to Climb Mount Fuji?

Mount Fuji 4

The official climbing season for Mount Fuji is from early July to mid September. During this period all the facilities and services are open, the weather is suitable for climbing, and the trails free of snow.

Different trails have different opening dates. It is highly recommended to climb during official season for your own safety. Below are the opening times for all trails in 2016:

  • Yoshida Trail: July 1 to September 10 (The descending trail will remain open until September 11 morning)
  • Subashiri, Gotemba, Fujinomiya Trails and Ohachi-Meguri Trail (The trail of crater rim): July 10 to September 10

I choose the Yoshida trail because it is the most popular and is accessible to new climbers. Most people start to climb from Subaru line 5th station, easily commute from Kawaguchiko (Fuji Five Lake Region). The ascent from 5th station to the summit will take approximately 5-7 hours, and the descent trail  (a separate trail), is another 3-5 hours.

Many mountain huts line the Yoshida trail around 7th and 8th stations. Here you can get food, water, rest, or even an overnight stay (reservation required; average charges for mountain huts are 5300 yen without meal and 7400 yen with two meals). Prices getting higher as the altitude increases; if you forgot to bring it with you, make sure to buy it early!

I chose to start my journey in early July, when the weather is clear and the trails less crowded. August can get very crowded, as the school term over and the traveling season starts. During these times, you may even need to wait in the line to get through some of the more narrow paths.

Now I Want To Climb! How Do I Get To Mount Fuji?

Mount Fuji 2

Mount Fuji is located to the west of Tokyo on the main island Honshu, between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. There are couple of options to get there and I choose to go with the easiest and cheapest way – highway express bus! I purchased the round trip tickets from this site, which cost 3500 yen from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko (1750yen/way). It runs regularly from 6 am to 11 pm, please check the timetable. Tickets sell out fast during climbing season, so please purchase tickets in advance to ensure yourself a spot! It takes about 1 hour from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko if traffic is in good condition. However it took us more than 3 hours the way back from Kawaguchiko, so be ready to adjust your plan accordingly!

After you arrive at Kawaguchiko, go to the ticket office at the left side of the Kawaguchiko bus terminal station and get a bus ticket to the “Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station” bus. Don’t worry about getting lost; they know exactly why you are there.  The tickets for this leg of the trip go for 1540 yen for one way or 2100 yen for round trip.

Caution: The first “Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station” bus runs from 6:40 am till 7:05 pm. If you plan to catch the first bus, be sure to purchase tickets a day before at the ticket counter (cannot be purchased online) because the ticket office is not open until 6:45am! Unfortunately this happened to us, and we had to wait to get on the second bus!

And while you are waiting for the bus to take you to Mount Fuji, take a few minutes to figure out your schedule. Be sure to check the arrival time of your return bus from Fuji to Kawaguchiko. This way, you can coordinate it with the bus you will need catch from Kawaguchiko back to Shinjuku. The return bus can get really crowded, so do not wait until last bus! You might not be able to squeeze in!

How Should I Prepare to Climb Mount Fuji?

Mount Fuji 3

Okay, finally we are heading to Mountain Fuji and start to get more serious! Keep in mind that Fuji-san is not a difficult climb, but it’s not a cakewalk, either. Do not even think about going all the way to summit without the following gear and enough energy–

  • Good Climbing Boots. The most essential thing for this climb is a sturdy set of climbing boots. Some rocky and steep areas are hard to climb. Good hiking boots are necessary to support you and protect your ankles.
  • Waterproof Jacket. Temperature and weather changes are unpredictable on the mountain. It can be cold, even in summer, and a strong wind will make it worse. A rain squall can also blow through, and you will want protection from the variances of the weather.
  • Protective Accessories. Sunglasses, hats, gloves, and sunscreen. The ultraviolet rays is very strong above the cloud cover. You do not want to get sunburned, so be sure to bring all these protections.
  • Hiking Stick. Due to lots of rocky and steep sections, you may need hiking sticks to aid you climb up all these tricky rocks. At Mount Fuji’s 5th station, you can get a wooden climbing stick that doubles as a souvenir of your trip! Some of them are decorated with colorful wraps, small bells and flags, and cost anywhere from 1300 to 2000 yen (depending on your decorations). Even better, you can get stamps burned into your stick at the huts along the trail. Each stamp  cost around 300 yen, and turns it into your unique souvenir! Get all the way to the top for that special summit stamp and show it off to your friends back home!

Mount Fuji 11 Mount Fuji 12

  • Flashlight. A flashlight is necessary for those of who are determined to climb overnight to see the sunrise. Even though the trail is illuminated during the peak season, for your own safety it is still highly recommended.
  • Snacks and Water. You’ll need some snacks to support you and help you get your energy back. Especially closer to the top, when there are fewer huts and things get more expensive. Water and meals can be purchased with a correspondingly higher charge at higher altitudes. Water is definitely a must. I recommend at least four liters, more if you can carry it.
  • Cash. Huts do not accept credit cards, and you need coins to use their toilets.
  • Trashbag. Please do not litter on the mountain. If you take it up, bring it back down. Also, there are pretty heavy fines if you get caught.

Before you start your climb, visit the Tourist Information Center to get maps, ask questions, and get the emergency phone number. Please call 0555-72-1477 if you run into any trouble while climbing.

What A Climb! Now What Can I Do Around Kawaguchiko?

If you are not in the rush, there are so many things you can do around Kawaguchiko. You can explore it before your climb starts, or before you go home! The beautiful Kawaguchiko Lakes are a 20-minute walk from station and are definitely worth visiting. You can get some snacks, sit beside the lake, and enjoy a relaxing moment.

There are also several museums located in this small town. Kubota Itchiku Museum, The Museum of Art, The Music Forest, The Gem Museum and Herb Hall. They’re bound to have something you like! You can even go to Fuji-Q Highland, a popular amusement park with exciting roller coaster and haunted house. Fuji-Q Highland is only two train stops away, and is a good way to get a warm up before a second day of climbing!

As for dinner, you don’t want to miss out the traditional dish especially from Yamanashi prefecture – Houtou. There are several good restaurants in town, so be sure to check opening hours and get in before its last order! You deserve a good meal after a long day.

Mount Fuji 7

If you have enough time, there is another spot you do not want to miss. The Chureito Pagoda is a five-story pagoda on the mountainside, which you can climb in about 15 minutes. The breathtaking view overlooks the whole of Fujiyoshida city and Mountain Fuji, and the view from here (as well as a picture) at the right time is going to be a cherished memory of your trip. During the cherry blossom season, this is a fantastic photography spot for that classic Mountain Fuji photo shot. To get there, take the train from Kawaguchiko station to Shimo-Yoshida Station (3 stations away). Follow the signs after leaving the station and you can easily reach the Pagoda. I was lucky enough to arrive there at sunset, and the view of Mountain Fuji surrounded by a sunset glow and cotton candy clouds, with the whole city slowly lighting up, was an amazingly beautiful sight!

Mount Fuji 8

We hope you have enjoyed our guide to climbing Mount Fuji and what to do afterwards. Remember, hydrate, wear sunscreen, get a stick, and have fun!

To explore other experiences in Japan, click on the articles below–

July 22, 2016 0 comment
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Harajuku street fashion is a culmination of all things weird, trendy, and uniquely Japanese. And the best place to go in Tokyo to get that Harajuku Girl look is Takeshita Street. Not only is this pedestrian street a hub for the culture of youth street fashion, it’s also great fun! During your trip to Tokyo, be sure to check out these spots!

(If you’re worried about the differences in sizing, check out our great article on size conversions here!)

Harajuku Street Fashion: 6% DOKIDOKI

6%dokidoki

You can’t miss the pink and pastel exterior of 6% DokiDoki. With ribbons and glitter practically spill right out onto the street, 6% DOKIDOKI is the perfect place to start assembling your Harajuku Girl outfit.

Check out our article on 6% DOKIDOKI here!

 

ACDC Rag

ACDC Rag Harajuku Street Fashion

A fashion mainstay on a street where shops are quick to go out of style. ACDC Rag sells a variety of youth-oriented styles, from Gothic Lolita to punk to hipster. Collaborations with other designers and constant additions to their apparel keeps this brand fresh and exciting.

Check out our ACDC Rag article here!

 

Bubbles

Bubbles Harajuku Street Fashion

Bubbles makes you feel like you’re walking into dollhouse. Everything inside is just so girly! This is the perfect place to go to revamp your wardrobe with pastel sweaters, fuzzy bunny phone cases, and velvet chokers. Make sure to strike a fashionable pose in front of the rose wall!

You can check out this very cute Harajuku Street fashion on the Bubbles Website and Online Store (Google Translate) or check them out on Twitter (via Google Translate) and Instagram.

 

Calbee Plus

Calbee Plus Harajuku Street Fashion

Check out the Calbee Plus shop on Takeshita Street! The menu includes potato chips exclusive to this store, such as freshly-fried potato chips topped with maple syrup, cream cheese, or chocolate. And they have soft ice cream for those hot summer days! Packaged snacks make for delicious souvenirs for friends and family!

Check out our Calbee Plus article here!

Etude House

Etude House Harajuku Street Fashion

Etude House is the perfect place to visit for your makeup needs. This Korean cosmetics brand has a large line of cosmetics for every age and skin type.  Before buying, feel free to test out the products and ask for personalized help from a makeup specialist. You can also go to their in-store studio for a makeup lesson and a custom makeover!

You can see what Etude House has to offer on their Website (via Google Translate). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese only), on Twitter (via Google Translate) , or their Instagram.

Harajuku Alta

Harajuku Alta Harajuku Street Fashion

Harajuku Alta is a multi-level mall containing a large selection of stores that will have you screaming “kawaii!” Favorites include Choco Choco by SWIMMER and the Harajuku Lagrace Mart, where you can find great accessories and shoes. Check out Harajuku Alta’s Website (via Google Translate) to see what’s happening now.

Hysteric Glamour

Like printed tees and denim vests? Hysteric Glamour is the place to go! With a laid-back California aesthetic and a rock ‘n’ roll mindset, this place can help you with a layered grunge look that mixes in that little bit of Japanese something.

Check out our article on Hysteric Glamour here!

Kawaii Monster Cafe

Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku Tokyo JapanIt’s not a clothing store, but no trip to Harajuku is complete without a stop at the Kawaii Monster Cafe. When people think of the crazy fashions, pastel-neon colors, and outrageous nuttiness of that aspect of Japanese culture, this is the place they’re thinking of! The bizarre decor, hyperactive floor shows, and high-speed pop beat is the perfect background for your Facebook and Instagram photos.

Check out our Kawaii Monster Cafe article here!

Lazy Hazy Planet

Lazy Hazy Planet Harajuku Street Fashion

Lazy Hazy Planet runs the gamut of Harajuku Street fashion. Glitter to goth, Levi’s to leather, L.H.P. has seen and done it all. And when you go inside, you realize they have it all! Lazy Hazy Planet is a perfect mix-and-match place to experiment with new looks.

Check out our article on L.H.P. here!

LINE Friends Store

LINE Friends Store Harajuku Street Fashion

Fashion isn’t limited to your clothing! If you use the LINE application, the LINE Friends Store at the end of Takeshita Street is a must-go. You can get your picture taken with Brown, pick up exclusive wear and accessories, and even get the exclusive virtual stickers to show your LINE friends that you were fashionably there.

Check out our LINE Friends Harajuku article here!

Milk

Lolita fashion - Milk Storefront in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

Lolita fashion is still alive and well in the Harajuku street fashion scene. For 45 years, Milk has been catering to the Lolita community with a constant stream of frilly and Victorian fashions. Whether you are new to the Lolita idea or a longtime fan, visiting this fashion landmark is always special.

Check out our article on Milk here!

Paris Kid’s

Paris Kids Harajuku Street Fashion

Need some cheap, trendy, and fashionable accessories? Paris Kid’s is the only place to go. the walls are lined with thousands of earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets that will put the finishing touches on your new look. Frequented by young girls and women alike, what keeps people coming back are the prices. None of the accessories or jewelry at this store cost more than 500 yen!

Check out our Paris Kid’s article here and get the discount!

Q-pot CAFE.

Q-Pot Cafe Harajuku Tokyo Japan

The Q-pot CAFE makes fabulous accessories to round our your wardrobe. And not only that, you can have a taste of the “accessory sweets” they have at the cafe! And the SE”Q”RET room? Well, you’ll just have to go and find out for yourself! Check out our Q-pot CAFE. article here!

Totti Candy Factory

Totti Candy Factory Harajuku Street fashion

You know you’re near the Totti Candy Factory when you start smelling sugar and sweets. Inside this pink polka-dotted shop, you’ll find decorated cake pops and a wall lined with all kinds of candy for your scooping pleasure. Their signature item is made-to-order cotton candy that is make right in front of you! Delicious fun for every age.

Check out the Totti Candy Factory’s Website (Google Translate) or follow them on social media at Twitter (via Google Translate) or on Instagram.

Tutuanna

Tutuanna-FI-585x390

It’s so pink and girly and sweet that you’ll have to brush your teeth afterwards. Tutuanna is the place to go for leg wear and socks. Because as we all know, no Harajuku Girl look is complete without pink cat hosiery!

Check out our article on Tutuanna here

WC

WC Harajuku Street Fashion

Bring out your girly and sweet side by visiting WC! This shop is filled with clothes and accessories to match the pastel and neon decor to get you dressing like a true Harajuku Girl. Update your wardrobe with the bunny-eared sweatshirts, cheetah-print backpacks, and velvet jackets that you can only find here!

Check out this Harajuku Street fashion at their Website or check their social media at Twitter (via Google Translate) or Instagram.

Wego

Wego Harajuku Street Fashion

With locations all over Tokyo and Japan, Wego is a testament of how often Harajuku Street fashion shifts from trend to trend. If you want fashion and accessories that will turn you into a street fashionista for a reasonable price, head to Wego!

Check out our article on Wego here!

Wonder Rocket

Wonder Rocket Harajuku Street Fashion

With two locations on Takeshita Street, Wonder Rocket sells Mori-style clothing and accessories ranging from sweet dresses and tops to fuzzy heels and bags. Although they are already reasonably priced, it pays to be on the lookout for Wonder Rocket’s 50% off sales!

Check out what’s going on at Wonder Rocket at their Website (via Google Translate) or on their Facebook (Japanese only), Twitter (via Google Translate), or Instagram.

World Wide Love

World Wide Love Harajuku Tokyo JapanWhere’s the love? It’s at World Wide Love! The brand of the spray-painted smiley face covers your street style fashion needs while never straying too far from whimsy. Check out their great collaborations!

Check out our article on World Wide Love here!

June 20, 2016 0 comment
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Top 5 Fall Foliage: Gotokuji Temple, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

Though Japan’s internationally admired cherry blossoms typically come to mind when thinking of seasonal delights, the country is equally stunning during the fall. The brilliant crimson and golden leaves are a particularly nice touch of nature amidst the urban sprawl of Tokyo.

Here are 5 of our favorite fall foliage viewing spots in and around Tokyo that we recommend you visit this autumn.

A word of warning: head out early to avoid the camera and tripod-wielding photography enthusiasts that love to block the paths!

Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

 

If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy the autumn chill right in the heart of Tokyo, Yoyogi Park the perfect place to relax and and enjoy a lazy fall afternoon. You can either join in the fun and games or tuck yourself away into a quiet corner in the massive park.

Closest Stations: Harajuku Station, Meijijingu-mae Station

Fall foliage at Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo

The nearby Shinjuku Gyoen is another wonderful place to enjoy the fall colors. Unlike Yoyogi Park, there’s a small entrance fee but you’re rewarded with a stillness and quiet that make you feel as if you stepped into another universe. And once you’re ready to take on the crowds again, you can enjoy some shopping in East Shinjuku.

 

Top 5 Fall Foliage: Gotokuji Temple, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

Gotokuji Temple in Setagaya

 

Gotokuji, Setagaya, Tokyo

You know that adorable paw-waving cat (the maneki neko) that you see everywhere in Japan? Though the story changes, one version is that one day a daimyo was passing by a temple when his attention was caught by a cat that appeared to be beckoning him in. As soon as he entered, a downpour began. Feeling grateful that he avoided the storm, the daimyo afterwards bought and restored Gotokuji temple and the maneki neko has since been associated with good luck. So it’s no surprise that you’ll find thousands of the statues here, both large and small. You’ll also see retirees relax and paint as you wander through the small, but interesting temple grounds.

Address: Tokyo-to, Setagaya-ku, Gotokuji 2-24-7
Closest stations: Gotokuji Station, Miyano-saka Station
Note: It’s not a straight shot to Gotokuji from Gotokuji Station so you may want to use Miyano-saka Station instead.

 

Top 5 Fall Foliage: Manekineko at the Gotokuji Temple, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

 

Mount Takao

If enjoy hiking, then you likely already know of Tokyo’s best hiking. With well-maintained paths of varying difficulties (and the monkey park!), Mt. Takao is a great place to visit any time of the year. The scenery here is particularly spectacular in the fall, however, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see Mount Fuji on a clear day. Trails can get crowded, so this is one spot you definitely want to arrive at early.

 

Fall foliage at Hondoji, Chiba, Japan

Hondoji Temple

Hondoji, Matsudo, Chiba

Though a bit out of the way compared to some of the other spots, Hondoji temple is a great place to enjoy the fall leaves. The old wooden buildings provide the perfect backdrop to the vibrant leaves. The grounds are spacious enough that you don’t have to jostle your way through the crowds and there are a variety of buildings and gardens to look at. Simply take the Chiyoda line to Kita-Kogane station and it’s a short walk from there.

Address: 63 Hiraga, Matsudo, Chiba 270-0002, Japan
Closest Station: Kita-Kogane Station.
Note: Kita-Kogane Station is easily accessed from Tokyo via the Chiyoda line.

 

Hondoji

 

 

 

 

 

November 12, 2015 0 comment
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Shinjuku Gyoen Featured Image, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Edited by Daniel Foster
Music by Ean Cruz

For more information on this beautiful park, visit our article Shinjuku Gyoen: A spectacular garden amongst highrises.

You’ve been walking all day in Shinjuku, trying new and exquisite foods, buying souvenirs, and spending a lot of your hard-earned cash. We know what you’re thinking: “If only I could go somewhere and relax for a bit. Somewhere away from all of these skyscrapers and crowded streets.”— Then, mosey on over to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Easily one of the most beautiful areas of nature in Tokyo, Gyoen National Garden is located amongst the tallest skyscrapers and high rises in Shinjuku. Gyoen stretches over 58.3 hectares in area with a circumference of 3.5 km. Gyoen is home to three distinct styles of landscaping: French and English in the north, and Japanese in the south. In addition to those landscapes, Gyoen offers two Japanese traditional tea houses, a green house, and a “mother and child forest” (母と子の森).

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Shinjuku Gyoen is a popular spot for couples, friends, and families. Cherry Blossom season is the most popular and people usually have picnics under the blossoms while enjoying the company of their friends, families, and acquaintances. That doesn’t mean you can’t do the same in any season, though, as people still hang out in Gyoen on sunny summer days as well as cooler autumn evenings. And don’t worry, if you’re drinking, be it water or beer, Gyoen has plenty of rest rooms (like any other park, though, don’t expect the cleanest ones).

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Mostly characterized by its large field, the English garden has that back-home feel to it that UK and US residents will instantly recognize. A few trees here and there aren’t enough to stop you from throwing a Frisbee, kicking around a football, or just relaxing. This area also offers beautiful paths shaded by trees in late spring to late fall, as well as some small ponds and beautiful foliage.Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan People of French origin do not despair; the French garden is just as beautiful. Personally, I have never been to France, but you can instantly tell the difference in landscaping when you begin to enter the French garden. Instead of trees, the French garden has beautiful shrubbery populating its lawn. Still, this doesn’t affect how you can use the garden in the least bit. Hanging out with friends, playing some football, or just kicking back and relaxing is no problem.

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

It should be noted of both gardens that you won’t be able to have a full on game with a group of 20 friends here. It is a National Garden and not a football pitch after all.

The Japanese landscape is just what one should expect: traditionally beautiful, with Japanese aesthetics and characteristics. This garden is the largest of the three and definitely the most luxurious. Shrubbery, Japanese foliage, and trees populate the landscape and are complimented with beautiful traditional tea houses, bridges, and ponds. As you traverse this area, you have colorful foliage in front of you, and colorful carp in the ponds underneath you. All elements of Japanese aesthetics have been properly placed for a most enjoyable experience.

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Tired already? There are plenty of benches along the way for you to stop and rest at, and the pavilions have drink machines if you’re thirsty.

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

The greenhouse is an added bonus. The greenhouse is humid in the summer, and cool in the winter, and is a great way to start or finish your visit to Gyoen. Lily pads, cacti, exotic flowers and various other plants all populate this magnificent area and offer an experience that plant-lovers and botanists will not forget.

Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan Shinjuku Gyoen, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Parks are hidden gems amongst the skyscrapers, high rises, and crowded Tokyo streets. Anyone who’s lived in Japan for some time will tell you your average park is usually a dirt lot with a few benches and trees. Also, you’re hard pressed to find a piece of nature in Tokyo, so don’t let the city overwhelm you. Take a break from the busy streets and fast life of Tokyo, and make sure you head over to Shinjuku Gyoen to revitalize your spirit, recharge your mind, and breathe and enjoy fresh air in the company of nature.

August 2, 2015 0 comment
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Odaiba Onsen Featured Images, Odaiba, Tokyo

Onsens in Japan date back thousands of years. Thousands of these hot springs can be found throughout the country, but the cultural barriers to entry can seem high to outsiders. Where do you go? What do you do? Do you really have to get naked around a bunch of strangers?

Never fear! I have been to several onsens throughout the country, and in this article I’ll show you the do’s and don’ts of the onsen experience. For this article, I use the Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Tokyo. Not only is it a great onsen, it is easy to get to from any number of local train stations and hotels.

And should you decide to visit the Oedo Onsen Monogatari, Voyagin can help you out with a discount!

A Note on Tattoos

Japanese people have an aversion to body art due to its long association with criminal elements. Some onsens outside of Tokyo allow them, and others will allow you to enter if you have some way of covering them up (usually with a flesh-toned bandage).

The Oodeo Onsen Monogatari does not allow tattoos at all. Yes, they are aware that not everyone who has a tattoo is a criminal. Your tattoos may very well be innocuous (your kid’s names, etc) or have some deep, personal meaning. But sorry, you will not be admitted. Please do not be the ugly foreigner who shows up and makes a scene by arguing with the staff.

NOTE: I have heard that some people have gotten around this rule by covering up with a t-shirt or leggings, but you will still not be able to get into the baths. And if you can’t go to the baths, why bother going at all? Also, I don’t know what happens to you if you get caught, but I’m sure it will cause quite a bit of embarrassment.

 

Money Matters

Onsen trips can be expensive. The Oedo Onsen Monogatari has a reasonable price of entry (2500-2900 yen per adult, 1000 yen for children ages 4-12, under 4 is free), which includes the bath, the yukata robe (more on that below), towels, and facility usage. But that’s not all–there are plenty of good things to eat and drink, games for the kids to play, and wonderfully relaxing massages.

You do not carry money at Oedo Onsen Monogatari–they have a computerized system that keeps track of your purchases via a barcoded bracelet that you will receive once you go inside. Therein lies the danger. Since money isn’t changing hands, you may have no idea how much you have spent until you get to the checkout counter. For your estimation purposes, my last trip with my wife and son cost 12,000 yen (baths, food and drink, etc). Make sure you have enough to cover your trip!

 

Other Things To Consider

Medical conditions and pregnancy. If you have high blood pressure, are pregnant, or are otherwise susceptible to high temperatures, complications could arise from using the baths. Please check with your doctor before you leave home if you are thinking of going to an onsen.

Bring a change of clothes. You will want clean underwear after you leave the baths, and clean clothes to change back into once you leave the onsen.

Know your height in centimeters, so you can get an appropriately-sized yukata (below).

 

The Oedo Onsen Monogatari Experience

Once you enter the onsen, you have to take off your shoes and place them in one of the lockers to the left of the entrance. You can wear socks if you want, but make sure they are clean and not-holey ones. Keep the key, so you can get your shoes back at the end of your visit.

Next, you will check in at the service desk. Here you will give your credit card number and you will receive a barcoded bracelet that doubles as locker key and wallet. The barcode bracelet is used to pay for food, drinks, and other extras inside the onsen area.

The third step is to get a yukata from the counter. A yukata is a thin robe, worn with a sash, which you will wear for the duration of your trip to the onsen. As it is with the case of tattoos, this is not negotiable–this is what is worn inside the onsen area. Go to the counter and choose your size (in centimeters), a pattern, and one of the sashes. Oh, and make sure you get one that is the correct size. Too long and you are wearing a wedding gown that trails everywhere. Too small, and everyone will wonder where the flood is.

 

Wearing Your Yukata

At Oedo Onsen Monogatari, there are separate changing rooms for men (blue curtain) and women (red curtain). The changing room is essentially a locker room. Find the locker that matches your key, and you will be ready to change into your yukata.

Wearing a yukata is just like wearing a bathrobe. When you put it on, you will cross the left side of the robe over the right. Ladies have additional strings on the inside of their yukata in order to prevent “wardrobe malfunctions.”

Why is it left over right? Well, the explanation I got was that swordsmen drew their katana with their right hand from their left hip, and having your yukata on right-over-left could possibly entangle your sword hand, which would likely get you killed.

“But I don’t have a sword,” I said. “Also, I’m left-handed. If I did get into a quick-draw-and-slash contest, I would be just as screwed.”

“Shut up and put it on right,” was my wife’s answer.

There is another reason. Wearing the yukata right-over-left is reserved for the dead at their funeral. No one will actually think that you are dead, but it is a social faux pas. On the other hand, you now know how to identify Japanese zombies should the dead rise during your vacation. If you forget which side goes over which, there are plenty of signs in the changing area to remind you.

Traditionally, people wore nothing at all under their yukata, but modernity has allowed for some modifications. First, you will wear underwear beneath your robe. Ladies, a bra is also appropriate. If you like, you can also wear a t-shirt and socks with your yukata. If you intend to go to the baths immediately, put on your fresh gear. You don’t want to take a bath only to put your dirty underwear back on.

Also, there is a small pocket on the inside to keep your cell phone or camera. You can take a camera inside the onsen, just be mindful of where you are taking pictures. In the common areas, it’s ok, but (for obvious reasons) no pictures are allowed in the locker rooms or bath areas.

 

To the Baths!

First, please refrain from taking a bath when you are dead drunk (see sign).

Thank you for not embarrassing the rest of the visitors. Now lets get to it.

Once you leave the locker room, you enter the common area, where all of the food booths, games, etc are located. Oedo Onsen Monogatari is built like a miniature hot springs town–in other onsens, all of these food stands, bars, games, etc. aren’t this close together. To get to the baths, go left and follow the signs.

Older onsens were mixed-sex bathing, but those have fallen out of fashion. Oedo Onsen Monogatari splits the baths into men’s and women’s sides. For this portion, please realize that I am a guy, so I only know what’s in the men’s baths. (My wife assures me that it is essentially the same over on their side, but you never know…)

After entering the bath area, you will first enter another locker room. Right inside the door you will receive two towels–one small, one large. With these, choose a locker and strip down. Everything goes into this locker–your yukata, underwear, socks, cell phone, and even your bar code bracelet. You cannot wear any clothing at all in the onsen–no shorts, no swim trunks, whatever. Naked as the day you were born, as the saying goes. The locker has a key on a plastic band. This goes around your wrist, and is the only exception to the “total nudity” rule.

The larger towel you got at the entrance also goes into the locker, because it is for drying yourself off after you get out of the bath. The smaller one (a washcloth, for Americans) is what you take into the onsen with you. If you are modest, you can use it to block the view of your junk, which no one cares about anyway. If you want to go like a native, you’ll use it to wash your face and dry your sweat in the baths. Please do not dip this cloth into the bath water–it is considered unsanitary to do so. While in the water, you can put it to the side or fold it up and put it on your head, just like in the cartoons.

 

Once Inside the Baths…

The first thing you do in the actual bath section is to take a shower. It may sound odd, but the purpose of the onsen is to relax, not bathe. You are going to soak here, and hopefully not in a bath of oily scum left by previous bathers. Inside the Oedo Onsen Monogatari, there are two options. Once you enter, there is a traditional “bowl bath”, in which you simply douse yourself in water. If you look behind you, there is a Western-style shower. Either way works.

If you are especially grimy, please use one of the shower stations that are on the left side of the indoor section of the baths. The stations all come with a stool, body soap, shampoo, conditioner, and a bowl and shower head combo. Get your pretty man on! Just make sure you get all of the soap off of your body before going to the baths. That’s another faux pas to avoid.

After that, there are several pools to choose from. They vary in temperature, as per a nearby thermometer. There are baths, and there is even is a whirlpool. Not bad, right? Be aware of the temperature and don’t force yourself to get into a bath if it is too hot.

And once you are there, relax. Nice, isn’t it? Some people bathe alone, and others gather in groups and chit-chat. If come by yourself, you will probably stay that way. One time during one of my earlier trips, some guy sat next to me to practice his naked English, which was rather awkward. But that was just that one time, out of dozens of trips.

 

Nude in the Great Outdoors

After your initial stride into the waters of a Broader Mindset, see if you can go outside. Yes, there are bathing pools outside, along with benches and other spots where you can lie down and flap about in the breeze. The high wall surrounding the area protects your privacy, and will protect the general public from your bad jokes (Q. Why did the bald man go outside at the onsen? A. He wanted to feel the wind in his hair). You can soak in the outside pool or take a nap if you like. Beware of sunburn on your sensitive bits.

Once you are done soaking, take another shower at one of the shower stations before exiting the bath area. You’ll leave the onsen feeling fresh, relaxed, and very clean. Time to see what else is here!

 

The Foot Baths

The foot baths at Oedo Onsen Monogatari are outside, in the Japanese gardens. Here, there is a long, winding walking pool. If you are feeling bold, hike up your yukata and wade right in!

I have to admit, this is not my favorite thing to do. The water is nice, but the walking path (both in the water and on the dry parts of the path) are studded with rocks. The rocks are supposed to “massage” your soles, for increased blood circulation or some other ancient Eastern medicine reason. I think that the larger rocks are ok for this, but walking on the smaller rocks is like finding missing Lego while going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Painful! Overall, I’d rather just sit on one of the benches that line either side of the pool and dangle my feet in the water.

There is another peculiar pool in this area, full of tiny fish. For a fee, you can soak your feet in this pool, and the fish will eat the dead skin off of whatever they can reach. The very idea sorta grosses me out, but some people seem to like it.

The Rest of Your Onsen Experience

The Oedo Onsen Monogatari is a great place to go for your first onsen experience. It is foreigner-friendly and easy to get around. All the signs are duplicated in English, and most of the staff can help you in areas related to their expertise.

There are lots of things to eat and drink. Just about every Japanese dish is represented here at one food stand or another, along with desserts (I liked the strawberry ice topped with condensed milk). We went with a group and had lunch with them (pictured), but you don’t have to do that. Just find what you like, point at the menu, and use your barcode bracelet to pay. Easy!

And there are other things to do. Near the bathing area is the spa, where you can get everything from a massage to skin exfoliation to a reflexology treatment. There are plenty of carnival-style games for the kids (and me, because I like throwing ninja stars). There is even a reclining chair area for you to take a nap, in case all of that relaxing wears you out.

And don’t forget to go to the gift shop before you leave!

In Short…

Going to an onsen is one of those “very Japanese” things to do, and will make for a great story when you return home. I used the Oedo Onsen Monogatari as a template for onsen trips–if you go somewhere else, the particulars may vary, but probably not by much. Also, Oedo Onsen Monogatari is inside Tokyo and is easy to get to through any number of methods (see below). If you are staying at a hotel, they can likely arrange a trip for you. Highly recommended!

Still not sure if you want to go to Oedo Onsen Monogatari? Maybe Voyagin’s discount can help you decide!

Oedo Onsen Monogatari

Oedo Onsen Monogatari Location Information

Website (English) | Facebook (customer reviews and photos)

Access: There are multiple ways to get to Oedo Onsen Monogatari, best explained at http://daiba.ooedoonsen.jp/en/#access

Hours of Operation: Open 7 days a week, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m (next day), last entry: 7 a.m.

“Why Go?”: For a relaxing soak, good food, and an unforgettable experience!

Click on one of the tags below to find other experiences in Tokyo–

July 17, 2015 0 comment
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Shopping in Edo-style stores in Kawagoe, Saitama

by Zoe Mackey

About a month into my four month stay in Japan, I was looking for a day escape from Tokyo’s fast paced buzz. I stumbled upon a town called Kawagoe, located in Saitama Prefecture, and within short reach from Tokyo’s central hub. About 30 minutes from Ikebukuro Station on the Tobu Tojo Line or about an hour on the Seibu Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku Station, Kawagoe has retained the old Edo Period character and aesthetic, as many of the old style merchant storehouses line the street and sell a variety of goods and snacks.

Edo-style Street in Kawagoe, Saitama

An interesting duality exists in Kawagoe. Strolling down the nostalgic Kurazukuri Street provides a small glimpse into the historical Edo charm, while modern century cars drive by and stop at various traffic lights. Old Japan meets new as you venture in and out of the many clay-walled stores and restaurants, munching on senbei (rice crackers) and soft serve matcha ice cream. Traditional Japanese souvenirs and merchandise can be bought and admired along this street, including ceramics and pottery embroidered with Japanese art, tenugui (cotton hand towel), and embellished lacquered chopsticks.

Kawagoe also has a number of temples and shrines to visit. Along Kurazukuri Street, multiple cobblestone side streets will lead you to different temples. These quiet, spiritual sites are just seconds from the bustling street. I happened to find a small koi pond at a temple’s entrance. You can tell how much attention these fish receive by the way they swarm when you’re close to the water. Various other temples and shrines can be found outside of Kurazukuri Street. Handy maps are spread throughout the town, often in English with pictures for reference, aiding tourists trying to find the many notable spots of Kawagoe.

Temple Path in Kawagoe, Saitama

Another point of interest in Kawagoe’s Warehouse District, near Kurazukuri Street, is Candy Alley, or Kashiya Yokochō. The name alone is sure to attract anyone with a sweet tooth, or anyone looking for dessert after a meal. It’s a great place to stock up on traditional sweets only found in Japan, especially to bring home to friends and relatives. On this small street, stores sell several treats and snacks, including Japanese candies, ice cream, and cakes with different fillings. Looking at all the colorful candies and treats, you will feel like a kid again, only this time no one is stopping you from indulging in every sweet you want (except, maybe, your guilty conscience).

I highly suggest making it a point to visit Kawagoe, even for just a short day or half day trip. The lively Edo seen in movies, paintings, and written about in literature comes to life in this small, quaint town. But be sure to start your day in Kawagoe earlier in the afternoon or around late morning, as most if not all the shops close at 5:00pm.

Shopping in Edo-style stores in Kawagoe, Saitama

Temple in Kawagoe, Saitama

 

Back Street in Kawagoe, Saitama

Edo-style street in Kawagoe, Saitama

Access: From Hon-Kawagoe station the walk to Kawagoe’s Warehouse District, or Kurazukuri no Machinami, takes about 10-15 minutes, or alternatively 20-25 minutes from Kawagoe Station. The best route is to take the Seibu Shinjuku Line to Hon-Kawagoe station and walk the short distance from there. I arrived at Kawagoe Station and walked quite a length to the main Warehouse District, as opposed to the shorter walk from Hon-Kawagoe Station.

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Zoe Mackey is a native New Yorker and college student currently studying in Tokyo. Her greatest inspirations are street fashion, lazy Sundays, and science fiction. You’ll more than likely find her taking amateur photos and looking for the best food in Tokyo. You can email her at z.isamac@gmail.com.

March 14, 2015 0 comment
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If you’re looking for the perfect place to do indoor activity during a rainy day in Tokyo or just need to de-stress, we recommend taking a trip to Spo-cha inside the Round1 Stadium in Odaiba.

Spo-cha is a massive entertainment center with all sorts of fun sections to enjoy, and open at convenient hours. For a reasonable entrance fee, you can enjoy various entertainment areas & activities including:

  • Game arcades
  • Basketball, tennis and volleyball courts
  • Karaoke rooms
  • Swimming
  • Batting cages
  • Soccer field
  • Mini motorcycle riding
  • Rollerblading
  • Mechanical bulls
  • Golf
  • Kids playroom

Spo-cha can be found all over Japan and each Spo-cha is slightly different depending on location. The nearest Spo-cha to central Tokyo, and the one we recommend, is located in Diver City Tokyo Plaza at Odaiba city.

Diver City Tokyo Plaza is a Japanese mall that contains various shops and services ranging from Japanese traditional souvenirs and toy stores to amusement facilities, such as Spo-cha and bowling-centric Round1. Look specifically for the world’s only full-size Gundam statue found in the plaza! The mall is just a 10-minute walk from Tokyo Teleport train station.

Source

Here are the various timetables and prices:

Prices are subject to change*

Spocha Prices
Note*: Foreign student cards can also be used!

Spocha Location Information

Website (translated) | Facebook
Nearest Station: 9-minute walk from Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line)


Located on the 6th floor of Diver City Tokyo Plaza
Hours of Operation: 8:00AM-6:00AM on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends.
“Why Go?”: A family-friendly place to have fun indoors, especially when it is raining.

Got some extra time in Odaiba? Check out some of our other articles for more ideas!

Odaiba: Tokyo’s Shopping, Amusement and Relaxation Paradise
36 Hours in Tokyo: Kids in Tow
Odaiba by Boat
Jicoo the Floating Bar

May 23, 2014 0 comment
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