Day 6 of our week–long stay in Tokyo was spent going around Tokyo Tower (although we didn’t go up), dropping by Odaiba, and then passing by Shibuya. The rest of the time was spent packing up and buying last-minute souvenirs since we would be flying home the following day. But anyway, here’s the day in pictures:
A lively night in Shinjuku. Then again, Shinjuku’s always lively^^
For the weekly photo challenge “Lines“
After our Disney weekend was a trip to Shinjuku Gyoen and Asakusa. But first was a stop at Shinjuku Bus Terminal to inquire about tickets going to Oshino Hakkai.
We ought to have reserved beforehand because the schedule we wanted was no longer available. So no trip to see Mt. Fuji up close + a chance to see a world heritage site.
Anyway, we pushed on to Shinjuku Gyoen which was more or less nearby. My friends wanted to go back to the apartment and rest (because we averaged about 20,000 steps a day for the past four days haha^^; ) but when we finally got to the garden, it was just breathtaking and worth it:
From Shinjuku Gyoen, we headed on to Asakusa by cab. The ride took about half an hour long but the time went somewhat smoothly because it was a good way to go sightseeing still and I had occasional conversations with the driver. I think I used up my Japanese by the time we arrived at Asakusa but nevertheless the cab ride let us have a much-needed rest. Btw, most of the cab drivers in Tokyo are grandpas but this one was a Daniel Wu look-alike in his early 50s.
I’ve been to Asakusa before, but here are my spring edition photos:
My friends were able to buy souvenirs in Nakamise Doori and we enjoyed street food for dinner. Instead of ketchup, there’s lemon extract to pair with fried chicken.
Just two stops for day 5 but certainly satisfying.
Day 4 of our 7–day trip was a return to Disney Resort, but this time, at Disneysea. I was really looking forward to it because I’ve heard how better Disneysea was and all. And for me, Disneysea isn’t overrated at all.
Instead of a castle, Disneysea has a volcano at the center of the park, and it “erupts” at scheduled times. Be sure to hang around long enough to catch one. There were several people too who camped around the lake to save a good spot for the parade.
If you’re not after any of the rides, a good whole day is enough to enjoy the sights and sounds of the park.
Getting lost in Tokyo Sky Tree almost did though, tbh. I just couldn’t find where the bus stop was. Eventually we did and on to Disneyland we went.
We stayed at the souvenir shop near the entrance while waiting for the bus. The trip would take us back to Tokyo Sky Tree, and dinner was at a Mosburger we saw down the road.
We saved time by buying entrance tickets online. You can buy about two months before your intended schedule. As for transportation, the buses going to and from Tokyo Sky Tree were really convenient and not crowded at all.
Day 4 would be another trip to the resort, this time at Disney Sea.
So, Day 1 is a quick stop at Ueno Park; in the second day of our week-long trip, we went to Tsukiji Fish Market, Imperial Palace gardens, and had dinner at Akihabara.
We got to the fish market shortly before lunch. We did have lunch and coffee, but no, we did not have sushi. I failed to find the line of stalls selling sweets, too. Of course, Tsukiji Fish Market does smell like fish (duh!), but it’s still a lot cleaner than how I remember the wet markets we used to frequent when I was a kid.
Next stop is the Imperial Palace gardens. Whatever we had at Tsukiji we definitely burned on the way haha. Good thing we had a bag of strawberries to keep us fueled.
Our final stop was somewhere in Akihabara to meet our former officemates who also happened to be around the area. No pictures here because we were too hungry and we kinda looked haggard^^;
There was a lot of walking on this day but experiencing the places and feasting on the sights and sounds made all the walking worth it. Onwards to Day 3!
I joined my friends on their adventure to Tokyo April of last year because it would be their first time to travel DIY, and I tried getting a ticket for the 25th L’Anniversary, the weekend of which fell right smack in the middle of the schedule. I figured too that it would be my last chance to join them since I would migrate late last year. So, joining the party last, I made our itinerary and became the unofficial guide.
We landed at Narita Airport around lunch time so we had a meal first and then checked in to our house.
I had my friends go through an ordeal, and I really felt bad about it–the station we alighted from only had stairs on the exit we were supposed to take. We eventually made it to the house and after getting some much-needed rest, we headed to Ueno Park.
We didn’t really sit on the park and have a picnic; we couldn’t even if we wanted to; but the brief time there was fun nonetheless.
A lovely view of the Tokyo Tower from Zojoji.
This is one of those views that make you stop, take another look, and pull you in. I find it such a refreshing view, a reminder to stop and breathe. A one of a kind ambiance, especially in a bustling city like Tokyo.
Taken at Shinjuku in November of last year.
Being Japan’s icon and rightfully so, seeing Mt. Fuji is definitely a must for me. There are so many ways and so many places to enjoy the view, but for my trip, I chose to see Mt. Fuji from three vantage points in two days from the Fuji Five Lakes region. I tried viewing Mt. Fuji from the Chureito Pagoda, Mt. Shakushi and Lake Kawaguchiko. So yeah, these are the more nature-leaning sightseeing spots for Mt. Fuji.
I’ve read that Mt. Fuji’s visibility is somewhat unpredictable, so choosing the date to see Mt. Fuji (which I set practically four months in advance) was a gamble for me. But as you’ll see, it did pay off 🙂
Access to Fuji Five Lakes Region Coming from Tokyo
Let me start though by sharing how to get to the Fuji Five Lakes region. If you’re coming from Tokyo, the cheapest and fastest way to get to Fuji Five Lakes is via bus from the Shinjuku Bus Terminal. The trip roughly takes 2 hours and it costs JPY 1750 up to Kawaguchiko. You may purchase in advance and just approach the counter so you can get your ticket and have your seat assignment, or just purchase upfront. This is a hard lesson learned for me: to make the most of your trip, check the timetable and be at the bus terminal at least half an hour early so you can purchase your ticket.
I was originally going to alight at Kawaguchiko Station, but the bus would stop at Shimoyoshida first, where Chureito Pagoda is, so alight at Shimoyoshida station I did. And then I wish I didn’t, because I felt I was in the middle of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong; the town was quiet and lovely, but save from a couple other passengers–a lady and a man–who got off, there was no one else around because the town was covered in snow. And there were no signage near the bus stop that tells you how far Chureito Pagoda is, or which direction you need to head. So I mustered up my courage and asked one of the other passengers. She started telling me that I had to walk, and when I asked how far, she was hesitating. That got me nervous, for sure, until the other passenger spoke up and told me that he’ll show me the way. So we kept walking for at least 10 minutes until he spoke up and pointed at the mountain on the other side of the road. And boy, he did point way up to the mountain’s summit. For the second time that day, first being the moment I got off the bus, I thought of giving up. But I didn’t want to waste the gentleman’s kindness so I kept on. He pointed the way to the train station, i.e., my save point, and then he gave me instructions on how to get to the shrine entrance. I walked on, but didn’t find the way, so I retraced my steps. I came across another couple and this time, they took me right at the steps to Arakura Shengen shrine (where Chureito Pagoda is). So here it is, in pictures:
For a second, I wanted to cry after my phone shut down. I haven’t texted my host yet to pick me up, and it was about to get dark in the next 10 minutes or so. But I steeled myself and focused on getting to the train station. Thankfully, I was able to charge my phone when I got to Shimoyoshida station, texted my host, and then waited at Fujisan station. I then spent the night at Peace & One resort which I wrote about here.
Mt. Shakushi’s summit is one of the underrated viewing spots for Mt. Fuji, but when you conquer the two-hour hike, it’s said to be worth it. Note that I wrote “said to be” because it was too cold for me and I didn’t have enough time. But the trail is beautiful, too:
Following my failed quests to reach Chureito Pagoda and Mt. Shakushi’s summit, I had to ask my host several times if Lake Kawaguchiko is at sea level or not. The lake is one of the most scenic spots to view Mt. Fuji and this spot is the most accessible of the three, and is actually within the busy town. The lake is just a 5 – 10 minute walk from Kawaguchiko bus station and there are plenty of signs to guide the way. I was running on a tight schedule so I just managed to take a few shots of Lake Kawaguchiko:
This time, Mt. Fuji wasn’t completely visible at all (or maybe I was just looking at the wrong direction^^;;) In any case, it was still worth checking out Lake Kawaguchiko, mostly because I’d lose sleep for days in regret if I didn’t! Haha!
Two days, three spots, priceless encounters with places and people.