My relatives (from my father’s side) and I spent 10 days of our summer in Japan; I expected it to be a myriad of tour buses, annoying tour guides, and simply tiring. I have never been so wrong in my life, it is the best place I have travelled to – there’s so much to see, learn, discover, and fall in love with! We landed in Narita Airport, which is an hour and 30 minutes away from Shinjuku, Tokyo where our hotel is located. Outside the hotel, around 5-10 minute walk, there are shops and restaurants. Here is an InstaVid showing glimpse of Shinjuku.
It was my first time in a standing sushi bar, where I had the best sushi ever! The customer tells (in our case, we point the picture) the person who prepares the sushi their order, and they prepare it in front of you. This is probably why it’s so good. On our second day, we first visited Tokyo Tower which is the second tallest structure in Japan. It was originally the tallest, but the Tokyo Skytree came into the picture stripping the Tokyo Tower of such title.
We then headed to Shibuya, the shopping capital of Tokyo, where the statue of Hachiko is situated. Everything I know about Hachiko is from the movie Hachiko starring Richard Gere. I highly recommend this movie; although I have to warn you, it can and will make you cry.
It is also where the famous crossing is, which can be seen in the movie Lost In Translation. Shops like Forever21, Uniqlo, and H&M are in multi storied buildings with 4-6 floors, which is unlike most shops here in the Philippines. The items sold there are 200-600 pesos cheaper compared to the same items sold here in Manila.
We also need to fill our tummies, so during our shopping break we stumbled upon this little ramen place where we had our early dinner. It is unusual because the customer does not order through the waiter, instead through a vending machine in front of the establishment. The receipt that comes out of the vending machine will be given to the waiter, and voila, magical ramen. It’s the noodles that makes the ramen taste exceptional. I must say, BEST UDON EVER. Udon is a type of noodles in Japan that is thick and rich.
Our third day was solely for Mt. Fuji,the highest peak in Japan, which was 2 hours away from Tokyo. The moment we stepped out of the bus, I was surprised to see that there’s snow! It was my first time to experience snow, so I was extremely euphoric. Hence, this Let It Go inspired photo (without Elsa’s sass). http://instagram.com/p/oJJHkhiWij/ We strolled around the 5th station where there is a Shinto Temple, and a great up-close view of Mt. Fuji.
The air was different, my aura was cleansed by the beautiful surroundings, the view was spectacular and one of a kind. I wanted to bottle up the air as a form of art and activism to the excessive pollution we have in our urban areas; I just tried to breathe in all the fresh air that I could get, since we were only there for 30 minutes (the downside of being part of a tour, restrictions with their schedule; thus, not being able to stay longer or shorter in a certain place).
There was also a convenience store in this station where they sold Green Tea and Strawberry Cheesecake KitKat. I did not buy there, since I was already planning on buying in a grocery store. I thought I was going to be ripped off, the place being a tourist spot. Apparently, that isn’t how the odd flavours of KitKat works in Japan. These flavours are a needle in a haystack (expect for Green Tea, it’s everywhere). It is seasonal and regional. Luckily, I was still able to find Strawberry Cheesecake KitKat in the airport, though I got it at a higher price.
During the afternoon, we went to theMt. Fuji’s neighbouring mountain in order to see Mt. Fuji from different point of view. I was quite disappointed that we spent more time here than in Mt. Fuji, though the ferry ride going to the mountain was enjoyable.
To add to the euphoria I felt from Mt. Fuji, the Shinkansen or the bullet train comes into the picture. We were on the platform, unknowing of what a Shinkansen really is when one zooms by; everyone was shocked, and full of awe! It was extremely fast. We tried getting videos of the other (faster i.e., Nozomi) Shinkansen passing by, but I forgot to press the record button – I was too amused, and forgot how to use a phone. There are three kinds of Shinkansen namely, Nozomi, Hikara, and Kodoma. I got a video of a slower Shinkansen, probably the Hikara; it still is as amusing as the others. (I shall upload when I find my USB cable. :p) It has only been three days, and I am utterly awestruck.