diary · Travel

Your Guide to Tokyo Disneyland

Hi everyone, this post is a continuation of my previous trip to Japan posts. Here is the links to my previous posts about Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

On 7th day of our 10 day holiday in Japan, we headed to Tokyo Disneyland Resort. We decided to stay at the the Okura Resort Hotel as the resorts made it relatively easy to get to the parks. We arrived at the train station, then rode the resort line to the resort. Once arriving at the station, we were able to catch a shuttle bus to the hotel. Each Disneyland resort has a shuttle bus running between the station and the hotel. Both the resort monorail and the shuttle bus were Disney themed and it was adorable.

Had to blur my mother’s face because she wouldn’t appreciate her photo being uploaded.
The shuttle bus that transported us to the hotel.

Just a quick tip. At the hotel resorts you can purchase two or three day passes for the monorail. I recommend buying these to make travelling between the park and resorts easier. After arriving at the hotel, we chilled for around 2 hours because check in was in the afternoon. The resorts I’ve stayed at usually have a pool, a gym, convenience store, a few restaurants to eat at and a wedding planing/receptions. The restaurants are usually quite expensive and the gym/pools need to be paid for. If you have tattoos, you won’t be able to use these pools at the hotels because they have strict rules. However, if you are able to cover them then you should be able to use it.

Once we were finally in the room, it was amazing. The room was huge with proper beds and a huge bathroom. We had been used to sleeping on futons so we were quite happy to be able to sleep on an actual mattress. The channels are pretty limited in the hotel room. There are only Japanese channels which are as expected, so bring your own entertainment. The rest of the day we just chilled awaiting our adventures in Disneyland tomorrow.

The next day we got up bright and early and headed to Disneyland. We arrived at the gates and they checked our bags. After heading in, we were welcomed by a huge Christmas tree in Main Street. First we headed to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride which was fantastic. It’s a boat ride through a story that is played out by animatronics. These animatronics looked so much like that characters it was unreal. After the ride we headed to Splash Mountain to get fast passes. I recommend getting fast passes as it cuts the wait time in half. The only issue is it gives you a time slot for when you are supposed to return to ride the ride. This could be anywhere from one hour from the time you got the fast pass to more than five. In order to obtain another fast pass while you’re waiting you need to wait for two hours. We got our fast pass for Splash Mountain and it wasn’t until 5pm so we explored Adventureland and Westernland. In Adventureland, I found a hot apple cider from one of the food stands and though it was sickly sweet, it was great to try. The food stall items change seasonally so this was a Christmas drink. Around the park, different areas also have different food items so be sure to try them all.

Christmas tree in main street.
Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Adventureland was where the Pirate of the Caribbean ride was located, it also has a Jungle Cruise and the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. We explored the tree house then head to Westernland. Westernland is obviously western themed, as well as being home to the Mark Twain River Boat. The boat is American themed and cruises around an American themed western landscape. It’s quite enjoyable to ride.

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse
Mark Twain River Cruise

Soon the two hours were up and we headed to space mountain to get fast passes for the ride. However, it was closed. I highly suggest you check what’s open on the website so you’re not disappointed like I was because it’s my favourite ride. We were able to ride the Star Wars ride though and that was amazing. Basically, you go into a spaceship and the screen in front of you plays a video and the ship moves with it. I definitely recommend this ride.

Feeling hungry we took a look at the map to find some food. We decided to go with a buffet type restaurant called the Queen of Hearts Dining Hall. We got a dining set which came with a hamburger, mashed potato and soup. We also got dessert in a complementary cup, not going to lie we just wanted it for the cup.

Soon after we went on the It’s a Small World ride and let me just say, the song is as annoying as you think it is. Obviously, it is a kids ride, however, it’s just a ride you need to go on. The puppets are quite cute though, but be warned the song will be stuck in your head for ages. I was walking around the park singing it for the next hour in my head. We also wanted to explore the Cinderella Castle while in Fantasyland, thought this too was closed. It was quite disappointing because this is literally a Disney icon.

Inside the ride was super cute.

We continued to explore the ride a little then headed for Toontown where I saw more cute food. I proceeded to buy the Disney Christmas Bubble Tea drink and a Donald Duck glove steamed bun. I didn’t really enjoy it but it was good fun to try.

Toontown steam bun that had fried chicken inside.

After this we pretty much just explored the park. We were in search for a Cinderella popcorn bucket. Disneyland has popcorn stands with these awesome buckets located throughout the park. Each stand also has different flavours and my personal favourite was curry. Our efforts were futile in finding the desired bucket, as they too change seasonally and all we managed to find was a cool light up Tangled Lantern bucket. Some more notable food we found were the alien mochi ice cream and the a Nightmare Before Christmas hamburger type meal. Let me just say, the alien mochi is worth the hype.

Alien mochi found in Tomorrowland.
Sorry the picture is a bit dark. The hamburger had an edible cheese skull on it with a purple sauce and the dessert is a peach Donald Duck jello.

Soon after dinner we returned to our hotel and took a rest. We decided to go explore the Official Disney Hotel. It is absolutely beautiful inside and out. Everything was highly overpriced so we only were able to get some cocktails and then we returned to our hotel where we relaxed the rest of the night.

Hotel as seen during the day.

Thanks for reading everyone! I have one more Japan travel post so stay tuned.

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diary · Travel

A Day in Tokyo – Click for Cats

Hi everyone, this post is a continuation of my posts about my previous trip to Japan. In this post I’ll be writing about the day and two nights we spent in Tokyo. Here is a link to the previous posts about Osaka and Kyoto.

To get from Kyoto to Tokyo, we took the bullet train which involved around 2 hours and 15 minutes of travel. Our Kyoto Airbnb hosts gave us a tip after departing; if you sit in the left side of the train and it’s a clear day you will be able to see Mt. Fuji. We did not sit on the left side of the train, however I was able to snap a picture of it. I was rushing all over the place like a crazy tourist to get the picture because it looked gorgeous.

After arriving, we headed for our Airbnb. Though we were delayed because we had a lot of trouble with the train system. We brought Suica cards which are basically train passes that you top up. The issue with these cards is that you can’t top them up with any kind of foreign credit card, so you need cash. I had no cash on me and ATMs that take foreign cards can be quite hard to find at times. So I basically spent half an hour looking for an ATM. Please…please…please always carry at least 1000 yen at all time. Now, back to the Airbnb. We decided to stay in a loft type apartment in Kouenji. Kouenji is a district in the Suginami Ward of Tokyo that has a bit of a hipster vibe. The district is know for its vintage clothing so if you’re into that style there are a large amount of op shops in the area. When we finally arrived at the loft, we discovered how high the loft actually was. I was terrified. As someone who likes to drink a lot on their holidays, I was continuously wondering how I was going to get up there without falling. It turned out okay. After arriving and getting our things in order we decided to explore Kouenji. As I said there were a lot of op shops, though there were some other notable things, such as; pet shops (they have the cutest animals), book shops, Baskin Robbins, restaurants, karaoke and a French type bakery. It’s a good area to explore.

We ate at a Mexican Restaurant and they had corn tortillas. We don’t find them in Australia often so I was super happy.

The next day we set off to TeamLab Borderless, though we made a stop in Shinjuku in the way. For those who don’t know what TeamLab borderless is, it’s an amazing art exhibition that has the art projected onto the walls and it’s accompanied by sound. Before we arrived at the exhibition we stopped to visit a cat cafe, explore department stores and have some lunch. Shinjuku is an incredibly lively part of Tokyo, especially at night. There are always plenty of people, stores, clubs, food and even a robot restaurant. The time I was in Japan before we went to one of these robot restaurants and they are absolutely crazy. Crazy, yet also very entertaining. The one I went to had a giant clown, so be warned. Anyway, back to the 2019 trip. Once arriving in Shinjuku we visited a department store. Japanese department stores consist of one big shop with multiple levels and they have everything ranging from technology to toilets. It’s amazing. I wish we had it here because everyone was in one place and you didn’t have to walk too much. There was also a massive screen on the department store front that was very loud and played advertisements for music. It’s very different to Melbourne and what I’m used to but regardless, it was awesome.

Picture of the department store front. Advertisements for music videos are often played and you can actually hear the music.

Afterwards we headed for the cat cafe. I had visited the cafe previously the last time I went to Japan. Personally, I found it very cruel because the cats were lying there depressed and would fight at times. This time around, it had improved, the cats looked happier and more alert which was fantastic to see. Overall, the cafe was good, we were able to pet numerous cats and have a little drink. So I’ll give you a bit of information on the cafe itself. In cat/dog cafes they ask you to remove your shoes and wash your hands. The particular one I went to provided a free drink card and they have drinks ranging from teas/coffees to soft drink. Although the milky drinks at cat cafes don’t have milk and use soy milks instead. They also have reading material, mostly manga which I find really cool. In terms of the cats, there were around 30 in there and they were all different shapes and sizes. One of the cats we encountered was the size of a medium dog!

Cat, ft. My foot. I met this sweet little kitty who loved to play.
One comment. Its ears.
I was obsessed with this cat because it looks like a bug.

When we left the cat cafe we were feeling really hungry so we stopped for some Okonomiyaki which is basically a Japanese pancake. It has your typical pancake mixed, although it also contains shredded cabbage and can have meat, cheese, etc. It is cooked on an open skillet in front of you and then Okonomiyaki sauce (like Worcestershire sauce), Japanese mayonnaise and fish flakes. It’s incredibly delicious fairly easy to cook on your own.

Stomachs full, we then headed for TeamLab Borderless. It was around 3o minutes by train. When we arrived there was this amazing shopping centre that looked like an indoor town. It was gorgeous, I recommend visiting it.

It even has a fake night sky!

We soon arrived at TeamLab Borderless and be warned there is a massive line. It takes around 20 minutes of waiting to get in. I really wish I had taken more photos rather than video, though it was a visual and audio display so it wouldn’t have been as memorable. It was beautiful. The displayed changed overtime, therefore you had to make sure you returned to each room. There was an activity room where could interact with some displayed. One memorable one was a space theme trampoline which let you jump on stars. Another was a room full of giant coloured bubbles you had to navigate through. It was great. There was also a room that made the floor and walls look infinite, having mirrors all around with verticals lights hanging everywhere – giving the illusion that the lights were never ending. The exhibit has this new feature where you can have tea and it projects flowers blooming onto your tea cup which is really cool.

The room was created to have a path through flowers. The flowers were these flat surfaces on sticks.

Afterwards, we had Wendy’s. There is a Wendy’s right outside the gallery. I had never had Wendy’s before because we don’t have it in Australia. It was an exciting moment for me and it wasn’t too bad. We then headed to Harajuku, the famous Takeshita street. Honestly, I don’t see all the hype around it. There are lots of funky shops that have great items but it’s just not something I really cared for that much. I think I saw a few Harajuku girls, I don’t really remember, maybe because that fashion doesn’t surprise me too much? Either way it’s still a cool place to visit if you want to that Lolita fashion. There are also some branded makeup stores like Etude House and skincare stores like Innisfree.

Shortly, we headed back to our Airbnb, had some food, got a little drunk and did karaoke. It was great. I tried Wasabi Highball because I was feeling adventurous, all I can say is never again. The karaoke was fantastic, it had English songs and I was living. It was amazing.

Thanks for reading everyone! Stay tuned for more!

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diary · Travel

Exploring Kyoto

Hey everyone!

This is part 2 of my Japan travel adventure. Check out my Osaka post here. In this post I’m going to be talking about my two days in Kyoto. Kyoto is a gorgeous city which also shows the traditional side of Japan. On our trip we thought we should experience the history of Japan and we did so in Kyoto by participating in a bus tour. I don’t really recommend bus tours if you want to explore the places you’re visiting in depth, however if you’re on a time crunch then definitely give them a go.

On the third day of our trip we travelled to Kyoto from Osaka by train. It wasn’t the bullet train so it took around an hour in comparison to the 15 minutes a bullet train would take. After arriving, we dropped our luggage off at our Airbnb and explored the city around the station. I recommend staying at an Airbnb because they hotels are very expensive in Kyoto. We then headed for the Kyoto sky tower and got the chance to see the whole city. It was incredibly crowded in the sky tower, so if you’re claustrophobic, don’t go up there.

There was writing on the window to display how far away landmarks were.

Surprisingly, in Kyoto, especially near the station, there were these multilevel floors that had classes (cooking, etc) food courts and souvenir shops. I’ve never quite seen anything like it. We came across this store that made fake food and we had a class in the making of fake food. We got the chance to make parfait. They also had candy making classes, cooking classes and kimono rental.

My parfait is the one on the left and the right is the sample. It’s pretty cute, I never knew I needed a memo holder until now.

Afterwards, we headed back to our Airbnb to check in, relax, order some Uber eats. Of course, I can’t go a night without having my 7/11 Suntory whiskey. I love 7/11 in Japan. They have everything anyone could ever need. You could live off the food. After getting a little intoxicated, I wanted to adventure more so we went out to play some pachinko and get ramen from this famous ramen restaurant. Pachinko is an interesting game. It’s very loud and in your face. People also smoke in the game room so be warned. After losing $10, we headed to this famous ramen place. We waited half an hour in the line and this was at 10pm. It’s pretty popular. The ramen was delicious, it was definitely more on the meaty side in terms of the broth. The broth was fantastic, a little under spiced but regardless I wanted more.

This is the name of the ramen shop. My kanji skills aren’t that up to scratch yet so I’m unsure what it’s called. If you can read kanji, please let me know in the comments!
This is the beef ramen. It’s not the most photogenic but it was delicious.

The next day we headed on a bus tour. First we stopped at Nijo-jo castle. It was pretty cool, the floors were called the nightingale floors because they sounded like birds. The whole time I was walking I thought there were birds singing outside until the tour guide said that it was the floors. The story behind the floors is that they were built to make noise in order to prevent assassins from attempting to kill the occupants. Overall, it was a nice, though be warned most historic places you need to remove your shoes. Outside most of these traditional sites, there are little stalls you can buy souvenirs. I always get really caught up in tasting all the free food, it’s great.

The castle wasn’t as big as others, regardless, it was still gorgeous.

The next stop was the Golden Temple. It’s a temple that’s lined with gold and it is a must see. In autumn the leaves go orange and it’s gorgeous to see the golden temple amongst the leaves. The tour guide told us a story about the Golden Temple. Someone attempted to commit suicide by burning down the temple with them inside. They had second thoughts and escaped, though the temple still burned down. The temple we see today is not the original, it has been rebuilt.

This is the Golden Temple. Because it was November, it was too early for all of the leaves to change to that orange colour unfortunately.

After visiting the Golden Temple we stopped and had a traditional Japanese lunch. It consists of pickled vegetables, miso soup, a chicken soup and tempura. The lunch was delicious and after refuelling we headed for the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The shrine consists of the famous 10,000 tori gates. We didn’t climb the whole thing as that would take too long but we went up a quarter of the way. The shrine was guarded by these adorable fox statues which I loved.

The Shrine was packed with people. It wasn’t particularly hard to climb as the stairs weren’t steep, so it’s easy for any fitness level.
The Inari fox. Ft a random man. The fox is believed to possess superior intelligence, long life and magical powers in Japanese folklore.

We also visited a few other places, I cannot remember the name of them for the life of me. However, I do remember the final destination required the bus to navigate through these narrow streets with other tour buses coming in the opposite direction. It was terrifying.

Soon after that we returned to Airbnb and went in search of some food. Incredibly drunk and lacking Japanese skills, my mother and I decided it would be best to eat at a barbecue restaurant that didn’t have an English menu. We ordered the mixed meat and shortly after were informed by the chief using google translate that we had in fact ordered internal organs. Now, we are not internal organ kind of people, as we prefer the more conventional cuts of meat. Well…conventional by western society’s standards. Am I adventurous? Slightly. Although I had whale bacon sushi previously in Osaka and was scarred by that. So I was playing it safe for a while. We then proceeded to order other cuts of meat, we still had no idea what it was but it was amazing. Best meat ever. Better than the Kobe. The Kobe was worth it but this blew it out of the water.

Best meat ever. Nothing can compare.

Thank you all for reading my travel post! I loved to travel and share my adventures. Travelling helps me clear my mind and grow as a person. I hope to write about our time in Tokyo next.

diary · Travel · Uncategorized

Finding Yourself Abroad Pt.1

Hey everyone,

This year in November, I went on a trip to Japan. At the time I didn’t have a blog, therefore I wasn’t able to write about my trip. I decided to write about it because travelling can help one find themselves. Experiencing different cultures and lifestyles can aid in finding the next step for you.

Leaving Melbourne

My mother and I set out on our journey to Melbourne airport at 5:30am. As someone who hates getting up early, I was literally dead. Soon after arriving at the airport, I livened up, it finally hit me that in less than 13 hours I would be in Japan. I had planned the entire trip in Japan so a sense of leadership suddenly hit me. My mum who is terrified of travelling let me take control to check in and get us through customs. Now, this isn’t particularly a hard task but it was nice to feel like I was in control of something.

After a whole year of feeling like I didn’t understand anything that was going on, it was great to finally know what I was doing. And that’s a great part of travelling, you’re in control of what you want to do.

After checking in and going through customs, we had around 2 hours to kill so naturally, we ate. We eventually boarded the plane and settled in for our 10 hour flight. After getting comfortable we commenced the movie watching. This was particularly difficult because I was finally alone with my thoughts. Like many other people when alone with my mind; it wanders to the thoughts I don’t like to think about. However, I made it through the flight through continually distracting myself. Of course the free flight booze helped a lot.

Arriving in Japan

10 hours later, we arrived at Narita Airport in Japan. I was so excited for the journey to come. We were going to Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo and Disneyland. Our journey would not start until the next day because we arrived at 5pm. If you’ve ever been to Narita airport, you’ll know that it’s a huge airport town with hotels everywhere.

We stayed at a hotel that night excitedly awaiting the adventures of the next day. At the hotel, we ate at an Italian restaurant. I’m not going to lie, Italian food in Japan isn’t great. I’m not saying all places are like that, but definitely with a majority of places, you aren’t going to get good Italian food. Regardless, it was still great. We ate pizza and I finally got to drink my Suntory Highballs again. The trip was off to a great start.

Off to Osaka

The first day of our trip started with us taking the bullet train (Shinkansen) to Tokyo station to catch another bullet train to Osaka. We brought cute little bento boxes to eat during the 3 hour train trip. The train ride was boring, but that’s just a part of travel, there’s going to be boring bits.

Eventually we arrived at our hotel in Namba, Osaka. I personally love Namba, there’s so much city vibes. There’s shopping, food stalls, bright lights and a few random things such as a hedgehog cafe. I got to hold a hedgehog. They are spikey scary little creatures, though that doesn’t make them any less adorable.

Because it took a huge chunk of our day to travel to Osaka we didn’t do much until the next day. The following day, we traveled to Universal Studios, which is the home of Harry Potter World. The rest of Universal Studios is pretty interesting to go see, however; Harry Potter seals the deal for me.

When approaching the Harry Potter themed world, you’re greeted by pine trees and the blue car Ron crashed.
Entering Diagon Alley you get to have a photo op with the Hogwarts Express.
Butterbeer is basically Creme Soda with a sweet cream on top. It’s pretty good and you get a souvenir cup.
The castle is open to explore. There’s also a ride within it, however; be warned wait times are very long.

Overall, Harry Potter World was a fun place to explore. There was a tonne of fantastic merchandise and they had these interactive wands that you could use around Diagon Alley. The wands would cause things to light up or chests to open. The atmosphere was great, it took you into the book.

In regards to the food at Harry Potter World, don’t eat at the restaurant unless you want to eat overpriced food. I remember ordering fish and chips for $20 and it was very underwhelming. There are other food stalls around the park which I recommend trying because it’s relatively cheap and delicious. Outside of the park there’s also pretty good food that is much more worth the price.

After a long day we wanted to go see Osaka Castle but we got lost using the train system. The trains in Japan are very confusing. we headed back to our hotel, rested and then went out to try some Kobe Beef. Now, I definitely recommend Kobe beef. If you’re going to have one expensive meal on your trip, have Kobe beef. It’s soft and melts in your mouth. Be warned though, the portion sizes can be very small depending on how much you order. If I remember correctly, we paid around $40 for 200g.

The particular one we went to served the beef in tiny portions with miso paste, garlic chips and wasabi. Don’t worry there was more.

The first day of our trip was amazing and my mother loved Harry Potter World. At that point, I was doing pretty okay and trying not to let any negative thoughts in. I was really trying to relax, shop and enjoy the travelling lifestyle. It was also the Japanese lifestyle that I found quite relaxing. I tried to have a bath every night as a lot of Japanese people do this. Walking everywhere is also very therapeutic, especially for someone who hates driving. I’m sure if I wasn’t on vacation and if I lived there it would be more stressful. But adopting those relaxing habits are something I hoped to bring back with me.

Thanks everyone for reading. I love sharing my experiences with others and reflecting on everything I’ve done. I hope to create more posts of my travels.