Mouthful of Kyoto

Kyoto is known as the City of a Thousand Shrines and is certainly an appropriate name for this city. It takes a motivated individual to be able to visit all of the temples and shrines that Kyoto has to offer. Luckily, there are several of sights and activities fit for everybody’s interests. I’ve compiled them and put them in a list for you below. Let’s begin, shall we?

Yamazaki Whisky Distillery

Japan’s famous distillery, Suntory Yamazaki, is heaven to all whisky drinkers. This is a MUST if you are a whisky aficionado because you can buy full sized bottles and goods straight from the factory at a lower price. Stores outside would charge a higher price for the same bottles for a profit and also due to other costs such as shipping and inventory. At Yamazaki Whisky Distillery, you can see the process of whisky and how it is made through a tour of the facility with a tasting at the end. Admission prices range from free to ¥2,000 depending on which type of tour you are interested in. Highly recommend!

Iwashimizu Hachimangu (Shinto Shrine)

An old grand shrine between Kyoto and Osaka. If you are taking the train from Osaka to Kyoto or vice versa, this would be a nice shrine to stop by on the way prior to visiting the City of a Thousand Shrines. 

Fushimi Inari Taishi

 

A very famous tourist attraction featuring a long line of torii gates placed next to each other. It feels like an endless tunnel of orange gates. Although it is opened 24 hours, it is recommended that you go early in the morning (before 10 AM) or later in the evening when the crowds die down. Otherwise, you will be herded along like cows through the narrow path of shrines. If all fails, make your way up the mountain because the higher you go, the fewer people are around. The hike to the top and back is about 2-3 hours but you are welcomed to turn around anytime your legs feel like they’ve had enough.

Kiyomizu Temple

At the Kiyomizu Temple, there is an Otowa waterfall with 3 streams to drink from representing different things: longevity, success, and love. Whichever stream you drink from, the fortune you will receive. You can visit the Kiyomizu Temple during the day from 6 AM – 6 PM or during the night for Illuminations at 6 PM – 11 PM. There is an entrance fee of ¥400.

Taiho-An Tea House

1-5 Uji-tougawa Uji City, Kyoto

If you love matcha as much as I do and are looking for a legitimate tea ceremony, Taiho-An is one of the many tea houses in Kyoto you can visit. At this particular tea house, you will be able to see how matcha is made in front of your eyes and be able to taste the tea as it is freshly stirred and served. There is an entrance fee of ¥500.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

 

When most people visit Kyoto, the two attractions everyone visits are Fushimi Inari Taishi and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. At this hot spot, you will find rows and rows of bamboo along both sides creating a walkway as you make your way through the bamboo forest. This is known as the path of bamboo, “Chikurin-no-Michi”. Like skyscrapers, the stalks of bamboo towers over you making you feel insignificant. The magic and beauty of this bamboo forest will make it difficult to resist capturing a photo. So go for it, take out your camera and take a million photos of the vast collection of bamboo trees.

Although the bamboo forest can get a little eerie feeling at night, Arashiyama is available for visit 24 hours of the day. Plan your trip accordingly as the only source of light is from the sun, making you feel closer to Mother Earth and all of her nature.

Jishu Jinja Shrine

1-317 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

This shrine is dedicated to love. It is believed that closing your eyes and walking from one love stone to another will bring true love… just don’t run into other things or people. There are many young people who come to this shrine to try their luck at love, so it is recommended to come as early as possible to avoid crowds and have fewer obstacles that may deter you from your goal. Hours: 9 AM -5 PM (gate open)

After you accomplish your wishes, walk through the Ishibe Alley to get to the Kodai-ji Temple. 

Kodai-ji Temple

Another temple in Kyoto that is often overlooked by tourists and surrounded by various gardens, such as rock gardens and Tsukiyama style garden. Not only are the museums and temples charming to look at, even the paths that connect the buildings are delightful, such as the bamboo groves, Chikurin-no-Michi, that pave the way. Kodai-ji Temple is available for visiting from 9 AM – 5:30 PM during the daytime. There is also a special entrance for Illumination from sunset to 9:30 PM. The entrance fee is ¥600 (Kodaiji and Sho Museum) / ¥900 (Kodaiji, Sho Museum, and Entokuin).

Maruyama Park

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This is the oldest park in Kyoto and a gorgeous place for a perfect view of the cherry blossoms. Food stalls with tables and chairs are available to admire the beauty of the seasons. There is no entrance fee and opened 24 hours for viewing.

Shoren-in

In Higashiyama, near downtown areas of Kawaramachi and Gion, grounds are lit up for Illuminations. There is an entrance fee of ¥500 for 9 AM – 5 PM and ¥800 for seasonal evening illuminations.

Gion Tatsumi Bridge

For the most picturesque place in Gion and a popular area for cherry blossom, Gion Tatsumi Bridge is the place to go! 

Nishiki Market

 

Nicknamed Kyoto’s Kitchen. You can go shopping for a variety of things here, mostly food-related items. You can buy groceries to take home or fresh seafood to eat on the spot.

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Everything is locally produced and procured so you’ll be able to taste the wonders of Kyoto all in one spot. The area is crowded with locals and tourists so it can get pretty busy from time to time. The hours are 9 AM – 6 PM.

Eat ramen at Ippudo Nishikikouji

653-1 Bantoya-cho, Higashinotoin, Nishikikoji higashi iru, Nakagyo-ku

I was so in love with the Ippudo in New York, I had to try the Ippudo from Japan. Only a  block from the Nishiki market, you can slurp ramen from 11 AM to 2 AM at Ippudo Nishikikouji, if you haven’t had the chance to in Fukuoka. Try the Akamaru New Ramen (¥800) or the Shiromaru for a lighter Tonkotsu broth.

Nijojo (Nijo Castle)

There is no shortage of areas for you to view cherry blossoms during the month of March and April. One of which includes the Nijo Castle, where there is a dedicated cherry blossom area. The hours are 8:45 AM – 5 PM and there is an entrance fee of ¥600 to enter.

Tetsugaku-no-michi (Philosopher’s Path)

 

Take a tranquil stroll through Philosopher’s walk to gain some wisdom and to view the cherry blossoms. It is a path runs goes along a canal and is filled with hundreds of cherry blossom trees. When the trees are in full bloom you will be able to see a series of cherry blossom trees so be prepared for the crowds when the time comes.

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Pay attention to the beauty around you as you are on your journey to your destination, there is elegance everywhere you turn.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Nakamura Tokichi Honten

10 Uji Ichiban, Uji City, Kyoto

Love matcha? Love dessert? This is the perfect place for you! Here you will find all things matcha including tea, noodles, and ice cream. Get the cold Matcha Zenzai, which is matcha jelly with matcha balls.. the perfect Japanese dessert! Also, the matcha parfait is very popular and delicious.

Hours: Tea Shop 10:00-17:30 / Cafe 11:00-17:30 (last order at 17:00)

Eat at ALL the McDonald’s!

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One of my FAVORITE things to do while I am traveling to another country is trying the local McDonald’s to see their offerings. I’ve had some pretty surprisingly delicious things at McDonald’s, so don’t just overlook them next time you go traveling abroad. Pop in and check one out to see if they have anything unusual yet intriguing to try! (Post for another time the various items I’ve had at different McDonald’s locations.)

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  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
    • Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
    • Entrance fee: 400 JPY
  • Shimogamo Shrine
    • Hours: 5:30 to 18:00 (summer) / 6:30 to 17:00 (winter)
    • Entrance fee: Free
  • Kibune Shrine
    • Hours: 6 AM – 8 PM
    • Entrance fee: Free
  • Kurama-dera Temple
    • Entrance fee: 200 JPY
  • Chion-in Temple
    • Entrance fee: Free
  • Tenryu-ji Temple Arashiyama
    • Entrance fee: Free
    • Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Other Recommendations:3004-2018-1029116913113650204.jpeg

  • Read Japanese comic books at Kyoto International Manga Museum
  • For a legitimate wagyu beef experience, go Hafuu Honten for lunch or dinner. There is also a tasty take-out wagyu beef cutlet sandwich available.
    • Address: 471-1 Sasaya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city (located on Fuyacho-street, and Ebisugawa-street to the north
    • Hours: 11:30 – 1:30 PM lunch / 5:30 -9:30 PM dinner – closed Wednesdays
  • Make sure to grab small snacks wherever you go, even if they look funny.
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  • See the Geishas at the popular Gion Street
  • Sip on some tea at the Tea House at the summit of Mt. Yoshida

HAPPY TRAVELING AND EATING!

Mouthful of Osaka

When travelers decide to make Japan their destination, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are often at the top of the list of cities to visit. Each city is specifically known for something special that sets them apart from others.

Osaka is known as Japan’s Kitchen and got that recognition for a valid reason. Food fills the continuous alleyways in the city with snacks, cafes, and restaurants. Every corner you turn, the delightful smell of food greets you. Although Osaka has an abundance of eateries, it does not lack in attractions.

Keep your mouth full of Osaka eats and travels with this list of food and attractions:

1. Dotonbori

 

Kuidaore! To eat until you drop, or in literal meaning “to eat oneself bankrupt”. Similar to a food fair, Dotonbori is every foodie’s dream with many different food stalls available to satisfy your taste buds. Instead of eating one big dish from a restaurant, you can try a variety of snacks and even share them so you will be able to tackle more food. There are several places and items you can eat at Dotonbori such as:

Takoyaki (Octopus balls)

Octopus Balls at Dotonburi in Osaka, Japan

Originated in Osaka, this ball-shaped Japanese snack can be eaten at Takoyaki Juhachiban, Creo-Ru Takoyaki & Okonomiyaki (¥450), or Ootako. Although it can be tempting to put the whole piece in your mouth, try to let it cool down as it is served hot off the grill and will not hesitate to burn your tongue. See how these octopus balls are made when you place an order from a street vendor.

24 Hour Ramen Restaurants

Hungry? No problem. You can get ramen every hour of the day at Kinryu Ramen (~¥600) or Hanamaruken Namba Hozenji (~¥950). At Hanamaruken, you can get slow-cooked pork rib ramen and delicious gyoza. There are several of other 24 hour ramen shops you can find if you take a walk around Dotonbori.

Gyoza  (~¥280 for 6 pieces)

Speaking of gyoza, make sure you stop by a stand to get some in Dotonbori. Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling that is often fried. Delicious!

Crab legs at Kanidoraku (¥700)
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Kushikatsu

You can get meat and vegetables deep fried on a skewer known as Kushikatsu at Daruma Nanba (¥80-200)

Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)

Taiyaki

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A waffle fish often filled with custard or red bean.

2. Go shopping in Shinsaibashi

 

No trip to Shinsaibashi would be complete without imitating the Glico billboard with a winner stance and a picture in front. Shinsaibashi is a large shopping street with vibrant, neon signs packed with both low and high-end department stores and restaurants. You can find a multitude of items here within every budget, such as snacks, souvenirs, and Gucci wallets.

At Shinsaibashi, you can find many international stores and bakeries such as Laduree Daimaru Shinsaibashi (Address: Daimaru Shinsaibashi North Bld 1F; 1-7-1 Shinsaibashisuji Chuo-Ku, Osaka-shi). Here, you can drool over sweets such as macarons (¥300), Isaphan (¥933) and Religieuse Rose (¥800) without having to travel to Paris.

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One can’t say they’ve been to Osaka until they’ve walked around Shinbashi and Dotonbori at least once.

3. Umeda Sky Building

A beautiful, tall building with an observation deck. On the top of the Umeda Sky Building is a Floating Garden Observatory. There is an entrance fee of ¥800 and is opened from 10 AM – 11:30 PM.

4. Osakajo (Osaka Castle)

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One of the most iconic landmarks in Osaka and a popular tourist attraction. The castle is surrounded by a body of water and built high above the ground to see its surroundings. The castle was once the biggest structure in Japan and has a history of uniting feudal Japan. It was built solely for defense but even the mighty fall since the castle was eventually overtaken.

Although it is beautiful on the outside, it can be disappointing on the inside. Skip paying the entrance fee as the Osaka Castle is only worth admiring from afar. If you are absolutely interested in visiting the inside, there is an entrance fee of ~¥600 and opened from the hours of 9AM to 5PM.

 

During cherry blossom season, the park surrounding the Osaka Castle is a beautiful place to visit and explore. The peace and tranquility of this park take you away from the reality that surrounds. Visitors are completely consumed by nature that they will not realize the city full of technology within the half-mile radius.

4. Nipponbashi (Den Den Town)

Similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara, Den Den Town is a small electric town filled with J-culture, games, electronics, and anime in Osaka. At Den Den Town, you can find Japanese pop culture items as there are toys and anime that every otaku could dream about. Make sure you go early and check the store hours as many shops in Nipponbashi closes early.

5. Hozenji-Yokocho & Hozenji Temple

Hozenji Temple and Hozenji Yokocho

Take a walk around the alley, Hozenji-Yokocho, where restaurants line up the streets. You can feel the atmosphere of how Japan was in the olden days. Due to the bright lights and livelihood, it is better to visit at night.

 

Address: 1 Chome-2-16 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0076, Japan

At the end of Hozenji-Yokocho, there is a small Buddhist temple with bright white lanterns. Hozenji Temple sits beautifully as it attracts crowds of people both day and night. Make sure to check out the main attraction, a moss-covered statue of a deity.

6. Shinsekai

This vibrant neighborhood was once destroyed in WWII and was left untouched for many years until it was reconstructed. Now, it is a market filled with cheap shops and restaurants as well as pachinko parlors and other entertainment. From a distance, you can see the Tsutenkaku tower, which has an observation deck available to view the city of Osaka down below. After you are done wandering the Shinsekai neighborhood, you can stroll to the nearby Buddhist temple, Shitennō-ji (Shitennoji Temple)

7. Visit Don Quijote, Japan’s Biggest Discount Store

Dotonburi in Osaka, Japan

Make sure you visit the Don Quijote near Dontonbori for tax-free snacks, souvenirs, and other household items! This multi-story Don Quijote store in Dotonbori is packed with visitors and sells almost everything imaginable. You can grab your flavored Kit Kats and Umaibō here. Don Quijote has many locations throughout Japan and U.S. currency is accepted here.

8. Amerikamura (American Village)

A look into how the Japanese perceive the American culture with fashion, restaurants, and stores in Osaka. Amerikamura is a mecca for young people as it has a thriving nightlife. The Video Game Bar Space Station bar located in Amerikamura is a barcade with American video game consoles, both old and new. Sankaku Park, also referred to as Triangle Park, is a place to eat and hang out with friends and people watch. Whatever your interest may be, it is interesting to see Osaka’s take on the American culture and its traditions.

Other Recommendations:

  • Scream your head off on the rides at the movie-themed amusement park, Universal Studios Japan
  • Smell the cherry blossoms at Japan Mint
  • Relax at Nakanoshima Park located at the waterfront
  • Create your own cup of noodles at Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, a museum dedicated to instant noodles!
    • Address: 〒563-0041 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi
    • Hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
    • Entrance fee: free
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth at Laduree Cakes at JR Osaka Mitsukoshi Isetan 2F
    • Address: 3-1-3 Umeda Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-8558
    • Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM
  • Buy cooking utensils and kitchen items at the “Cooking Tools Street Shopping District”, Doguyasuji Shopping Street
  • See Abeno Harukas, the tallest building in Japan
  • Admire the stone statues at the Buddhist Isshinji Temple
  • Explore the nightlife at Kitashinchi
  • Stuff your face with some tasty chicken at Sauce Boss
  • Hike to the Waterfall of Mino
  • Admire the expensive but pretty fruit from Kuromon Market
  • Jog around Nagai Park
  • Take a photo with the iconic red bridge at Sumiyoshi-Taisha (Grand Shrine)
    1. Hours: 6 AM – 5 PM or 6:30 PM
    2. Entrance  Fee: Free
  • Martial arts enthusiast? Check out the Sumiyoshi Budokan.
  • Walk through the secret tunnel at Sankō Shrine
  • Pray for the safe birth of a healthy child at the Buddhist temple, Nakayama-dera
  • Tenjinbashi suji shopping arcade
  • Watch a kabuki show at Osaka Shochikuza
  • See the huge mythical lion head and cherry blossoms at Namba Yasaka
  • Umeda Joypolis Sega has virtual reality rides
  • Have lunch at Kuromon Ichiba, Osaka’s answer to Tsukiji Market

 

Wander the streets of Osaka and eat your way through the city as you stuff your face with the delicious food that Osaka has to offer!

HAPPY EATING AND TRAVELING!

Mouthful of Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea is one of my favorite Disney parks! What makes DisneySea so spectacular is the amount of detail that goes into creating and designing the theme park. The differences in culture give the Disney theme park in Japan a much different vibe than the ones in America. You can clearly see the diversity in the food, rides, and merchandise at DisneySea.

Similar to the Disney California Adventure counterpart, alcohol is sold at DisneySea! There is a variety of beer and cocktails to keep the buzz going and endure the massive lines. In contrast, DisneySea has a variety of popcorn flavors other than the typical salt and butter that Disneyland stateside has. These unique flavors update seasonally. To have a better idea of what flavors DisneySea offers, I will compare the flavors offered now (April 2018) versus when I visited the park. After munching on popcorn, wash down the kernels with seasonal flavored drinks such as milk tea.

DisneySea

Although DisneySea is my favorite theme park in terms of design and creativity in food, the rides may not be as impressive by today’s standards. It lacks the thrill and creativity that Disney has among other theme parks. The rides were mostly based on old movies and animations that are now forgotten. However, it does capture the magic of what Disney was in the past and does not stray away from the elements and history that made Disney, Disney.

DisneySea magnifies the things that are often overlooked and underrated in the states, such as the Disney Bear, Duffy. Most American Disney goers would not have any idea that this character even exists whereas, on the flip side, Duffy is a HUGE phenomenon in Japan. Duffy is such a celebrity in Japan that it is impossible to ignore him through the merchandise, specified Duffy photo spots, and craze of teenage girls. As you take a walk around, you will see an abundance of Duffy merchandise such as teddy bears, shirts, purses. Duffy stuffed animals are used as decoration to take photos with or to prop up on a platform to take photos of.

Whatever the similarities and differences may be, one thing still remains the same at every Disney Park… the notoriously excruciating long lines. Fortunately, I will give you tips and information and share my experience to help better plan your trip and make it as enjoyable as possible.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

Tip: Be sure to buy your tickets in advance if you can. During cherry blossom season (late March – April), students are out of school and normally go to the Disney theme parks during their Spring breaks. My traveling partner procrastinated on this so we wasted an entire day trying to find alternatives since the DisneySea tickets sold out. If you ever find yourself in this situation, head over to the Shibuya Disney Store and purchase an “open ticket”. Make sure you arrive at the entrance as soon as the theme park opens. Once it’s full, they will only allow DisneySea ticket holders with fixed dates to enter.

It should be noted that you are allowed to hold more than one fast pass at a time. The next time you are able to get a fast pass is either during the time of your latest fast pass or after the 2 hour cool down period. Fast passes were a big time saver and because of them, I never had to wait longer than an hour for any ride. So, PLAN WISELY!

(FP) = Fast Pass Available
* = Signifies different than Disneyland in America

Mediterranean Harbor

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The Mediterranean Harbor is similar to Main Street with the layout of all of the shops, restaurants, and refreshments lined up after you enter the theme park. You can get anything from clothing and souvenirs to household goods. Like Gibson Girl is to Disneyland Anaheim, Gondolier Snacks fills that ice cream void at DisneySea. Anything you can think of that was available at Disneyland, such as chocolate and confection shops, DisneySea does a great job to make these things available for you.

 

What is different from the typical Disneyland theme parks are the attractions. In Main Street, only the railroad is available but at the Mediterranean Harbor, you can ride on a gondola or take a the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line. Another difference is the design and architecture, which makes it a much more picturesque experience.

1. Ride a Venetian gondola

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How elegant and romantic would it be if you could sit on a gondola as a gondolier rows the boats down the canals? How about with crowds of other people you didn’t know? Doesn’t that sound a little less appealing?

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On my trip to Venice, I missed the opportunity to ride the gondolas, so I made it up at DisneySea. I am convinced that it would actually be the same experience, minus the cost. As the gondolier power rows your boat with long oars, they entertain you with song and conversation in Japanese.

2. Board a steamer for a ride around the park with the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line

The steamer is DisneySea’s choice of transportation. Similar to Disneyland’s railroad, it transports you across the park in style. Lines for the steamer can get surprisingly long but if you need to take a break from walking, this is a great way to rest your legs and enjoy the magical surroundings. The Steamer Line will take you to other lands across the water, but be sure to ask a Cast Member for the route.

3. Fortress Explorations

 

Similar to the Sleeping Beauty castle and Tom Sayer Island, The Fortress is home to the society of explorers, adventurers, scientists, and researchers around the globe dedicated to exploring the world’s ocean and foreign lands. This fictional organization originated in DisneySea and made its way to Hong Kong Disneyland. Fortress Explorations is a walk-through interactive area to explore, learn about explorers and adventurers, and test your wits with the scavenger hunts and puzzles.

4. Get the Gyoza Sausage Bun at Refrescos
One of the things I enjoy about other Disneyland theme parks is the variety of snacks. The Gyoza Sausage Bun is something different and only available at the Japan Disneyland theme parks. In addition to the Gyoza Sausage Bun, Refrescos also offers Maple Mickey-shaped churros, which I was told is a little hard and not worth trying (but try it out for yourselves!).

5. Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery

For bread and sweets, step inside Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery where you can pick up a quick snack or breakfast.

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There are only two locations to get the Toy Story Green Alien Mochi (¥360), Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery and outside of Toy Story Mania. The Green Alien Mochi were flavored strawberry, custard cream, and chocolate. They were just too cute to even eat!

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6. Hungry? Grab a bite at Ristorante Di Canaletto
A popular restaurant in Mediterranean Harbor where you can admire the Venetian scene as gondolas float by while eating Italian food consisting of their well-known Seafood Pizza or the Spaghettini Pescatore (¥1650). They also have full-course meals with choices of pasta or wood-fired pizza.

7. See Fantasmic at night

Watch the Fantasmic show at night over water in the Mediterranean Harbor. Like the classic show from the Disney theme parks in America, this show is definitely worth watching at least once.

8. Popcorn cart: Herb-Tomato

There are popcorn carts spread out throughout DisneySea. The one specific to Mediterranean Harbor currently has the Herb-Tomato flavor.

American Waterfront

The American Waterfront

The American Waterfront is a depiction of what America is like, filled with iconic American buildings, ships, and the electric railroad. It is divided into two sections. One side represents the New York harbor in the early 20th century and on the other hand, is Old Cape Cod which is similar to a fishing village.

1. Score the highest points on Toy Story Mania (FP)

Toy Story Mania is an interactive 3D ride where you shoot targets from your seat. It is a very popular ride at DisneySea as people sprint from the gates to acquire fast passes. If you’ve already been to Toy Story Mania at Disney California Adventure, this ride could be skipped in order to discover more of what DisneySea has to offer. The only variation of the ride is the queue, which is more detailed than the one at Disney California Adventure.

2. Bite the heads off of Toy Story Green Alien Mochi from the food cart outside of Toy Story Mania.

These Green Alien Mochi snacks are one of the tastiest and photogenic treats at Tokyo Disney Sea. They can only be bought at this food cart or at Mamma Biscotti’s Bakery located in Mediterranean Harbor.

3. Turtle Talk

Turtle Talk has the same concept as Disney California Adventure where you can talk to Crush from Finding Nemo. As DisneySea is in Japan, Crush takes questions and answers in Japanese. If you don’t know any Japanese, I would say don’t even bother and skip this attraction as it probably would not be funny or entertaining if you don’t understand what is being said.

4. Barnacle Bill’s

Stop by the Barnacle Bill’s wagon to eat items such as meat on a stick and their flavorful and juicy sausages. Wash it all down with their flavored beer.

5. Tower of Terror (FP)

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If you miss the old Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure before the change to Guardians of the Galaxy, Tokyo Sea’s Tower of Terror is your answer. The Japanese culture isn’t familiar with the American hit, The Twilight Zone, so they created a storyline with a little twist to go with a storyline within the park.

6. DisneySea Electric Railway

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The railroads and trains played a large role in the development of the United States as it makes its presence in DisneySea in the American Waterfront. The Electric Railway only goes to Port Discovery, which is the next land over.

7. Cape Cod Confections

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A shop that sells Duffy sweets and milk tea. The flavors of milk tea changes from time to time. When I went, they had a Berry Milk Tea. Now, their flavor is an Ice Caramel Milk Tea.

8. High Tide Treats

Craving the cinnamon churros you are used to? Drop by High Tide Treats for Mickey-shaped cinnamon churros.

9. Popcorn Cart: Garlic Shrimp, Blueberry, Milk Chocolate

During my visit, the Cape Cod popcorn cart had Milk Tea and Soy Sauce as its flavors. Now you can get unique flavors such as Garlic Shrimp, Blueberry, and Milk Chocolate.

Port Discovery

1. Wet or dry, determine your fate on Aquatopia*!

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On the trackless water attraction, Aquatopia, you are put into a small raft as you ride around in unpredictable directions, turns, and stops. Every hovercraft will take you on a different path so you can’t watch others to see where yours will take you next. Not only does the track vary, but also the wetness. It is truly the luck of the draw on whether you leave dry or drenched in water. In addition, certain times of the day can also determine if you get the regular ride or a really wet one. It is suitable for young children due to its flat and simple layout. Aquatopia was the only ride that I had to wait about an hour in line for as there were no fast passes available. If you don’t have time to spare, it is safe to skip Aquatopia.

2. Nemo & Friends SeaRider*(FP)

Previously, you could fly into a hurricane on a motion simulator called Storm Rider. Now, it is replaced by another simulator ride, Nemo & Friends SeaRider. The concept is similar to Star Tours where you watch a screen and the platform you are sitting on moves. Either way, both rides are different to the ones back in the states in terms of the video you are watching. If you are curious about this ride, do get a fast pass. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of this when it was Storm Rider and I was told that many people are not a fan of the new ride either.

3. Seaside Snacks

 

Swing by the snack cart serving Eukiwa Buns loaded with shrimp (¥450). Proceed with caution as you eat the bun because it is served piping hot!

4. Horizon Bay Restaurant

Outside of the restaurant on the terrace, you can pick up the Nemo & Friends Tipotorta, orange flavored (¥350) and a Pineapple smoothie (¥400) for a quick, sweet snack.

5. Breezeway Bites

Looking for fried pizza turnover? You can get this calzone-like pastry filled with seafood cheese curry or chicken & mozzarella.

4. Popcorn cart: Caramel or Black Pepper

During my visit, this specific popcorn cart flavor was Strawberry. Now you can get caramel or black pepper flavor here.

Lost River Delta

1. The Raging Spirits* (FP)

 

On the Raging Spirits, you are taken through ancient times on an outdoor, high-speed adventure as it twists and turns and goes on a 360-degree loop. You must store all of your belongings in the lockers provided. This is different than any of the rides in the states. Single rider is available and a recommended way to go, because this ride wasn’t worth the 70 minute wait time an hour after opening.

2. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (FP)

I would not recommend wasting a fast pass on this as this ride is essentially the same as Disneyland Anaheim and moves quickly in the single rider line. There are little differences but the layout is the same. I rode Indiana Jones as a single rider and was grouped with a bunch of screaming teenage girls causing my ears to continue to ring even after the ride.

3. Expedition Eats

Looking for another unusual snack in DisneySea? Perhaps the Yucatan Sausage Roll could fill that search. It is similar to a corndog but safe to skip.

4. Lost River Cookhouse

It’s not Disneyland without holding a leg of meat. Here, you can get a spicy smoked chicken leg and mango sparkling tapioca drink.

5. Miguel’s El Dorado Cantina

The only place in DisneySea where you can get Mexican food consisting of tacos and quesadillas. This cantina offers other items such as a beer cocktail flavored with mint and grapefruit syrup (¥680) and one of their limited time custard cake, azuki and strawberry flavor (¥1000).

6. Tropic Al’s

Tipotorta is like a pie in a form of a stick. At Tropic Al’s, their current flavors are chocolate and chili beef. Wash it down with a sparkling soft drink.

Arabian Coast

 


1. Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage*

The same concept as the famous, “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland, although it is more story-driven. This ride is worth checking out since the line goes by quickly.

2. Stop by Sultan’s Oasis for Chandu Tail

 


Grab Chandu Tail (¥500), a tiger tail-shaped steam chicken cream bun at Sultan’s Oasis. Currently, there is a “Spring tail” which is filled with chicken and cheese curry. Also, they have the Sultan’s Sundae, which is coconut ice cream with mango chunks, red jelly and pineapple syrup and Maple Cream Balls (¥360). The Maple Cream Balls has the option to add a soft serve.

3. Casbah Food Court

In the Arabian Coast, it wouldn’t be right if they didn’t serve curry with rice and naan. That is what Casbah Food Court is for. For dessert, you have the option to get a coconut pudding or mango mousse cake.

4. Open Sesame

Get your churros here! They have the regular Mickey cinnamon churro as well as a special purple churro (limited time only).

5. Popcorn cart: Curry flavor

Mermaid Lagoon

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1. Step inside the Triton’s Kingdom and watch Ariel’s live acrobatic show at Mermaid Lagoon Theater (FP).

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Marvel at the magic and beauty that lies inside Triton’s Kingdom where there are “Little Mermaid”-themed kiddie rides and a live acrobatic show starring Ariel and friends at Mermaid Lagoon Theater in Japanese. As soon as you step inside, the creativity of the underground kingdom consumes you. There are numerous massive structures that make you feel small in the nocturnal playground.

2. Popcorn cart: Salted

I think this popcorn cart has always been the regular, boring popcorn flavor. I would skip it and try the more fun flavors.

Mysterious Island

1. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (FP)

Originally, Magic Kingdom had this ride but was removed and replaced by Seven Dwarfs Mine ride. Now, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is only available to ride at DisneySea. Similar concept to the lackluster Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride at Disneyland, I would not prioritize this ride on the top of your itinerary.

On this ride, each submarine can comfortably seat six guests while it explores the deep dark secrets of the sea. The deeper the submarine goes, the more danger follows. When Atlantis is finally reached, due to the help of a strange creature, the submarine is able to ascend to the surface and escape the sea’s wrath.

2. Journey to the Center of the Earth* (FP)

Journey to the Center of the Earth is similar to Test Track at Epcot in Orlando. It is highly recommended to get a fast pass for this ride. Usually, those who are going to Tokyo DisneySea would race to get the fast pass to either Toy Story Mania or Journey to the Center of the Earth. If you’ve already ridden Toy Story Mania stateside and is not a priority for you, definitely go for Journey to the Center of the Earth instead.

When you approach Journey to the Center of the Earth, don’t be afraid to ask an employee where the fast pass line is if you’re lost. I was a little confused because their fast pass line looks like the actual line for the ride. It was ridiculously long but the line moves pretty quickly as there are multiple fast pass machines.

3. Nautilus Gallery

Pork Gyoza and Gyoza Dog (¥500) are sold here. Now, they have a special sparkling drink, green apple flavor.

4. Refreshment Station

Another stop for churros, the potato churro.

5. Stuff your face with Chinese food at Vulcania Restaurant

This restaurant specializes in Chinese cuisines such as fried rice, pork belly noodles, and dim sum. Alcohol is also served here with beers and seasonal cocktails.

Additional Tips and Information

  • Leave your selfie sticks at home as it is not allowed at DisneySea.
  • You are allowed to bring food if you want to save money or time.
  • If you get soda here, they are never filled to the brim.
  • Show up early before the park opens so you can snag your first Fast Pass and ride the first ride without a long wait.
  • You can purchase half day tickets for about half the price.
  • If you have the option, eat inside DisneySea and do not make a mistake like I did and eat at the Ikspiari Shopping Mall (not good).
  • DisneySea is easily accessible, I wouldn’t recommend staying nearby as it can be expensive and there is nothing to do after the theme parks are closed.
  • Prioritize your top 3 must-ride and do not get disappointed if you can’t ride them all.
  • Pay attention to the little details around you, such as the cleaning staff. They can throw on a fun little show.

Mouthful of Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the ten largest cities in the world and without a doubt, on many bucket list destinations for travelers. Since Tokyo is such a large city, you will never run out of things to see and do. Without further ado, let’s get started on your guide to Tokyo for first timers:

Airport: There are 2 different airports you can fly in and out of to get to Tokyo, Narita and Haneda. Narita will take about over an hour to get to Tokyo and Haneda will only take half the time. Keep in mind that although Haneda is closer to Tokyo, it is more costly to fly into. Thus, the Narita airport is the most common airport travelers will fly into. It can be a little overwhelming and confusing at first because there are different options you can take for transportation from Narita to the center of Tokyo. Make sure you do a little of reading and planning for it before you take off. I was in no hurry, so I took the cheapest route possible and that was by the regular train.

Tokyo Subway

Transportation: Take the trains! Make sure you buy all-day passes as needed and only buy single tickets when you do not plan on taking the trains across the city as often. Use Google Maps to plan out your routes as it tells you which lines to take and how much the fare will be. The map of the railways can seem a bit complicated but rest assured, the more you use the metro, the easier it will be.

Accommodations: Hotels can be quite costly in Tokyo and I was unwilling to cram into a capsule hotel, as it reminds me of sleeping in a morgue. The alternative was to stay at an Airbnb and what I would recommend to be the best value. My Airbnb was in the Shinjuku area and my host provided a convenient pocket Wi-Fi, which allowed me to have internet access wherever I went.

Shinjuku

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Take the elevator up to the 45th floor for a free observation deck to ogle at the great views of the city below. There are several structures with observation decks such as Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower, but those require an admission fee and can be extremely crowded. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a great alternative for fewer crowds and easier on your wallet.

Be sure to go on a clear day to be able to see the buildings and skyscrapers as some days in Tokyo can be cloudy and smoggy.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Take a 25-minute walk from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to admire the beauty in nature and its seasons among the variety of gardens at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. If it is cherry blossom season, you’re in luck, as this is an exceptional place to capture photos. The Shinjuku Gyoen Garden has an admission fee of ¥200, which is said to be one of the best-valued parks amidst the other parks in Tokyo.

Golden Gai

Golden Gei

Quench your thirst and knock back a few shots with other foreigners and locals at Golden Gai. Bars signs light up the dark alleyways and dimly lit pubs. If you decide to spend your nightlife here, be aware of the cover charges and barkeepers as they could be charging you a higher price for drinks.

Golden Gai

I only came here to take a look around but did not go in any of the bars, because I was told that it is a scam for tourists. My thoughts were justified as soon as I overheard a conversation between a Japanese and American discussing their check discrepancy after a few rounds of drinks. It is said that the bartenders will give you a discount if you are a local and will charge you more if you are clearly a tourist.

Shibuya

Harajuku

Takeshita Street / Dori

This famous pedestrian-only street located in Harajuku is best known for its Harajuku girls and for being one of the most populated places with stores, boutiques, crepe shops,  and restaurants. It caters to the youth and subculture fashion in Tokyo. It is extremely crowded throughout the day so if you are planning to go shopping, expect long lines.

harajuku disney store

Takeshita Street is a charming place to window shop and get a sense for the Japanese culture, whether it be by checking out the fashion in the boutiques or by people watching. During my trek down the congested Takeshita Street, I visited stores such as Daiso, which are ¥100 stores and stumbled into the Disney store. Whichever city I am, I always happen to find myself in a Disney store and pick up a new Tsum Tsum for my friend, since he is a collector and different countries have different Tsum Tsums available.

As I became hungry, I was planning to dine at the Pompompurin Cafe located on the 3rd floor of the Cute Cube Harajuku Mall. I grew up loving Sanrio and Pompompurin was my favorite character as it had sentimental value. However, there was a waitlist for the next day and gave us time slots to come back. Unfortunately, I had other plans so I was unable to return.

Meiji Shrine

The Meiji Shrine is Tokyo’s most popular shrine in Harajuku, a district in Shibuya. There is no admission fee and is opened from sunrise to sunset. You have to walk through a long path entrance surrounded by trees, as the shrine is located in the middle of the forest. Ceremonies and rituals often take place here such as traditional Shinto weddings so you might be able to catch them like I did!

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park is a 6-minute walk from Meiji Shrine. This park is a great place to people watch and relax next to the pond. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the two busiest neighborhoods, Shinjuku and Shibuya, here.

Watch the Rockabilly Dancers at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan.

You can see many different things going on here as musicians, dancers, and entertainers gather here to perform. I was able to catch the rockabilly dancers bust their dance moves as I was visiting, such a fun sight to see!

Shibuya

Shibuya 4

Shibuya Scramble Street

A clear depiction of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Shibuya Scramble Street is one of the busiest streets available for crossing in Tokyo. Like cockroaches scattering when the light switch flips on, pedestrians cross from all angles of the street in a sudden burst of chaos when the walk sign appears.

Shopping District

Aside from the Scramble Street, Shibuya is known for its fashion and shopping. This district is well-equipped to fill all your heart’s desires for shopping, restaurants, and cafes. It would be impossible to see and shop through everything Shibuya has to offer in one day. If you plan on going to Disneyland, you should head over to the Disney Store and buy your Disneyland tickets early because there will be a long line at the entrance.

Shibuya 3

For a tour around Tokyo and major areas like Shibuya, you can inquire to go on a Go Kart Tokyo Tour where you are dressed up as Mario Kart characters and drive around on the streets. While wandering around Shibuya, I saw many tourists race by dropping bananas and shells (not really). I thought this was a great way to visit Tokyo and admire the buildings and areas without having to put in the steps.

Hachikō

dog

Near the Shibuya Scramble Street, loyally sits a statue of Hachikō. Hachikō was truly a man’s best friend as he faithfully came and greet his owner, Ueno, near the Shibuya station every day after work. Even after the passing of Ueno, Hachikō still continued to wait for Ueno’s return until his death. This heartwarming story of a man’s best friend is now commemorated by a statue in Shibuya.

Taitō

Akihabara

Tokyo’s Electric Town, Akihabara, is one of the must-see districts if you are into anime, electronics, and video games. You can also find a variety of maid cafes and theme cafes here. As you explore Akihabara, you will notice the giant buildings with bursts of color from the posters that hang. Don’t be shy, step into any store or building that catches your eye. You will be welcomed by floors and floors of beeping, tapping, and clicking sounds from video games and gamers. Akihabara is certainly not a place you should visit if you are seeking tranquility as it is a town if you should see for thrills of pop culture and video games. If you are a weeaboo, Akihabara is the heaven on Earth for you.

Asakusa

Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest and most visited temple in Asakusa. The Nakamise Street leading up to Sensoji Temple is great to find souvenirs and filled with tourists.

Tokyo Skytree (Solamachi)

Look up in Tokyo and you will see one of the world’s tallest structures, the Tokyo Skytree. At the base of the Skytree is a huge mall and at the top is an observation deck where you can look down at the city below. The mall, of course, is free to enter but to get to the observation deck, you will need to purchase tickets starting at ¥1030 depending on which ticket type best fits your viewing needs. After your visit to the Skytree, be sure to explore the area around Skytree as there are some cool exhibits and places to eat.

Ueno Park

Take a brisk walk around Ueno Park, especially when it is cherry blossom season. This is also another great hot spot to take photos of cherry blossoms. There is also a museum where you can take a look around for the admission price of  ¥600.

Ameya-Yokocho Market (Ameyoko)

After Ueno Park, visit the nearby Ameyoko Market for food and gifts. The shopping arcade is both indoor and outdoor filled with clothing shops and supermarkets.

Bunkyō-ku

Nezu Shrine

Nezu Shrine is another Shinto shrine added to the long list of temples and shrines in Tokyo. Here, you can find the iconic Japanese gates, torli, aligned to form a tunnel. Many people travel to Kyoto for Fushimi Inari-taisha, but they can also see a shorter trail at Nezu Shrine. After your visit to the Nezu Shrine, catch a break with taiyakis at Nezu-no-Taiyaki, a popular store that often has lines out of the door.

Chūō

Ginza

If shopping and high fashion are more of your forte, head over to the district of Ginza. There, you will be able to do some upscale shopping at one of the world’s largest luxury shopping districts filled with department stores, shopping complexes, and boutiques.

kabuki theatre

Take a break from all that shopping by purchasing a ticket to watch a Kabuki performance at the Kabukiza Theater.

Underground Railway Area

While you are in the Ginza district, head over to Yakitori Alley where you can eat meat skewers at the Underground Railway Area nearby while listening to the trains pass by.

Tokyo Stock Exchange

Interested in seeing the third largest stock exchange in the world? It is open to the public with free admission!

Minato

Tokyo Tower

Not to be mistaken as the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is a communications and observation tower. In fact, it actually stands taller than the Eiffel Tower and is the second tallest architecture in Japan. There is an admission fee for both the main deck and the top deck for 900 and 2,800 yen respectively.

Shinbashi

Only a 10-minute walk from Ginza, you can find tiny izakaya, yakitori shops, and bars tucked away in Shinbashi. Surrounded by skyscrapers and business buildings, you will find the office workers and salarymen congregate here during rush hour.

Daiba

Informally known as “Odaiba”, Daiba is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay that was once used as a military tactic, is now known as “Entertainment Island” filled with shops and entertainment for all visitors to enjoy.

Diver City

Odaiba Diver City

Diver City is a shopping center where you can find souvenirs and snacks. To get to the Gundam Statue, I first walked through Diver City to shop and look for Tokyo Bananas to bring back home.

Gundam Statue

Odaiba Diver City Gundam

Whether you watch Gundam or not, this famous statue of a giant robot in Odaiba lights up and moves for fans and visitors. When I visited, it was the old Gundam but now it is replaced with a bigger and more badass Gundam statue as of 2017. The previous Gundam statue was shorter and smaller than how it was shown in the anime. This new Gundam clearly depicts the Japanese and their meticulous attention to detail as they built it to display how a real Gundam would look like in real life.

Standing outside of Odaiba’s DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, the Unicorn Gundam statue is free to visit and take photos of. Ever so often, you get a small show from the graceful Gundam as it transforms and makes noises to keep the onlookers entertained.

Palette Town

Sorry to break it to you, Pokemon lovers, it is not Pallet Town. But more like the palette for painting, as it displays one of the largest colorful Ferris wheels outside. Inside Palette Town is a building filled with shops, restaurants, and attractions. This mall has a very elegant interior design with a sky painted ceiling similar to the sophisticated Venetian and Paris hotels in Las Vegas.

Rainbow Bridge

This suspension bridge can be seen from Odaiba as it connects to Tamachi Station. At the edge of Daiba there is a waterfront park where can have perfect views of the Rainbow Bridge from anywhere on the beach. You can walk or drive across the bridge but is not recommended to walk since there is heaps of pollution and smog due to the constant traffic. The bridge itself illuminates and alternates colors depending on the event and season. Rainbow Bridge really reveals how much Tokyo embraces technology and made it a part of their everyday lives.

Decks

Decks’ exterior design is in a shape of a cruise ship, as it is charming and nautical themed. Inside, it is another shopping mall in Odaiba with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. If you are into virtual reality, you should visit Joypolis, the largest indoor theme park in Japan. There is also an interactive art museum called Tokyo Trick Art Museum, where you can take photos that display optical illusions. In addition, you can tour and eat your way through the Odaiba Takoyaki Museum.

The Odaiba Takoyaki Museum has a food court style layout with stalls lined up next to each other and a bounty of tables for you to enjoy your snack. This takoyaki “museum” is less of a museum and more of a food fair.

Aqua City

Aqua City is a five-story mall in a string of malls with American retail stores and a replica of New York City’s Statue of Liberty outside.

Bunkyo

Tokyo University

One of the most prestigious schools in Japan is Tokyo University and it certainly shows. Take a look around, it’s interesting to see the difference between universities across the world.

Urayasu

Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

If you are a Disney fanatic or enjoy anything Disney related, you must visit Tokyo DisneySea! Similar to Disney California Adventure in Southern California, Tokyo DisneySea is different than the traditional Disneyland. Here, you will not find the castle in the middle of the park but guaranteed to find something spectacular. The meticulous detail and thought they put into creating the park is astonishing. I was in awe and filled with joy throughout my visit to Tokyo DisneySea. This is by far one of my favorite parks! Read my full post on DisneySea here.

Fun fact: Although Tokyo DisneySea uses the Disney name, it is actually not owned by the Walt Disney Company, but by The Oriental Land Company. The Walt Disney Company just licenses the characters and themes.

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland is more of the traditional Disneyland theme park you see in other countries with the different lands such as Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.  I ran out of time and I was unable to visit Tokyo Disneyland but I intend to visit it in the future.

Other Recommendations

Public Onsen Also known as a public bath. If taking baths with strangers in hot spring water is your thing, then this is a perfect way to experience a common activity amongst the Japanese. Remember your etiquette and manners!

Mount Takao – A mountain in Japan that is 50 km from the center of Tokyo. For those who want to see more of the nature side of Tokyo, you can take the JR to Mount Takao. Free admission.

Ghibli Museum – If you are familiar with the Japanese animation Studio Ghibli films such as Spirited Away, Ghibli Museum is right up your alley. Be aware that you must purchase tickets in advance and are extremely limited.

Pachinko – Japan’s way of gambling, except you don’t actually win money; you win prizes. Not to be confused with slot machines, Pachinko, a Japanese favorite past time, is a mechanical game equipped with fun, flashing lights and played with small silver balls.

HAPPY TRAVELING!

Now that you’ve read all of the places in Tokyo I’ve visited, check out the ones I deliberately tried to avoid.

Places I Avoided in Tokyo, Japan

Prior to my trip to Japan, I spent an ample time researching the places that are popular and worth visiting in Tokyo. There were just so many places with such little time that I had to spend on my trip. I filtered out what I had no interest in and what are tourist traps. Here are a few spots I decided to avoid:

Robot Restaurant

With its bright lights and eccentric show, Robot Restaurant is an experience I decided to avoid due to its below-average food and expensive entrance fee. I have heard mixed reviews from those who have seen the show and I personally didn’t think it would be something I would enjoy. Maybe one day when I have the extra cash to spend.

Theme Cafes

Gundam Cafe

I have to admit, looking at photos of theme cafes online is pretty convincing and makes my eyes light up with interest. I usually find myself thinking, “WOW, that’s cool! I need to bookmark this so I can visit this later”.  The reality of it is, it’s just cool to look at but the food and drinks they serve are mediocre at best. Not only is the food tasteless and bad, it is also very pricey because it is required that each person must purchase an overpriced item. After all, you are paying to be there. They are mainly huge tourist traps and are only visited for its novelty.  Some of these theme cafes are based on anime or video games, and would only interest those that are HUGE fans.

Not to knock all theme cafes, but maybe I haven’t found one that I feel is really worth visiting.

Animal Cafes 

Although animal cafes could be a great concept, in actuality, it is disheartening and purely for the amusement of humans. At these cafes, whether it be owls, hedgehogs, rabbits or cats, have too many animals confined in a small space. This could cause animals such as rabbits to develop high stress. Causing the animals to live in unnatural environments while patrons constantly pet and disturb the animals is shameful. Owls are nocturnal, yet they are forced to stay awake so people can hold or take pictures with them. Not only that, they are chained to their posts. I saved myself the heartbreak and refrained from stepping foot into one of these cafes.

Roppongi

Roppongi is one of the areas in Tokyo for a night out. However, I have seen on many websites to avoid Roppongi unless you like to be bothered by Nigerians and their street touting. There is an abundance of them and will constantly hassle you to go to the clubs or bars that have overpriced cover charges, empty, and expensive. If you don’t, they will follow you and be aggressive towards you. I would never wish to put myself in this situation so I chose not to visit Roppongi during the night time. However, I am opened to the idea of visiting Roppongi during the daytime as there is a Mori Art Museum that I would like to check out.

Zoos

Animals in Japan seem to be mistreated at the zoos, whether it be Ueno Zoo or Tokyo Zoo. Ueno Zoo is poorly maintained with small enclosures for animals. Tokyo Zoo’s animals are assumed to be very unhealthy. It was stated by many people’s experiences that animals are depressed, stressed and malnourished at all of the zoos in Japan. I skipped visiting zoos because this is not something I would want to pay money to see.

Tsukiji Fish Market

I am not a morning person. So if you were to tell me to get up at 5 AM to look at fresh fish, I would first give you a side eye look and respond, “I don’t think so”. There is no way, no how you will get me out of bed for that. The Tsukiji Fish Market is where the fish business happens and where restaurants can get their fish of the day specials. It is not exactly tourist friendly unless standing in line for a few hours to eat sushi for breakfast sounds like a great idea to you.

This is subject to my own opinions and findings. If these places sound like fun to you, then by all means. Just don’t have your expectations too high and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

SAFE TRAVELS!