Thursday, March 31, 2016

Quickie Trip : Tokyo in 24 Hours

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Tokyo is a huge city and 24 hours would not be enough to explore it. Unfortunately, we were only given that amount of time to stay and explore Tokyo so we made sure we experience the city as much as we could. (Read: An Amazing Trip to Japan)


We left Manila via the Jetstar Japan's Inaugural Flight early in the morning and arrived in Narita after five hours. From Narita Airport's terminal 3, we walked towards terminal 2 to catch the Narita Express Train going to Tokyo. Japan Rail has an ongoing promo of 4,000 yen for a return train ticket, Narita-Tokyo-Narita for all visitors. All you have to do is show your passport which what we exactly did. After almost an hour, we arrived at Tokyo Train Station.

From Tokyo train station, we took a cab to Ginza Capital Hotel. Since the regular check in time is at 3pm, we decided to just leave our bags and head straight to explore the city. I was with Joshua and he happens to have local friends, Midori and Lina, he met during one of his travels who volunteered to accompany us in our short adventure. (Read: How To Maximize the Full Value of JR Pass?)

With our new friends Midori and Lina at Shinjuku Garden

Because we have Lina and Midori, we didn't worry much about how to go to the destination we want to visit which basically saved us some time. Our hotel is close to a train station so we took the subway and went to Shinjuku to see the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and hoping that there would be some cherry blossoms.

After arriving at Shinjuku station, we decided to eat. We wanted ramen, so, we walked around and found a ramen house. I rarely eat ramen in the Philippines so I thought I would just share a bowl with Gabz. Our Japanese friends were surprised because they can actually finish a whole bowl, so I changed my mind and ordered a bowl for myself. Lina and Midori suggested the ramen that we should try and we ordered them. What I had was really good. It was the best ramen I have ever tasted. I actually finished the whole bowl and even ate a portion of Gabz ramen as he was not able to finish it. I officially love ramen! Hahaha. Thanks to Midori for treating us with a sumptuous bowl of ramen.

The best ramen I've tasted so far somewhere near Shinjuku train station. A huge serving for only ¥700. Thank you Lina Tsuda for the treat.
Posted by Glen Santillan on Friday, March 18, 2016

After satisfying our gastronomic cravings, we walked our way to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. When we reached the gate, I was rally hoping to see at least some cherry blossoms. And voila, when we entered, we saw a cherry blossom from afar. It wasn't looking really good but we're happy to have seen it. It's on the top of my bucketlist so I was really happy. We were so ecstatic. We took photos like there's no tomorrow. We thought that was it.


An then... as we continued exploring the park, we saw another sakura in full bloom. It was better and more picturesque than the first one. Imagine how we reacted. It was just phenomenal. I was awe-mazing. We took photos and selfies here and there. It was such an amazing experience.



Next on the itinerary was Ueno Park. It is a huge public park next to Ueno Station in central Tokyo. We did not have a lot of time so we were not able to explore much of the park. We got a good glimpse of it and if ever I will be coming back to Tokyo, I would love to explore it more.

Kalapating mababa ang lipad. #Japan Photo by Pinoy Travel Freak
Posted by Glen Santillan on Monday, March 28, 2016

It was almost dark when we left Ueno Park. We decided to go to Shibuya to see Hachiko's statue and the famous Shibuya Crossing. There were just too many people in there. After taking a photo with Hachiko, we decided to go to Starbucks as it would give us a good view of Shibuya Crossing. Midori and Lina already left so it was only the three of us left. We stayed at Starbucks for a couple of minutes and we decided to go shopping. 



A photo posted by Glen Santillan (@escapemanila) on


We were already tired so we decided to go back to the hotel. Thanks to Japan's reliable and efficient train network, we're able to go back to the hotel easily. We checked in, then went out to eat and discovered a small restaurant near the hotel. It was a semi-self service resto. The food was really good. I ate my katsudon with gusto.


We wanted to shop more so we walked to Ginza Central, unfortunately it was almost 9pm when we arrived so most shops were already closing. It was definitely  a fail. Since we can't shop, we decided to call it a night and went back to the hotel. 

I had a terrible headache so I went straight to my room and slept. Gabz and I woke up early to go to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Unfortunately, we arrived late so we were not able to join the tour. There's a limit of the number of tourists who can join and you have to go there before 5am. It was a bit disappointing but we just decided to explore the area a little bit then went back to the hotel.



Since we have to checkout by 9am to go back to Narita, we decided to take a breakfast at the restaurant where we had dinner at since we really love the food. I ordered a salmon breakfast meal and it was delicious. It's a good value for money!

We went back to the hotel, checked out and head back to Narita. Our Tokyo trip ended just like that. It was short but epic! I will be back for more fun and adventure.

***Jetstar Japan flies to Tokyo (Narita) direct from Manila 5x a week. Book your tickets at www.jetstar.com.
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