12.29.2014

Day 2 - Zojoji Temple, Tokyo Tower, Harajuku

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It's our 2nd day in Tokyo! As we're a lil bit tired from the previous day, we went out quite late at 11am. Before we went out, we had a quick and simple breakfast at our apartment with pork buns (cha siu bao) that my dad bought at Lawson.. It's so delish that even Jakarta's most famous bun shop couldn't beat it.. The dough is so soft and the pork has a perfect seasonings + so many pork fats (which is my favorite part). Lol.
On the photo above, I was holding another can of van houten hot cocoa, it's available at my apartment's vending machine.. yayyy!! Hot choco every morning =P

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Then we're going to have another breakfast / early lunch at Ichiran Ramen (click for address).
It's not hard to find this place.
First you must go to Shibuya Crossing, then go to the road which is the right side road from Starbucks (It's a huge starbucks store right in front of shibuya station hachiko exit).
Just walk straight and you'll find Seibu, Oicity, etc.
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Continue to walk straight along the right side of the road, you'll find a ZARA store. The Ichiran stall is a few steps after ZARA. It's located in a basement of a building . The place is soo small !!

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  • Top left : The Ichiran sign!
  • Top right: I got there at 11am , so it's not really crowded, but I still had to queue for 15mins. My tip is: don't go there during lunch time (12am-2pm) as the queue is kinda CRAZY , esp. in the freezing cold winter weather! =___=.
  • Bottom left: Order the ramen with a vending machine! There's only 1 menu which is buta ramen (pork ramen), but you can order additional hard boiled egg, extra leeks, rice, pork, noodle, etc. 
  • Bottom right: This waiter will hand you another 'menu' to custom your own ramen like the richness of the soup, the strength of flavor, how many garlic/leeks/sauce you want, etc.
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We sat inside a small booth and they'll open the partition if you come with your friends (in a group)

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The taste itself was very satisfying and worth the hype. My dad who dislikes all the ramen franchises in Jakarta even told me that the ramen is delicious! :)

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After having our yummy meal, we're heading to Hamamatsucho Station (JR Yamanote line) from Shibuya Station.

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It was raining since early morning and it was one of the coldest days when I was in Japan T.T.

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Even the firefighter sign is soo cuteee... *___*

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We wear masks as it's really...really...cold...till there were snots coming out of my nose .. lol

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So.. the hamamatsucho station was the station we took to go to Zojoji temple and Tokyo Tower!! :)

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The big red gate is Sangedatsumon Gate which is believed that if you pass through this gate, you'll overcome 3 passions (greed, hatred, and foolishness) !

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In front of the main hall of Zojoji temple, there's this big maple tree that still had those red & orange leaves. I couldn't help but to take soo many photos there!! I feel so lucky to be able to find this pretty tree! It's me & my parent's first time ever experiencing fall/autumn season :D

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Zojoji temple itself is a Buddhist temple. There are places where you can hang your wishes and the bad (not-so-good) luck papers that you got from the fortune-teller (usually it's put in a stick inside a bamboo/bottle where it'll come out when you shake it).
The Jizo statues above symbolize the unborn children (aborted, misscaried, unborn). I think their parents will come to visit them at some time to change the knits. There were also some statues that wore jackets since its winter! :'>

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Behind Zojoji temple, there's Tokyo Tower! I've been dreaming to go to this place since I didn't go there at my 1st visit to Japan. Look at the pretty autumn trees :). Couldn't stop smiling despite the freezing wind that blew!

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Along the way to Tokyo tower, there's this small garden full of autumn / maple trees too! So we took photos...again. xD

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A small food stall at Tokyo Tower that sells coffee, milk, ice cream, and crepes. Too bad I don't like crepes so I just bought hot coffee for my dad.

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I know this is kinda random, but I found out that most of the food stalls in Japan have this alcohol sanitizer. So the seller's hand will be clean after they receive money and then go to make the food. The buyer can also use it before they eat there. I still don't find this hygene attitude in Indonesia's food stalls :(

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The view of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower. Although it was cloudy and hazy, my dad said that Japan's roads are all so good till it looks like a 'miniature' city from above and there's not any holes on the road (like in Indonesia.. lol). The road's lines are also very clear and bold. In Indonesia, we still find many road lines which are almost invisible... T_T. The citizens are also very obedient to the rules as there's not anyone who cross the road carelessly (not at the zebracross). My friend, Ashley (whom I met later on that day) told me that's because their tax is very high and it's all used to make the perfect roads & public facilities!

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We had dinner at Matsuya . I ordered a bowl of kimchi & beef rice. This matsuya stall is located in Daimon street (along the way back to Hamamatsucho station). I still prefer Yoshinoya !

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From Hamamatsucho station, we headed to Harajuku station to go to Takeshita dori! The rain was even harder than before I couldn't take any photo along this street :( :(. 
I met Ashley in Takeshita dori. Actually we wanted to visit this Pompompurin Cafe but the queue was so long and I couldn't bear the cold weather T_T. *giving 100 thumbs out for those Japanese girls who queued at that time T_T*

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Super small portion which was still BIGG for me xD
In front of Pompompurin Cafe, there's an omu-rice restaurant (I got excited right away!!). We decided to eat & have a chit chat there :)


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I knew Ashley in 2009 through blog-walking. We exchanged postcards and e-mails. I'm so happy to meet her! We had chit-chats as if we had ever met before! >o<. She's such a kind and lovely person! :D

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We went to Liz Liza's store and it felt like heaven on earth *_*. The shop assistant was so kawaiiiii and humble. They really treated customers as "princess". I got 2 pieces of clothes there (for my sis who's a big fan of Liz Liza!) hehehe :)

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I told Ashley that I wanted to go to a Purikura photobooth Then we went to this place which's full of purikura booths. There were so many of it, and here's the result of our purikura session.

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Look! I look like a different person... I wish my cheeks and eyes looked like this in real life T^T .
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Overall, that day was such a blast despite the freezing weather. Dear Ashley, let's meet again in the future! Hope I can go to Japan again soon! ;)
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#verenleinJAPAN - @verenleecious

12.26.2014

Day 1 - Ohayou Tokyo!

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Arrived at NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT! ^0^
Just like what I told you before on my previous post, this was our very first trip overseas (beside asean countries) that we visited without tour guide/ tour services/ packages. 
This trip is my parents' 3rd visit and my 2nd visit to Japan, but previously we always took tour services from Indonesia, where we were provided everything from visa, tickets, reservations.. So we only needed to sit nicely in the bus and they'd take us to the tourist attractions! 

It all started when I was randomly checking out cheap airplane tickets (in July) and found a great deal from Jakarta to Japan on Airasia's website. Then I told my parents about it. We loveee Japan very much at every visit we make, and we're also a big fan of the food there. This year, there are also so many news and tv shows about Japan's tourist attractions and at that time, we realized that there are still so many places that we haven't visited in Japan, and how we missed their authentic Japanese food / street food when we went there with tour guide (usually, Indonesian tour services will take us to chinese restaurants most of the time... lol). Moreover, we feel like we're always in a rush when going with tour, as we're supposed to visit maaaanny places in a short time. So, the shopping time and photo time are so limited!! 

At first they hesitated as none of us can speak Japanese and many Japanese can't speak English.
But I read many Indonesian bloggers' blogpost about their trip to Japan without tour guide, and it's not hard at all. I was really helped by myfunfoodiary's blogposts, and also Ashley'scominica's, stella lee's, and elle & jess' ! :)

WHAT I PREPARED BEFORE GOING TO JAPAN:
  1. Bought airplane ticket (JKT-Narita(Tokyo) & Kansai(Osaka)-JKT) from Airasia.com (IDR 5,5mill/person)
  2. Booked apartment in Tokyo (via airbnb.com) and hotel in Osaka (via agoda.com)
  3. Booked pocket wifi . (very important to go around Japan to see the train schedules on hyperdia.com and also google map) from Global Advanced Comm
  4. Making itinerary and completing documents for visa
  5. Calculating the approximate cost of transportation while in Japan to decide whether I need a JR Pass or not
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  1. Learning about the train's tracks / maps, so the itinerary is neat and I won't overcost on transportation. I also make a draft document about what transportation I'd take from the airport to the apartment, from the nearest station from my apartment to go around tokyo, from Tokyo - Osaka, Osaka - Kyoto, till from the hotel to the airport . All of those routes can be found in hyperdia.com's website! They also include the fares, the time, and the tracks which are VERY useful.

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We arrived on December 19th morning in Narita Airport, then we decided to take the Airport limousine bus where the ticket can be purchased in front of the arrival exit for around ¥3000 one way to Shibuya (cerulean tower tokyu hotel). The trip took about 2 hours.

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BESTTTTT HOT CHOCO EVER!!! I drank this every morning since the vending machine in our apartment's lobby got this van houten. Hehe!
Japanese are VERY PUNCTUAL. I purchased my bus ticket for 9:05am departure at 9:03 (which means I only got 2 minutes left to hop onto the bus) , but then I 'lost' my phone and I and my parents had to get off the bus and looked for my phone, only to found out it's actually in my coat's pocket. LOL. My parents were quite pissed of how clumsy I was as their "private tour guide" on our first day in Japan, while we still got 5 days to go dealing with my clumsiness .
So, the bus left us but they said I may change the ticket for the next departure time for free!

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Right after we arrived in Cerulean Tokyo Tower Hotel (which is the bus stop in Shibuya area), we asked the hotel's staff the way/route to Dogenzaka area (our apartment) since we still hadn't got our pocket wifi yet (it's delivered to our apartment).

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  • bruno hat c/o Her Spot
  • coat from cloth inc
  • sweater from bershka
  • blue stripes shirt from stradivarius
  • denim shorts from zara kids
  • sunglasses from kate spade
  • bag from michael kors
  • creepers c/o @grinitty
We were surprised to see the momiji (autumn leaves)! I thought it's not available anymore in December. So we stopped to take a picture in front of the pretty tree!! #perksofnotgoingwithatourguide.

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Damn soft pork belly cuts
While we were 'lost' looking for our apartment. My mom insisted to stop by this small restaurant because she said it smelled so good even from outside and we hadn't had our breakfast yet.
The staffs couldn't speak english but luckily we ordered the food through a vending machine (thank God I've read some infos about Japanese's vending machines in food stalls) and we just needed to press the number of the menu (there were food miniatures in front of this restaurant along with their numbers in the menu). Our meals were affordable! ¥480-500 with free ocha :)

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This pork katsu with egg & onions were really good :9
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I've calculated the whole transportation cost for our trip in Japan and we don't need a JR Pass. We decided to get ourselves a Suica card each. It's like a bca flazz card but we use it in JR train stations (for JR lines). We filled the card with some amount of money (¥2000) . Everytime we pass the gate, we just stick the card to the sensor and it'd read the station we get in, and stick again at the exit gate (and they'll charge you the fee automatically by cutting off the amount you have in your card. There are discounts too (for example. shibuya station to harajuku is ¥210, but after discount the fare is only ¥190) rather than purchasing a usual ticket one by one for every trip). 
This Suica card can only be used for JR lines . For metro/subway, you need to purchase Pasmo card (same function) . I didn't purchase Pasmo card since I didn't take many routes through metro/subway lines, so everytime I needed to take a subway/metro, I just bought a ticket at the ticket machines ;)

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Good morning Shibuya!! Thank you so much to the police officer in front of Shibuya station who spoke English very well and showed us the way to our apartment, and also a very kind Japanese who also helped us although he couldn't speak english.. so both of us used the sign languages.. lol

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Yay... we're getting close to our apartment!! Look at the pretty sky and sunlight :D

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After we've arrived at our apartment, we took a moment to take a rest and change our clothes to wander around Shibuta till night!

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There's a Lawson store in front of our apartment. I got myself a pocky and also a very yummy warm milk tea :9


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The famous SHIBUYA109 Mall was very close to our apartment. There are so many famous brands like Snidel, Emoda, Liz Liza, Samantha Vega, and maaaany more. I and my mom went a lil bit crazy shopping at that mall. Even the shop assistans were very pretty and cute!! xD
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Randomly visited a standing (yes... standing as it means there's not any chair / seat to sit on) sushi bar in Shibuya.. The sushi was good!!

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I have an extraordinary tummy, so we went in to a Yoshinoya stall and I tried this pork belly rice which's not available in Indonesia.. Omg.. it's sooo yummyyyy!! Wish they could bring this menu to Indonesia T_T


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If you're wondering, my dad took all pics of me and I took all pics without me in it :D. I brought my canon eos 600D and 50mm f1/8 lens. On the two last days on my trip, my dad bought a new cam from BIC Camera shibuya. It's Canon eos m2 and we used it to took our pics while we're in Osaka & Kyoto. All of the photos in this post were still taken by my iPhone  & EOS 600D! 

See you on next post!!
#verenleeinJAPAN