After more than 3 hours of traveling by bus from Niigata, we arrived at the Ikebukuro station in Tokyo. We dropped by Don Quixote, a retail blackhole (ha!), for a bit since Gail needed to look for something. Off we went to Ueno where our hotel was located.
This is our hotel. They must have ran out of appropriate paint color. LOL
Hotel is still a little cramped but it was clean and there was a fridge so we’re fine.
We wanted to go somewhere that day but we did not have enough time. We decided to just find a place to eat. We found this place that has a vending machine for orders. One would have to push a button to choose and order, insert the bills and get the receipt.
We gave the receipt to the server inside and after a few minutes, our order was served.
After we finished eating our dinner, we roamed around the area and found out that the Ameyoko market was just around the corner. We did not find anything interesting so off we searched for the nearest Don Quixote which was a few blocks away. After some retail therapy, we went back to the hotel ready to call it a day.
We really do not have a very tight schedule for our first whole day in Tokyo, we just chose places we wanted to visit like the Imperial Palace, Uniqlo Store at Ginza, Hachiko at Shibuya, Sekaido (art store) at Shinjuku then back to Ueno for the zoo and park. We agreed that we would just visit what we could cover for the day. We took a leisurely pace.
Tita na kami kasi.
First stop was the Imperial Palace. We rode the train to the Tokyo Station.
As soon as we reached the station, we looked for a place to eat. We think that there were better choices in a train station than outside. We found this place that served breakfast sandwiches so we quickly settled to the available seats.
Look there is a bucket under every seat for a place to put your bags.
Off we went the Marunouchi exit of the Tokyo station. Just before we exited, we looked up and the ceiling was beautiful.
This was the reason why Grace reminded us to take this exit and when we were already outside, we should not forget to look back. This is what the station looks like outside. Just beautiful.
When we crossed the street, there was this commemorative installation for the Rugby World Cup that was being held in Japan that time.
After we had enough photos, we walked our way towards the Imperial Palace grounds. I thought we would be able to see the palace from the grounds. I guess not.
So we took a few photos in the palace grounds area and we are off to Ginza!
Google told us that it was 17 minutes away by foot. We also got to pass by Hibiya park.
I love how there were pockets of greens in between concrete jungles in Tokyo.
So what is in Ginza? The largest Uniqlo store in the world!
There are 12 floors and I was only able to buy 1 thing- thermal undergarment because it was on sale. It was already fall/winter season and I live in a tropical country so nothing caught my fancy. Plus, I was on a limited budget. We also kept on computing because prices were more or less the same as the ones in Manila.
This is the view from the top!
After going through all the 12 floors in Uniqlo, we were off to Shibuya.
I just needed to visit Hachiko at least once in my lifetime.
And since we were already in Shibuya, we might as well cross one of the busiest intersections in the world.
We went to Shinjuku afterwards to check out an art store. This was my special request. And we had difficulty in finding the store and just when I was so ready to give up, it was just in front of me all those times. Naks! I was meant to get those paint tubes, notebooks and pens.
Rationalizing the purchase.
I guess we lost track of time because by the time we reached Ueno, the zoo was already closed. We will just have to visit it next time. We trekked back to our hotel after we had dinner. We had to pack. We would be checking out of our hotel the next day. And the highlight of our Tokyo trip was also scheduled the next day.
Our last day in Japan would be spent at the Ghibli Museum! And somebody was prepared to go there. Look at her earring.
Ever since Grace went to the Ghibli museum with her kids, I wanted to go there too. I know nothing about Ghibli until Grace mentioned it and I caught up with 4 Ghibli movies since then. I know. I needed to catch up.
It was difficult to get those entrance tickets. One needs to book a month in advance. We tried to book online at the specific time and date when tickets were available but the website crashed on me. I messaged Grace about it so she called her local Lawson office and personally bought the tickets for us. Whew! When I checked the website a day after, the tickets were sold out!
We had a specific time when to enter the museum- 10 a.m. The museum was 45 minutes away so we checked out of the hotel at around 7 a.m. We had to leave our luggage at the lockers at the Keisei Ueno station where would ride the train to Narita later that day.
To reach Ghibli, we had the option to go to Mitaka station and ride the Ghibli bus or take the Kichijoji sation and walk. We took the Kichijoji route because we saw that there was a Catholic church along the way. I traveled with a saint so we needed to visit a church. Kidding aside, it was a nice way to be thankful for our trip.
The church was tucked away behind a building which we first thought was the church.
You know you are in the right place when you can understand what is written in the sign.
Our walk from the church to Ghibli was an easy one because we passed through the Inokashira Park. Gail was on heightened alert because trees meant spiders between tree trunks. Hehehe
There were directions on which way the museum was. It was hard to get lost.
We saw the Ghibli bus that we did not take because we opted to walk.
We finally reached Ghibli. This is not the entrance yet.
We turned to the other corner and we found a line! We arrived 20 minutes before it opened and there was already a line. I was looking at the people and told Gail, “So these are our competitors in getting the tickets!” LOL
Photography was not allowed inside the museum.
All I can say is that Ghibli artists are so creative and detailed. They would label each color they used in the illustrations so every frame you see in their movies are perfectly made. There are notes on how each frame was made. If you are into illustration and art, the place is very inspiring. I was happy to visit Ghibli. My inspiration cup overflows. Thank you, Grace, for securing the tickets for us and for introducing Ghibli to me!
Our last destination before we headed for the airport was this pancake place. Grace told us to try this place while we were planning our trip. It was a short walk from Ghibli. So as a celebration of this trip, we splurged a little in this place. We ordered a meal and a dessert. Yes, a pancake meal and a pancake dessert. Yummy fluffy pancakes!
As I was trying to finish my meal, another set was waiting for me to devour. I shared this with Gail, by the way.
What a way to end a trip to Japan! I hope to go back!