Updated: Feb 20, 2019
I'll be posting my itinerary at the end of the entire post when I'm done, so do look out for it! :D It's actually my first time planning an entire trip, so please pardon me if our planning isn't very efficient ok hahah! For example, our first stop was Tokyo and we already booked our flight to arrive at the wrong airport (which was further) LOL! Sean has never been to Japan before, and the last time I visited was yearsssss ago with my family, so I can't really
remember how to travel around Japan either. So we're starting from a blank slate here.
Click HERE to download the itinerary :)
DAY ONE - Tokyo (Shibuya Station)
We arrived in the afternoon and after checking in Shibuya Tobu hotel (few minutes uphill from Shibuya Metro Station), our first meal was Ichiran ramen! The hotel was spacious and clean. I was told by countless people who've been to Japan before that Ichiran ramen is a must try. True enough, one try and we're hooked!
And then we planned to meet Cheesie and her family since they were in Tokyo too! We had some spare time before meeting them for dinner, so we walked around and saw this VR Park. They have massive amounts of these claw machines in Japan and the staff's strategy is super smart ok! They'll hand you passes that say "Free Second Try" or "Free First Try" to get you hooked. Yup. That's what happened to us. 4000 yen (about 50SGD) later, we finally caught this Charmander toy hahaha! I gave it to Junya (Cheesie's super cute son) later on as a bribe to make him like me because I like him so much LOL xD
Walking around Shibuya where our hotel was at :)
We had a delicious beef steak dinner (sorry I was so engrossed talking and playing with Junya I forgot to take photos or remember the shop...) and also had desserts! It's peach season in Japan during Summer so everything peach tastes exceptionally good!
DAY TWO (Omotesando Station)
I wrote this in my itinerary as "Rachell's Ultimate Goal" because it's one of the reasons that resulted in our Japan trip hahah! Dominique Ansel is a super creative pastry chef who created cronuts, frozen s'mores and milk cookie shot etc, almost every food goals thing you see on Instagram basically. And because his main branch is in NY and I can't travel that far, I'm so thankful he has a branch in Tokyo :D Dominique Ansel Bakery (DAB) Japan is of super walkable distance from the Metro, and we went there with Cheesie, Junya & Sakura the next morning!
So excited to finally have DAB Japan's cookie milk shot, cronut, frozen s'mores, DKA and the kiwi sorbet! I've been dreaming about how they'd taste like since long ago!!! So happy to have finally tried it! My favourite was the cookie milk shot, DKA & frozen s'mores. But I think the frozen s'mores should be shared because it's on the sweet side, just in case you guys overdose on sweetness haha!
A few minutes' walk later from DAB Japan, we went over to A Happy Pancake to have fluffy pancakes! Another one of the must-try food on my checklist ^~^ Sooooo light, fluffy and delicious, it's not even jelat at all although we had so much sweet stuff early in the morning!
And guess what? A minute's walk later from A Happy Pancake is 76 Cafe!! If you didn't know, Number 76 is a renowned salon in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. And in Japan, they even have a beautiful cafe below their salon. I love their dry ramen :P
So many OOTD-worthy spots!!!
And then Cheesie brought us to shop around Harajuku, Takeshita Street, Laforet etc. While Japan has lots of beautiful apparels with unique designs, I just couldn't help but get more attracted to the food there lol :X
And then we parted our ways and walked around Harajuku a little more, and spotted this cat cafe called Cat Cafe MoCHA (Harajuku) and hurried in! We went in at a lucky timing when all the cats were gathered to have their dinner, and they were being all manja after dinner it's so adorable xD Sean was super show off cause at one point he had like 3 - 4 cats gathered all around him and he thinks he's the cat whisperer lol!
We were heading to Osaka in a few days' time, so we needed JR passes. The JR Pass is a physical thing. If you're planning your trip early, it's good for you to apply a few months before so they can mail it to your home first. It won't expire quickly, and it's only activated when you want it to. But because we booked our trip super last minute (like one week ago), we couldn't receive our JR vouchers (to be exchanged into JR Passes at the metro station) on time, and wrote the delivery address as our first hotel. We wrote "Pass to reception please" at the comment section below, and informed the hotel receptionist on the day we checked in that we were expecting a package. The staff were really nice to inform us the moment it arrived :)
There are a few major metro stations where you can exchange your JR vouchers into JR passes, and Shibuya station was one of them. We bought the 7 day JR pass, and chose the activation date to be the day after.
And then we went back to DAB Japan again hahaha! I just couldn't stop thinking about the food there and we wanted more of the DKA! Surprisingly, the one that drew me back wasn't the frozen s'mores, but the DKA. I've never had anything like it before. Kind of tasted like a croissant but with crispy sugary bits, sweet and savory both at once. Even Sean loved it.
Also walked over to have fluffy pancakes again HAHAHA!
You'll see the following on my vlog, but I didn't take any photos cause I was having cramps that day so I was lazy~ We went shopping at Adidas, Shibuya 109, 109 Men's and Don Quijote!
Shibuya is a famous location where a lot of people take photos/ videos at the Shibuya crossing. We took some videos on our vlog, but no photos because...period cramps hahaha (excuses)!
Also saw a couple trying to catch this brown thing and failed to at the VR Park, so I put in 500 yen (6 tries) to try, and I got it within 4 tries ok!!! I named it Chicken Nugget because I didn't know what it was lol. We were heading towards Osaka the next day, and almost didn't get to bring him along because he took up 1/4 of our total luggage space hahah! But by then I was too emotionally attached to Chicken Nugget already so we squeezed him in. (he's back with us in SG now lol)
This was the day we're suppose to take the Shinkansen to Osaka! We were at the platform 4 minutes before the supposed arrival time of the train, and we rushed on board without even realising WE WENT ONTO THE WRONG TRAIN, and it started moving.... oh. my. god.
Thankfully, there was a nice uncle who sat beside us and peeked over at our ticket and informed us (with Google translate) that we'd boarded the wrong train. He told us to get down at the next stop and wait for the next train, and then we'll be alright. Thankfully, the next stop was only 15 minutes away, because some of the intervals between the stops could be like 1 hour away kind on the Shinkansen :S
DAY FOUR - OSAKA
We arrived safely at Osaka and checked in at our hotel (Hotel Code Shinsaibashi)! The hotel was new and beautiful, and the toilet was super chic. Our only concern was that the room was a little narrow and small, like we could only open up one luggage at a time on the floor, and then the other luggage we had to open it on the bed haha. Nevertheless, a really pretty hotel!
That night we were unsure of what to have for dinner and loitered around for a bit. Saw a crazy queue at Ichiran Ramen and felt so thankful that in Tokyo we already ate it a few times xD We followed this sign (beside Ichiran Ramen) and went to have grilled beef!
We weren't expecting anything spectacular, we actually just expected a decent meal of grilled beef that night but WHOA! The manager informed us that they had Matsusaka beef, which is more popular than Kobe beef, and we ordered a set of it. Plus garlic rice for Sean, and some drinks. The total cost was about 8,500 yen, approximately $100+ SGD, but it was soooo worth it! BEST BEEF I'VE EVER EATEN! I didn't even know beef could taste like this okay. It literally melts in your mouth and it tastes so amazing! They served a good proportion of fatty meat and lean meat in the set :)
After a super filling meal at Yakiniku M Dotonburi, we spotted a looooong queue at this Takoyaki store and being the kiasu (fear of missing out) Singaporean that I am, I joined the queue LOL! Takoyaki in Japan is damn shiok because they give a lot of octopus balls so it's worth the money.
The Yakiniku M Dotonburi, Ichiran Ramen and the Takoyaki store is all along this bridge. There's also a Don Quijote (the Japanese version of Mustafa) nearby! Damn shiok to shop! We went to Don Quijote in Tokyo too ^~^
As all the shops were closing, we headed to the ROUND ONE STADIUM, which opens till quite late. The medal section (which I love!!!) opens till 12.50AM, so it's great for nocturnal people like us haha! Round One Stadium is a seven storey entertainment space that has arcade games, medal machines (I'll show you more in my vlog!), bowling, baseball and what not. Certain sections open for 24 hours.
We stayed at the medal section till closing haha! The medals were sold for about $60 SGD (5,000yen) for 2,200 tokens, and the tokens cannot be exchanged for money or prizes. It's purely for the fun and entertainment of playing the machines.
For lunch, I went to the Family Mart to have Okonomiyaki because Osaka's famous for that too! So in love with their convenience store food, it's soooo cheap and good!
After that, we went to Shinsaibashi-suji (very near our hotel), which is one of Osaka's oldest and busiest shopping destinations and I had the time of my life shopping there! There were so many sales going on in all the stores, and their apparels were all of such high quality, I shopped so much there! So happy ok!!
Randomly walked into a shop for Beef Katsu! Wah, anyhow walk in one shop also taste so good. Japan, you're amazing!
Went to ROUND ONE Arcade again and spent our entire night there till closing again :X
Just a few meters away from the Round One Arcade is a few ramen stores, and we went into this one for supper. https://www.facebook.com/sakunosaku.sennichi/ The Black garlic soup one was so yummy, flavourful and rich, and I'm not even a fan of garlic! I remember their FB url because they told us if we checked in to their location we get a free side dish. Of course I checked in for a free egg hahaha!
Was soooo looking forward to going to the Kuromon Ichiba Market (Black Fish Market) because we haven't had seafood since we arrived in Japan yet! :O Got my savings massively satisfied with the super juicy, sweet and yummy fresh oyster & sea urchin!
After that, we went back to Dotonburi area (by metro) and had Black Takoyaki :P It was sold out twice when we went to ask, and we finally got to try it that day. Taste-wise, it's as nice as the normal Takoyaki, but it looks really cool though!
Had Okonomiyaki & Yakisoba for dinner! They served the food (already cooked) onto a hot grill pan in front of us, and we were provided 2 mini frying spatulas to get the feel of being the chef lol! Having the crisp burnt bottom from the hot pan makes both dishes taste even better.
Went back to Round One stadium today after our dinner. I'm sorry we're so addicted hahah!
Woke up quite late because we spent too much time at the medal machines and still followed our itinerary to Nara Deer Park. Thankfully, the sky was still quite bright when we arrived and we managed to take a short photo-video. The deers are so cute when they bow to you (for biscuits), but don't approach large groups of deers because it can get quite overwhelming and scary. And they might nudge you hahah.
Bought this top (at 1,000 yen) from Shinsaibashi-suji because I saw so many Japanese people wearing floral shirts over their white teeshirts, and I totally regret not buying more! I saw SG blogshops selling them now at about $30 omg. The material's also really smooth and lightweight~~ A lot of clothes sold at Shinsaibashi-suji are actually also around this prize range so I was like OMGOMGOMG I need this, I need that :O If only our luggage could fit more stuff T~T
With lady luck on our side, on our way back from Nara Deer Park we chanced upon a closing Uncle Rikuro's Cheesecake serving their last batch of jiggly cheesecakes!
DAY EIGHT (KYOTO)
With a bit of sadness (because we love Osaka so much), we left for Kyoto. HOTEL: Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto Super big & pretty, best hotel we stayed at for the entire trip, but it's also the most ex haha! But since it's just for one night, we decided to pamper ourselves!
And Kyoto was included into our trip because we were headed to Kichi Kichi Omu Rice!
Heard about this restaurant since years ago, it's pretty much THE famous Japanese Omu Rice, and we finally got to try out their food during this trip! We kind of over ordered, and got 3 mains and 1 soup for 2 of us LOL. The bill was about $80+SGD which I think is okay because the food's great, and what's even better is watching the chef prepare the food! If you're thinking of going to Kichi Kichi, you'll need to place a reservation on their website as they do not accept walk-ins. http://kichi2.net/ They don't accept walk-ins not because they're arrogant, but because the restaurant isn't very big as well, and their operating hours per day is quite short, so it'll be hard for them to accommodate to unexpected crowds.
The super cute & cool chef doing his thing! All his customers in for a feast of the eyes and tummy at Kichi Kichi Omu Rice!
Took some photos of my outfit at the little alley leading to the restaurant. It's really super worth travelling there to see the chef in action! He's a really animated and cheerful man, full of passion for his cooking, and seriously like how they'd depict chefs in animes!
Of course we had to take a ton of videos and photos of the magic moment!
After being stuffed during dinner, we headed for Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine, which was about half an hour away. But because it was drizzling, we didn't get to explore the entire shrine completely and didn't get to see the iconic Torii Gates Curve. But still, the place was really beautiful! ^~^
DAY NINE - Return To Tokyo
Woke up & had our breakfast by the river because that's what people do in animes hahaha! In fact, the sky even looks like it's drawn with colour pencils :O It's a pity we stayed in Kyoto for just one day because it's such a relaxing place with beautiful view. I'd definitely want to visit Kyoto again in the future! Bought our breakfast from the convenience store, plus an ice cream from a cafe we passed by.
And back to Tokyo we go... This time, we were staying at APA Hotel Akihabara Ekimae! The hotel was pretty small, but it's one of the more affordable hotels and of very close proximity to places of interest at Akihabara :)
We went to a maid cafe cause Sean's never been to one before (I was curious also haha), and I kind of assumed all guys kinda secretly like maids so I brought him in LOL To be honest I think he was more shocked and traumatised than happy to see the maids cause the maids asked us to do some "moe moe" cutesy thing and Sean was so embarrassed hahaha! It was really fun though. I think nobody can go into a maid cafe and come out feeling upset, and the live performance was so full of energy, you'll feel energised too!
DAY TEN - La mere poulard Tokyo, Chiyoda
Slept in the next day till kinda late, and then went over to La Mere Poulard! La Mere Poulard is this super popular French restaurant, with their famed souffle omelette. Thankfully, there's a branch in Tokyo as well so I could try it without flying over to France xD I'd recommend this location for the aesthetics of the place, as well as the novelty of eating such a huge souffle omelette. Taste wise it's acceptable. But it's not exactly wallet-friendly, and we went there to splurge only because it's our last few days and we had quite a bit of yen left. Still a fun experience though!
Chanced upon a Summer Festival right outside the restaurant and I was soooo excited! They had a colourful water balloon game that I saw on Cardcaptor Sakura anime as a kid, a shooting game, and lots of people playing drums, dancing and singing, it was just like everything I saw on TV/ cartoons came to life! :D I also got to try chili beer. It actually tastes like chili oil? But I surprisingly preferred it to regular beer cause I'm a horrible drinker hahah!
After which, we went to grab some PRESS BUTTER SAND from BAKE (the supposed new Tokyo Banana, a must-get souvenir) at Tokyo Station, which was kinda near by. (Image taken from bake's website)
Went to chill at the Gundam Cafe to end the night! Gundam fans would love this place with all the merch, and mini build it yourself gundam models from the gatchapon machines etc.
DAY ELEVEN - Akihabara
Sean isn't a huge fan of seafood so we didn't eat that much in Japan, but damn son, we walked into a random small sushi shop (the kind with a conveyor belt), and it tasted better than all the sushis I've eaten in Singapore. The freshness of seafood in Japan is really unparalleled. And total damage even after we ordered a lot of Fatty Tuna was only $30+ SGD! Cheap & good!
We'd initially thought of staying at Akihabara cause we thought we'd be buying a lot of electronic stuff. Akihabara has a ton of these gadget shops! Turns out they're actually not a lot cheaper than in SG, and the ones we buy from SG would have warranty and be in English, so we gave up and went to walk around at Don Quijote lol!
DAY TWELVE - Sumida River Fireworks
We were very lucky that there's a Sumida River Fireworks event on the last day we're in Japan. And I made Sean dress up in a yukata with me (we bought them for quite cheap at Don Quijote) to join in with the festival mood, and we took the train like this:
When we arrived at Sumida River, we were so shocked overwhelming crowd. The best view of the fireworks would be by the river, but it was already completely inaccessible by the time we arrived. And to make things worse, it was raining the entire afternoon till evening, so the floor was wet and we weren't sure if the fireworks would still go on :X We headed towards Tokyo Skytree instead and hoped to get an okay view of the fireworks, but at least we'd be sheltered. Fat chance though. A ton of other people thought of the same back up plan as us already hahah! So we were just walking around Tokyo Skytree in our yukatas looking for something to eat cause food is always the answer :)
Fancy sushi~~~ More expensive, but quality wise less shiok than the small shop we ate at previously :X
In the end the fireworks we saw was kinda like this. But we did see a Pikachu firework though..
Picture from Google, but this is exactly the Pikachu fireworks we saw hahah! Not sure how I should feel about it xD
Well, at least we ended our Japan trip with a bang (of fireworks)! To sum it all, my tummy's extremely satisfied this trip and I can't wait to get a long break from work again to plan another food trip like this.
As promised, click HERE to download the itinerary :D Of course, our itinerary isn't perfect because it's our first time planning also haha. You may wish to book your flight to arrive at Haneda airport (instead of Narita) because it's closer to Tokyo too!
Also, Google Maps will be your best friend for your trip in Japan because the app can clearly provide all the train stations you'll need to take to arrive at your destination!