When I was thinking of where to spend our honeymoon 6 months before our wedding, it was a toss-up between El Nido and Japan. But because I knew Deej would be excited to take a tour of the concrete jungle that is Tokyo, which is every game developer’s dream of doing, I decided to go for the latter. I patiently waited for a piso seat sale from Cebu Pacific (plugging! haha!) and was successful in booking a round trip ticket for only Php7,000! We’ve never been to Japan before so we also wanted to cross it off our list.
We spent a total of 10 days in Japan – 7 days in Tokyo and 3 days in Hokkaido. Going to Hokkaido wasn’t originally part of our plan but I’m glad we did it because we were able to experience both the bustling city and the countryside of Japan.
I loved every bit of Japan: the friendly locals, the super advanced technology, the efficient transportation facilities, the out-of-this-world Internet connection (there were no signal interruptions, even in subways!), the mouthwatering food (original ramen, katsu and yakiniku goodness!), and the punctuality of all living and non-living things (LOL). The only thing I didn’t like about Japan was the costliness of it all. It was such an expensive trip that it made us appreciate even more our wedding guests who handed over monetary gifts which unknowingly became their pabaon. :)
Here are the top places we visited in Japan:
After having to meticulously plan a wedding, we agreed not to “plan” for our honeymoon trip but just to see whatever goes. But when we asked ourselves where we should go on our first day there I immediately said, “Hachiko!” I guess that darn dog was first in my priority list. Haha. If you’ve seen the movie, you also wouldn’t want miss the chance to visit this lovable dog’s statue whom you will somewhat feel strangely connected to.
When I told Deej that we were going to see the full-size Gundam statue at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, I don’t think he realized how big and amazing it was going to be. Between the two of us, he was obviously the giddier one as he excitedly took pictures and checked out the Gundam statue and gift shops when we arrived there! I was suddenly out of the picture!
3. Tokyo Disneysea
Some friends who have already been to Tokyo advised me to go only to Disneysea and forget about Disneyland. Because I took their advice I wouldn’t know the difference between the two. But I don’t really mind because the entrance fee to just one is already very pricey. To be honest, I couldn’t relate to most of the things I saw at Disneysea (maybe the younger ones do) but they had The Little Mermaid, my favorite childhood animated movie, and that is more than enough. <3
4. Tokyo Skytree
The Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest tower and the second tallest structure after Burj Khalifa in Dubai. We had a really good view of bustling Tokyo at night even if we only availed of the entrance fee up to the Tembo Deck (350m). You had to pay extra to go up the Tembo Galleria (450m).
To get to Niseko in Hokkaido, we had to take a 1-hour train ride, a 1-hour plane ride, and approximately another 4-hour train ride again after that. If we were in the Philippines, we would have probably gotten lost already after researching about the place only a few hours before. But since we were in Japan, you can be sure that all the information and transportation schedules you read online are accurate. We arrived at our hotel in Niseko right on the dot! What a crazy country! Crazy in a good way.
The Mount Yotei, an active volcano, was the view outside our window at the hotel. Absolutely stunning!
We stayed at Hilton Niseko in Hokkaido for 3 nights. Sounds expensive? It will be if it’s winter which is their peak season. But since it wasn’t during this time, the room was only about Php2,000/night!
While there, we tried the only pizza place in town – the Niseko Pizza. We also tried the onsen at the hotel but the whole process of preparing and getting naked with a bunch of other ladies was too awkward for me so I only stayed there for about 10 minutes. Haha! Deej, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy it that he even had a quick shuteye while conveniently soaked in the hot springs.
After the very tiring travel we did to the northern part of Japan and back, a day at the relaxing Ueno Park was just perfect. We enjoyed our time leisurely checking out the temples, the natural attractions, and the animals at the Ueno Zoo.
I almost had a heart attack when I turned my head and was face to face with this sleeping crocodile! Shocking!
I loved this quaint Starbucks place at Ueno Park. <3
Speaking of Starbucks, it was a big disappointment that there were no “Japan” Starbucks mugs available anywhere in Japan to add to my collection. Why, Japan, why?? Having something unavailable is so not you!
Deej went all insane while in Akihabara that he almost didn’t want to leave. Akihabara is a haven for game and anime enthusiasts so you can just imagine how he looked scurrying around the place like a little kid in a toy store, haha! We were already in a hurry to go back to the hotel by this time so he wasn’t able to explore every inch of Akihabara but swore to come back one day.
Because our hotel is located in the Nihonbashi area, this is the place in Japan that became the most familiar and, may I say, closest to our hearts. We’d be happy to stay in this area again if we get a chance to visit Tokyo again. Everything we needed is just a short walk away: the grocery store, Family Mart, Starbucks and… our favorite, Yoshinoya. <3
Nobody told me about Hotel Horidome Villa, I just found it on Agoda after days and days of browsing hotels and studying location maps. My criteria to select the hotel were: 1) the hotel, of course, has to be affordable (budget is less than PHP3,000 per night, this is already cheap in Japanese standards); 2) the location of the hotel has to be very convenient, meaning, it has to be a stone’s throw away from a train station; 3) the hotel has to have good reviews by other guests; and 4) the hotel has to have free wifi… in the rooms! Hotel Horidome Villa met all these requirements, and I think I made a good decision choosing this hotel. It’s the perfect hotel for budget travelers like us, I highly recommend it!
We visited more places but these were the major ones. Now we can see why many people love Japan because all the awesome things are literally there.
Arigatou, Japan! We will be back, hopefully, flying in to Osaka next time to visit the Harry Potter theme park in Universal Studios.
I also briefly shared our JaFun trip with Gem who featured it on her travel blog. Check it out here!