Today’s post will be a recap of my two trips to Japan, the first was to Tokyo in 2013 and the other to Osaka and Kyoto just last year. As we have taken thousands of photos on these two trips, I have chosen only my favorites and condensed them into collages so as to keep the post short and easy to read. This post holds great memories for me and I am so happy to be able to share it with all my lovely readers! For those of you planning to visit Japan, I hope that this write-up will provide you with some insights or tips on what you can do there.
I visited Tokyo, Japan for the first time in 2013 to attend my Japanese girlfriend’s wedding held in a hotel close to Disneyland!
For this small but glamorous wedding, the beautiful bride was wearing a wedding dress designed by me and tailor-made by a seamstress of my recommendation! The sakura (cherry blossom) and crane-print Japanese fabric were specially sourced to make the dress as these motifs are symbolic of Japanese culture. The gorgeous headpiece worn by the bride was also specially made-to-order through a Japanese website. I really love how perfectly the headpiece matches with the dress as it also bears a similar crane and sakura design!
I really have to share these photos as the wedding fashion is really unique and interesting in this particular case! As my girlfriend’s husband is of Indian origin, she had also chosen two absolutely stunning saris to wear during the reception, apart from the wedding gown.
TOKYO – DISNEYSEA
Besides beautiful hotels, the Tokyo’s DisneySea also boasts magnificent architectures and breath-taking views right out from books and tales!
Top – A Life-like Volcano; Bottom Left – Gondola Rides; Bottom Right – Near Main Entrance to DisneySea
Top – The Sea Palace Of “The Little Mermaid”; Bottom Left – The Place Where Aladdin Stays; Bottom Right – The Sultan’s Palace Where Princess Jasmine Stays
Top – Stunning Lights In Disneyland By Night; Bottom Left – The Whimsical Mickey Mouse Magician In The Background; Bottom Right – Group Photo With Donald Duck In His Mexican Home
There are many amazing rides and entertaining shows to watch in DisneySea as well! If you want to relive your childhood days or just have a blast of your time, it is highly recommended that you visit DisneySea for at least one full day. You will not regret it!
TOKYO – AKIHABARA
If you are a hardcore fan of electronic gadgets and all things anime, one place you would not want to miss is Akihabara, a district in central Tokyo famous for its numerous electronic stores.
Top – Numerous Blocks Of Buildings Selling Electronic Products; Bottom left – Beautiful Female Characters From Manga Form A Big Aspect Of Japanese “Zai Nan” Culture; Right Top – Waitress Outside A French Maid Cafe; Right Bottom – A Young Woman In Cosplay Costume Spotted On The Street Posing For The Cameras
According to my Japanese girlfriend, Akihabara is very popular with “Zai Nan” (i.e. young men who stay at home all the time). I suppose it is because this particular group normally prefer to stay home to play computer games and watch television rather then socialize with others. The usual interpretation of why “Zai Nan” behave the way they do is due to their weak social skills. Interestingly, despite how shy or socially inadequate the “Zai Nan” may be, they are still young men who wish to seek the solace of female companionship, which likely explains the presence of a very famous French Maid Cafe in the area.
Needless to say, all the waitresses in this cafe are all young ladies dressed like French maids. Apart from serving food and drinks, these young ladies also make small talk with the customers (90% male) as well as take polaroid photos or/and play games with them (for a fee). The concept of such a cafe is really quite amusing and interesting to me, although I have to say we were all quite puzzled over the popularity of this place! As like most well known restaurants in Japan, we had to queue for about 45 minutes before we got our seats. Although the charges (i.e. entrance fee and cost of food/drinks) were pretty expensive, I guess the novelty of the whole experience was worth the wait and visit :)….at least that once!
TOKYO – GIANT GUNDAM AND RAINBOW BRIDGE
Left And Right – Giant Gundam At Odaiba By Day And Night Respectively
I am not really a huge fan of giant robots but I have to admit that the gundam statue in Odaiba, a man-made island in Toyko, is absolutely impressive! I felt like an ant standing at its feet and I can imagine how much I will freak out if it moves! I don’t regret visiting Odaiba as it is really interesting to take pictures with the massive gundam and there are also shopping malls in the area. My friends and I bought many local snacks such as the popular strawberry mochi and Tokyo banana cake at the mall to bring back home.
On the other side of Odaiba island is the beautiful Rainbow suspension bridge, which links the heart of Tokyo and the Odaiba waterfront centre. The view of the lighted-up bridge in the evening is both spectacular and mesmerizing, definitely a wondrous sight not to be missed!
TOKYO – GINZA
Ginza is a well-known upmarket shopping district in Toyko where all the leading brands can be found. What struck me as most memorable about this place is the twelve storey high Uniqlo building! As all of my friends on this trip are huge fans of this clothing label, we spent a significant amount of time shopping within the building and also took some fun group pictures in the process!
There are also many restaurants in Ginza and a highly recommended one by the locals is the Ginza Bairin. The succulent tonkatsu served in this restaurant is not only delicious, but also big in portion!
TOKYO – SUSHI ZANMAI
There are many sushi restaurants in Toyko but the one recommended by my Japanese girlfriend is Sushi Zanmai, a well-known chain selling sushi at an affordable price. As expected, the food is fresh and tasty with a reasonably wide range of selections to choose from.
OSAKA – OSAKA CASTLE AND SAKURA VIEWING
If viewing sakura in full bloom is an expectation you have of your trip, it is best to visit Japan in early spring, which starts in late March/early April. In our case, we deliberately stayed in a hotel near Osaka Castle as we knew that it is a popular spot to view sakura and to take photos!
OSAKA – THE NATION’S KITCHEN
Osaka is hailed as the “Nation’s Kitchen” and we were determined to try as many delicious food items as we possibly can accomplish during our one week stay there! My husband and I did manage to savor a wide range of tasty food ranging from traditional Japanese Grill to the popular local snacks. For the purpose of this post though, I will only list a few of our favorites items.
Top – Sumptuous Sushi At A Highly Recommended Restaurant, Central Market Endo Sushi Kyobashi; Richly Filled Okonomiyaki In A Restaurant Along Kyobashi ; Delicious Ice-Cream And Fruits Croissant At St-Marc Cafe
KYOTO – KIMONO RENTAL FOR A DAY
I had wrote an entry covering full details of how you can rent and wear a traditional kimono for a day previously. View the post HERE. And below are some of the things you can do in a Kimono, apart from taking tons of pictures!
Top – Walking Along The Charming Streets Of Kyoto In A Kimono Is A Really Great Experience; Bottom Left – Hiring A Rickshaw Ride At Yasaka Shrine; Bottom Right – A Picture Taken Outside A Restaurant Serving Traditional High-End Japanese Cuisine, After We Had Taken Our Lunch There
My husband and I only had a day in Kyoto so we spent the rest of the time we had, after returning the kimono, on some window shopping. Some of the shops were really crowded, especially those selling local beauty products. Unfortunately, as everything was written in Japanese and I could not understand a word of it, I did not make any purchases at these shops.
What a better way to end the post than with more gorgeous pictures of sakura in full bloom! Hope you have enjoyed this write-up and do visit the links inserted throughout if you need more information about the various locations mentioned!
Thank you so much for reading and wishing you a great weekend!