DT: Travel & Living Journal

Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

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Date of Visited: 1st November 2010

If you came back from Tokyo, besides Mount Fuji, sure most of the people you know will ask whether had you been to Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland is the first Asia Disney theme park opened outside the United States.

Tokyo Disneyland is one of three main entertainment sections of Tokyo Disney Resort which opened on 15th April 1983. Then Tokyo Disneysea came in September 4th, 2001 with a park themed based on nautical exploration to create a world where imagination and adventure set sail. Due to the time constraint, Nicole and I can only choose one; either the Disneyland or the Disneysea. Since both of us had been to Paris Disneyland and I just came back from Hong Kong Disneyland, therefore both of us agreed to visit Tokyo Disneysea. The other reason is because this is one and only ocean theme park exclusive to Japan.

In order to get to Tokyo Disneysea, we need to take Disney Resort Line monorail.

Note: Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea are separate themed park. So, if you want go for both, you need to purchase admission ticket for two.

Tokyo Disneysea

Before this in my Shibuya entry (click here), I ever recommended that if you plan to go Tokyo Disney Resort, to take a safeguard in case you didn’t bought the online ticket, you are advisable to purchase ticket from there. Why?

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Don’t wait until you reach there or else you will regret.

Once we reached Tokyo Disneysea, we saw a huge model of globe which similar to the one in Universal Studio (although I haven’t been yet to any of the Universal) in the entrance of plaza. It is one of the two symbolic icon of Tokyo DisneySea.

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DisneySea Aquasphere
There are seven uniquely themed areas or known as “ports of call”. One of it, Mediterranean Harbour is the entrance of the park which opens up to another six more nautically theme ports; Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta and American Waterfront.

1. Mediterranean Harbour – the main entrance “port of call” and themed as an Italian port city, complete with Venetian gondolas. Here, we saw an artificial gigantic volcano, Mount Prometheus, located in the center of the park. is another symbol of Tokyo DisneySea.

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1. Mediterranean Harbour (1)

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Another Venetian replica
2. Mysterious Island – the smallest “port of call” features a large volcano and located in the center of the park. It is also known as Vulcania Island. This area has little greenery, and is mostly rocks and ornaments.

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2. Mysterious Island  (1)

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One of Mysterious Island’s attractions which featured from Disney movie

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3. Mermaid Lagoon – Tokyo Disneysea is incomplete without the home characters to “The Little Mermaid”. The facade is made to resemble like the Palace of King Triton and features colourful seashell-inspired architecture. This unique “port of call” is mostly indoors and recreates the feeling of being underwater. Lots of attractions and rides are available in this area but mostly are geared towards younger children.

3. Mermaid Lagoon (3)
Time to be “Under the Sea”

3. Mermaid Lagoon (4)

3. Mermaid Lagoon (5)

3. Mermaid Lagoon (2)

3. Mermaid Lagoon (1)

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4. Arabian Coast – recreates an exotic Arabian harbour, combining another Disney popular animated film, Aladdin with an enchanted world from the 1001 Arabian Nights. As such, the architecture and atmosphere are inspired by many Middle-Eastern and Indian influences.

4. Arabian Coast (2)

4. Arabian Coast (3)

4. Arabian Coast (1)

5. Port Discovery – This “port of call” is hailed as the marina of the future. It is also sometimes known as “Tomorrowland” of Tokyo Disneysea.

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Align Center

5. Port Discovery (2)

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5. Port Discovery (1)
6. Lost River Delta – features the most famous attraction Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, which based on the Indiana Jones film and it is the sixth collaboration between Disney and George Lucas. Don’t tell me that you don’t know who is George Lucas. Still don’t know? Go google it.

For this ride, both of us had to queue for almost two and half hours. Most of them are Japanese and I only saw few Caucasians in the theme parks. My most here define as 99% and I had checked the calender. Neither school holidays or public holidays but everywhere crowded with the locals. Guest they no need to work or school.

6. Lost River Delta (4)

6. Lost River Delta (1)

6. Lost River Delta (2)

6. Lost River Delta (3)

7. American Waterfront – represents the northeastern seaboard of the United States in the early 20th century. This land is dominated by the large passanger ship (picture as below).

7. American Waterfront (3)

7. American Waterfront (4)

7. American Waterfront (5)

7. American Waterfront (2)

7. American Waterfront (1)

The most popular attraction, Tower of Terror. Not sure whether similar to the one in Paris Disneyland (click here) but what I know I don’t want another long queue again.

So there you have it. A brief introduction of the seven different themed areas and their attractions in Tokyo Disneysea accompanion with the picture I took. Lastly, never leave Tokyo Disneysea with empty hand.

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There are 2 items unable to allocate to be part of my collection – fridge madgets and Mickey T-shirts. Too bad!

How to go there:

Take the JR Keiyo Line to Maihama Station which is adjacent to Tokyo Disney Resort. Turn left once out from station to take the Disney Resort Line monorail which cost 200 yen. For Tokyo Disneyland, it is just few walking distance.

The admission fee and opening hours is vary from time to time. For safeguard, do visit the website for more details. Before I forgot, do print out the map as I can’t find any English version. Luckily I print out earlier for my research before I reach there.
[Credit to: Wikipedia, Wikitravel and Tokyo Disney Resort main homepage]

UPDATED: Tokyo Disneysea is being recognised as one of the world’s best theme parks (click here).

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Date of Visited: 31st October 2010

I almost forgot about this not until I browse my picture few minutes ago.

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Don’t you think the two towers look the same?

The two towers actually looks alike but actually these are two different towers. The first pic is Japan’s Tokyo Tower wherelse the second pic is Eiffel Tower, France. Nicole and I went for sightseeing after we went to Harajuku for second trip.

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Tokyo Tower’s structure is actually inspired by Eiffel Tower and it is painted with white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations. Stands at 332.5 metres, Tokyo Tower is Japan’s second tallest artificial structure after Tokyo Sea Tree with its full height of 634 metres which is currently under construction. By the way, Tokyo Tower is 13 metres taller than Eiffel Tower.

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Looks my phototaking skill is much more better than Nicole. =P

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The big and huge Christmas tree and present under the Tokyo Tower.

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Miniature of Tokyo Tower at the lowest ground floor.

As Nicole and I did not had the intention to go all the way up to the top floor of the Tower, both of us went to the first floor to check it out any special place to visit. Without noticing, there is sourvenir shop. Spend few minutes to buy Japanese snack and local foods.

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Japan is the place for those who likes Hello Kitty as it is everywhere.

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Banana soft biscuits. Regret for puchase 1 box as it is so crunchy and tasty.

How to go there:
Stop at Hamamatsucho Station on the JR Yamanote and JR Keihin-Tohoku Line and walk for 15 minutes.

Admission fee: 1420 yen (to top floor), 820 yen (to intermediate floor only)
Opening hours: 9.00 am – 10.00 pm

[Credit to: Wikipedia, Tokyo Tower main homepage, Japan-Guide]

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{Note: Air Asia is having BIG SALE currently and the fare is incredible cheap for just as low as RM0.10. Did you manage get the ticket you want? As for me, after trying for 7 hours and 10 minutes, I just managed get 1 while one of my friend within 2 hours after the sales start, he managed to book to 3 places. I wonder how he get through the irritating waiting room} confused

Tokyo is well-known to be one of the most expensive city and finding an affordable and cheap accomodation is not an easy task. So for those who are going to Tokyo soon after bought the most cheapest ticket I ever knew (imagine just RM330 for return ticket), here I would like to share the place where I stayed during my last year autumn trip to Japan in an affordable price that would not burn a hole in your pocket during your trip there.


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Tokyo House Ikebukuro is conveniently located in the heart of Tokyo area, Ikebukuro. Its located 5 minutes from the Ikebukuro Station and if you take the C1 exit of the station, it just take less than 2 minutes walk to this guest house (we only realised about this on the last 2 days of our stay ==”). Not to worry about the language barriers as this guest house are managed by the Taiwanese.

There are two types of room;

1) Japanese-Style – 16 japanese-style rooms featuring Japanese tatami and matress. No bathroom or toilet attached but there are 4 separate public bathrooms with shampoo, conditioners and shower gel. It is so damn clean and sometimes I almost fall in love with their toilets. Inside the room, there are heater or air-con, TV, alarm clock, hair dryer and closet.

2) Annex Suites – 6 suites with private bathroom/toilets. There even has a mini living room, refrigerator, water boiler and microwave oven inside the suites.

Nicole and I opt for Japanese-style room to experience the living style of the Japanese.

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Cosy and warm room for two guests cost ¥6,000 per night.

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Ignore the messy things and bag.

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The super duperb clean bathroom.

There’s even an open kitchen for you to cook your food and enjoy your meals.

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THREE MAIN REASONS I love this guest house are:

1) Free breakfast provided (bread, fruits jam, butter) at 7 a.m. But the lady is so kind when she heard that we are leaving as early as 4.30 to the Tsukiji Fish Market (click here), she prepared and put on the table for us.

2) Free 3 minutes call to call back home – During our 8 days trip in Japan, we were unable to call back home. Don’t know what is the problem with Digi and Maxis line (not sure for Celcom). The only way to connect back home is through net. But thanks God! The lady told us that we can use the phone which located at the front desk for free. So, immediately call my mother and told her I am OK.

3) Not only free wireless Internet in the room, but they even allow us to use the Internet PC for free. I almost need to pay ¥50 for the usage of half hour of Internet PC during the stay in J-Hoppers (click here) but luckily I hold on my plan to do so. The reason why I need PC is to transfer all the photo from our camera to the external hardisk which I brought to there. You know how life could be miserable while you are taking photo during travelling and your camera is showing this, “MEMORY FULL”! Gosh.

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The free PC which I conquered most of the time.

I’m almost forgot. There are coin-operated washers and dryers available. But the lady (the management of the guest house which I refer to) told us that we could use the washing machine which located at the back of the guest house for free. I guess there are more than three reasons I love this guest house.

Highly recommended guest house for those who travel with budget that comes with good amenities and facilities and great location. There are two 24 hours convenience store such as 7-11 and even McDonald nearby the guest house.

For more details, check their website www.housejp.com.tw/englishindex.htm.

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Check out my ♥My Travel♥ page. Upload lots of edit photo which never seen before.

Now back to the post.

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Besides Harajuku (click here), Shibuya is also one of the most colourful and busy district packed with tons of Tokyo youngsters. It’s within walking distance from Harajuku but since Nicole and I had the unlimited railway pass, so we utilised it by taking the railway instead of walking.

Shibuya is a center for youth fashion and culture and it is popular for shopping and entertainment area. Shibuya is famous for its five-way scramble crossing, which just located once you step out from Shibuya Station.

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Scramble crossing [Pic credit to Nicole]

Too bad it’s raining and we can’t find the perfect spot to shoot the perfect pic to explain how is exactly scramble crossing looks like. So credit to google for the pic below.

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Over a dozen major of Tokyo large department and fashion stores located at here too.

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Seibu, one of the largest department stores

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As we moved on, we spotted this:

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Disney store.

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If you are planning to go Disneyland and in case unable to purchase online, it is advisable to purchase the admission ticket from here. Or else you might regret once you reach Disneyland.
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Look! Drop dead gorgeous looking model at the pink lorry.

What Shibuya notable for is Hachiko.

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Hachiko Statue

This is one of Tokyo’s famous meeting points, which located just outside the station. I guess most of you know what is the story behind Hachiko. But unfortunately for me (NOT AGAIN!!!), I can’t found this statue because of the rain. Everyone is holding the umbrella and blocking this statue, I guess!!!

More Japan post to come: Mount Fuji, DisneySea and accomodation I stayed when in Japan.

[Credit to: Wikipedia, Wikitravel, Japan-Guide]

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Harajuku, Harajuku“, we just love the sweet annoucer from the train commuter once we reached Harajuku Station. This is our second spot on our second day in Tokyo after visiting Tsukiji Fish Market (click here).

Harajuku is Japan famous shopping district, renowned for its unique street fashion. If you are fans of Gwen Stefani, the lead vocalist for the rock band, No Doubt or you ever watch her music video, there is no doubt that she is Harajuku lovers where she performs and makes public appearances with four back-up dancers which known as the Harajuku Girls dancers.

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Takeshita Dori

The focus point of Harajuku is Takeshita Dori (Takashita Street), which it’s just opposite of the Harajuku station. Takeshita Dori is a narrow pedestrian, roughly 400 meter long street lined by many fashion boutiques, trendy shops, crepe stands and fast food outlets targeting the Tokyo’s young and fashionable teenagers.

According to the research, Takeshita Dori is the symbol of Harajuku and birthplace of today many Japan’s fashion trend and culture. Definitely, this is one of the well worth visiting spot for a tourist like us. Indeed, Nicole and I went for second times on the next day. razz

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Hey wait! I spot my own shop in Japan! Never thought I owned fashion boutique in Japan. Not bad ooo..

Besides the trendy shops and fashion boutique, you can find lots of crepe stands along the narrow street.

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Crepe with chocolate ice-cream and banana. Cost 350 yen

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Nicole and the shop staff. They are so nice and friendly.

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Spot the differences of the first pic and this one?

Shops along Takeshita Dori tend to be open daily from 11:00 up to 20:00.

How to get there:
JR Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line.

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What do you feel when you saw this?
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Are your saliva drooling now when seeing a bowl stuffed with fresh and huge sashimi, sea urchin, shrimp and more?

If you are looking for fresh raw seafoods such as sashimi and salmon in Tokyo, Tsukiji Fish Market is the place to be on your top list. Tsukiji Fish Market is best known as one of the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Its also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind including fruits, vegetables, meat and even flowers.
What caused Tsukiji well known as major attractions is the tuna auction. Due to the number of visitors have increased significantly over recent years and caused a problem to the course of business, the numbers of visitors to the tuna auction is restricted to 140 per day. The auction start at 5:00 am and ends at 6:15am.

However, Nicole and I unable to witness the most exciting and unique auction because we were lost during our way to there from train staion. Imagine that both of us woke up as early as 3:30 am Malaysia time (Japan time is 4:30 am) but at the end, we were still late for that.

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Besides the tuna auction, this is also the place for you to enjoy the amazing and incredibly freshest seafood for breakfast or lunch in Tokyo.

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The place is so crowded and jam packed even the time is damn so early.

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Varieties of menu to choose from

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Nicole and I decided to choose this for our breakfast.

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OMG! Can you believe that the restaurant we picked the space is so limited and tiny and some more can only accomodate like 10 customers.

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But nothing much more to complain when the foods were served right in front of us.

Honestly to say it kind of waste for me for don’t know how to enjoy the foods because I’m not really into raw foods. cry
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A few general rules for visiting Tsukiji Market

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Study the map first before going to the market so you won’t get lost

Once ever said, “UK trip won’t complete without visiting Manchester Studio” and “Tokyo vacation would be incomplete without memorable and unique visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market“.

How to get there:
Tsukiji Fish Market is just above Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Oedo Subway Line. Alternatively, it can be reached in five minute walk from Tsukigi Station of the Hibiya Subway Line. The closest JR station is Shimbashi, from where you calk to the market in about 15 minutes. (Don’t ever ask which station we took because it still a miserable to me sad)

UPDATE: Unfortunate following the 11 March 2011 earthquake, the tuna auction has been closed to tourists. No date for re-opening has been announced.

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Akihabara Electronics District is a major shopping area selling every tehcnological gadget including computers, cell phones, camera and even any shot of old and new video games.

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Tiny and small shops along narrow alleys line selling hundreds of electronics components.

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In Malaysia, Bravia is a Sony brand used to market its high-definition LCD televisions, projection TVs and front projectors. But in Japanese market, Bravia is their mobile phones.

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I noticed that most of the Japanese used this type of mobile phone instead of iPhone. Seriously…

Besides its a center for electronic devices, this area is is also known as the “Gamer’s Mecca”. Akihabara has a great number of specialty hobbyist stores, ranging from anime, manga and collectible otaku goods.

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Akihabara is also perhaps the last stronghold in the world for classic arcade gaming.

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According to research, Akihabara even famed for maid cafe – a typical cosplay themed restaurant where waitresses dressed as French maids serve the guests which they called as master with tea and cakes.

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Kawaii gal dressed up in maid costume to promote their cafe.

So many things to see and sights in Akihabara. But too bad, Nicole and I didn’t spend much time here. confused

How to get there:
Akihabara Station is a busy station served by the JR Yamanote Line, JR Keihin-Tohoku Lline, JR Sobu Line, the Tsukuba Express and the Hibiya Subway Line.



    • ken: >so cool ah the miniature world.. gotta admire the precision and accuracy of the structures :)
    • Diana Diane Teo: >CathJ and ladymariah - Thanks so much! =)
    • Diana Diane Teo: >Armstrong - Although quite sad because it comes to the end, but I am quite happy to see it ends with good ending. :)Sailor - Thanks for the compli