May 3rd, 2018
First of all, I didn't plan going to Japan for tour. I just wanted to make my daughter celebrate her 5th birthday there, bring her to Tokyo Disney Land plus I have my hidden agenda which is why I wanted to get there 😂 but let me share to you some info and my experiences.
Let's start by applying a tourist visa. Actually in my time, it's really hard to apply for even a tourist visa (i think it's easier now) especially like me who's only a dependent. We got denied the first time we applied there, I was really frustrated that time. I don't have any idea why we get denied after submitting all the requirements they needed. Then after 2 years, me and my daughter applied again. That time, I made sure that it'll be successful. I looked for another travel agency affiliated with Japan Embassy in the Philippines which is Universal Holidays, Inc. located in Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. I asked the help of my japanese friend to provide me an invitation letter and his bank certificate/statement. I even submitted our pictures together when he spent his vacay in the Philippines. I waited I think 1 or 2 weeks then finally! They grant us our visas! I'm not really sure if the presence of my japanese friend made them convinced to grant us but I'm really thankful.
February 2015, it was winter season when we get there. We landed I think around 9pm and the temperature was about 3 degree celsius brrr!! 😪 It was freezing cold even inside the house so we need to wear 2-3 layers of clothes in order to warm ourselves but still it's cold lol! This blog will be helpful if you consider to stay within Chiba. We stayed in Kashiwa for 2 weeks and spent the most of our itinerary around. I can say that Japan is the best country I have been so far because of it's beautiful, neat and safe environment plus the friendly, disciplined people.
The place where we stayed was somewhere in Kashiwa-shi Asahicho, 5-10 mins. walk from Kashiwa Station, they called it eki means station or densha means train. It was very safe to walk around the streets even if you do the selfies or taking pictures in every area without people looking at you awkwardly. I even experienced with some japanese nationals who greeted us with bowing of heads even though they don't know us. Konnichiwa is their way of greeting people, what a friendly approach 😊 Outside eki, there are different shopping malls and stores where you can buy different stuff. If you're looking for branded ones such as MAC, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co., etc. you can see it inside Takashimaya Station Mall. But if you're looking for budget ones, you can find it downstairs with lots of different establishments. If you're looking for cheap stuff, you can find Don Quijote Store everywhere in Japan. You can buy there what you need for a very affordable price. You can also buy branded pre-loved bags and purse such as Louis Vuitton and many more for half of the original price. One of the popular chocolate brand there is Meiji but I can't get rid of KitKat Green Tea and it's been Pocky before Pepero. 😂
There are different restaurants from expensive to inexpensive ones. We usually dined in Saizeriya, it's an Italian Restaurant which costs ¥300-600 each meal. You can also find some Authentic Japanese Restaurants there for ¥1000-2000. If you're looking for fast food, there are McDonald's everywhere that costs like ¥600 for burger meal. One of the best Ramen House is Ramen Kagetsu Arashi located in Noda-shi. I almost forgot my name when I tasted that 😂 Tips in eating ramen, you should eat it right away as soon as it served because the noodles will get bigger when prolonged making it hard to finish one bowl 😅 If you're looking for eat-all-you-can buffet, you can try Sumitomi Taro No. 16 (すたみな太郎 １６号沼南店) in Fujigaya, Shinden Kashiwa. It was a mouthwatering meal from sushi to ramen, yakiniku, pasta, sweets everything for around ¥1,300 per head during weekdays and ¥1,900 on weekends.
If you're planning to unwind, I recommend going to RoundOne, it's an Amusement Center where you can play bowling, video games arcades, billiards, darts, pingpong. When you get tired and want to chill out, you can go and sing in their karaoke room. There's also huge inflatable playground for kids where you can leave them while you're exploring the area. There are different branches of Round1 in Japan but we've been to Misato branch in Lalaport. It's also a nice shopping mall beside CostCo where you can buy imported cheaper items. Don't forget to try Purikura whenever you get to malls or any amusement center. It's an automatic collage picture taking with the cutest filters and designs.
When it comes to entertaining your kids to the highest level, of course the best idea where to go is going to The Happiest Place On Earth, Disney Land. I won't ever forget my experience there. It was soooo amazing! Best tip is to go there early in the morning around 9am so you can explore the whole area the whole day. It is an enormous place so going there half day or afternoon isn't a good idea coz you need whole day to ride and experience all the attractions to get value of your money lol! It'll be ¥7,000 for adults and around ¥4,000 for kids. Keep in mind that it's always crowded especially in peak season so it'll be a real struggle falling in line in every attraction. The Pooh's Hunny Hunt is my favorite for it's unique and fantastic feeling when riding there, best for kids 😅 lol! Don't ever miss the parade so you can see the Disney Casts. Unfortunately, we've missed it while waiting and falling in line to the certain attraction so you better be alert. But it's okay, you can still meet some random disney characters around. I met Pocahontas and I fell inlove with her face. She's sooo gorgeous but I wonder why she has white complexion when I thought she's a lil' bit dark. lol nevermind, she's still beautiful!
Another place where is best for family outing is in Ueno Park and Zoo. It is located in Taito, Tokyo about 50 mins. train ride from Kashiwa Station. Your kids might enjoy seeing different kinds of animals there including white lion, polar bear, owls that's singkit (small eyes) 😂 and my favorite cutieee panda 😍 it was a perfect fine weather when we get there coz it's a sunny day but still cold 😎 I think it only costs ¥600 for adults and a free entrance for kids, not bad at all. Just across the Ueno Station, you can find different budget shops and restaurants there. It looks like Divisoria because of it's crowded small streets but of course it's clean so it's okay to walk around. We haven't explore much in Tokyo since we don't have enough time plus the house where we stayed is a lil' bit far. So it's a better idea to find accomodation around Tokyo if you guys want to explore more in that area.
Some of the japanese culture that I've learned is that you have to friendly greet them with bow or nod as a show of respect. When you are using the escalator, you should stay in the right side if you are not in a hurry, you will notice the left side part is where people hurriedly passing by which is very convenient to every people using that and see how organized it is. Another thing is, don't ever burp infront of them whenever you're in a resto or something which I find it very hard lol but I was still able to control 😂 For them, it is so impolite. It's better for them if you fart than to burp, so be careful. All in all, I find Japan one of the best countries in the world.
P. S. you can rarely experience traffic there which is very opposite in my country. I wish we can be disciplined too for the sake of our nation.
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