Travels in Japan: Tokyo 東京 (October 4, and 14-15 2017)

Harajuku district of Tokyo, Japan - Takeshita Street (2017)

Harajuku district of Tokyo, Japan – Takeshita Street (2017)

October 4, 2017 Harajuku and Shinjuku

Hustle and bustle in Harajuku district, Tokyo, Japan (2017)

Hustle and bustle in Harajuku district, Tokyo, Japan (2017)

Vibrant, youthful, and trendy are some of the words that describe the Harajuku district of Tokyo. We spent some time wandering and taking photos of Takeshita Street before our 4PM reservation at the Owl Village and Cafe. The street was packed with young people, who were enjoying themselves after school or work. The street was crammed with shops and little cafes, selling crepes and other sweet treats.

As it neared 4PM, we headed to the Owl Village and Cafe, located in a nondescript apartment looking building. We had to take an elevator up to the fourth floor, where we were welcomed into the cafe. The cafe has a tatami mat area and a mini bar, where you are allowed to enjoy your soft drink that comes with your reservation (in 2017, it was about 1500 yen per person for 1 hour). The courteous staff member checked us in and then gave an orientation of the rules and expectations of the cafe, such as how to pet the owls and how to take a photo without scaring them.

After we finished our soft drinks, cleaned our hands with hand sanitizer, and slipped on the slippers we were provided, we were allowed in the special room where the owls were resting. One of the participants had paid an additional fee to feed the owls and fed the owl a delicious treat (as shown below).

Feeding a barn owl at Owl Village and Cafe, Harajuku district, Tokyo, Japan (2017)

Feeding a barn owl at Owl Village and Cafe, Harajuku district, Tokyo, Japan (2017)

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Travels in Japan: Tokyo 東京 (September 29, 2017)

I visited Japan with my family for about 7 days (September 29 to October 4, 2017 and October 14-15, 2017). Exploration of the following cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Himeji were self-planned and organized based on district (since the cities were too large to explore on our own).

Before we started our trip, we used Japan Guide and Japan Experience to plan out the attractions and order the Japan Rail Pass— a must-need for transportation in Japan. Also, it is recommended that you purchase a Pasmo Card, an IC card, for paying public train transportation fares. The IC card can be recharged at any subway or public train station in Japan. For navigation and convenience, I highly recommend the Pocket Wi-Fi so that you can have access to Google Maps to get to your destination.

Note: The hotels that are mentioned in this Japan travel log series are Western-style hotels with four twin beds.

Asakusa Station at Night

September 29, 2017 Tokyo Skytree (Oshiage), Asakusa and Ueno

Attraction List:

  • Tokyo Skytree (Oshiage district)
  • Sensoji Temple (Asakusa district)
  • Ueno Station
    • Ueno Hard Rock Cafe

We took an overnight flight on September 28th to Hong Kong and then connected to a flight to Tokyo (東京). We arrived in the afternoon on September 29th at Tokyo Haneda airport. At the airport, we immediately went to pick up the Japan Rail passes and the pocket wi-fi that we rented. Afterwards we purchased the Pasmo card and loaded each card with 2,000 yen.

Tip: Make sure you have enough currency on hand to load the IC card. I guarantee that you will have to recharge the card often. Public transportation is a must when you travel Japan.

View of Tokyo Skytree from Tobu Levant Hotel

We took the train to our hotel, Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo, in the Sumida district of Tokyo and dropped off our luggage before exploring the area. It was about 4PM when we set out to look at our surroundings to get orientated. The Sumida district is regarded as a peaceful district with traditional bath houses, small shops, and high-rise apartments hide under the presence of the Tokyo Skytree. The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in Tokyo, rising to 634 meters, and often hosts special events as noted on the official website. Continue reading