Gala Yuzawa, Japan
Photos Edited by: Verniece Enciso
I’m feeling under the weather today so I’m stuck in bed but what better way to solve it than by writing a lengthy blogpost such as this. We miss travelling so much that making travel guides like this would hopefully solve this travel sick of mine :( haha! Maybe there’s a connection between the two? lol We’ve gone to Tokyo a number of times already so I’m happy to finally be sharing this with you!
On applying for a tourist Japanese visa:
– This is our third time to apply for Japanese visa and we used Reli Tours to make our lives easier. I’ve read on the embassy website that it’s best to rely on an accredited travel agency when applying and they’re one of the more famous ones here in Manila.
– For full information on the procedure and requirements, they’re all found here.
– On the first two tries, we only got a single entry one. However, on the third, we got a 5 year, multiple entry one already!
As this was our third time to go here, we’ve stayed in different hotels and apartments.
– If you want to stay in the heart of Shibuya, Verniece and my family stayed in Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. It has the greatest view of the famous Shibuya crossing right on your hotel room window. This hotel’s just about 3.5-4 stars though! Still on the mid high prince range :)
– If you want to stay in Ginza and have the best service and newly renovated rooms, stay in Conrad Tokyo in Minako. We were so relaxed our whole stay there as the rooms were comfortable, had a killer view of Ginza and amazing food! It’s quite pricey as it’s a 5 star hotel.
– If you’re on a budget, opt for a quaint Airbnb apartment. When Ben and I first went here with our friends, all 9 of us stayed in one place. I must warn you though that Japanese apartments can be VERY small! I can’t even believe we got to fit ourselves in two rooms! hahaha! Made some very nice memories but our stay wasn’t as comfortable especially because we had to clean up for ourselves after every night of staying out. I remember Ben and I only paid 1,500 each night for us two though! Not bad right? I guess just make sure to go home sleepy! lol
What to wear to Tokyo during the winter?
– We went on the second till third week of February and it was still quite chilly. We just needed about 2-3 layers including our jackets already. Again, we suggest wearing heat tech pieces under your normal clothes. Also, bringing a thick jacket is already enough.
– As for footwear, sneakers or comfortable shoes is a must because you will probably want to walk and commute around the city. Their public transportation system is very convenient that you wouldn’t mind taking the train or bus everywhere!
– As for heat tech pieces, Uniqlo made them and since the brand comes from Japan, it’s best to buy one of each piece to wear here in the Philippines then buy the rest there! It’s almost half the price :)
Since it’s our third time already, we opted to just go to wear our parents wanted to but here’s where we’ve gone in the past! We’ve picked the best of the best so this is perfect if you just have a few days to spare:
Tokyo Imperial Palace
Shinjuku (if you’re on the haunt for second hand designer items)
Tsukiji Fish Market
Ueno Park (if you’ll be going during Cherry Blossom season)
Tokyo Disney Sea – We’ve never been here but it’s the only kind in Asia so why not make the trip?
Gala Yuzawa – If you’re in Tokyo during the winter and want to see snow, this is your best bet. It’s not cheap to go there though but its cheaper than going to Niseko.
Where to eat
– It’s nice to sight see but don’t forget to EAAAAAT!!!! Here’s a tip: you will know it’s a good Japanese place if there are no English signages outside and if the place only serves one kind of dish. An example, if you want to eat tonkatsu, make sure the restaurant only serves that. Also, you will know it’s not a tourist trap if it only seats a few people at a time.
– I never thought that Google and it’s suggestions would work but we searched these keywords: *kind of Japanese food* *location* and went to the highest rated one and it never failed us! We discovered our new favourites Ten-ichi Ginza Tempura and Ginza Bairin by doing that :)
– You will save a lot of money if you use Tokyo’s very reliable array of public transportation. You will only spend about 20-30% of what you would on a cab if you use the subway.
– If you’ll be staying for a long time, avail of the unlimited public transportation pass. This is perfect if you’ll be taking the train from city to city!
– Their subway line can be quite confusing so make sure to use Google Maps to help you.
– Do not be afraid to ask for help! The Japanese are one of the most kind people I’ve ever encountered and they will go above and beyond just to make your life easier.
– Research ahead on where you should go and what time it’s operating hours are. That way you won’t waste time or know too late that it’s closed!
– Shopping for beauty products is a must there! They have some of the best but cheap selections :)
– Don’t be afraid to eat or buy food in Family Mart if you’re on a budget or find yourself hungry in the middle of the night! Cheap but soooo gooooood!
– When in doubt on where to eat, line up where the locals do.
– Also, try eating from a vending machine! I’ve had one of the best ramens I’ve tried from one :)
– eat, eat, eat, eat!!
Hope my tips will be helpful to you one day! :) I can’t wait for your Japanese adventure to start!