It took me a while to leave for Japan due to some personal reasons. I got my Japan Visa in June 2019 but I was able to travel in September 2019 (almost the end of visa validity). However, it was God’s grace that this trip came into a reality.
Please read here on How to Apply for a Japan Tourist Visa. I do not mean to discourage the visa applicants, yet it was not true that it was easy. As I mentioned on the post about visa application, while waiting for my turn, 2 applicants were denied of Japan Visa. They were told to apply after 6 months if they wish to. It is imperative to be very careful with the requirements and specifics such as the A4 size paper, the info on the forms should be consistent, the itinerary and others. When you follow the guidelines appropriately, it will be easy to acquire your dream visa to Japan.
Let us move on! I realized, when you travel, it is important that you know what is your purpose on that specific trip. For example, personally, I want to take a rest from the house chores, and all that there is in being a Stay at Home Wife for years. Can you relate? Comment down if you do. Tell us more about it. Who understands me on this sentiment? Having said so, I did not intend to go to Disneyland or the like. I want to be there with my kids. I was more on, having peace; walk in the park; experience eating authentic Ramen, Sushi and Yakiniku; experience the transportation system in Japan, shop chocolates, buy at least 1 branded bag and whatever I could think of. I wanted to see Sakura but it was not the season anymore of Sakura or Cherry Blossoms since it blooms in March, I traveled in September. So, I need to go back!
I was and is still very thankful to my friend Eloi and his husband Bong for accommodating me in their humble abode. I had a nice time with the kids too. I was able to stay in a house which is not just Japan-inspired but a Japanese house in reality. I had culture immersion on how it is to live in Japan. And how it is to live in a residential area with Japanese neighbors. How quiet it can be. That was indeed one of the great experiences on my first travel to Japan!
Their transport system is very organized. You can travel with ease. Why did I say that? Everything is ON TIME. You know when the train and the bus will arrive and leave. No pushing, everyone is calm while entering and alighting the train and bus. Japan has different reloadable cards where you can use at the bus and train ride and even 7/11, Family mart and Lawson stores to purchase food and other you might need along the way.
There was just a slight challenge because only few people speaks English. What I can advice is to download Google Translate and make use of Google maps on your mobile phone. These 2 mobile applications can be very useful in your travels not just in Japan. You can travel Japan with ease. And do not forget to book wifi device on Klook as it will be very useful as you travel all over Japan. Choose the one that offers unlimited data.
Want to know another reason why I said that you can travel with ease in Japan? My friend for some unexpected reason was not able to pick me up at the airport on my arrival date. Something came up from her work. I have nothing against my friend. In fact, it was an exciting one. I arrived at Chubu Centrair International Airport a bit earlier than expected, around 8:20PM. It was also a good one that airports in Japan have strong internet connection. We were able to call each other on Facebook Messenger from the moment I queue at the immigration, which way to the exit, where to buy train tickets, which train to ride, which station to go, until she arrived on that train station.
The pocket wifi I ordered, was late for delivery at their house, reason why I did not have it yet with me. And the counter at the airport closes at 6PM, my arrival was supposed to be almost 9PM, so I ought to have it delivered at their house. The Japanese Telco immediately reply and refund for 2 days (days late) is in process going back to my Klook account. Thank you!
Intro is over! What did I do in Japan? Where did I go? What food did I try?
Gusto Cafe in Higashiura, Obu, Aichi Prefecture
I left our house in the Philippines with my husband; Third at around 8AM. We had brunch in Cubao while waiting for the P2P bus going to NAIA. My last meal was 10AM. I only had crackers while on the plane. It was almost midnight in Japan, guess what? I was so hungry then. Eloi brought me to Gusto Cafe. I was so amazed with everything there. My ignorance hit me. But I like it. I want to learn and discover new things, specially in Japan; a first world country. I let Eloi order for me. Then, she added the Drink Bar where you can have unlimited or bottomless flavored coffee, flavored juice, flavored tea, flavored soda and chocolate drink with added flavor. Your choice if you want it hot or cold, amazing isn’t it? Since, I liked it a lot there. I went there again, alone and planned to compose a blog post or anything that I can write. It was cozy there and serene. It was there that I film my review of Japan Trip 2019 and how to order without knowing Nihonggo.
Little World Museum of Man in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture
My experience with my friend Eloi in Little World was fun and unforgettable. The moment I arrived in Japan, I kept saying, “I’m in Japan”. I could not believe it. Eloi, would just stare at me and smile. She understood that I was happy to be with her in Japan. I read on some blogs that you can have a passport to go around the world inside the Little World and have it stamped by yourself in every country then, you can have a gift as well on your last stamp at the reception before you exit the premise. Walking around the Little World was tiring yet exciting. We got motivated by the stamps that we had to complete and the gift after the trip. I swear, you need motivation! If not, you might give up after visiting only few countries. You can try different national costume of each country destination for a price of 500 Yen. There is a coaster as a transport to use to roam around but, we did not try it. We enjoyed walking though it was a sunny afternoon. It was still Summer time when I arrived in Japan. Fall was approaching when I left Japan. Check out our YT video representing different countries below:
Daiso Japan in Arimatsu, Aichi Prefecture
I know we have Daiso also in the Philippines but I happened to reach this big Daiso outlet store in Arimatsu inside the Aeon Mall. Most of the items there were worth 100 Yen or if we convert to our money is PhP 47 – 50 (depends on the prevailing rate) plus 8% sales tax. I bought some goos and slime for our kids, also some make up items. There are lots of items to choose from. Other items will have price tags which are worth above 100 yen. Watch my video and see what you can find below:
BIC Camera in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
Bic Camera is one of the go to shop in Japan if you want to have variety of options at a lower cost compared to the other shops when it comes to gadgets, appliances and other electronic items. We found a good price for 1TB Hardrive which my friend bought. There is also a voucher for discounts where you can get online at their website, on Klook, and at the nearest tourist reception center of the area where you are in Japan.
Shiromaru-Base (Authentic Ramen) in Kanayama, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
Diz iz it! Ramen is becoming famous in the Philippines next to Samguypsal chains. As we all know, Samgyupsal originated in Korean with grilled food where you can choose marinated beef and pork on variety of flavors while Ramen originated in Japan with noodles and flavors to choose from. We noticed that there were men more than women who looked like they came from work/office. I was so excited because I have not tasted Ramen even in the Philippines, I wanted it as authentic as it can be. My Japan visit is just perfect! Now, I understand the cravings! Watch my first encounter of Ramen on my video of Mukbang Ramen, Japan edition here:
Aeon Mall – Food Court in Obu, Aichi Prefecture
I dined in here and found those displays right near the entrance of each restaurant chain. They are very inviting and looked so real to me. Check it out here! What will you order?
Don Quijote in Sakae, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
This is the place to be if you want to shop pasalubong to take back home for your family and friends. The branch that my friend and I went into was in Sakae near the Nagoya TV Tower and Oasis 21. Just in front of Sunshine Sakae. You won’t miss it since there are a lot of lights and posters that says TAX FREE or TAX REFUND. This store location has 4 floors. 1st floor has food, chocolates, drinks and groceries. 2nd floor has make-up and medicine, 3rd floor has toys, gadgets and accessories and 4th floor has perfumes, shoes, watches, luxury items such as bags of different brands. See for yourself here:
Sunshine Sakae in Sakae, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
It is a mall at the center of Sakae. It has a ferris wheel in front of its building. It is operational and it could be a nice experience to ride.
Nagoya TV Tower and Oasis 21 in Sakae, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
Nagoya TV Tower and Oasis 21 are two of the most visited spots in Sakae. The Nagoya TV tower was said to look like Eiffel tower in the evening because of its lights and structure. Unfortunately, there were no lights on that night. While the Oasis 21 is like a huge spaceship that shifts colors from time to time. When we were there, we went live on Facebook. You can ride an elevator to reach the top level where you can walk around the transparent water filled roof which changes its flooring color. On the 2nd level is a garden set up where tourists can relax and chat with their company. The ground floor has shopping and dining options.
Conveyor Belt Sushi at Oasis 21 in Sakae, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
It was a dream come true to finally dine in authentic conveyor belt restaurant. It was bit pricey from where we dine in at Nigiri No Tokube located in Oasis 21 compared to other local sushi restaurants in another area where there is 100 yen per plate. The price per plates was discussed in our YT video.
Nagashima Resort in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture
The Nagashima Resort features a hotel, onsen spa, an amusement park, and shopping at Mitsui Outlet Park. It is said to be Japan’s largest amusement park and natural outdoor bath in one. Both adults and kids can enjoy and have fun here. I only have few photos and video since my phone battery died. Overall, it was fun and relaxing. Not to mention, my friends Eloi, Lez and I bought a bag with same design which I called our FRIENDSHIP BAG from Coach. We had fun at Chanel outlet store too. We found those jaw-dropping prices and another jaw-dropping reaction after we saw how the prices dropped making it SUPER SALE! I will surely come back. Can you read my mind?
McDonalds in Japan
We all know what McDonalds is. But it is still different when its there. I had to do it. And besides if you are on a budget, you will have that moment when you will tell yourself, it might be a little different here. 🙂 Oh well, their meals start at 500 yen If I remember it right. The easiest way to convert it into Philippine Pesos is to divide it into 2. The exchange rate of 1 yen to PhP ranges from .47 to .49 depends on the current rate. My order is worth around 250 pesos.
Yakiniku King in Anjo, Aichi Prefecture
What can I say? Speechless with the taste and the chunky serving of the meat here. Plus the bonding time with my friends. It closes at 12mn. Our friend Lez brought Eloi and I to the most unforgettable Yakiniku (for sure) I can ever experience. Thank you Lez.
Nabana No Sato in Mie Prefecture
It was an enchanting experience to see thousands of flowers, real ones and not paper roses. The Begonia Garden caught my attention. There was also Onsen inside, but we did not bother. Watch what I have seen. My pleasure to share with you all.
Toilet in Japan (Ignorance strikes)
I was so ignorant and amazed how toilet looks like in Japan. I do not know if we have it in the Philippines. I know a bidet from the toilet but that’s just it. Not with all thise sound effects of flush, flowing water, hot or cold, etc. Do we? Please comment down where? Watch how ignorant I was in my YT video here:
Overall experience, my first trip to Japan was a blast! Experiences of eating authentic Japanese cuisine was a remarkable experience one can have. I enjoyed the feeling of ignorance in a country I have never been before. I was also surprised to know that there were not much trash can in Japan. You can only find them beside vending machines. They segregate their trash and only bring it outside on scheduled pick up dates. Watch here:
My goal of “me time” was achieved! Stay at home moms need sometime for themselves. I will surely go back. I will plan my next itinerary based on my goal as what I did.
Thank you to my husband for the funds and support.
Share your plans and experiences in Japan. Let us know what you have in mind. Like my Facebook page.