Giveaway! + 1 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Are you planning a quick trip to Tokyo? Maybe you have a stop-over or you just want to get as much as possible out of every day you spend in this multifaced city. I’m currently staying for a few months in Japan and my family will join me next week so I have been doing a lot of research. The list below is my example of a perfect day in Tokyo if you’re short on time. Enjoy!

(Also today I have a giveaway for all you people reading my blog!
You can find it from the end of this post.)

Tokyo Travel City

Breakfast in Tokyo

Let’s start our day in Tokyo with breakfast! Mornings are maybe my favorite time in the capital city of Japan because there’s nothing better than starting your travel day in Tokyo with some delicious pastries. Tokyo is the city of cafes so just find one fitting for you and eat something tasty. Don’t forget to replace your morning coffee with something more local like matcha latte or chai tea.

Morning in central Tokyo

(Tokyo Station, Character Street, KITTE, Kokyo Gaien, Imperial Palace)
After the breakfast in Tokyo, it’s time to start our one day adventure around Tokyo. There’s no way you can see all the major sights of Tokyo in so short timing but my Tokyo itinerary includes some of my favorites. The character street found under Tokyo Station is definitely one of the must-see things in Tokyo and Japan. This “street” or better-said corridor is full of shops of different brands from Pokemon to Totoro and anime characters. You could call character street the heaven of everything cute!

Tokyo Imperial Palace

After exiting Tokyo Station continue your way to the close-by building named KITTE. You can do some shopping in this luxurious mall or even visit the museum but the thing I find must experience is on the top floor. KITTE’s rooftop garden is one of the best views you will see during your morning in Tokyo. The view towards Tokyo Stations older quarter is just what you need to take those cool holiday photos in Japan.

Tokyo Old Railway Station

When you have taken enough photos and admired the views of Tokyo, it’s time to walk towards the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Don’t worry, if I couldn’t get lost finding it you can’t either! It’s just a small walk away from Tokyo Station. Unfortunately, the palace grounds aren’t open for public but you can walk around the Palace Garden. One of my must things to do in Tokyo. The admission is free so you can spend as much or as little time walking around the Japanse garden as you want.

Lunch in Tokyo

Depending on when you get hungry, I recommend eating lunch somewhere between leaving the central Tokyo and going to Ueno. It’s very easy to find restaurants in Tokyo so don’t stress too much! I’m not the expert when it comes to different dishes in Japan (I usually just eat randomly what looks good) but I would recommend for you tempura, tonkatsu, ramen or okonomiyaki.

food

Eating out in Tokyo may seem scary because you never know if the staff will speak English. Fortunately, most of the menus have photos or you will be handed English menu automatically. Many places will bring you the bill with your food (hidden to a case) and after eating you have to take it to the counter. But this is not the only custom so you should just follow what the locals do or ask for help.

Afternoon in Akihabara and Ueno

(Electric town, Ueno Park, Senso-Ji)
You may not have time to see all three places I mentioned (especially if you fall in love with Ueno as much as I did) but you can try! Start from the electric town of Akihabara and visit some of the countless anime shops, electronic stores or theme cafes. If you want to experience something that’s only a Japan thing, Akihabara is just the place you need to add on your Tokyo itinerary. Choose your favorite from the long list of cafes and restaurants differing from maid cafes full of cute girls in maid uniforms to animal cafes where you can pet everything from reptiles to owls.

Tokyo Ueno Streets

From Akihabara, you could take a train straight to Ueno but walking the kilometer will be an experience on its own. Don’t worry, there’s no way you will get lost! Just walk the street next to the train tracks above you. If you want true Tokyo dinner, eat in one of those small restaurants under the tracks. On your way to Ueno, you should wander around the colorful shopping streets and even try local gambling game – Pachinko. I couldn’t tell you how these cames work even if I wanted so my tip is just to put some coins in and mash the buttons. It’s not hard to understand why Japanese people love playing these games. The colors and loud noises have their own charm.

Museum in ueno park

When you finally find Ueno Station, you can’t miss Ueno Park right next to it. You could spend days discovering new things in this one park and especially on weekends there’s always something happening from street performers to festivals in Ueno Park. My favorites are the tunnel of red torii gates to Hanazono Inari Shrine, watching the tourist boats and waterlilies in Shinobazunoike Pond and, of course, getting a thai latte from the cute Starbucks to drink it next to the large fountain.

Sensoji Temple Tokyo

If you don’t spend your whole afternoon in Ueno Park or want to skip it to see more of the religious sights of Tokyo, make your way towards Senso-Ji. If you are on a budget, feel free to walk from Ueno to Senso-Ji and check out the interesting kitchen equipment stores on your way. Senso-Ji is one of the most important shrines in Tokyo. However, you shouldn’t get scared of the word shrine because Senso-Ji can be so much more! Shops full of souvenirs, locals wearing kimonos and yukatas, short walk to the statue of “Golden Poo” (yeah, don’t skip this one!), and perfect photo spots everywhere.

Dinner in Tokyo

For dinner, I have two choices for you. If you have enough money, find a sushi place! If not (or if you want to the more local itinerary in Tokyo), buy food from a convenience store. Don’t laugh at me! This is a very normal thing to do in Japan and in fact, the food is DELICIOUS. They will even heat it for you and give you chopsticks. Just find a small convenience store (bigger markets don’t usually heat the food for you) – for example, 7/11, Lawson or Family Mart.

food2

Evening Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya

(Shopping, Metropolitan Government Building, Nightlife)
I know my Tokyo itinerary includes too many things to do in Tokyo. But if you’re leaving late or have all night to hang out in Tokyo, continue your way to Shinjuku or Shibuya after Senso-Ji. You can start by shopping. All of these streets – Shinjuku, Harajuku and, Shibuya – have shops worth your visit. Shibuya is more trendy and fresh, from Harajuku’s Takeshita Street you can find the oddest fashion items ever and Shinjuku is perfect for visiting all kinds of stores (my favorites are definitely the “English bookshop” Book Kinokuniya, Tokyu Hands and Tower Records).

Tokyo nightlife itinerary

After a small shopping spree, I recommend adding the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on your itinerary. Sounds dull, I know. Many people skip this attraction just because they don’t do enough research. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is one of my favorite things to do in Tokyo. Despite the name, it’s an observation tower. Or well, in fact, two FREE observation towers. The north observation tower is open until 11 pm so you should have enough time to visit here and see Tokyo from the hights despite how long time the other things on my Tokyo itinerary will take.

Tokyo Itinerary

I don’t party a lot but if you only have one night in Tokyo there’s no better way to spend it than giving the party life of Tokyo a go. Shinjuku and Shibuya side of Tokyo is just perfect for this. There’s something for everyone from big multistorey nightclubs to small cellar rock bars (went once one of those but its story for some other time…) Those travelers who want to experience the whole “Japan is crazy” atmosphere should book tickets to popular Robot Restaurant. Their shows are truly one of the kind…

Tokyo Itinerary - Shinjuku

Giveaway with GPSmyCity

Are you a traveler like me who loves discovering new cities by walking around on their own? In that case, you will love this opportunity to win a one-year subscription to GPSmyCity‘s mobile app. The app will turn your phone into an audio guide in over 1,000 cities worldwide.

GPSmyCity has given me this change to giveaway 10 annual subscriptions to their app for my readers! So, in two weeks (to be more specific on Sunday 26.8.2018) I will randomly choose 10 winners from people who have taken part in this contest.

How to participate in this giveaway? It’s easy! Just go to my Twitter @LostViivi and answer the question in tweet pinned to my profile. Or go straight to the tweet HERE to tell me “What has been your favorite travel destination of 2018?” You don’t have to follow me but it will make contacting you a lot easier in case of winning.

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Like always all comments are more than welcome and don’t forget to take part in the giveaway. And if you like my blog I recommend you to check my Twitter because what would be better than reading crazy travel stories in real time?

With love,
Lost Viivi

The Catastrophic Hostel Worker

I love volunteering in hostels but it’s not always fun and games. In my last post I shared one good experience I have had and today I have terrible volunteering story for you. It may not sound at first too bad but I wasn’t paid for working. Only thing I got out of it was small bed (without mattress).

 

Catastrophic First Week For Hostel Worker

My first days in Tokyo had been full of first times. Volunteering in hostel, solo traveling and trying to survive with my bad English. I had survived fine except the working conditions sucked but I naively though everything would get better.

It was my fourth morning and I woke early to be ready and clean. I felt quite good and nothing predicted the mess this day would turn out to be. It was sunny and I had only five more days until my day off. The cleaning went well. I listened music dancing and mopping around the empty hostel and took in the beautiful neighborhood from the house’s sun patio. Everything was perfect.

Until it wasn’t. I had to change linens on two rooms. The first one was easy. Empty room, two beds with dirty linens. The second one turned out to be my first nightmare of that day. One dorm room, four dirty beds and only one person leaving the room. My problem was how there was no way of knowing which bed I should change the linens.

As bright problem solver I decided to change all the four beds and go to get early lunch. My work day wasn’t yet over. I still had to wait for two people who were going to check-in. My boss had given me permission to be half hour away from the hostel when waiting for guests. So I spend exactly that time walking to nearby shopping mall.

Everything seemed fine again. I hoped I would spend more time on the city but I was still holding on to the promise of coming days off. So I returned and began my waiting. It wasn’t so bad to watch Netflix, talk to the other guest and write. So I waited until several hours later someone ringed the doorbell and I rushed happily to open.

Behind the door stood cute young Asian boy looking a little lost. I of course welcomed him in thinking he must be one of the guests checking-in. The answer I got was flustered “only Chinese or Japanese” and so I was in problems again.

I tried to speak with my hands, basic English words I hoped he would understand and trying to come up some way to talk with him. The boy looked more and more frightened after every moment and my own state of panicking was growing.

So I did only thing I know would solve the problem and went to ask help from my boss who in fact talks Japanese and Chinese and was in the room next door. Oh, the stupid me… I chose wrong option.

After knocking to her door I told to my boss that I needed translating help to talk with this guest. The look for me was deadly but she didn’t have other options than to come and solve the situation. She talked to him and then I showed him around the hostel. When I left the boy to his room’s door, we were smiling stupidly and wishing each other goodnight.

And then I returned to the living room where my boss waited for me arms crossed and angry face on. Then she shouted. Apparently I was useless and should never again ask her help in situation like this. She also dissed my English skills and working speed. Like usually I just kept kindly quiet and listened.

I though my bad day wouldn’t turn worse but of course it did.

I kept waiting for the second guest. I waited, waited and waited. The clock was eleven PM and I had been waiting for whole day. There was no way I was going to disturb my boss again so I just sat there in the living room and tried to find something to do. Then my boss came out to the kitchen to eat.

“The second guest of today hasn’t yet came…” I probably sounded pathetic but I had grown to be scared of that woman.

“She came already when you weren’t here and I checked her in.” Then she went back to her room and I was left behind to keep my anger inside. I had been waiting for hours that I would have spend exploring the city. She had been whole that time inside of her room and seen me many times. Why the heck hadn’t she told me that I was free to go?

That was first day when I started to seriously think about ending my volunteering and just renting a apartment. It took a couple of more days and bad experiences with my host before I sneaked out of the hostel and found charming dorm to live in.

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So as warning example always talk more with your host before going. Ask specific working hours, look everything critically and hope for the best. And if you are not feeling good, safe or valued in the place no one is preventing you from leaving.

Have you had bad volunteering experiences? Or have you ever left the place you were supposed to volunteer?

Tomorrow I am leaving to huge summer camp so the next post is going to be written in forest. I just hope my internet will work. So on next Monday you will get pros and cons of being hostel volunteer. See you then!

 

With love,

Viivi Severina

TOP10 Tokyo

Today I’m going to introduce for you my ten favorite things to do in Tokyo. I tried to pick up different activities, some free some not and even put them to order from 10th to 1st. If you have more recommendations, feel free to share them in the comments.

 

10. The National Art Center

artmuseum_tokyo

Tokyo has countless amount of different museums. It was hard decision to pick out just one of them. National Art Center was for me the most charming museum. Different exhibitions. Interesting artistes form Japan, Asia and around the world.

The modern art exhibition I visited was one of the best I have been. There was videos, sculptures, interactive art and inspiring works of art. One work even let the visitors take a piece with them. There was also a big house made of homeless people’s cardboard boxes.

 

9. Go to concert

tokyo harajuku street performance

Japan has music to offer for everyone’s tastes. Maybe go to small bar and listen rock or to big stadium see pop star. The Japanese music scene has many interesting artists and genres. In my opinion you can find concert experience that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. If you are lucky, there may be free concerts or events on the street.

Visit Tower Records store and ask if they sell tickets (if they don’t ask in which of their stores they do). The staffs are nice and at least for me they were able to suggest concerts foreigner should see as part of their Tokyo experience.

 

8. RiSuPia

Risupia tokyo museum

Some may say this place is for kids but I enjoyed it as twenty years old solo traveler. Japan is the country of inventions and in RiSuPia you can experience just that. Go to buy your ticket and while waiting for your turn check out all the new inventions from first floor or play newest Nintendo and Wii games in the second floor.

You get this remote thing and with it do different tasks in RiSuPia. Problem solving, funny experiments and teaching games. It really made the mathematics, psychics and chemistry lot more clear and easy. This should be the way to teach things to children! But the point is I had fun and the staff were amazing and kind. I recommend visit in RiSuPia for everyone.

 

7. Ueno Park

sunset in ueno park

I would write a long post about Ueno Park and why it is one of my favorite places in Tokyo. I lived near it and spend countless of hours exploring around. Ueno park is home of zoo, museums, shrines and temples. Take pretty picture with torii gates or people watch locals having free time around the beautiful fountain.

Museum in ueno park

The park is right next to Ueno station so many people are hurrying through it towards schools, works and homes. At evenings different dance groups are practicing and having fun. (I stalked this one group dancing with light sticks in too many nights…)

Tokyo Ueno Starbucks

Ueno zoo is worth of seeing if you have time. The pandas are their biggest attraction but I totally fell in love with the zoo area itself. Next to zoo you can find small alley made of torii gates, the spot many tourists (and me) took pretty picture of themselves. The locals are happy to help you and take the picture (even if you don’t ask!).

 

6. Harajuku (Takeshita Street)

Line Friends shop Harajuku

As district Harajuku is place you should just get lost and find interesting shops, crazy looking people and small museums. However I know some people are short of time and for you I recommend walking Takeshita Dori/Street. They even have maps made of that one street and it’s countless shops selling different kind of fashion. Be aware of the mass trying to run over you if the touristy you decides to be too slow at walking!

 

5. Sibuya

umbrella_tokyo

One part of Tokyo known for Hachiko dog statue and rumored to be world’s busiest pedestrian crossing (Shibuya crossing). May sound crazy but I recommend visiting here when it is raining. The way Japanese walk with their umbrellas without bumping to other people is art!

 

4. Senso-ji

Senso-ji Temple Asakusa Tokyo

When visiting Japan you should go to see at least one temple or shrine. I recommend Senso-ji because of the area around it and it is photogenic place. Walking from metro station to the temple is an experience on its own. There is small shops everywhere selling sweets, souvenirs and fortunes. If you walk to one of the side alleys getting lost is sure but so are amazing adventures.

 

3. Cherry Blossom Viewing

Japan is known for its pinkish blossoming trees and the beautiful pictures taken from them. Unfortunately you only can see cherry blossoms at specific time at year. For example I didn’t see them when going Japan in autumn (well I have reason to return…) The best time to go and get charmed by the pink brilliance is in spring but you should google more accurate timing.

 

2. Character Street

Hello Kitty Character Street

Character street gets the second place because it’s something different, cute and full of life. (Oh and free to go if you don’t get too desirous to buy something!) The shops are lined closely next to each other and people are everywhere. There is a lot of tourists but also locals. You will find Character Street on the basement of Tokyo Station.

 

1. See Mt. Fuji (from far away)

Tokyo metropolitan government building night

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offers two free observation decks. I visited there three times while in Tokyo and there was no line at all (an most of the times I was even alone in the elevator…) Maybe this is for me at first place because I am from small city and never seen skyscrapers before but definitely must place to visit for everyone.

The views are breathtaking and if you are lucky and the mother nature is in good mood (read the weather is clear) you will be able to see Mt. Fuji. You should start from here and check out the city from above. Good place to go either in sunlight (to see everything clearly/the Mt. Fuji) or after dark (beautiful city lights).

 

To see more free things to do in Tokyo go HERE.

Top 10 Things To Do In Tokyo Japan
If you liked my article, you can pin this image to your Pinterest!

With love (and endless homesickness to Japan),

Viivi Severina

Photo Diary: Beautiful Tokyo

Today is my birthday! Thanks for everyone who has wished me happy birthday. To celebrate this day I have collected my travel photos from Tokyo (yes I finally found my lost photos…) and want to share them with you. This will be my first photo diary but definitely not the last.

All photos are taken by beginner photographer using her phone so I am sorry if some of the pics are not so good. I hope you enjoy my travels!

 

skyandriver
Getting lost in Tokyo means finding beautiful places.

 

Tokyo Ueno Starbucks
Ueno park was my love (and next to my home) in Tokyo and this particular Starbucks quickly came my number one place to visit.
Whale statue Ueno Park Tokyo
If someone is as enthusiastic as I am about Japanese (crime) dramas, this whale is seen so many times in them. I haven’t even realized it before coming back from Japan. It’s in Ueno park too.
Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum Harajuku
Tokyo is full of interesting art museums. This Taro Okamoto memorial museum is one of them.
Urban Torii gate
Torii gate somewhere in Tokyo between urban neighborhoods
Star Wars Toystore Tokyo Japan
I’m big Star Wars fan. (Or better said my whole family is) It was fun to notice how Japanese share my passion for Jedi. They had Star Wars everywhere!
Urban river Tokyo
In Tokyo i was blessed with some beautiful blue skied days and one week of rain and storms as balance. This is one of the best days.
Tokyo Old Railway Station
Tokyo’s railway station is still big mystery for me. I got lost and somehow exited from different door every time.
Korea Town shop Tokyo
Any kpop fans here? Well I don’t admit anything but Korea town may have been like heaven… I find these stairs totally cool.
Line Friends shop Harajuku
Harajuku is my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo. It’s full of surprises and small alleys. Every time I visited there was something new to discover.
Fabric street Nippori Tokyo
When your best friend and mom are crazy about textiles you can not dissmiss Fabric Town and Street in Nippori. Shop after shop this are is full of beautiful and cheap fabrics. (Look even Buzz Lightyear is shopping there!)
idyllic alley in Tokyo
Getting lost in Tokyo is like walking in to movie. I would just spend years in Tokyo to get know all the streets and corners. I discovered this place one afternoon but the fun fact is that even if tried to go there again (there was cute shop) I wasn’t able to find it second time…
Scenery in Ueno zoo park
This photo is from Ueno Zoo. It was so beautiful! Small lake full of plants.
colors of Akihabara
Akihabara was something I have never seen anywhere else. Even if it was raining (I have never seen that much water coming down from sky!) the there was so many people.
Colorful Ferris wheel flower field
I have maybe the worst phobia of high places. Of course I had to visit three Ferris wheels in my in my Japan trip. (Why am I doing this to myself?)

idyllic tokyo neighborhood train

 

So there was all the photos! If you want to see some more adventures from Japan check out these food post I have made:
Sweets in Japan

Food in Japan

More Food in Japan

Have you ever visited Japan or planned to go there? Making this post has made me miss the city so much… Maybe I should start to plan my second trip there. (Or maybe not because so many places I want to see!)

There was all for today. I hope you are having amazing weekend.
With love,

Viivi Severina

Sweets in Japan

I’m here again with new food post from my Japan trip! This time I have fulled my blog with pictures of sweet and candies. Who wouldn’t be interested in them?

japanesesweets
My souvenirs to my family and friends

For a sweet tooth being in Japan is like visiting heaven. If you have courage to break away from the tourist streets and take the unused path you may find cheap and tasty candies. My best advice is buy everything before airport -there is bad selection and expensive-. When walking around visit small convenience stores and 100 yen stores.

These bear cookie sweet candy things were my total favorite thing in Japan! The bears are different looking and depending on flavor have changing filling. My mission during the trip become to find as many variants of this cookie as I can. Like you can see above I did found quite many! There was this special pumpkin flavor because of Halloween.

japancandy

Don Quijote is a discount department store chain in Japan. You will recognize it by the happy looking blue penguin logo. This is place to go shopping the souvenir sweets. It’s cheaper than many other shops and the range of different candies is wide. Just make sure you have enough time because making the choice what you will buy takes time. -At least if you are indecisive like me…-

Colorful kitkats japan

If you have get to know Japan and what to do there while traveling you would have probably seen stuff about Kit Kats. Above the Kit Kat tower demonstrates how you can find odd and different flawors of Kit Kats from Japan. I must how ever let you down and tell that the tales of Japan’s Kit Kats aren’t all true.

There is countless of amounts interesting Kit Kats. You can buy the normal ones from many shops. BUT it’s hard to find the odd and not normal Kit Kat candies. Even the Matcha Kit Kats are hard to find from normal stores. Someone should say if I am wrong but at least for me it was hard time to find these sweets.

Japanese kitkat

Cheese cake Kit Kat! Wasn’t very good but interesting so definitely good purchase.

Matcha Kitkat

Matcha Kit Kat. Like I talked HERE matcha is green tea thing that Japanese people put everything. -Don’t get me wrong I love matcha flavored food. But you can find anything in matcha flavor.- This is must buy souvenir. However I don’t recommend buying it from souvenir shop or from tourist areas because you have to pay twice as much as some smaller shops.

IMG_6188

I bought the mushroom looking cookie candy things first time for accident and after that tried to hunt them down for quite while before finding them for the second time. Not anything special (just cookie and chocolate) but so tasty!

And by the way I am so jealous of the cute packets and the characters in them… We don’t have those in Finland. Why don’t we have cute characters (expect Moomins)?

Matcha Almonds

These matcha almonds were okay to me but my family didn’t like them. You need to get used to the taste because it’s quite strong and even bad if one is not used to it.

 

I think I have now shared all of my good enough to share food pics from Japan. But don’t worry I still have Japanese themed posts in mind and other travel stories coming.
So see you next time with more stories of my travels!

Viivi Severina