10 Free Things in Tokyo

Tokyo is the place with endless free options. I would make the list last forever but I don’t really have enough pictures and time for that. So here is some of my favorite free things!

 

 

Tokyo metropolitan government building night
View from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at night time

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Good place to start your Tokyo tour is from high place where you will be apple to see whole city. -Even the mount Fuji if weather is in your side.- Metropolitan building has two towers and both of then have free observation deck.

 

sunset in ueno park
Go see sunset in Ueno park
Ueno Park
Ueno Park something for everyone. From kids to grown-ups

Ueno park

Tokyo’s parks are must to visit and Ueno was my favorite. At evenings you may see dancers practicing and at almost every weekend there is some kind of  event. Ueno has beautiful fountain that’s perfect picnic place. It’s right next to Ueno station so it’s easy to access.

Go torii gate sighting or visit temples and shrines. Ueno park is also perfect cherry blossom spot. Come here to calm down and to see normal Japanese people living their every day life. And better not forget the performers you can see at weekends. Everything from magicians to musicians.

 

Shibuya109

Fancy, street style and cute shops. If you want to get in Japan’s teen fashion you should visit here. Roaming and admiring trough all the shops will take forever but it is worth it even if you don’t have money to buy anything.

 

Shibuya Crossing

One of the busiest intersections in world. After waiting for the green light and trying to get across the street without stumbling over other jaywalkers. At weekend nights people are dressed for partying and you see colors and happy people everywhere.

 

Anime figures in Akihabara
Just exploring all the figure shops in Akihabara makes it worth of visit

Akihabara

If you are planning to visit Japan you should probably be aware of the anime and manga culture. Akihabara is one of Tokyo’s districts and it has a lot to offer even people not being into Japanese cartoons or comics. It’s famous for its many electronic shops but in my case I recommend visiting the anime/manga figure shops and game halls.

It is unforgettable experience to go one of the narrow aisle shops full of figures and anime goodies. All you can see are glass shelves full of tiny colorful characters. Oh and just warning that it is easy to wander accidentally to mature content areas of shops. (A lot of naked woman characters.)

 

Showrooms

Who wouldn’t like to try new modern technology? Tokyo is full of different companies’ showrooms waiting for you to come and explore the new products. Go to Panasonic Center play Nintendo games, check out Sony‘s newest products and visit Mega Web to test drive cars.

 

Senso-ji Temple Asakusa Tokyo
Senso-ji Temple
Senso-ji Nakamise shopping street
You should visit Senso-ji at evenings when the are lights up beautifully in darkness

Senso-ji

Senso-ji is Buddhist temple located in Asakusa and the place you should visit if you only have time to see one temple/shrine in Tokyo. It’s popular among locals and tourist and especially at weekend evenings full of kimono dressed youth.

The temple itself is beautiful and free to visit and around it spreads streets full of small shops and restaurants. If you want to buy something small, cute and japan like to souvenirs I recommend visiting the small stalls on the road from temple to metro station.

 

FT Island Tower Records
Korean boyband FT Island’s promotion in Tower Records

Tower records

Visiting Tower Records music store can be experience even if you are not there to buy anything. Taking pics with big Japanese idol posters or listening the sample songs throws you to the wold of Japan’s music culture. If you are lucky you may even see some idols or live performances!

 

Hello Kitty Character Street
Hello Kitty Shop in Tokyo Station’s Character Street

Character Street

Tamagotchi, Pokemon and Totoro. Below Tokyo station lies area full of small shops selling different character goods. There is some all time favorites such as Pokemon and changing newer trends like Japanese drama and anime series stuff. Takes pics with cute shop decorations and buy cute souvenirs. Don’t forget to check out capsule toys!

 

KITTE Garden Roof Tokyo
KITTE Garden is perfect spot to relax and explore the city from the heights

KITTE Shopping Mall/Roof Garden

This shopping mall right next to Tokyo Station has beautiful roof garden with view to the old station building. If you have time and are on the are visit here to calm down between fierce shopping spree. Don’t forget to do some window shopping on the interesting shops that are “highlighting Japan’s unique sense of beauty”.

 

See you next time!
With love,

Neidotta

 

More Food in Japan

Go check out my first food in Japan post from HERE.

So like the first post this is just pictures of food and me scribbling nonsense. I hope you enjoy!

I admit being surprised how tiny Japan’s ice cream selection was. As country with so many odd and cool things I though there would be strange looking/tasting ice creams. Or maybe I have just got used to too good. I mean in Finland we have so many different flavors and brands.

From some places (like Ueno park’s hidden ice cream vendor) I was able to find amazing sundaes. In the left picture you see pink slush and soft ice cream. We have those two in Finland too but this was my first time seeing them together. -Or maybe I just spend too much time not leaving my home when I am back at Finland…-

icecreamandmilk

I absolutely hated strawberry milk. I am sorry everyone. The idea of it sounds sweet and delicious but I couldn’t even drink it after tasting. Maybe I am somehow broken? Is there any one who has tasted it? Did you like it?

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The pastry above was one of my favorite breakfasts to buy from nearby bakery in Tokyo. It reminded me of hot dog but it had stick where you were able to hold it. Tokyo’s bakeries had so many other delicacy that even one blog post wouldn’t have enough space to contain them all.

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In addition to bakeries there were countless amount of different cake shops, teahouses and sweet shops. I ate so much and so often that it’s like miracle how I still fitted in airplane when coming back home. Actually I lose weight while in Japan. Even when eating a lot of unhealthy food the normal food was light when compared to the things I nprmally eat in Finland.

salad

Avocados have been big thing for a while but only at Japan I grew to love them. Avocados and rice go together perfectly. At home I add soy sauce and wasabi when I am feeling home sick back to Japan. I even bought rice cooker to make the rice more Japan like. -The best purchase I have done in long time.- 

starbucksjapan

One taste I miss from Japan that I can’t have at home is matcha. It’s powdered green tea. My Japanese friend took me to traditional matcha teahouse in Tokyo. According to her there are strict rules how to make and drink matcha tea. As foreigner no one however expects you to follow them.

The matcha isn’t just in teas. In Starbucks you can order matcha frappuccino and even candies (for example Kitkat) comes as matcha flavor. It’s in sushi, cakes and probably anything you can think of. At first I didn’t like the matcha’s taste but after my first month in Japan it kind of stuck on me. Now I am missing it.

japansweets2

I don’t really now what ingredients they use to those small cakes that you can see above. I think it was red bean paste inside of it, but I am not sure. I can’t speak the language so I couldn’t ask anyone. However the main point is it was delicious!

japanfood2

If you don’t eat noodles while in Japan you haven’t really had the whole Japanese experience! Rice and noodles are the food you should eat. And sushi. And so many other things. Okay I am going to change that sentence.  You should eat as much as you can while in Japan or you haven’t had the whole Japanese experience!

japanfood

Convenience store food is the love of my life. Cheap, tasty and easy to find. While getting lost in the city I usually stopped to buy something and found beautiful place to eat it.

crepes (2)

Today’s last pic is crepe. Looks sweet, right? I hope you enjoyed my food pics and chatter.

See you next time!
With travel passion,

Neidotta

 

 

Grutto Pass – Tokyo Cheaply

Grutto Pass costs 2 000 yen (in 2016, about 16€) and with it you can visit most of the Tokyo’s museums and sightseeing attractions. It’s valid for two months starting from the first use and you can buy it from the most of museums and places where you can use it. You can also buy it in set with day train ticket. When buying the pass you get small notebook of places where you can use it or get discounts (and it is in English or at least was when I bought mine in 2015).

http://www.rekibun.or.jp/grutto/pdf/grutto_pass2016.pdf

From the link above you can find places where the Grutto Pass is valid in year 2016. Below the ones I went and liked the most…

 

 

mitsuoaida

tomatoes, you know, are real
that is, if they remain tomatoes
if they try to be melons, however,
they then became fakes
though everything and everyone is real
in their own way,
it seems we always try so hard to become fakes
-Mitsuo Aida

Mitsuo Aida Museum

Free of charge with Grutto pass. Without the Grutto pass 800 yen. Even if the poems are at Japanese are they beautiful to look and every poem is translated.

 

 

Ueno Zoo PandaUeno Zoo

Free of charge with Grutto pass. Without the Grutto pass 600 yen. Go and see pandas and other cute animals!

 

 

Tokyo Sea Life ParkTokyo Sea Life Park

Free of charge with Grutto pass. Without the Grutto pass 700 yen. Who doesn’t love aquariums?

 

 

Tokyo Innovation MuseumMiraikan

Free of charge with Grutto pass. Without the Grutto pass 620 yen. The national museum of emerging science and innovation. From the first look it may seem like museum for children but it’s a lot more. Go there to see robots and space ship.

 

 

fortuneShitamachi Museum

Free of charge with Grutto pass. Without the Grutto pass 300 yen.  Get to know how Japanese people lived in the past. They have free English guided tours and you can even get free fortune like the one above.

 

 

Tokyo National Museum of Nature and ScienceNational Museum of Nature and Science

Normally 620 yen but with Grutto pass you get 100 yen discount. This museum is huge and full of things to see. For example 360 theater, dinosaur bones and information of japanese nature. I recommend for science and nature students.

 

Should I buy Grutto Pass?

My opinion is yes. If you are going to spend more than day or two in Tokyo then definitely yes. You don’t need to go many places before Grutto pass pays itself back.

Also was fun how people always commented that I must be professional tourist because I have the Grutto pass. Apparently normally non Japanese speaking people don’t know about Grutto pass. Using it made me have many funny conversations with museum guides and other local people.

I hope me sharing my experience with Grutto pass makes someone else to safe their money! For me staying over month in Tokyo it saved a lot of money and made me go places I maybe wouldn’t have gone with out the free admission.

Follow my blog to read more of my adventures!
With love and passion,

Neidotta

Food in Japan

This post is just going to be pics of food and me rambling nonsense. You have been warned so enjoy!

crepes
I miss crepes! They are so tasty and pretty. Look the pic and try to insist you wouldn’t try them. You can’t! I don’t think there is person who doesn’t find crepes tasty.
crepes2
I did try so many different ones but banana-chocolate crepes where my favorites. Well of course eating these wasn’t all fun and games. In the first time buying crepe I didn’t have idea how to eat it. Like should I use the spoon and and eat the filling first or maybe approach it like ice cream.

 

food2

 

During my trip I got really attached to convenience store food. It is cheap and tasty. You wouldn’t believe what things you can buy from there! Like that chicken thing and sushi.
food

This is meal I normally had. Noodles, rice and something extra. I have used chopsticks every now and then in home but eating everything with them challenged me.

My first time eating out scared the hell out of me. I mean there was that spoon like thing and noodles in soup and sticks and no one talking English and I really didn’t know how to act.

Even if the meal  was straight from nightmare of course I did survive. I have always been good at pretending to fit in. Spying and imitating other customers saved me.
food3
In Tokyo I found this cute little restaurant place right next to my home. As shy person it took almost one week of living there to visit this place for the first time. In Japan food places often have this machine thing you need to use to order. As non Japanese person there’s no way for you order without asking help.

I lived near Ueno park and in the area there was not so many white people. Of course the owner started to recognize me when I walked past his small just big enough to fit five people noodle place.

So one night he was standing outside and he did shout happy greeting for me. It took all my courage but I asked him how to order. Well of course he didn’t speak English but in the end I did get to eat super good food. After that we kind of become friends with him.
Tullyscoffee
So this pic looks like normal coffee mug. Well it is normal coffee mug (surprise!) but I did want to share this with you for reason. Tully’s Coffee it says in the upper part of the mug if you have sharp eyes.

Tully’s become quickly my favorite coffee place -funny because I don’t drink coffee- and I recommend it for everyone. Yes, it’s just normal cafe. However their teas are straight from heaven! And the places felt nice and cozy.

 

tea

When we talk about teas it’s impossible for me to not mention the milk teas. The Lipton’s Milk Tea in pic is bought from convenience store and I don’t admit drinking them at least every other day. I have never ever before been able to stand milk teas (or cold/ice teas) so it doesn’t make sense how I ended up only drinking milk teas in Japan.

Fortunately I had 100YEN shop right next to my home as well in Tokyo as in Kyoto. From there it was easy to buy my favorite milk tea (the one in pic). For 100YEN (it’s around 0,80€) you did get 1 liter (two times as big as that one in pic).

 

Japan: Capsule Toys

Like I promised I’m here with the article about capsule toys and claw games! I loved capsule toys when I was little. The surprise what you will get was still as exiting as younger.

Claw games I didn’t play that much because I never win. Despite that I went to see them a lot because they remind me of my sister. She loves claws! I hope I would have taken one with me and given to her. The machines are just so giant and probably expensive and I don’t even know where would you get one.

 

Japanese Capsule Toy Machine

 

Capsule Toys

In Japan the culture varies from the western one I know. I have got used to little kids drooling over these toys. Imagine my surprise when in my first week in Tokyo it wasn’t children who used capsule toy machines.

If you have never visited Japan you are now probably thinking who then would use them. It’s very simple. Normal people. Everyone. From business men to cool teenagers. After a while I started to see the kids trying to get toys from these too but I still wonder what people do with the toys. Do they just collect them?

 

capsuletoys2

 

Special Toys

The capsule toys in pic above look totally normal, right? You are wrong… or at least partly wrong. This picture is taken in museum. Do you want buy souvenir in Japan. Don’t worry you can find capsule toys anywhere you go!

Some of these “toys” can be breathtaking. Pocked-sized replicas of art works, poems by famous artists and do-it-yourself dinosaur skeletons. You just need to find these. I will give a hint go to museums and tourist attractions.

 

capsuletoys3

 

As Super Junior (boyband from South Korea) fan I couldn’t pass these capsule toys without trying to get my bias (means the favorite member, mine is Eunhyuk). Tower Records music stores are popular in Japan and you should definitely visit at least one. These capsule toys are from one of Tokyo’s stores.

 

clawgame2

 

Claw Games

In Finland we only have claw games in cruises and amusement parks. In Japan I saw buildings full of different types of machines. The prices very from stuffed animals to anime figures and fan products.

 

clawgame4

 

Not everyone recognize these bears but to enlighten you all these are Bigbang’s (South Korean boyband too) mascots. I really tried to get one but didn’t have luck. I’m bad at these.

Well the most important this wasn’t to get reward. It’s just funny to try get something (and fail badly). Some people were really good at these and it was magical to see them getting the toys out of the machines.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog!
And see you again next week. 🙂