For my parent’s 31st wedding anniversary this year our family decided to go to Japan. We booked a 6-day cruise with Diamond Princess (blog entry about our experience HERE), but we arrived in Japan 2 days before it started so that we could have time to explore by ourselves. Our flight was around 5am, which meant that we had to leave our house at around 1am. Nevertheless, I was excited because JAPAN! It was always a dream of mine to visit this amazing country.
We were welcomed by this sign upon arriving at Narita airport
We passed by these interesting plate display on the way to the immigration counter
We stopped to use the restroom and I found myself facing a traditional Japanese toilet:
I used my fair share of these back in Myanmar. They’re quite common in Asia but we don’t really have them in the Philippines.
I like how they had an illustrated guide on how to use the toilet on the wall 😄
Ezra looks very excited to be in Japan. I told her to pose like a high fashion model, and this is what happened:
She just looked high 😄
Since we didn’t have a meal on the plane we were very hungry. Fortunately, there were several places to buy food at the airport
We found this little convenience store there which sold some packed Japanese food
Ezra checking out the different kinds of onigiri
We didn’t have anyone to pick us up so my dad bought tickets for a bus heading to Yokohama, where we would be staying
We were impressed by the efficiency of their transport system. The bus was scheduled to leave at 11:15am, and it left at exactly that time! Why can’t buses do that in the Philippines. Also, the bus had seatbelts! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bus with seatbelts before.
After about an hour, the bus dropped us off at this station where we could grab a taxi that would take us to our hotel
We spotted this interesting looking vehicle on our way there.
Our cab driver (who was very nice) dropped us off the Daiwa Roynet Hotel, which would be our home for the next two days. They shared the building with other offices and the hotel lobby was located on the third floor. They had a designated elevator for hotel guests, but we didn’t know that and we ended up going into a different elevator. Fortunately we realized our mistake and quickly found the correct elevator.
After checking in, we were given our room keys. I thought they were interesting because most hotel key cards I’ve seen were made of plastic, sort of like a credit card. This one’s very thin and flexible – it almost feels like paper. It’s probably the same material they use for our MRT cards.
After we got settled in our rooms, we bought some snacks and drinks at the convenience store downstairs and ate lunch in our rooms. (We bought burgers from Jollibee on our way to the airport before leaving Manila, but we all slept on the plane so we didn’t get a chance to eat them. We ended up having them for lunch instead.) We agreed to go out and explore later that afternoon so I tried to use our spare time to catch up on some sleep, but Ezra kept wanting to eat all the snacks we bought. I don’t have any pictures of us at the convenience store or in our room but we did take a lot of videos using the GoPro and compiled the footage in a vlog, which you can watch at the end of this entry).
At around 5pm, we headed out to see Yokohama’s Chinatown, which is supposedly one of the largest in the world.
Beautiful details at the entrance
Nice clean streets
We didn’t have any plans so we just walked around and stopped by all the shops we found interesting. One of them had these adorable things on display outside:
We thought they were some kind of mochi candy
If you try to mix them, they feel like some sort of sticky jelly. There was a TV right next to the display which explained what these things were, and they turned out to be soap!
Super cute and squishy soap! You could even try them at the store (they had several golden sinks there for you to use)
We didn’t end up buying them, but we had fun playing around and trying out the different kinds.
Afterwards we walked around some more. We found a lot of panda merchandise around the area:
Panda daifuku. Now I’m pretty sure that this is food.
Some panda (AKA “PUNDA” bags). I’m not sure if the sign was a typo or if it was intentional
We also spotted a couple of these interesting Kit Kats. Japan is well known for having all sorts of Kit Kat flavors. I was tempted to try them, but I decided to stick with my favorite green tea Kit Kat.
We also found several panda statues/displays around the area:
After a couple of hours of walking, we started to get hungry so we decided to look for a place to grab some dinner. We ended up at this ramen place (I’ve always dreamed of eating in an authentic ramen house in Japan) where we had a delicious meal.
We had a little difficulty ordering food at first because a) we couldn’t understand the menu and b) we had to order and pay through a vending machine that was at the front of the store and of course everything was in Japanese. Thankfully Ezra watches enough anime to have picked up several Japanese phrases that helped her communicate with one of the staff there. We were actually pretty impressed because I always thought that she only knew several Japanese words, but she was actually able to hold a proper conversation with the waiter.
The servings were huge so we ended up just splitting a miso ramen and a shio ramen, which were both delicious 😀
We returned to our hotel after this and went to bed early because we were still all lacking sleep from the day before, and we wanted to have as much energy as possible for the following day. But Ezra and I were able to film a short haul video of the stuff we bought that day. I compiled the footage we took into a vlog, which you can watch below. It’s a little long, but we wanted to document everything since we were so amazed by all the things we saw. (There’s a good chance that my next vlog will be even longer since we went to four different places the next day XD)