Autumn in Japan Day 1: Hello Again Shibuya + We Stayed in a Library!


I can't seem to pick just one memory that I think is the best for me during my recent Japan trip. Every moment stood out, they glow like a beautiful autumn day in Shinjuku Gyoen Park (naks ang poetiiic!). I am so so excited to finally start with this blog series which I feel is super duper long overdue. I usually just take 1-2 weeks to finish my travel post series para fresh pa ang memories, but this time, I was swamped with work and other responsibilities so I had to set aside my blog ka-oc-han. Now that Christmas is approaching and the only thing left in my calendar are the Christmas parties... I can finally start with you Japan.



Sa totoo lang, I used to hate traveling at exact same places coz I am not rich naman. I always think na sayang sa pera na sana I spent my plane fare and pocket money to go somewhere new. But for Tokyo, it is always different. Parating may bitin. Japan is also the first country na binalikan ko in a span of a year, my first exemption ika nga sa love (lel). I think this changed my perspective in repeating a location. Since then, hala paulit ulit nalang ako sa favorite cities ko, haha! But true enough, here is the exact same place generously giving me different experiences for every visit. There will always be something new to see, taste, and do!

My Tokyo travel buddy Deegee and I booked our airfare impulsively around late September. He asked me if I have any autumn trips, and that he wants to go to Tokyo--his dream destination ever since. I said I was supposed to go to Korea for Autumn but I can change plans and haven't booked anything pa naman.. When we saw the seat sale hindi na kami nag isip! The rest, as they put it, is history!


Last year, end of 2016, I remembered declaring to the audience of David Guison's Axe panel discussion on traveling that I'll be going back to Tokyo early 2017 and will live there for a month. I've already been to Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto, but I always feel in my guts that Tokyo is my special place. I wanted to see more of it, explore its every corners and neighboring provinces. I already saved pages of Word files where I pasted all my research and game plans for this one month Japan adventure. I even saved Airbnb spaces that are potential 1 month nests! But when Spring of 2017 came, I caught myself with different plans, out of budget for the month long travel.

This is our very first travel together, and Japan kaagad! Nakakatawa coz I only see Deegee in events, and we have different lives and different friends!!


I have no regrets, though! If I had the budget early this year, then I might not have availed my free round trip Airasia ticket to go back to Seoul alone--and explore my favorite Korean drama locations complete with my printed Instax films. If I pushed through with that one month Japan spring trip, then I don't think I will go back again with Deegee to see Tokyo during Autumn. Sabi nga sa song ng While You Were Sleeping, everything's just the "Right time at the right moment"!


And so we reached Narita Airport, which is the start of our Tokyo Day 1!



Our first agenda was to look for the Klook partner booth (HIS Travel Agency) located inside the airport. There's a long hilera of different travel agencies, so we just looked for it there based on a photo emailed to me by Klook upon booking. They will also send the instructions on claiming, everything's pretty smooth! We pre-booked our airport trasfer and Japan sim through this app para hassle free na when we explore in the coming days.






First pick-up, my Japan 4G SIM Card! I asked the person by the desk to configure the sim on my phone for me since hindi ako masyado techie.


SIM vs ROUTER?

Honestly, I am not sure if ano ang mas okay if sim ba or if mag rent ng router. May kanya kanyang plus points and disadvantages sila, but for me using a local sim is more convenient in terms of di na doble ang chacharge mong units every night, lalo if isa lang ang outlet. Wala ding extra pabigat sa bag, and wala ka nadin kailangan isoli (tapon nalang ng sim after). Also relatively mas mura talaga pag sim kesa sa router. An 8-day Unlimited Japan 4G SIM Card in Klook costs Php 1498 lang, versus the Php 280 PER DAY of Flytpack.

Meanwhile, I think mas carefree ako sa internet usage whenever I go for routers like Flytpack kasi usually unlimited consumption sya compared to the local sim na may data cap. Again, I am not techie and hindi ko gets yun mga limits na yan, so while using a local sim I just made sure to switch off my cellular data pag hindi ko ginagamit (or nakiki hitch muna ako sa Flytpack ni Deegee pag kasama ko naman sya hehehe). I think if solo traveler ka din, ok na ang sim, but if group kayo, ok ang router tapos hati hati nalang sa bayad.

How to go to Tokyo from Narita Airport?

There are different ways to reach Tokyo if you're coming from Narita Airport. They have a limousine bus, a shuttle bus, different train routes, and you can even take taxi a taxi but mahal!

We chose to take the Tokyo Skyliner or the Skyliner KEISEI Electric Railway, which they say is the fastest way we can get to Tokyo coming from the airport. Travel time is just 41 minutes, with just a few stops till we reach Ueno! We also got our Skyliner tickets in advance via Klook.



Make sure to exchange the ticket you got in the airport Klook booth for the actual train ticket. Again, I am not good with these things but mahilig lang ako magtanong tanong and mag basa ng signs till I figure things out! Hay, thank God we were able to wing it! On the ticket, you will see your time of departure and your seat number.









The train is huge!! Maraming spaces for all your bags and luggages. I also like that there are assigned seat numbers in case the train gets full, you have guaranteed seats. But from both my to and fro experiences, our rides were all super luwag and comfortable.





I think the only hassle we encountered and it's super crucial haha was when we transferred na to Tokyo's major railways. We have all these super huge luggages so kailangan ng sapat na lakas to pull them, carry all of them to board the train, balance them on escalators for the transfers, and just to navigate the most complex railway system in the world with so much stuff during rush hour.. AHHH NAKAKABALIW! Physically and mentally draining ito!! 😂

Nasabi ko na before na I will never do this again coz I am not getting any younger (sakit na sa likod, haha), but finding myself back at it, halasha hahaha! The things I will do just to explore you again Tokyo!

Me to Deegee: "Grabe di ko alam san nanggagaling tong lakas ko!" Hahaha!


We took the single journey tickets muna going to our hotel since we arrived in the afternoon and only have less than a day na. I realized that sana we also got our Tokyo Metro Pass in advance via Klook to save time!

I will never have a blog tutorial on Japan's railway system because never ko ata to mamamaster hahaha! Minsan ang tagal pa mag lipat ng screens to English, so grabe yung kaba namin ni Deegee na baka wrong train na pala kami! 😂😂

Where did we stay in Tokyo?

After climbing all the steep stairs with our luggages and the nth time I asked train peeps for directions, we finally reached Ikebukuro--the first city where we're staying. Something different from my usual Shibuya. 

I actually picked TWO hostels for this trip, though both in Tokyo, just to see the different sides of the city. Deegee is super true to his name, G lang sya ng G hahaha! Thank you for letting me decide on some of the most of the crucial stuff for this trip!! 

On our first 7 days we stayed in a very hipster hostel that I discovered through a Facebook viral video, HAHA! We slept at the back of book shelves in what looks like a library:




This is the receptionist counter of Book and Bed Tokyo. It's a mini bar! This is located I think a floor above where they have the bunk beds area. The other floors are restaurants that sadly we weren't able to try, but we always encounter groups in our building heading to one of them so sayang baka masarap!


More photos of Book and Bed Tokyo:



Some online negative reviews include the noise going through the thin wooden walls since the library is open for the hostel guests even at night. Actually di ko naman siya nafeel coz asa dulo pa kami nung hallway, and dahil ata sa super pagod din bagsak naman kaagad ako every night. They provide ear plugs and a small electric fan per bed, but I was only able to use the fan.




The place is actually very creative! I love the feel of it, and although I realized ang hirap pala ng ginawa namin because they have tiny hallways and small spaces, it was an experience! Nung first day grabe super struggle to figure out how to open my huge luggage! But eventually, we figured out a system to make it work.



This way to the toilets. Although common sya, they are always clean. They have I think one or two na for girls only.


The shower cubicles, meron silang pang girls only and for boys and girls. Make sure to bring your own towel and toiletries coz they are not provided pa--but they also rent out towels and sell toiletries kit.

Sink and hair dryer area:


The common area is my favorite. I remember spending nights here to EAT our kombini food finds which I think is every night, haha! We also had our best conversations here, and I don't think naka basa kami talaga ng book during our whole stay, haha!


You can freely use their kitchen as long as you clean up after:

Poseur lang yung may pa-book hahaha. The space looks big in photos, but maliit lang talaga sya!! It might not be for everyone, but I am proud that at least once in my life I tried this type of accommodation. Nakaka proud to show my future kids diba, that once upon a time I stayed in a library in Tokyo!


Btw, di sya cheapest option! Something I discovered is that most of the capsule hotels I checked online are not that "budget friendly". You may even find cheaper Airbnb rooms especially if you're going with a group. But if like me you want to experience something different, you can rent a cubicle in Book and Bed Tokyo from Php 1700-2500 per night.

One of the things though that I like about this hostel is the location. Our building is just in front of this Ikebukuro Station C8 exit:

The streets outside our hostel:



Where did we go on our first night in Tokyo?

With no time to waste, we left our hostel for the train to Shibuya! My game plan was to at least already see the Shibuya Crossing at night, check out some shops and even Hachiko, buy our train passes for the rest of the trip, and also have our dinner in the area. Medyo ambitious, haha!



Sobrang nahihilo na ako when we reached Shibuya! Sobrang bibo kasi! 😂 We were in the middle of Shibuya Crossing, cameras all held up high for our IG stories, when I realized that 1) We had no decent meal pa for the day, 2) It was suddenly my "time of the month" huhu,  and 3) I had no decent sleep pa since I came from Korea before this trip! So naawa naman sakin si Deegee haha we went to Ichiran na before we carried on.

Buti walang pila when we saw the resto:

Ahhh, I missed these solo cubicles!! 

And of course!!!! Sobrang feel-good hot noodles! Iba padin talaga!



Our night ended as a big search for the BEST view of the Shibuya Crossing, haha! We went to different shops and buildings to check out their top floors, kanwari buyers kami sa isang mall, and even almost dined in one of the two fancy restos of Excel Hotel Tokyu out of curiosity kung anong view nila! 😂

(It wasn't till our last day when we found "the best view of Shibuya Crossing"! Haha, but that will be included on my 11th blog post na!)


Had hot chocolate in Starbucks just to check if it's still the best view, but hindi na masyado!


Grabe, I think this is one of my best photos for this trip! Standing still in the middle of crazy Shibuya!

My freezing photographer hahaha:

The night was still alive when we left Shibuya but I think I really need to catch some sleep. We still availed the nearest kombini from our guest house for Japanese midnight snacks, and that's just day 1-- super quota na!

But before the busier days of this 11-day travel, I was relieved when I finally had that hot shower. It has been a long day. I then nestled inside my tiny but cozy space in the library, turned off my personal lamp and deliberately--just for this night--not set my alarm for the next day. 😏✌







To be continued.....

Watch my Day 1 IG Stories:


Comments

  1. Hi po! My favorite part in your blog was ahmm, lahat po!!! Hahaha, sobrang nakakaaliw basahin yung blog post mo including yung tips nyo kung sim or router ba mas convenient gamitin sa japan, yung train na sobrang laki nyong sinakyan hahaha! nung nag transfer kayo to tokyo's major railways plus super huge luggages nyo pa nadala (struggle is real) 😆 and syempre yung hostel na tinuluyan nyo yung Book and Bed Tokyo, gusto ko din maexperience yun kapag nagpunta ko ng japan kahit sabi mo na maliit lang sya, pero parang super worth it naman pag nagstay ka dun!!! And yung shibuya crossing at night!!! Pangarap ko din makapunta doon and makapagpicture nung kagaya nung sayoooo, standing in the middle of shibuya!! Thank you din po sa mga tips nyo!! And of course sobrang ganda po ng mga pictures nyo, the places and with deegee! Thank youuu! 😊😊

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  2. I love every part of your blog �� I can't pick any favorite �� Wishing I could travel to Tokyo now. And I really want to try the solo cubicle na kakain ng ramen ���� Nakaka-aliw po basahin ng blog na sa point na gusto ko na ring pumunta ng Japan.����
    Andami ko nang gustong puntahan �� Pero Japan talaga eh, lalo na sa Shibuya Crossing, gusto ko magpicture duuun ❤️ Thank you din po sa mga tips na binibigay niyo ��

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  3. Hi haha may fav ko na blog niyo lahat actually gustong gusto ko pumunta ng japan haha so yun nung nasa japan po kayo as in lagi ko tinitignan myday niyo ni deegee and may fav na place ako na napuntahan niyo yung sa hello kitty meal na kinain niyo hehe and sa shibuya yung kinainan niyo ng parang ramen siya and yung yellow train ang ganda tignan hehe also yung first hotel niyo sa japan yung book and bed yun na aliw ako kasi ang cute tignan and yung sa labas yata ng shibuya yung maraming tao na tatawid actually para sa akin ang assthetic siya tignan kasi daming tao mapapawow ka nalang talaga haha and iknow na worth po pag punta niyo sa japan with deegee actually nag hihiwalay pa nga po kayo e hahaha and natatandaan ko pa sa myday niyo po yung mt fuji. Hehe una di niyo po makita yung mt fuji actually ako rin diko rin makita sa myday niyo yun nung time na yun hehe and ang gaganda po ng picture niyo ni deegee kayo yung mga blogger na fav ko ♡ yess true po yan kayo po haha ♡ support ako lagi kung saan ka po pumupunta hehe♡ 사랑해

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  4. This --> But for Tokyo, it is always different. Parating may bitin. Japan is also the first country na binalikan ko in a span of a year, my first exemption ika nga sa love (lel). I think this changed my perspective in repeating a location. Since then, hala paulit ulit nalang ako sa favorite cities ko, haha! But true enough, here is the exact same place generously giving me different experiences for every visit. There will always be something new to see, taste, and do!

    Coz I totally agree! Been to Japan thrice and been to Tokyo twice (tho I only stayed 1 night the 2nd time), it's one of the places I can't seem to get enough of.

    I also like the photos of Book and Bed coz I've seen a video of this hostel, I think, last year.. and really wanted to go and try sleeping in a library. I will stay here on my next visit. And I might also try to use a Japan sim card instead of renting a pocket wifi. 😁🎌

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