Monday, May 04, 2015 Claudia Phankova 3 Comments

For daily transportation, we purchased a 7-day JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass), cost us 29,110 yen. JR Pass can be used in JR trains, Tokyo Monorail to/from Haneda Airport, Local JR buses. There is also 14-day JR Pass 21-day, so it really depends on how long your stay is. We purchased our JR Pass on local travel office before our trip. 

Is it worth it to get a JR Pass?
I'd say it depends on your itinerary. Yes, if you will travel to other places than just Tokyo.

With JR Pass it is super convenient. It also saved us a lot! On my trip, I went to three cities in Japan: Tokyo, Osaka and Kawaguchi-ko. 

For one-way Shinkansen trip from Tokyo to Osaka costs 13,750 yen. Going back and forth already costs 27,000 yen. This doesn't include the fee from Tokyo to Kawaguchi-ko. See how much I can save using JR Pass! This also totally excludes any local JR train travel, which I used to get around Tokyo.
If you only stay in one city during your trip, you can get Pasmo/Suica travel card. It is similar to JR Pass, but it doesn't cover the Shinkansen trains. Other than train, there's a lot of walking involved as well hahaha so make sure you wear the comfortable shoes! It is very important! Taxi is expensive in Japan, so if you're traveling on budget, get used to a lot of walking and train ride lol.

We went to Shinjuku the next morning for Hanami (花見, literally "flower viewing), which is of course on the top of our itinerary. Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the best places in Tokyo for hanami. If you are ever in Tokyo during this time, it really is a must see!

Even with the petals falling off, I still find this breathtaking. Can you please look at the floor covered with pink petals! *heart melts*

Other than Shinjuku Gyoen, there are a few other places for Hanami too, like Ueno Park, Sumida Park, and Yoyogi Park. I really recommend Shinjuku Gyoen Park because it is very spacious, so even when it is crowded, you can still enjoy a chilled stroll under the cherry blossoms. 

Unlike other public parks, there is entrance fee of 200 yen for Shinjuku Gyoen Park. The rest are free though but Shinjuku Gyoen is a good place if you're keen on somewhere a little more peaceful.

I notice that there are different colors and varieties of sakura, like this bright pink.

...and this pale pink. There's white color too! But of course pale pink is my fave hehe it is so so so beautiful.

Initial plan was picnic under the sakura trees but it was raining that day (IKR!). We already bought tons of food from the convenience store for our hanami plan! Such a waste if we didn't eat it. Luckily there was canteen area inside the Shinjuku Gyoen park and the staff were all very kind. They let us to sit there and have our breakfast eventhough we did not buy anything there. We felt bad though so we bought some drinks and soup in the end. :)

I love my bento! It was Katsudon (deep-fried pork cutlet bowl rice with egg) from Lawson. You can ask the staff to microwave it for you so you can take away a hot yummy bento! Honestly I was not expecting much cause it is a chilled bento from convenience store but it exceeded my expectation. It was yummy!

Also, can you spot the ready to drink Starbucks green tea latte in coffee cups? It was a must-have for me! At first I thought it tasted the same with the freshly brewed green tea latte sold at Starbucks but well omg seriously this one was way better! The taste, sweetness level etc is just right. I am not exaggerating but even A & R who are non green tea lover, they loved it too! Go try please if you visit Japan hahaha.

I was posing for #ootd but got my shameless sister and his bf photobombed me lol.

Might as well posed with them then. XD

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
11 Naito-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0014, Japan
Opening hours: 09:00-16:30
Shinjuku Gyoen has 3 entrance gate, Shinjuku Gate, Sendagaya Gate and Okido Gate.
- Shinjuku Gate :
Ten minute walk east from "New South Exit" of JR Shinjuku Station or a five minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae on the Marunouchi Subway Line 
- Sendagaya Gate : Five minute walk from JR Sendagaya Station on the local Chuo/Sobu line
- Okido Gate : Five minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line 

Then we strolled around Shinjuku area while waiting for lunch time. My sister wanted to get some calligraphy stuff from Sekaido and we tagged along without knowing what it was. When I first entered the store, I knew that I could easily spend an entire day here browsing the huge selections of stuff - and also I could already foresee myself spent beyond my budget hahaha.
We went to the Shinjuku flagship store that had 6 floors which was enormous!! Sekaido is a crafty store specializing in art materials. This is a must visit if you're stationery lover! By the way, a little tips: you can flash your passport at cashier to get a 5% discount! ;) #phankovatips

I literally went crazy over the huge selections of the greeting cards! It's quite affordable like most of the cards only cost around 200-300 yen. 

Cute washi tapes!
Ah I was this close to almost buying this sushi pen! But it's 540 yen hahaha so I decided not to buy it even though it was very cute. Whoa I do have self control lol.

Sekaido (Shinjuku Branch)
3-1-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 9:30-21:00
Direction: Shinjuku-Sanchome Station exit C1 (Marunouchi, Fukutoshin Line)

Then here comes the awaiting lunch time. Ramen is one of my most favorite food! Imagine a bowl of steaming hot springy noodles served with a hard-boiled egg and roast pork. A trip to japan is not complete without having the authentic ramen, right? 
We went to Kohmen in Shinjuku, a two-storey ramen store which is big by ramen shop standards. They also have a branch in Harajuku. Kohmen's ramen style is quite simple, the broth is not too thick and fatty and the flavor is just right. 
Remember to ask the staff for english menu! They usually provide a special lunch menu.

I had the original one, a pig bone broth ramen with soy sauce. I really love the ramen here better than Ichiran Ramen! The noodle texture is very nice. Also can you please look at the hard-boiled egg please.

This was Zenith's order, Kogashi Thantanmen, a black sesame flavor ramen! It has a distinctive taste of herbal soup and I don't like it. Zenith said it was okay though. I disagree with her on this lol.
The dessert here is quite popular too, especially the pudding! However we were quite unlucky that it was sold out at that time. :(

Kohmen Ramen
3-32-2-1 2F Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 11:00-05:00 

Green tea eclair from the famous Sadaharu Aoki. Sadaharu Aoki is a famous japanese pastry chef who create French desserts with Japanese flavours like matcha, sesame, yuzu. From my experience of trying green tea flavored desserts, usually I'd be disappointed because it's either too sweet or too bitter. So I just stick to green tea flavored drinks. The green tea eclair from Sadaharu Aoki is very divine. First bite I am already in love with it!

Sadaharu Aoki (Shinjuku Isetan branch)
3-14-1 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Direction: 3 minute walk from Shinjukusanchome station on Tokyo metro line

I will divide my day 2 into two posts! See you on next post :)


  1. beautiful shots and scenery <33

    cheer, michelle ~ http://livedreammagic.blogspot.com/

  2. sukaa sama photo diary di jepangnya :) outfitnya jg lucu & stylish banget :)
    this post makes me missing my last trip to Japan ;'(


  3. @Michelle: Thank you, Michelle! :)

    @Ollyvia: Aw it's nice to hear that! Iya so true I am already missing Japan. Everything is so beautiful there!