Early this year, I booked a flight to Tokyo for work and a supposed vacation. After a few weeks, I was invited to Tokyo by Google Japan and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and coincidentally, the dates overlapped the trip that I had just booked. Talk about fate!
METI invited different bloggers from all over Asia to be ambassadors for Cool Japan (クールジャパン), a government funded initiative to bring more attention to Japanese contents such as anime, manga, food, fashion, etc. to other countries.
The main purpose of this trip was for us to participate in a new campaign called “100Tokyo”. “100Tokyo” is a new website which hopes to present Tokyo’s 100 best places and things to experience. This explains all our #100Tokyo hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.
I can never, ever get tired of going to Japan. I already went multiple times last year, but I still have tons of things I want to try. Thanks to METI and Google Japan for bringing us to different places so we can experience the best of Tokyo for ourselves.
On the night before the main activities, we had a welcome dinner at Ginza Sushiko Honten, a one-star Michelin restaurant that dates back to 1885.
You can find it at Marunouchi Bldg. 35F, 2-4-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6335.
Easily the best sushi I’ve ever tried in my entire life. Everything just melts in your mouth!
I was able to watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi a few years ago, and have since included eating in any fancy sushi place in Tokyo as part of my bucket list.
After watching this documentary about Jiro Ono (an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant), you’ll definitely want to go to the nearest Japanese restaurant for a quick sushi fix! So inspiring, and not to mention, visually appetizing.
Similar to the documentary, the sushi chefs at the restaurant we ate in also experienced years of rigorous training and hard work.
The next day, we went to Nihonbashi Hunatsukiba and rode a boat limo to experience the “Venice of Japan”. I’ve never been to Nihonbashi before so this was a new experience even for me.
With Laureen, Camille and pretty Thai blogger Melissa.
Rainy days always get me down! But dark!Nihonbashi was still gorgeous nonetheless.
Nihonbashi (日本橋) literally means Japan Bridge. The area was built around the first construction of the bridge in 1603, thus the name. Because it was the starting point for “Edo Five Routes”, a cluster of roads that connected Tokyo with outlying prefectures, Nihonbashi served as an immensely important place where people interacted and traded with each other.
Nihonbashi boasts of Japan’s first public company, postal system, bank and department store.
I’ll definitely come back to this place when the weather is better! I’m so intrigued after Miho from METI expressed her genuine love for Nihonbashi. I really want to check out Haibara, a 200-year-old shop that specializes in washi (type of Japanese paper). Their products have always been so good that it became part of the Vienna World Exposition in 1873 and the Paris World Exposition in 1878.
Another place I’m interested in is Yoshino-zushi Honten (吉野寿司本店) where the toro nigiri (fatty tuna) originated! Food is always a priority! NOM.
It’s both a good and bad thing that the JR Yamanote Line exists. I heavily depend on it to go to places like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa (where I like staying), Tokyo, Ueno, Yoyogi, Harajuku, and Akihabara, but sometimes it is too convenient that it discourages me from trying all the other subway lines!
To get to Nihonbashi Station, you can go on the Ginza, Tozai and Asakusa lines or Mitsukoshimae Station on the Hanzomon and Ginza lines. Nihonbashi is also a 5-10 minute walk from the Nihonbashi Exit of Tokyo Station.
After the boat ride, we headed to a new mall called COREDO Muromachi! It just opened on the day of our visit!
Our first agenda? Dressing up in kimono/yukata! Another dream come true!
Kyorakutei/Megurian (橋楽亭／囲庵)in COREDO Muromachi 3 is a place where you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture. This includes tea ceremonies, kimono dressing, etc. Definitely a must-visit for tourists.
We were free to choose the design we wanted to wear and I chose black and pink with hot pink color accent simply because it matched the lipstick I was wearing, lol. And because BLACK!
We had to strip down to our undergarments before these lovely ladies helped us to dress up. 3 layers and lots of ribbons to secure the layers in place, but it was all surprisingly very comfortable!
Tried it on once and I still have no idea how they were able to do this. I heard some people have to put on kimonos and yukatas on their own! It’s definitely not an easy feat!
There were some ladies who also volunteered to fix our hair and tie them hair up with cute floral clips to match our outfits! How thoughtful of them!
Cool Japan / 100 Tokyo crew and representatives from the Philippines (Me, Camille, Laureen), Thailand (Melissa), Taiwan (AiAi), China (Lala), Singapore (Xiaxue, QiuQiu), Malaysia (Cheesie) and Indonesia (Stella).
There was a kimono exhibit in the same mall so we went there to check it out.
We were allowed to wear our kimonos for a while so I can definitely attest to its comfort! I was so sad when my little dream sequence had to end and I had to go back to wearing normal clothes! /CRY
Took detail shots of the patterns and embroidery on the exhibited kimonos. It’s no wonder how some of these go for tens of thousands of dollars.
Would love to wear this dainty-looking one.
Kimonos are definitely works of art!
Patterns printed on washi. These became my iPhone wallpapers for a while.
You can find a cute souvenir shop at the mall’s ground floor. Here’s a quirky fan that needs no introduction.
It’s traditional x modern/pop culture collaborations like this one that give me so much life! Japan will never be not cool.
Calling all Hello Kitty fans!
The next photos are all about the stores and products that you can find in the new COREDO Muromachi.
Because it’s Easter today, here are some bunny chopsticks at a chopsticks store that sells so many different designs and colors!
Not your ordinary slippers.
World-famous Tabio socks that are proudly made in Japan.
Unique design from a glasses store called POKER FACE (ポーカーフェイス). The items are produced in Sabae, Fukui Prefecture, the leader in Japanese glasses production.
Can I live here?
Looks like my future house, lol.
Team Singapore/Malaysia decked out in pastels! Too adorable not to post.
Lunch time at Hounenmanpuku, still in Nihonbashi! Finished this in about 10 minutes. SO GOOD.
I heard getting a visa to go to Japan won’t be required anymore for Filipinos. I noticed there are more flights from Manila to Tokyo too. It’s definitely our year! You can check out the 100Tokyo website as you plan your itinerary. You can also refer to my blog’s Tokyo tag to read about my own experiences.
Happy Easter! <3
Lunch dates with Crissey last February. I met some of her lovely friends (Riz and Keita) and we all had the nicest food. For some reason, Trissey’s luck is extra high every time we’re together. We never end up at a bad restaurant!
She also gave me a late Christmas gift - the Laduree keychain that I wanted since last October! We spotted it in Hong Kong but ultimately decided not to buy it because it was quite pricey and we’d rather buy macarons. Of course, Trissey being Trissey, food has to be the priority, lol. She remembered that I wanted it so badly, and had someone in Japan buy it for her. So sweet! I immediately put it on my favorite bag as soon as I arrived home that day. Hopefully, it won’t snag my clothes. :D
Merci mon amour!
Simple dinner and coffee date with Rg. We usually just go to quiet places around the area where we live. One of our favorite Japanese restaurants is Marufuku somewhere near Pearl Drive in Ortigas. I order shimejidake to garlic every time, as mushrooms are my favorite things in the world! We always come out of the restaurant with garlic breath, but it’s easy to overlook because it’s not like it’s just one of us who has it, lol.
After the whirlwind that was my 3 short days in New York, things finally got to slow down when we arrived in Boston. My aunt (mom’s sister) has been living there for more than 2 decades, so it was nice having some sort of tour guide who perfectly knew what do and where to bring us around.
I stayed in Boston much longer than New York but I took a few days off this time and didn’t bother to fix up or bring my camera at all. There was even a time I stayed overnight at my other aunt’s place at Rhode Island, and another time I finished a legit Maine lobster in Maine all by myself. Still dreaming about it until now.
Anyhow, I fell in love with Boston as soon as my aunt picked us up from the airport. Harvard / college town realness! My first encounter with The T (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or MBTA but more commonly now as The T) included a lot of students in sweaters and stuff that movies are made of. Adorable.
Remember my Chicago post? Here’s another Hancock tower.
Early morning walk. It was freezing. Don’t be fooled by the sun.
You’ll see more of these Red Sox signs in the next couple of photos.
Was introduced to the city via Boston Duck Tours. I got to ride a World War II amphibious DUKW vehicle! It was a short but sweet city tour, and the tour guide we had was absolutely hilarious. Kept on emphasizing the words “THE FIRST” every time he would mention it. And he probably mentioned it 20+ times.
The Massachusetts State House had another one of these banners. I heard they occasionally dress the city’s historical statues up in Red Sox jerseys every World Series season.
The road to Charlestown to the left. Charlestown is the oldest neighborhood in Boston.
Longfellow Bridge. The statues on the pillars are of viking ships.
Even the Old South Church is in celebration.
After the tour, we went to Newbury Street. It immediately became my most favorite place in Boston. Quiet and quaint. Just the way I like it.
Got to try these hot chocolate drinks at L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates (along Clarendon). Nom.
4-5 layers and still underdressed. At least I had nice pants.
(They are from EMODA, by the way!)
Almost all the building along Newbury Street looked like this! I didn’t get to do a lot of shopping because I spent more time taking pictures, but I did reach Urban Outfitters at the end of this street and bought more useless shenanigans again, lol. That store will be the death of me.
Sunset already? No wonder people worship the sun in this part of the world. This was only around 4 PM.
Lots of quirky shops in Newbury Street. One of my faves was Pinkyotto! Totally my style!
The next day, we took the T again to see Harvard!
Harvard book store. Since 1932. I love the little crests and the curved staircase.
Too gray for Elle Woods, but just right for me (as if I went to Harvard, lol).
We picked a really good time to go to Boston. Winter was near, but thankfully, some of the leaves refused to fall because the world conspired in my favor. They still needed to be there to prettify the world through my lens.
Didn’t have time to go to all the places in Harvard because it was huge! We just decided to take The Freedom Trail in the afternoon.
What is The Freedom Trail?
During the 1950s, some concerned Boston citizens wanted to preserve the history of the American Revolution. They decided to mark the 16 most significant sites and connect them with a 2.5 mile walking trail that is bricked or painted with a red line.
You can go to all of the sites by just following the red line on the ground. No need for cars or a tour guide!
First stop - Boston Common. Established in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park.
Granary Burying Ground where a lot of famous people are buried.
There is a huge obelisk in the middle of the graveyard to mark where Benjamin Franklin’s parents were buried.
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
John Hancock, we finally meet. I am not surprised that your tomb is so tall like all of your buildings around the US.
Paul Revere’s Tomb.
Lunch time at Parker House, birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie. A must try in Boston!
I’ve no photos of the famous Parker House rolls but omg, I can eat that stuff every day. Interestingly, the rolls are famous enough to have their own Wikipedia page.
Benjamin Franklin’s statue in front of the Boston Latin School, America’s oldest public school.
Ben Franklin was one of the school’s dropouts.
Old State House, at the intersection of Washington and State Streets.
Saw this at a store in Faneuil Hall.
Our Duck Tours tour guide spoke in what was actually Boston Accent… though I initially thought he was Australian who just somehow found his way to teaching people about Boston’s culture, lol.
The Great Hall. This has been around since 1792!
Stairs bearing the names of the 13 original states. At the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.
Photos weren’t allowed inside in this place, sadly.
Dating back to the 1680s, Paul Revere’s house is the oldest building in downtown Boston. It’s just a very small place but it was nice to see how people lived during that time, and what kind of furniture they used, etc.
I’m still curious how he all managed to fit his family in there.
Tried the famous cannoli at Mike’s Pastry! Lived up to my expectations.
At the Memorial Garden in front of the Old North Church. Dog tags to commemorate those who died during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Hey there, kitty! They say black cats are bad luck but I just think they’re cute.
Started to get dark already at 4 in the afternoon. What the.
Snapped on the way to the USS Constitution.
The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. We didn’t know it was going to be closed to the public that day (maybe the black cat really did bring us bad luck) so we weren’t able to know more about it.
But wow, it was gorgeous. Very fitting as the last stop in The Freedom Trail.
Back to the city we went. The next few days were just spent driving around different places in Massachusetts and visiting some malls and outlets. Once you get to visit an outlet in the US, you’ll never want to buy anything full price in regular malls anymore, lol. My youngest brother had the grandest time splurging on so many shoes.
A little sad that I only have one more US post pending because I really had fun making these, but yay for good news - I’ll be heading to San Francisco (albeit very briefly like my LA stop last time), Florida and Las Vegas with my family in May.
I also have 2 pending Taiwan posts, and more Japan goodness! I’m heading to Tokyo for work next week and I’m so excited to see early sakura!