Crying deep inside because this will be the last of my Japan posts this year, and I won’t be spending Christmas in Fukuoka. I got used to it already - I could totally use some warm Ippudo and Christmas lights at Hakata Station. /tears
The good thing about it is that I can finally do the whole Christmas Eve with relatives thing again, a tradition that I also miss very much! And I’ll still be traveling with my family during the holiday break. We decided to fly to a place we haven’t visited together in 5 years - Taiwan. I’m pretty excited about it because I can’t remember much the last time I went there. I’ll make sure to properly document it this time.
Anyhow, I spent my last day in Tokyo with some Filipino bloggers who are based in Japan. They are an amazing bunch, and I wish they could adopt me so I can join their Japanese fashion escapades regularly! Even if I only met them for the first time, I felt like I knew them already because we shared so many similar interests. They made me feel like I belonged.
Harajuku sun. Don’t be fooled - the weather was horribly bipolar the time I was there. It was right in the middle of summer and autumn, and I suffered so badly from the drastic weather changes and developed a bad cold, aggravated some more by lack of sleep and the adrenaline rush from my EMODA activities.
After my touristy morning at Meiji Shrine, I met up with fellow Filipinos Ashley, Gervin, and Kiko somewhere in Harajuku. They brought their pretty friend Junko along, and it was all so wonderful and kawaii kawaii doki doki hajimemashite lol you get the point. Junko is a popular Japanese blogger, and you might recognize her if you follow some active Japanese Lookbookers! She was so sweet to drop by and meet me even if she had a lot of activities that day! Can I swap faces with her? She is absolutely gorgeous.
Ashley contacted me when I tweeted about going to Tokyo, and I’m really happy that she did because I wouldn’t have had as much fun during this trip if it weren’t for this meet-up!
Junko had to leave early but was kind enough to snap a photo of the 4 of us! Here I am with my new friends Kiko, Gervin and Ashley. Sorely missing them while I type this entry out. I now have more reasons to go back to Tokyo.
I love how we all sort of had matching outfits. Red is totally the color of the season.
We had a fun, spontaneous field trip to Koenji which is located in West Tokyo. I haven’t finished reading 1Q84 yet (I’m only a few pages in) but it’s apparently set here. As is Dare mo shiranai/Nobody Knows, a heart-wrenching movie I was able to watch in Japanese Film class back in college. Don’t watch it if you don’t want to be depressed, huhu I am scarred for life because of that movie
We got lost for a while because it was everyone’s first time here. This couple was lost too. I love the girl’s Chun-Li hair!
We stopped somewhere to check out Google Maps and to camwhore a little because we knew our time together was limited huhu
I changed to flat shoes because of all the walking we had to do! Slip-ons also from EMODA.
Shopping area near the Koenji station.
The cutest neko drawing.
The stores in the area were very quaint! Koenji is supposed to be popular for this kind of fashion, as well as for selling very good used clothing. I wasn’t able to do any shopping but it was nice to just browse through all the pretty.
Old shoes that were glued to the ground.
Kiko and Gervin (who changed to his sporty ninja-inspired look). Somewhere in this area, we found an owl cafe! Ashley was game to try it out but the rest of us were like HUU~ THEY LOOK SCARY!
Now I’m like, why was I afraid of a bird
Bike props. Of course, they have to be kawaii.
The most adorable pink bike.
Not quite summer, not quite fall.
I love the light in Japan. Achieving this quality doesn’t require any effort. Soft, natural lighting wins forever.
Floresta Nature Doughnuts. So cute it would be a shame to eat them.
The donut is looking at our lattes and secretly judging us.
With teacher Ashley! She teaches elementary school kids for work! If I had a teacher like her, no question she would be my instant fave.
Families passed by as we had our little coffee break in a corner. Noticed a lot of kids in this community.
Back in Harajuku before dinner time! My condition was so bad at this point I couldn’t think straight anymore and just wanted to go to bed and sleep. Which I did. The walk back to my hotel felt painfully longer than usual.
I wish I could go back and have more adventures with Kiko, Gervin and Ashley when I’m not sick anymore! Universe, let’s make it happen soon.
I love that all-pink outfit!
Grabbed something to eat in Shibuya before heading back to my hotel. I settled for something quick, and McDonalds was selling McPepper. I couldn’t resist. Way to make myself feel better. With fast food.
I also dropped by the BIC Camera in Shibuya to buy a gift to myself for finishing my book - a new camera! My friend Edric talked me into converting to Fujifilm.
One of the best decisions I made this year. I am so in love with my X Pro 1. It also helped that the salespeople at BIC Camera were kind enough to give me a quick tutorial, as well as tourist discounts on top of the existing promotions that they had.
The next day, I had a few hours to kill early morning before my flight back to Manila.
I went to Ginza, which is a very upscale area in Tokyo that is known for high-end shopping and luxurious everything.
The Uniqlo there is a must-visit because it is huge and beautiful.
The iconic Ginza Wako. There has always been a clock tower in this building since the late 1800s.
I went so early in the morning! There weren’t a lot of people yet.
Would’ve shopped here for my grandma if I only had enough time! She would totally love it in Ginza.
Shortly after this, I had to get my luggage back at the hotel and head to the airport. The best way to go to Haneda Airport from the city is by bus/airport limousine. I took the one in Shibuya Mark City as it was nearest to my hotel.
Last sushi meal in Japan.
Took photos in the bus because I was already missing Japan even if I haven’t left yet.
This guy should have a photo of me taking a photo of him in his camera.
Gloomy day in Shibuya.
A view I can never get tired of.
Tokyo Sky Tree from afar. I haven’t had time to visit it yet, but hopefully next year I can come back and check it out! Another place I should visit is Shimokitazawa. I’ve heard great things about it.
Must make good use of my multiple-entry visaaa. In an ideal world, I would fly to Japan 4 times a year. Once every season.
Watched Shingeki no Kyojin episode 1 and 2 again on the plane. Day made. See you again soon, Tokyo!
EMODA flew me to Tokyo for the second time this year, and it made my October even more memorable. It didn’t matter that my flight was scheduled so early the morning after my book launch, since I was on such a #TriciaGosingtianStyleBook high that I didn’t care if I was running on 2 hours of sleep with a full schedule ahead of me.
On days when I didn’t have work, I went around Tokyo on my own to take pictures as I always do. What I love most about Tokyo is its “organized chaos” that speaks to me very strongly. I don’t think any other place in the world can compare to it, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it either. I qualified for a multiple-entry visa when I just applied for single-entry, so expect more Japan travel diaries in the next 3 years!
I was just there last May, but it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm at all. You will never run out of interesting things to find and experience in Tokyo. This time, everyone was preparing for Halloween, and imho, no one does Halloween better than Tokyo. Sadly, I missed all the Japanese Halloween events as I’ve been traveling all over the US since late October, but at least I got to experience it in Times Square NYC!
Who’s watching Ando Roid ~ A.I. know LOVE?
How can I not watch this when they casted 2 flawless actors as the leads?
Hysteric Glamour’s Shibuya store on my way back to my hotel.
ASOKO! Somewhere in between Shibuya and Harajuku. The lines outside this place were crazy long, so I wasn’t able to go in because I didn’t have the luxury of time.
I did, whoever, manage to take a quick peek inside before I left. They sell really well-designed novelty goods at super affordable prices. I thought I saw a sign that read 20 yen and 100 yen!
Because no Japan post will ever be complete without some Arashi.
WEGO Harajuku! One of the most affordable places to get the latest trends. Prices are generally cheaper than brands in Shibuya 109 but the themes are quite similar.
Limited edition MCM. If you follow K-pop closely, a lot of male idols have sported MCM backpacks in the past.
Things that I don’t normally see in places outside Tokyo.
ROLA! I love her so much, I can’t even.
Walked along Harajuku and had to take a photo of the pretty light and shadow play on the buildings.
P.S. This giant Nike has free wifi, hohoho
This brand is always brings me back to those days when I dressed in a more girly-dainty style.
merry jenny is also a MARK STYLER brand like EMODA, MURUA, etc, and also presents collections at touchMe fashion shows.
In front of Shibuya Hikarie.
KEIKO AND KYOKO IN ONE MOVIE. SO MANY FEELS.
Through the years I have mastered the art of taking pictures of interesting backs.
When matchy matchy goes extreme.
Subtle fairy-kei? They were so cute I wanted to put them inside my pocket!
Hello Kitty is cute, but I just have to point out the Bananas and Pajamas illustration! (!)
Shibuya Crossing before the chaos.
Kata-cute, lol (I finally get to use it!)
Visited Meiji Shrine in Harajuku one morning. The sun was so lovely and cooperative.
I went in from one of the many entrances, and managed to do a bit of self-reflection while I braved the long walk to the main shrine. Some people think traveling alone can make you feel lonely, but for oh-so-introverted me, I enjoy the silence very much.
It was a wonderful day for family bonding.
So lucky I went the same time parents were bringing their kids to their coming-of-age ceremony.
Someone just got married, and I took a quick photo of them organizing themselves for a formal family portrait.
Messages from all over the world. It doesn’t get any more international in other places than in Meiji Shrine.
Family portrait under the shade.
One of the interesting details I found on a gate. 4 hearts forming into some sort of 4 leaf clover. Or maybe it’s just me.
Clear blue sky. Thank you to the rain gods for not punishing me with unnecessary drizzle during this trip.
Looks like scene from a movie. One of my travel entry trademarks are these candid couple photos, and this one is slowly climbing up my favorites chart.
The beginnings of an anime series.
The surreal view on my way out of the shrine. Part 2 coming soon!
One of the reasons why I’m posting this on time (and not 3 months late) is because I think I took way too many photos over here in the US. Prepare for my next travel diaries on Chicago, New York and Boston because I didn’t bring my heavy dSLR with me for once. I’m so psyched about my new baby - I bought a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 in Tokyo as a present to myself for completing my book. I could’ve easily gotten myself my dream designer bag or a pair of designer shoes, but this girl’s obviously got different priorities. :)
Thanks to Access Travel and Tours for making this trip possible! I had so much fun that I had to split this travel diary into 2 parts, which is a pretty crazy thing because Crissey and I were just in Hong Kong for 3 days. We flew in first thing in the morning on our 1st day, and took the last flight out to Manila on our 3rd day. One of the nicest short vacations I’ve had in a long time!
Because Hong Kong’s McCafe was so fancy, we just had to try it. Crissey and I both love strawberry shortcake so we shared a slice (#TrisseyForevs) and enjoyed iced coffee before heading off to the mall for some major shopping.
Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ehhh Tsuen Wan. You better ring the alarm. LOL
Freaky poster at Jordan Station. We had to pass by it everyday. LIFE, WHY YOU DO THIS
Splurged at our favorite Sasa in Tsim Sha Tsui. The smaller Sasa stores get super cramped, but this one is an exception. SO MUCH SPACE
I already blogged about The One mall in my last Hong Kong post, but I can’t not drop by this place. I need to check out my favorite Japanese brands!
Spotted SNSD x Baby-G!
Miffy chocolates! Too cute to eat!
earth music&ecology finally opened in The One mall!
Usually the highlight of my trips to Hong Kong is EMODA. They had pink and white coordinates on display, which made me think that whoever dressed this mannequin up probably already knew about the S/S 14 collection beforehand!
The EMODA and MURUA stores are connected, making it so much harder to resist shopping. Crissey and I got matching MURUA tops. We dropped by MURUA twice because the current collection was too pretty.
Houndstooth love at Royal Party!
Pageboy had the cutest suspender skirts/shorts!
The most adorable onesies! Wish we had these back in Manila!
Lowry’s Farm, Jeanasis, etc. at Collect Point in Miramall, that place in between The One Mall and Miramar Shopping Center. Had the time of my life choosing cute pencil skirts for F/W!
You may have already seen me wearing this top on my Instagram before. I knew I had to get it as soon as I laid my eyes on it. Positive vibes + the year of my birth (1988)
SLY, moussy, snidel, Liz Lisa, etc. are all in Miramar Shopping Center.
snidel, why do you always have to be so perfect!
When Crissey and I shop together, it gets very dangerous.
EXO first thing in the morning!
Went to Harbour City early and took outfit shots. Wore an Aland top, Jeanasis skirt, Yesstyle sneakers, and a Proenza Schouler bag. This was also my airport outfit as we were flying back to Manila that evening.
Would wear this in a heartbeat.
Saint Laurent, I love you.
That moment when I found out Style Nanda was opening in i.t. Silvercord and I was 2 weeks too early. Talk about wrong timing!
Because Costume National is always relevant.
When in Harbour City, eat Laduree macarons! I’m so happy there’s Laduree everywhere now so you don’t have to fly all the way to Paris anymore just to get a Laduree fix.
The Laduree charms Crissey and I contemplated on buying, but they were sooo expensive we figured we might as well buy other stuff with the amount.
But these are still haunting us until now. Maybe we should’ve gotten them after all! The pink/blue and mint/lavender ones were perfect for Crissey, while I took a liking to these two darker color schemes.
Ended up spending our money on real macarons. Trissey stomachs are bottomless pits, I tell you.
One of my favorite quotes.
SLY in Harbour City!
Lucky for us, the Mari Kim exhibit was still going on! We originally planned on going to Hong Kong in August, but had to move our flight to September. We were scheduled to fly the day the airport runways got flooded by habagat. Yikes.
I wanted to go so badly to this exhibit and feared mid-September would already be too late, but thanks to the K-pop gods, it was still up when we got there!
Mari Kim’s art would be familiar if you’re a fan of 2NE1 and if you have Peripera cosmetics.
Donguri Republic! Something you shouldn’t miss if you’re into Studio Ghibli films.
Spirited Away bath house!
My Neighbor Totoro mugs.
Suddenly, Lacoste L!VE in Hong Kong! Love the snakeskin collars on the iconic Lacoste polo shirt design.
Kids section of Harbour City = every little fashionista’s dream. Here you can find Baby Dior, Burberry Kids, etc.
Hong Kong Harbour View on a gloomy day that still felt all sunshine and rainbows because I was with Crissey! (Yeees!)
I’m typing this entry out from Chicago, and even if I’m enjoying myself here, I suddenly miss Crissey and this trip we had together! We must make #TrisseyTravels2014 happen, yes?
Thanks to Access Travel and Tours, Crissey and I were able to go on our first trip abroad together! We’ve been BFFs for close to 7 years already, and I don’t know why we’ve never planned something like this until now. It was so much fun that we’re thinking of flying again next year! Korea or Japan, maybe? I can already ourselves flailing over our favorite K-pop and J-pop groups. Shinhwa and Arashi please! <3
Traveling with Crissey gives me so much energy that I don’t even know I have in me. We took the first flight out so we had to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning. Usually I can’t be bothered to function like a normal human being around this time, but upon meeting each other at the airport, we already had some lulz-worthy fail Trissey moments that kept us laughing hysterically until we landed in Hong Kong.
Korean-inspired airport fashion! And yes, I have the exact same sweater. I have more matching items with Crissey than my own boyfriend, hahaha #TrisseyForevs
First stop was The Peak, just because we’ve both never visited the place before.
The walk was surprisingly long, lol. I suffered from slight motion sickness in the plane but dragged myself to walk uphill to get to the Peak Tram. Thanks to Crissey, it wasn’t difficult to forget about my dizziness for a while!
The tram made me so dizzy, huhu
How it looks like from the The Peak! First thing we noticed was that there were so many foreigners.
And then we realized that we were foreigners too! For some reason, people also kept asking Crissey to take their pictures. We concluded that her perpetually smiling face makes it so easy for other people to approach her, and that maybe her cheerfulness is amplified a million times when she is next to low-energy me!
Pretty patterns. We spent about 5 minutes taking pictures of this wall. This is why we are friends.
Pretty patterns again, but this time, on chocolates!
Princess-y things that’d totally fit rooms with Marie Antoinette themes.
Why hello there, Wall-E.
PASTEL LEOPARD PRINT HELLO KITTY OMG *runs out of breath*
View of the city from The Peak.
The tram responsible for making my head spin like crazy for the rest of the day.
2PM spotted on the MTR to Mong Kok.
Greeted by these cute piggy cakes at the basement of Langham Place! Too cute to eat!
Crissey and I didn’t know there was a Hello Kitty exhibit in the middle of the mall! We were so lucky to catch it while it was there! Naturally, spazzing ensued and we took tons of photos like there was no tomorrow.
We can only wish for this to be edible.
Hello Kitty overload. I’m starting to think HK stands for Hello Kitty and not Hong Kong.
Even the pillars had Hello Kitty on them!
Found the cutest Vespa on our way to…
Angelababy’s baby cafe! We’ve been fans of her for a very long time so we made sure to pass by this place. I don’t know anyone else but Crissey who is as interested in Angelababy as me so thank you universe for making this happen. I would always pass by this place before but my previous companions all have no idea who Angelababy is.
Crissey and I were already fans way back when she and Janice Man always took pictures together as models! We still follow them closely on Instagram. <3
This dish pretty much revived me from the dead. Gone in 5 minutes. Trissey x food = don’t expect any leftovers
White chocolate and almond coffee! Love!
MORE HELLO KITTY GOODNESS! Check out those cute black and white wedge sneakers with the Hello Kitty logo!
Had strawberries the next morning… after eating Teddy Grahams for breakfast. My attempt at healthy living is laughable.
Time to take OOTDs! I swear we didn’t plan our matching black and white prints!
Because it still amazes me how Crissey doesn’t seem to age. One day, I’ll definitely figure out where she keeps her stash of unicorn blood…
The fashion of my future daughter, lol.
First agenda - Times Square! Luckily there weren’t too many people yet when we arrived so we took the opportunity to take pictures.
What’s a travel post without any updates of what’s currently in store?
Alexander Wang boots!
Wood-style mini Pandora! So cute! But Crissey and I are both bigger fans of Givenchy Antigona. ONE DAY.
Now that I have a PS1 a.k.a. my most perfect bag to date, I’m thinking if I should also get a PS11?
Someone stop me and my Proenza obsession. Someone also stop them from making such wonderful bags.
I popped Crissey’s Ippudo ramen cherry, hohoho
After lunch, we shopped til we dropped at the giant Aland store in Lee Theater.
BUY ALL THE KOREAN GOODIES. Bought so many oversized tops that would look perfect with skinny pants and sneakers.
The Aland store in Myeongdong is one of my favorite places to shop in Seoul so I was ecstatic when I found out that they opened in Hong Kong too! There’s another Aland in Harbour City but this one in Causeway Bay is much bigger and more complete. Don’t forget to check this place out if you’re going to Hong Kong soon!
How can anyone resist these? I wish Aland could open a store in Manila one day.
Outfits I’d definitely wear. Whenever Crissey and I are together, I always try to make her go to the dark side and leave all her florals and pastels behind. Of course, I never succeed. She also tries to convince me to go back to my Liz Lisa style but I honestly feel too old for it now, lol!
Shopping F/W collections is dangerous for my wallet. Good thing Aland is super affordable and there were also a lot of items on sale when we were there. Can’t wait to go back!
I took too many photos so I can’t fit them all in one post. Stay tuned for the second part soon. I’m also very excited to see Crissey's post because she worked so hard to take a lot of pictures. :)
I’m in such a good mood today (won Best Wardrobe Blogger at the VSA last night omg thanks everyone), and I’ve nothing better than this entry to cap off a productive work week. This won’t be my last Japan entry for the year though, as I’m invited to Tokyo for the second time this year for EMODA touchMe Collection S/S 2014 with an old friend, Malaysian blogger extraordinaire Cheesie (whom I haven’t seen since this shoot back in 2011!). I’ll also be flying to the US end of October! There is ALWAYS room for more travel entries, yes?
More than the shopping part, I’m more excited to geek out and take tons of photos of the fashion show. I was initially a photographer before I crossed over to personal style blogging, and I can never, ever give it up because it’s already a huge part of me. I feel like my photography has been getting rusty recently, but traveling never fails to refresh my mind and give me new ideas. Can’t wait!
Anyhow, here’s the second part of my Kyoto trip last April. The first part consisted of a half-day tour, while this is the other half of this Kyoto-Nara 1-day tour. Already posted a separate Nara entry to avoid confusion, and well, Kyoto has a special place in my heart and I wanted to drag it on to 3 parts if it were only possible.
No picture of me in this entry because I was too caught up taking pictures and the tour didn’t allow that much free time. This is why I rarely travel with organized tour groups with fixed itineraries. :(
One of my favorite pictures in this post. The bicycles look so light and they look like they’re floating.
First stop was Nijo Castle (二条城), built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period.
REAL NIGHTINGALE FLOORS, OMG. Across the Nightingale Floor a.k.a. Lian Hearn’s first book from the Tales of the Otori triology was pretty much my favorite book way back when I was in highschool. I convinced my younger brother to read the trilogy as well so when we were told that this place had nightingale floors, we totes freaked out.
Nightingale floors are called such because they squeak if someone steps on them (thanks to a few screws), thus being an effective way to detect intruders. Only expert ninjas can probably get away with it without the floor “singing”. We were able to pass through a whole corridor with nightingale floors, and they really sounded like chirping birds.
Ninomaru Palace, the residence and office of the shogun during his visits to Kyoto.
O hai there! Thanks for posing for my picture!
A little traffic on our way to our next destination, so I managed to get a few shots from the bus window. Stalking skills level up~
Love the colors in this one. Autumn feel even if this was taken in spring.
Second visit to Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) or Golden Pavilion, and it still looks amazeballs! I’ve always visited Kyoto around this time of the year, but I’m so curious what it would look like during fall with the autumn foliage, and during winter with all the snow.
I can easily google photos but being there is a totally different experience.
Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所) for the first time. This was the former residence of the Emperor of Japan until 1869, when the capital was moved to Tokyo. This place is super strict - you need to have a large tour group with you or else you can’t go in. You also cannot drift away from your group for some reason, so it was quite hard for me to take pictures.
So clean. Looks too perfect to be true.
Fine spring weather!
The most important part of the palace. Through Jomeimon Gate is the Shishinden or the Hall of State Ceremonies.
Emperors Taisho and Showa’s enthronement ceremonies were held here.
These details are everything.
Time to leave Kyoto for Nara for a while! In the background you can see those cool riverbanks where students usually hang out. Well, I’m not sure if they actually hang out here but at least they always do in manga/anime/J-dramas, lol.
Snapped this from the bus window on the way to Nara. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think this is Ninna-ji temple? Really wanted to check this place out but we only had limited time!
One day, I’ll go to Kyoto during fall. I’ll definitely make it happen because I’ve already been here twice and I still can’t get enough. I feel like there are so many places to see and temples to visit and take pictures of. I’m such a history geek and I love being able to experience passing through the exact same corridors as some of the greatest people who ever lived.
Nara tour done! You can check it out here.
Now we’re back in Kyoto! This was our last night so we decided to just check out the areas near the Kyoto Station. This one is a department store called Avanti.
First stop, RIENDA! I’m honestly not too fond of their current A/W 13 collection, but their S/S 13 collection was, imo, their best collection to date. I blogged about it here.
Reminds me of my old hair! Long and brown with bangs. On one side of the store, they were selling really pretty lingerie too but I’m partial to practical ones like strapless bandeaus, lol.
Yes, nothing can beat moussy. Blogged about this brand here.
First time I didn’t buy anything from Cecil McBee! I prefer their A/W stuff in general.
Spotted, pretty Jun Hasegawa modeling Baby-G. She cut hair super short now and she looks better than ever. Of course, I’m biased because I have short hair too, lol.
Multi-colored kicks at huge discounts! Very K-pop style! These reminded me so much of Crissey, especially the pink ones.
Long tour day ended with a wonderful dinner at Morita-Ya. It’s on the 11th floor of Isetan in Kyoto Station.
Beef that melts in your mouth! We were also seated beside a huge window with a great night view of Kyoto. Must go back. Trips to Kyoto seem to get better every time.
First part of my Kyoto trip is here! I really love Kyoto from the bottom of my heart, and wanted to save these posts for last, but I apologize if it took longer than expected! Originally planned for the two parts to go up last month, but couldn’t as I was suddenly swamped with work (for the secret project I keep mentioning). Now that it’s almost over, I can finally concentrate on this without my mind going blank in the middle of typing! I’m also bound for Hong Kong in a few days, so might as well bump this off my list of pending posts.
First things first. Japanese-style burger thing! With egg and mushrooms, two out of three of my food faves. The third one is cheese, of course!
The ultimate breakfast for me is an omelette with loads of cheese and mushrooms. This is why my cholesterol is high.
Coffee time! I love how they sell “honey latte” everywhere in Japan! I wonder if there’s any cafe here in Manila that offers the same-ish taste, because I really miss it a lot! Or maybe I should just try making my own?
I am really convinced that luck is never on my side while traveling. It ALWAYS rains. Even if I check the weather the week before and the forecast turns out good, it still ends up raining.
Looks like two pictures I cut in half and put together, but this is an actual wall. The shuriken or origami-ish print is glorious and wish we had remotely similar minimalist MMDA art along EDSA.
First stop was Heian Shrine. I’ve been to Kyoto before but somehow missed this place. Better late than never!
Jidai Matsuri, one of Kyoto’s three main festivals, ends in Heian Shrine.
Garden than takes up about half the whole land area of the the shrine. Still beautiful even if it was raining so hard. I actually think it even contributed to this ethereal and unreal photo effect.
Can you imagine having a garden like this? Looks straight out of a movie! Kyoto is so photogenic, anyone can print their photos out and pass them off as legit postcards.
The lake at Heian Shrine.
Obviously, I made all the green in this post more like yellow-green through post-processing! Sorry I’m not sorry!
Doesn’t matter if my shoes got ruined trekking through all the mud and rain puddles. These pictures made it so worth it.
Bunch of school boys feeding the fish.
I did not ask them to arrange themselves by height.
Me and my denim + floral print spring outfit. Tights weren’t originally part of the plan, but the rain made the temperature lower than expected. They protected my legs from all the cold rain, sand and mud! It helps to always pack a pair of black tights in your luggage for emergencies like this one.
Giggled with my brothers because our geekiness kicked in all at the same time at the first sight of PORTAL. It must be a portal to another dimension! 8D
Next stop was Sanjusangendo Hall! First time to visit this place too, and I can’t believe I missed it the first time I went to Kyoto. In a nutshell, it is a wooden hall housing all of 1,001 statues of Kannon, Bodhisattva. YOU HAVE TO VISIT THIS PLACE!
It was such a shame it was forbidden to take pictures inside the hall. From what I’ve observed so far, places where you need to take your shoes off are places too sacred to take pictures of.
Kiyomizu Temple for the second time! Spot my brother Juju wearing bright yellow pants that pretty much photo-bombed all of my pictures, rendering them almost useless! So out of place, lol.
They say that if you can lift this metal rod, you are strong and worthy enough to protect the temple.
Omikuji or paper fortunes. You tie it up like this if you get a bad one so the fortune won’t follow you. You can keep it in your bag or wallet if you get a good one!
One of my favorite pictures! Thank God it was raining that day or this wouldn’t have looked as dramatic.
My dream is to be able to visit this place in fall! I can only imagine how magical this would look like with all the red/orange foliage.
Not a single nail was used for this structure.
"To jump off the stage at Kiyomizu" is a popular saying that means "to take the plunge", and people used to believe that literally jumping 13 meters down and surviving can grant you a wish! Of course, this has long been prohibited! Too freaky!
Torii of Jishu-jinja, a matchmaking shrine. If you don’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend yet, you can try the love stone challenge! Basically, there are two stones that are 6 feet apart, and you have to get from one side to the other with your eyes closed. If you succeed, true love will find you!
Her bright pink outfit stood out so much. Loved it so I used my ninja photo-taking skills again.
See any familiar bands?
Shopping area for souvenirs at the end of the tour.
Back at Kyoto Station, I chanced upon this girl who seemed to be waiting for me to take a picture of her. Or not. Only in my dreams.
I loved her pastel leopard print scarf and bright red phone case! Stalking skills level 99 has been demonstrated once more~
OMG OUR DINNER WAS MADE OF HUMAN FLESH
They meant “fresh”, lol
Kyoto Tower at night. I wasn’t able to go up the tower but hopefully I can visit Kyoto again soon!
Upon arriving at this station for the first time 4 years ago, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe how it’s even possible for a station to be this pretty.
Now you know why they always have the nicest backgrounds and architectural designs in anime, manga and video games. Because they also have the nicest places IRL!
I’ve often wondered how it would be like to be a kid in Japan. You just kind of get used to a certain standard of beauty, I guess? Art is everywhere. And beautiful art at that. Once you are born, you are exposed to all sorts of pretty.
Don’t get me started on how their packaging is always FLAWLESS.
Steps somewhere in the station. There was some sort of light show happening when I took this picture, and I had to wait at this angle to be able to view it properly. Simple but nifty! Won’t spoil it for you guys, so you can check it out for yourselves if you go to Kyoto.
If you go all the way up, you can find yourself at a really dark area where there are a lot of couples hanging out / cuddling / I don’t know, lolololol
Part two coming soon!
If anyone is interested, I booked this Kyoto Afternoon Tour. It was okay. Just a bit rushed. Couldn’t really pick up a lot of info because there were like 40 other people in the tour (and I’m used to touring around on my own / with my family), but the Sanjusangendo bit made it worthwhile. I don’t think you’ll be able to enjoy it as much if you go on your own without someone explaining the whole story behind the 1,001 statues. I don’t remember any English guides in the place.
Blogging about my Tokyo trip last May first as I want to save Kyoto trip last April as the end of my Japan travel series. I still have a pending MOFW for this but I’m pretty sure I can finish everything before I go to Hong Kong with Crissey next month!
This trip was sponsored by EMODA and touchMe Collection (read about it here), but of course, since I was already there, I just had to extend a few days so I could go around, shop, take hundreds of photos, and be all tourist-y. The preparation for it was a little intense though, as I had to complete another set of VISA requirements even if I just came from Osaka and Kyoto a few weeks before this. It would’ve been ideal if the Japanese embassy already issued multiple-entry visas back then! I was thisclose to almost having to rebook my flight a day later. Phew!
Anyhow, let me deviate a bit and take this opportunity to mention that this blog turned 4 years old yesterday! YAY! And a few months before I created this blog, I went to Tokyo for the first time. I never had the chance to properly make a travel diary for it as the pictures were too outdated already by the time it occurred to me that I could do it, so this is my first official Tokyo travel diary! Quite fitting for my blog’s 4th birthday, eh?
Shibuya’s billboards last May. 4 years ago, I could still remember that they were promoting the J-drama Mr. Brain.
I can’t believe Mr. Brain was 4 years ago alreadyyy *feels old*
Scramble Crossing is known to be super crowded, but my brother and I were able to catch it with not too many people. Visit on an off-hour on a weekday for a more manageable crowd!
Getting a train ticket with my brother Juju. It’s easy to commute around Japan once you get the hang of it. Most of the ticketing machines have an English option so it’s not difficult to understand.
If you really have no idea what to do, you can always ask someone in the area to help you. I’ve never encountered a Japanese person who was unwilling to help in terms of directions! Some of them even make sure that you’re completely okay with your ticket before they leave.
First stop, Akihabara! You cannot miss Yodabashi-Akiba as it’s right by the entrance/exit of the station. 9 stories of gadgets and electronics? Yes please!
I was so tempted to get a Lumix GF6 as the commercials of Ayase Haruka kept on playing inside the trains, but I successfully managed to refrain from doing so as I already have a dSLR that has been working just fine! SELF-DISCIPLINE IS HARD.
They were also selling so many different iPhone cases on the first floor! Ones that you can’t really find anywhere else.
The Akihabara that we all know. Moe moe kyun~
My brother and I decided to walk around a bit as the weather was quite nice and there was supposedly an event in one of the temples nearby.
When we got there, there were already people preparing for the event, but it wasn’t going to start any time soon.
This is what you get for always being early, lol. We had to wait 4-5 hours until it started but we already made an itinerary for the whole day and couldn’t afford to miss any of the spots that we planned to visit. Next time, maybe!
But it was cool that these wooden prayer tablets were Akiba-style too, with the illustrations and all!
Next stop was Tokyo Tower, which we never got to visit the first time we went to Japan. There’s a new, much higher Tokyo Sky Tree now but we figured we might get disappointed if we went to Sky Tree first before Tokyo Tower, lol.
But I think Tokyo Tower is much more iconic even if it is so much older and lower than Sky Tree! It has a charm of its own, and not to mention, Matsujun (and V6 Okada) has a movie named after this very structure… WOOT.
Built in 1958 and obviously patterned after the Eiffel Tower.
You can go up to one of the observation decks for a small fee, but there’s an additional fee if you want to go higher. My brother and I just settled for the one in the middle, where most people went.
There was a robot going around welcoming people to Tokyo Tower. Check out this grandpa-grandson duo looking so amazed!
The city of Tokyo.
Just because Shinjuku is unexpectedly battling it out with Shibuya as my favorite place in Tokyo.
Giant (fake) cherry blossom balls hanging from the ceiling.
And we’re off to another place again. I swear my brother and I went to so many places it was a miracle how our feet survived it all.
Guess where we headed next?
ODAIBA! Far from the city but…OMG GUNDAM. WE HAD TO.
You can’t miss this life-sized Gundam model that I think secretly works. Knowing Japan and how everything must have a function, lol.
I’m pretty sure it will work once aliens come to attack Earth…
Details. All the yummy details.
Obligatory tourist-y picture with the Gundam. Sue me for having a photo with the Gundam but not with Tokyo Tower. CHECK OUT MY PRIORITIES.
It was huge. And absolutely lovely. We went around Diver City for a short while before we decided to go back to the city before rush hour arrived.
Passed by Fuji TV on the way back to the station. Some kids were having their school field trip there.
This scenery. If you’ve seen Odaiba in J-dramas, you’d notice that there’s always going to be a shot of this scenery where you can see Rainbow Bridge and (even if it’s not too clear in this photo) Tokyo Tower.
There’s a fake Statue of Liberty here somewhere but this girl was more photogenic TBH
A peaceful and squeaky-clean park near Aqua City. Wish we had similar parks here in Manila!
Before heading back to Shibuya for dinner, we passed by Ginza and added yet another place to our day’s agenda. By this time, I was already quite tired though! I would’ve been less tired if I didn’t bring my 24-70 lens with me and brought the 40 pancake lens instead, but hey, ALL FOR GOOD PHOTOS.
I think I was extra tired during this trip in general because I just came from a week-long trip to Osaka and Kyoto which was also quite hectic and I’m generally unhealthy with no proper diet and exercise. Good luck to me!
Shibuya by night! All the pretty lights.
The famous Starbucks / Tsutaya in Shibuya.
ROLA. Love her so much. Her IG is amazing, and her daily outfits are all so lust-worthy. <3 I couldn’t get a copy of this book so I took a photo of the billboard instead. /cry
touchMe After Party truck ad on our way back to our hotel, before we crashed onto our beds in an instant. Productive day!
The next day, my brother and I decided to go visit Harajuku, Shinjuku and Omotesando!
It was fairly early in the morning so there weren’t a lot of people yet, but I was pretty shocked at how different the Takeshita Dori sign is now compared to 4 years ago! Lots of construction going on in the area as well.
Woohoo! Can you spot me and my brother?
Summer knit + floral pants + clear bag. All trendy items this summer!
Rainbow tutu! Not my thing but it’s adorable. Lisa Frank memories.
Girly shoes on sale! Would’ve gone crazy if I were still in my Liz Lisa stage!
My brother did some shopping in Jimsinn which has been around Harajuku for a long time. They sell some nice punk-ish clothes and on the ceiling of the store are signatures from famous rockstars from all over the world.
The shop staff was an interesting fellow too! He practiced his English with us and he was really good!
L.CHANCE is my favorite place to buy accessories. You can find it everywhere but this place in Takeshita Dori has a 2nd floor that sells discounted items from previous seasons too.
I actually hate that it’s everywhere because I find something to buy EVERY SINGLE TIME. And it’s not even suuuper cheap! Gomenasai, wallet.
Hot item from Liz Lisa’s spring/summer collection.
Harajuku fashion! I used to love this kind of fashion a long time ago, though I never really found the courage to wear it as it’s not so much my personality. I really commend those like Reese (doesn’t this mannequin look like her?) who can pull this style off so well without looking forced at all!
Colors everywhere! And yet another multi-colored tutu!
Unique sneaker design from Lollipunks, a brand that sells fairy kei stuff (if my memory serves me right). Not something I would wear but it’s adorable nonetheless!
Near the end of Takeshita Dori is this underground WEGO store that you can’t miss!
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando / Harajuku
Matsuko Deluxe! And a mini Masami Nagasawa!
Chanel and Margiela in Omotesando.
Took a break from walking! A-ha! The opportunity to take a proper outfit shot! Wearing a dress from SLY, bag from Moussy, headband from INGNI and (whoa) sneakers from Converse! Must wear comfy shoes when traveling!
I also had a denim jacket from Lowrys Farm inside my bag. Didn’t expect for summer to arrive so soon in Japan so I overpacked a bit, thinking spring was going to be a bit longer. I was wrong! u_u
After a quick lunch, my brother and I headed to Shinjuku.
My first stop was RANDA!
Then we went to Shinjuku Lumine EST where I bought my white blazer set from EMODA. It was sold-out in Shibuya 109 so I was ecstatic when I found it in Shinjuku! Ended up wearing it for touchMe collection, and regretting not getting it in blue and black. HERE I GO AGAIN with my one style-many colors habit.
Didn’t take so many photos in Shinjuku because my back was already killing me at this point. I can’t wait for the time (maybe year 3000+) where humans can invent cameras that are as light as a feather. BRB, putting self into cryogenic sleep now…
Shinagawa! My brother and I transferred hotels from somewhere in Shibuya to Shinagawa because EMODA booked us there. 4 years ago, my family also stayed in the same area! Nostalgic feels!
My brother and I went on separate ways on our last day in Tokyo. He went to get his left-handed guitar somewhere, and I spent lunchtime and early afternoon with Camille at Shibuya 109.
By this time, I was already like my 3rd or 4th visit to Shibuya 109 in a span of a few days. Am I crazy? Most probably.
Saw Hamada Britney on the way out of 109. Also spotted Suzuki Nana on my first visit. This place is crawling with famous people!
And beautiful shop staff who make you wish you looked just liked them.
First agenda with Camille? PURIKURA! We went to the SEGA game center in Shibuya.
We had so much fun tinkering with these photo booth machines that we wish we could bring back home to Manila!
Because the Japanese level of beauty is so high, we’ll just settle for cheating. *low self-esteem tears* Kidding aside, PURIKURA = INSTANT PHOTOSHOP. They edit the pictures so fast! Makes you so giddy to take the next photo because it miraculously makes everyone look like a ViVi model!
Big eyes and clear skin in a matter of a few seconds! You can even add make-up, fake lashes and change your hair color. I swear you can go into one of these things with zero make-up on and come out looking like a goddess.
Nino CM! Also ABC-Mart is like heaven for fans of Converse, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Vans, etc. My brothers often find something to buy here, usually at discounted prices. I got my black sneakers from an ABC-Mart too!
Aww, time to part ways with Camille who met up with her mom and sister shortly after I helped her take outfit shots with her camera. My brother happened to be around the area too so we spent our last few hours in Shibuya checking out places we haven’t been to yet.
I hate rain, if I’m traveling. But I like it when I’m spending the whole day inside my house. Agree? :)
WC by Chinatsu Wakatsuki flagship store. I saw her during the EMODA touchMe show. I died a little inside because she was drop-dead gorgeous. T_T
Shibuya OIOI / Marui! LOVE. Though all of the clothes here are generally more expensive than the ones in 109. But brands like snidel can be found here. <3
Last photo before I tucked my camera away and spent my last few hours resting! I started to feel sick (prolly because I overworked myself carrying so much shopping + my camera that weighs like a baby) so my brother and I went back to the Shinagawa area so the atmosphere is generally more relaxed and chill! We ended up eating at some fancy European-inspired place in the station that served the most amazing pasta. I can’t think of an ending more perfect than that! <3
Two Kyoto posts coming right up!
This would be my second time to Nara since 2009 a.k.a. the year of H1N1, as well as my first ever visit to Japan. Back then, tourists were very scarce, and the locals who were visiting the place were all wearing masks to protect themselves from getting the virus. Everyone except us (and a few tourists). Talk about that awkward moment when you’re the only one not fearing for your life, lol.
After 4 years, I (along with the hundreds of other completely healthy people who all decided to go to Nara on this exact day) finally got to visit the place again It was so crowded and everyone was running around - a totally different vibe from my last visit where all the deer seemed so gloomy from the lack of visitors feeding them deer biscuits. Now they seemed just as lively as the people who were feeding them.
Nara is one of the most commonly visited places in Japan as it is known for the 1,300+ years of history behind it. It was actually the first ever permanent capital of the country! Lucky for us tourists, it’s so accessible especially if you’re coming from Kyoto or Osaka.
Upon arrival, I quickly snapped a photo of some students passing by and got surprised when I saw the result. So cute, my kokoro hurts
The main gate to Todai-ji, the Nandaimon gate.
These two statues are not just your ordinary statues. The Komukuten and Bishamonten, are also Nara’s national treasures, protecting the giant gate from evil spirits, demons and thieves since 1203 AD!
The Daibutsuden from afar. It is the world’s largest wooden building, even if this is already a smaller, reconstructed version of the original!
Obligatory tourist shot. I didn’t get a proper one 4 years ago so I made sure to take one now!
Light seeping through windows.
There this hole in one of the temple pillars that a lot of students were lining up for. It is said that anyone who can pass from one side to the other through the hole is guaranteed enlightenment. Most kids can pass through it easily, though I managed to take a photo of this class clown who pretended he couldn’t fit so his teacher could pull him out. He was laughing the whole time!
For most of us grown-ups who can never fit this hole, let me say that this piece of information can guarantee a certain, shallow kind of enlightenment as well - The hole is just a good size comparison of the giant Buddha statue’s nostril. :)
The famous 15-meter Buddha.
Just a bunch of kids playing at a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kid of Steel wants to pass through!
Managed to snap a pic of a deer with its antlers still on. The deer is a sacred animal in Nara and they hold a formal ceremony every October to cut their antlers. This has been going on for 500 years now!
Close-up of this little cutie.
Expect some violent deer encounters, I guess.
"Is that deer biscuit for me?"
Caught this old man talking to this deer for a few minutes!
In an alternate universe, this is probably the secret game event that lets you learn a new skill or unlock a new map. Secret deer map only achieved if you manage to feed them deer biscuits without them biting your hand first, lol.
Check out the crumbs!
The cutest. Most of the students showed fear but this girl was all-smiles and was having so much fun feeding the deer!
Bleh, time to move to a new location.
After Todai-ji, we went to Kasuga-taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine. It was my first time here, and I’m glad I included this in the itinerary I made because it was just sooo beautiful!
Stone lanterns donated by worshippers. Kasuga-taisha has thousands of them.
May your dream come true, Chris and Jecca!
February and August would probably be the best time to come here because of the Setsubun Mantoro (February 3) and Obon Mantoro (August 14-15) festivals. The 3,000+ lanterns of Kasuga-taisha are all lit at once to mark the transition from winter to spring, and summer to fall.
An 800 year old wisteria tree can also be found in this shrine!
Wide smile that expressed my happiness after all the tourists moved on to the next area. It meant I could finally take a clean tourist-y picture without anyone else in the background. Hashtag: fashiontravelphotographybloggerproblems
The gorgeous path to the exit. Wish we had something like this in Manila! I wouldn’t mind walking outside if there were this many trees!
Limited edition Bambi cellphone charms! Only in Nara!
Last shot of the Nara scenery before I fell almost immediately asleep on the bus ride back to Kyoto. Oh man, I seriously need to work on my stamina.
Next time maybe I could stay schedule a trip in January so I can witness Wakakusa Yamayaki, or their annual festival where they set a hill on fire, or at least set the grass on fire and make it look like the whole thing is burning. Let’s see! I’m very bad with winter.