Tokyo 2018 – Part 1

We’ve been back from the Land of the Rising Sun for about 2 days now, and boy am I exhausted.

I’ve been travelling with kids (well, at first just one kid but then 2 kids later on) for a while now and it still seems like such a whirlwind from before we take off right up to the time we get home.

Also, this is like, our 3rd trip as a family to Tokyo. So it is not completely new but it is our first during “hanami” aka sakura (cherry blossom) season.

I don’t wanna do a day by day update cos it would be waaay too long and if you did follow my IG stories, you’d figure out where we went and stuff. I’ll try to make this short and sweet. And informative.

Disclaimer first:

No #buybuybuy loots in this post cos haven’t unpacked fully. I’m saving the best for another post. Lololz.

Flight

Ok, so, we travelled by Business Class. So, luggage allowance was not an issue for us, which is why we could check in 4 large bags (1 of which was completely empty for shopping 🤣), and had 4 handcarry too – 1 per pax (plus my Mini Be), and I had my Tula and we had the Babyzen Yoyo with us. I am proud to say that the kids were both very responsible for their own bags respectively.

This was also my chance to experiment on whether I could fit everything we needed for the flight on my new Muji cabin bag, together with my Mini Be and have a stroller (plus 2 kids with their bags) becos there is a high chance I will travel alone with them to London at the end of the year (before D joins us later on). #garangmax

Happy to report – OK moumantai 没问题 👌🏻!!

We took a red-eye, which was a good decision cos at this age (almost 4yo and 21mo), their sleep patterns have fallen into a rather predictable state. So the minute we got up, ED KOed upon boobs and EB…

She took a while but she did konk out on Daddy eventually. No fighting sleep.

We both managed to have a meal and watched a movie. I caught “The Greatest Showman”, which was great cos I have been meaning to! I liked it, by the way.

Then I fell asleep but for maybe 2 hours before waking up cos I had to buy duty free onboard (expiring vouchers to use #priorities) and then, about an hour before landing, ED woke up all happy and springy too despite only sleeping 5hours?!? #aslongasyouhappy

EB also woke up just as we were about to land.

The seasoned traveller. I would absolutely have NO problems bringing her on a flight anywhere in the world, even if we could not take Business Class. Even D wants to take her on a solo holiday! She is so well-versed with what to do on a flight, when to wear the seatbelt, etc. D really has it easy loh (cos he deals with her when we travel while I have Didi, cos, boobs).

This one is getting there. At least he doesn’t struggle when we have to belt him. In fact, he wants to put on the belt himself. He will have to go on his own seat the next time we fly, so I’m hoping he can understand a lot more. I was trying to teach him that when the seatbelt sign is turned on, he needs to sit and be belted in. Seemed to kinda understand.

Here he is, koping my orange juice. Lolz.

At least, he can be distracted by the iPad and also, he is ok with his bluetooth headphone now. Best buy ever for holidays! Cos the kids can watch their iPads/our phones using the headphones and not disturb anyone. It’s pretty useful in Japan cos everyone is so considerate that they don’t turn up the volume when you are in the train or restaurants).

I got the kids the JBL wireless headphones by the way.

Arrived at Narita!!

(Pardon my bareface.)

EB’s idea of being in Japan/Tokyo – Disneyland. Haha. This was at the airport on our way to clear immigration.

For our fight back, we took the afternoon flight. Not too bad too cos the kids had their nap on the plane. ED was up when we landed but EB was fast asleep. I managed two and a half movies! #moviemarathon

I cannot say enough about the Yoyo becos once again, we deployed it ON the plane along the aisle and it worked fine. Rolled the EB and our luggage off the plane – no problem!

Transportation

So, if you read my IG stories, you would have known that our regular driver in Tokyo misread our flight details and did not pick us up at the airport. With 8 pcs of luggage plus two kids and a stroller, taking the train is out of the question. The airport limousine bus would work if it stopped at our accommodation , but it did not.

Whipped out my phone and discovered there was Uber in Tokyo! D was asking around about taxis or car services but then I told him I could get Uber. So we decided to try it.

Tada!!! I saved the day!!

A huuuuge van (you could choose to get the black car or black van/MPV – usually difference of about ¥1000) came our way which was perfect cos that was what we needed. D was beyond happy becos even at ¥28000 (~ SGD350), it was quite a reasonable amount for Tokyo. I think our regular driver may have cost more actually.

Think it was 9 seater!! But other times, you may get an Alphard (which we took to Disneyland) or similar, which still works for us!!

So we used Uber to get to and from Disneyland (we stayed a night at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel and use that as our destination/pick up pt) and it was quite reasonable I feel cos we had kids and luggage.

I also downloaded this Japan Taxi app which I found out when I was trying to get an Uber to Puroland during peak hour morning traffic and the surge was nuts. It works like Uber except it is a metered ride and you can also pay by credit card. No need to worry about the address cos I typed in English and it came out in Japanese. Maybe just to be sure, check with the reception on the addresses or someone who can help you translate (like my bff lololz).

The app can give you an estimate cost of the ride which is pretty accurate (give or take ¥1000 and depending on whether there are toll charges). We paid about ¥13000 getting to Puroland at 9:15am, which Uber was gonna charge maybe ¥28000 cos of the surge. Siao ah! Double leh!! 杀人放火…😲

Most of the other times, we took the metro and local trains to get around. Pls get a Pasmo card! We only got it on the last day after my bff told us about it. You can get it from the ticketing machine.

It would save you so much trouble buying tickets. It works like the EZ Link card and you just tap in and out of the gates, and according to my bff, it has a 10-year expiry. So if you intend to travel to Japan a lot (I hear it works in Osaka and maybe some other major cities), just get it. It is marginally cheaper per train ride, but more so, it is convenient! There is a ¥500 deposit but I think you can get it back? This one I am not sure. Anyone can verify???

I’m gonna get the “is it accessible to use a stroller in Tokyo?” question so let me say it now.

Generally, yes it is.

The only thing is, you need to know or find out which are the exits to use. The only thing is, the exits that have stroller/wheelchair access (elevators) may not be the one closest to where you want to go or coming from. I would say, try and just use the lifts (follow the signs) unless you are VERY sure the escalator route does not have stairs, cos sometimes they do.

We did take the stairs on a few occasion. So either D would carry the stroller and I the bags plus Tula/hold the kids’ hands, or if EB was sleeping, then he carries her and the bags, whereas I garang carry the stroller.

But it is DEFINITELY doable to travel around Tokyo with a stroller.

If you don’t want to, you can always rent a stroller or trolley that a child can sit in, in some departmental stores. But becos we have bags and we most definitely shop, so stroller it is.

Also, if EB wants to nap, it is better to have the stroller for her to nap in then Daddy’s arms. Carry a sack of rice no joke. I would know. Cos I have to carry the sack of rice (ED) whenever he napped in the Tula. I REALLY need to stroller train him. My back and shoulders gonna break.

I won’t recommend bringing a double stroller though. The lifts and train platforms can be rather narrow. Unless you have the very compact kind where both kids can sit in it (but cannot recline). Otherwise, no.

Accommodation

We stayed at the Ascott Marunouchi again. Yup, the same place we stayed the last trip, which you can read all about here @calvinadawn:20170701. It’s still a great experience and I think that would be our default accommodation of choice whenever we are in Tokyo. We did check out another hotel in Shibuya but D found the area too crowded. Ascott Marunouchi is usually very quiet cos it is in a business district, and there are food places around and also convenient cos just below is Otemachi station.

Won’t be talking more about it but if you have any qns about our accommodation, pls feel free to ask here or DM me on IG!

We decided just a few days before we left for Tokyo to spend a night at Disneyland, and booked a room at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. Our main aim was only Disneyland, and not DisneySea, so that was why we chose this hotel. It was the closest to Disneyland. Like a stone’s throw away. Maybe have to throw a bit harder but yeah, literally you can SEE Disneyland from the door. The Disney Resort Monorail lies between the hotel
And Disneyland, so that is convenient too.

The hotel has a convenience store that sells microwavable food, instant food, sandwiches and onigiris (our lifesaver). There is also quite a sizeable Disney store for you to shop if the crowd at Disneyland got to you (it was crowded!!). There are several food outlets but must be prepared to queue during peak meal hours, unless you got the Vacation Packages where you can make a reservation.

Itinerary / Attractions

We started our holiday with only 5 places in mind, really.

1. Disneyland
2. Sanrio Puroland
3. Cherry Blossoms viewing around the area we stayed which is near the Imperial Palace
4. Akachon Honpo (shopping leh!!!)
5. Kiddyland (more shopping!!!)

But we did so much more thanks to my bff @littlemissbento who was also in Tokyo!

Disneyland was for EB, obviously. We had gone in late in the afternoon cos D has work to do (which led to some frustration) and the kids fell asleep on the way to Disneyland. They woke up at 2plus and we had a late lunch at the hotel lounge, which worked out cos the crowd had mostly dispersed. Then we took a walk inside and took some photos for about 1.5hrs before heading back out to the hotel to check-in.

Quick tip on checking-in at Disneyland Hotel:

The normal check-in time is at 3pm. They are quite strict with the timing so you cannot do early check-in even if they have rooms. Same for check-out. It’s a strict 12noon.

But! They do a pre-check-in from 7am-1pm which allows you to do the necessary paperwork. Then you can enter Disneyland and have fun, take rides, etc, and then you can come back at/after 4:30pm to collect your keys to the room. That would maximise your stay.

Which is what we did, so that we could go back to our room and rest/have dinner before heading back for the night parade (luggage was already placed there – you can leave them at the concierge first and they will bring it up to your room).

We left the room at about 7pm for the night parade which started at 7:30pm. A bit late cos the good seats were mostly taken. We still manage to find a spot to sit but EB and Daddy preferred to stand to watch.

After the parade (fireworks were cancelled cos of the weather), we went to take rides. First up was the carousel which was under repair the last time we were here. ED had his first proper carousel ride. In the past, he would only sit on the carriage seats.

EB rode on her own of course. If can ride real pony, definitely can ride fake horse. 😂

Then she asked to take the spinning cups ride. I sat this one out cos I kennut. The last time I did it with ED in tow, I nearly puked/fainted. No thanks. Haha. I went walking around the shops with ED instead.

The next day was EB’s birthday, so she got to dress up at Anna (her choice) and we went into Disneyland again. Managed to take photos with Minnie and some other characters (EB and Daddy went character chasing again), took 2 rides and watched the day parade. We had really good seats cos we basically plonked ourselves on a shaded bench at 12 plus, had our lunch and waited until the parade started at 3. 😂😂 KS mad! Hey but the kids also napped and it was a cool day so all was good.

Princess Anna and chouchou rabbit waiting in queue to take a photo with Minnie.

We took a taxi to Puroland using the Japan Taxi app. Ride was approx an hour and D was a bit giddy after the ride. Haha he is just not used to sitting in the backseat.

We were dropped off at the main entrance of Puroland but lo and behold…

The queue to enter was maaaaaaaad long. When I took this picture, we were about 2/3 through our queue already. The good thing is that if you’ve got your tickets already, the queue to go in is pretty fast. It’s a moving queue basically. Just that cos we were dropped off in front, we had to walk to the baaaaack and walk back to the front. If we ever go back, we are taking the train.

Tip:
Buy and print your tickets in advance (both for Disneyland and Puroland – I got on Klook and used Shopback).

EB really only knew 2 Sanrio characters – Hello Kitty and Gudetama. Of the two, she is more into Gudetama than HK (thank God!). I’m trying to acquaint her to My Melody cos rabbit plus so cute! Haha

We got in and the first thing they did was go to the arcade and took 3 rides.

Just nice when they were done, my bff Shirley also got there and became our tour guide.

We went into the Gudetama land which was fun for the kids and I. They issue you a “travel pass” which you can use to play games (only 1 turn per card – very fair). Along the way, EB also bought some Gudetama stuff and played the Gacha machines.

Heh heh so cute la!

One of the interactive stations for the kids to move the plates around and the food is screened onto the plate.

🤣🤣

With her fav Ikura!

Then we had lunch at the cafeteria. Food was not bad. The kids had ramen which was a longer queue but tasted the best. Since we had more ppl on hand, we could 分工合作. Bff and I (+ ED) queues for food at separate queues (ramen and curry items were in separate queues), while D and EB found a table. We quickly ate cos the parade was starting at 1pm.

There were no seats by the time we got to the the parade areas. D and EB stood on the steps to watch (EB sat on Daddy’s shoulders) while ED nursed.

I decided to miss the parade and join Shirley at the shops. Best. Idea. Ever. Cos the shop was pretty empty since most people were watching the parade. Hahaha

Oh, one thing to note:
If you bring a stroller, you need to check it in at the stroller drop off. They give you a tag to collect it after, and there are lockers for your bags if you don’t need to lug it around. Puroland is a building essentially so there are stairs and escalators. Actually a better experience without a stroller.

We decided to take the train back to Tokyo which was a good idea cos the kids could nap in the long ride (about an hour-ish?). Also, the train station is decked out in Sanrio, from the tiles on the floor to the glass walls…

Even the train sign boards…

And clock!!

To be honest, I don’t think we will be back at Sanrio Puroland unless EB asks about it. Partly cos we aren’t that big fans of all things Sanrio (except Gudetama haha) but also becos it is quite far. But the shopping there is fun de. Some things are exclusive to Puroland and if you are a Sanrio fan, you WILL go mad there. If you are a HK fan, you may lose your mind altogether 🤯🤯🤯. 🤣🤣🤣

And of course, our timing was just nice cos the cherry blossoms had just bloomed in Tokyo. So just walking around our accomd, there were sakura everywhere!

We decided to take a walk on the first day we arrived after lunch. We were thinking to just walk around the Imperial Palace which was near where we stayed. We kinda followed the crowd cos there were police cordons around the Imperial Palace and just walked.

Then we realised that they had opened up the grounds of the Imperial Palace for about a week for sakura viewing!! That is the Imperial Palace residence which obviously we are not allowed to enter. They were quite strict in that it is a one-way route. You cannot walk back, just keep going forward.

Quite a lot of people but cos it was a weekday, I think it was still manageable!

Trying to do an arty farty IG-worthy shot on my iPhone but errr…I really have no skill. 😂😂

This is a pano shot that is cropped into a square. Thanks, Dayre, thanks. 🙄

But soooo pretty!!!!

We met Shirley after coming back from Disneyland, and she had planned to go to the Peter Rabbit Cafe. So we tagged along and boy, was it nice!!!

EB loves Aunty Shirley cos they can click very well. Haha

I had milk tea. This shot was styled by Shirley. See, pro jiu shi pro. 不一样!!

D had a hamburg omu-rice.

I had a cottage pie. Mad love for potato pls. It was yummeh!!!

Then for dessert, I had a choco banana parfait! 😋

D had a strawberry french toast.

You really cannot find bad tasting food in Japan. Most themed cafes served crap food or at best, meh food. But here, they take food very VERY seriously. The cream was so light and fresh. And their strawberries were AMAZING!! Like nuts! How can strawberries look and taste so perfect?!? Only on Japan.

Took a photo before we left.

Shirley’s photo vs…

My camera! 🤦🏻‍♀️

We walked around the area of the cafe which was really quaint but had some cute shops. Must to back to explore that area another time! Then we went to the supermarket and bought strawberries. Lololz

We headed to Shibuya to take a look at this hotel Shirley told us about but D felt Shibuya was a bit too crowded and crazy (for him). So I don’t think we will consider it unless I travel on my own. If it ever happens. 😬

Took a cab to Roppongi/Tokyo Midtown area to see more sakura!!

Best tour guide ever! Lolol

It was a really nice day! Sun was shining, breeze in the air! Sakura everywhere!

On the overhead bridge where everyone was taking photos. So pretty la. 😍😍😍

We decided to sit down and chill, and have champagne and sweets before dinner. Shirley entertaining EB here while Daddy went to Uniqlo to get a vest. He basically did a Uniqlo haul in Tokyo.

It was so nice to sit and chill and talk, and watch the sakura. Some of it has started to fall already which EB would then exclaim “Snow!!” Hahaha she still has not seen real snow in real life!

This was definitely the highlight of the trip for me!

Then the sakura trees would lit up and there would be some lighting effect every 15-mins or so. It was so pretty!!

Yah I had a bit of champagne after ED fell asleep and stopped nursing. First time in a looooong time.

The next morning, we decided to try going to Chidorigafuchi park to see more sakura and also to try and see if we can do a paddle boat ride.

It was likely the last weekend of hanami in Tokyo already so the flower petals were falling every time the wind blew.

Anyway, the queue for the boat rental was soooooo long it was impossible. We could have done it if we were early and first in line but even me waking up at 6:45am to get ready was not enough. We only left at 9:15 and the first ride was at 9. May have made it if we got there at 8:30. Alas…somebody always jin gao tu one. 🙄

Hope to try next time we go! Maybe next year???

Scenery was still beautiful though.

🌸

That’s the lake that the people rowed their boats in. The sakura trees along the banks actually come quite low so you can get very beautiful pictures of being on the water and near the flowers. Or even get the petals that have fallen onto the water. Very nice la. Too bad, so sad. Usually you can take the boat rides too but they would start at 11am. I think only for Hanami, they start at 9am and end at 8pm.

2 thoughts on “Tokyo 2018 – Part 1

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