Finally, I have almost reached the end of blogging about our trip to Japan last April! 😀
My auntie recommended that we stay in Ikebukuro as it’s a great location with cheap and clean hotels.
She wasn’t wrong.
The room was comfy and clean.
Although Japanese baths are really small, it was still great to have a bath after a long day of exploring, especially since we don’t have a bath in Hong Kong.
Of course, Japanese toilets have lots of water features which Ry made the most of but I was a bit scared, haha!
On our previous visit to Shinjuku, we reached the Shinjuku Gyoen Park too late to enter so we were determined to check it out this time!
I also spotted these adorable students on the train.
Oh and we passed this shop full of postcards and cards!
If you know me, you’ll know that I’m kind of obsessed with collecting both of these things so we were here for a while…
Finally, we made it to the park.
Shinjuku Gyoen one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks located a short walk from Shinjuku Station. There’s a small entry fee and it’s voted as one of the best places in the city to see cherry blossoms in Spring.
Shinjuku Gyoen originated during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as a feudal lord’s Tokyo residence.
Later it was converted into a botanical garden before being transferred to the Imperial Family in 1903 who used it for recreation and the entertainment of guests.
The park was completely destroyed after World War 2, but was eventually rebuilt and reopened in 1949 as a public park.
Shinjuku Gyoen is comprised of three different types of gardens.
The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden featuring large ponds dotted with islands and bridges.
The park’s other main gardens include a symmetrically arranged formal French garden and an English landscape garden featuring wide, open lawns surrounded by flowering cherry trees.
It was so lovely and peaceful.
Everyone was so relaxed, chatting to friends or enjoying picnics.
Ry even bought an ice cream and did the crab…
The rest of the park consists of forested areas, lawns and several structures including a restaurant, an information centre and an art gallery. There is also a greenhouse with many tropical and subtropical flowers. Oh and a Taiwan Pavilion that you can go inside and admire the views from the second floor.
Although we didn’t visit any of these, I’m sure they’re wonderful – let us know if you have visited them!
There were lots of people taking photos of the cherry blossoms and I snapped up this photo of this couple because #relationshipgoals.
This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, so we would thoroughly recommend it, especially during early April 😉
The water fountain was a bit too strong for Ry…
According to the internet, Shinjuku Gyoen is also nice to visit during autumn when the leaves change with colours typically appear from mid November to mid December. We’ll definitely have to check it out next year!
To find out about their opening times and prices, click here.
As the Mori Art Museum was temporarily closed during our time in Japan, we decided to check out the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art for my art fix.
So we popped over to Shibuya.
Even the construction sites in Japan are cute 😉
We ordered lunch at a restaurant opposite the museum on a machine…
…and I took a photo of our Instax from the park as we waited.
I ordered some fried rice concoction which I remember as being super salty!
Ry enjoyed his ramen but we didn’t enjoy the fact that people were smoking on the table next to us
Anyway, we swiftly finished our lunch and headed over to the museum.
This is one of the major institutions in Asia in the field of contemporary visual arts.
The first floor of the building is for the museum shop, full of stationary, books, bags and art postcards (yes, I was here for a while…). The basement also has a café and more books!
The second to fourth floor houses the exhibitions.
On our visit, we viewed ‘To the north, from here’ by Naoki Ishikawa and Yoshitomo Nara. This featured beautiful photos of their travels north of Japan featuring a reindeer festival and some really interesting tribes in Aomori, Hokkaido and Sakhalin.
“Everything in this exhibition is a trace of our footsteps.”
There was a floor full of records and books that the artists enjoyed listening to:
“Physical migration is not the only form of travel. Reading books and listening to music may also be a form of travel.”
As we had a bit of spare time after the museum, Ry wanted to have another wander around Akihabara (Tokyo’s main gaming and anime district, in case you missed our last post).
Oh and we popped into the Gundam Café too.
ZELDA ON ZELDA ON ZELDA!
As flights from Osaka to HK were cheaper than Tokyo to HK, we went back to Osaka on the bullet train. However before we’d booked our flights, we didn’t realize how much the bullet train would be. So if you’re planning on going to Osaka and Tokyo, then just get 2 separate flights to save you the faff 😉
Anyway, we got back to Namba in Osaka pretty late but luckily some restaurants were still open at 1am so we had a mini feast in a lovely restaurant on Dotonbori Street.
Ry started with sake and bowl of sashimi and rice…
…while I patiently wait for my grilled potato and roe.
Oh and the most incredible squid. Man, I need that again!
Early the next morning, we headed to the airport and were back in HK by around 4pm.
Thanks for having us Japan, we’ll be back! 😉