My little family was blessed to be able to travel to Tokyo again this year. You may remember that last year, we were treated by my in-laws to a 6-day vacation. This year, it was just the three of us, exploring what is starting to become one of my favorite cities in the world :).
We arrived at Tokyo at around 2PM. Not a bad schedule because it gave us the time to still do some afternoon sightseeing. Because we landed at the Haneda Airport which is much nearer to the city (only 30 mins!) and accessible by train to and from our hotel, we were out and about by 330PM! :)
This year, we opted to stay in a different neighborhood from our previous visit. We stayed at the Shiodome Royal Park Hotel–very near Ginza and Tsukiji. Also, as I had mentioned, our hotel was right by a train hub, so getting to and from the various areas in Japan was very, very easy for us :).
On Day 1′s bright, sunny and COLD afternoon, we opted to take a leisurely stroll right outside the Imperial Palace, right by Hanzomon Gate. According to the hotel reception, that area was lined with blooming cherry blossom trees.
After taking the requisite photos and spending some time at the mini park for A, we dropped by Ginza for dinner and a little bit of Uniqlo shopping.
Our next day in Japan had a forecast for rain. After hearing mass at St. Ignatius Church, we decided to spend the afternoon indoors at the Japanese Toy Museum.
What a charming and fun place!
Set in a quiet neighborhood in Yotsuya, in what looked to be like an old school building, the Toy Museum was basically two floors of various traditional and modern Japanese toys.
Not only was it a wonderful place for A to explore and enjoy, but admittedly, both the hubby and I had a great time too! We spent hours playing, touching, feeling, and experimenting with the various toys on display. I love that it was such an interactive place! If you have small kids, this is definitely an awesome experience for them :).
After the Toy Museum, we decided to stop by the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park for more cherry blossom sightings. Unfortunately for us, while on our way there, we were told that the park closed at 430PM. So, since we were already in the Shinjuku area anyway, we instead spent the rest of the evening at my craft haven–Tokyu Hands! And boy did I rack up a bill! Huhuhu :(! Can’t resist all the kawaii stuff!
On our third day, we had a taste of something old and something new. In the morning, we made a quick visit to Legoland Discovery Center at the Decks Mall in Odaiba. Who doesn’t love Lego, right?
Similar to our experience at the Toy Museum, it was a fun place, and truly for every member of the entire family! I especially loved the miniature version of Tokyo, made entirely out of Lego bricks. It was amazing!!!
The little one enjoyed the play area very much, and insisted on building one lego tower after another. She especially enjoyed using the big rubber lego pieces, and building towers that were taller than her!
At around lunch time, we made our way back to the Minato District to visit Zojoji Temple. I make it a point that every time we visit a place, we balance out the cultural and sightseeing stuff with the shopping, the eating, and the kiddie activities. Although the great thing about A is that she enjoys the cultural stuff as well!
Zojoji Temple definitely did not disappoint. I liked that it was not as crowded as Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, and the grounds were actually more picturesque and Instagram-worthy–hahaha! With the Tokyo Tower in the background, it’s hard not to take a great picture of the temple, especially during sunset!
After Zojoji, we headed to Shibuya for some dinner. It is unfortunate that in the two times I’ve been to Tokyo, I’ve not been able to spend more time to explore this area. It can be a bit overwhelming because of the throngs of people that crowd the streets and sidewalks, but I’m sure the shopping must be wonderful! Hahaha! Oh well…maybe next year… :).
By Tuesday, our last full day in Tokyo, I was already feeling the exhaustion from the activities of our trip. Instead of packing our day in, we decided instead to take a leisurely stroll inside the Imperial Palace East Gardens, and while our morning away there.
It was a beautifully warm day, and seeing people lay down and relax underneath the cherry blossom trees made me wish I had packed a picnic blanket and some lunch. Hahaha! But I guess that just gives me something to look forward to on our next trip here :).
Oh Tokyo, oh Tokyo. I truly love you so! Hoping we meet again next year, same time, same place! :)