We took a family trip over the New Year holiday to Tokyo. The kids have been waiting for this for months – especially the promise to see snow!
There were a bit more of us than our last trip to Japan. From 10, we became a group of 19! We stayed, again, at an AirBNB and it was located just outside Tokyo (think Cavite in terms of Manila). It was a nice place with 5 rooms – enough for all 19 of us – though there was only one toilet and one bath! It may seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but we pulled through ok. No one needed to use the toilet at the exact same time – miracles do happen!
[See our trip to Osaka here]
We stayed 7 days, and the big difference here was we rented a van to help us get around sightseeing. The drivers were Pinoy, so it helped a lot in terms of communication and tourist information. I would recommend this for a big group with a lot of kids – like us – because going on the train, changing lines, might be too stressful. Though we did that too over two days when we went to the Disney parks.
From the airport (we took Philippine Airlines), we went straight to Odaiba. It is a shopping district, and we ate. After that flight that left 7:00 AM, we were all hungry. Start of ramen everyday!
In that area, there is a huge Gundam statue, and everyone was taking a picture with it. I never watched the cartoon, but we took a picture as well. Gundam, it’s huge!
From there we went over to the view of the Rainbow Bridge, which is a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. And there is also a replica of the Eiffel Tower. At this point, the sun had set and we were already freezing, so any stay outside was minimal.
We called it a day after that and went to our AirBNB.
This is the day all the kids were waiting for! Visiting Mt. Fuji at the Fujiten Park. They went wild with the snow. At the parking area pa lang, sigaw na sigaw na agad! It was so worth it. They rolled in the snow. Threw snowballs. Went sledding. All their gloves, socks, shoes, pants – everything – were wet soon after. Tip: Bring extra clothes. We spent the entire morning and early afternoon there.
From there, we went to Kawaguchiko lake, which is just that. A lake where you can boat. We just looked around, then made our way to Oshinu Hakai ponds. It is known for clear water and lots of ponds. Ha ha. Not too excited about that either.
We spent the rest of the evening at Gotemba Outlets, but they closed early due to the fact that it was December 31! End of the year, and we spent that end of the year at our AirBNB with family. No fireworks, nor pollution.
Day 3: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
What way to spend the Happy New Year but at the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH! Which was Mass. We took the train to Roponggi and heard Mass at the Franciscan Chapel Center. Lots of Pinoys there, and most on vacation as well!
From there, we went to Disneyland! It was a holiday, and it was the first day of the year, so it was packed! But kids had fun nonetheless. Just a small hiccup after the Small World ride. Aida ended up following a stroller she thought belonged to Lucas. She realized she was lost and went back to Small World, where we were looking for her. Tip 2: Wear something other than Uniqlo! My goodness, everyone was in Uniqlo! Hard to spot people. Carlo and Joshua started wearing our bright red sweaters after this.
Tip 3: Talk to your kids about what to do if they get lost. Go back to the place they last saw you. Instead of going around and looking for you. Good thing Aida has a smart head on her shoulders.
Took the train back to the AirBNB again. Always buddy system, with adults at every end.
Day 4: Another day at another of the Happiest Places on Earth! Disney Sea! Disney Sea had the Pirates of the Caribbean, Little Mermaid, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Toy Story attractions. It looked like Venice on one side, and a volcanic place on the other.
My feet were already killing me by this time, but hey, anything for the kids. Another hiccup, Franko made a wrong turn and ended up losing the group as well. He went back to the last place we were all together, and that’s where Joshua found him. Another kid with a good head on his shoulders. The park was packed, and everyone wearing the same colored Uniqlo jacket, so likelihood of being sidelined was big. He was also wearing a big, green alien head – so that helped too. Tip 4: Buy big green alien heads.
By this time, everyone was so tired, so good thing we were back with the van. We went to one of the tallest towers in Tokyo first.
Asakusa Temple was the second stop (we started after lunch na), and Jax fell asleep, so I stayed with her in the van. From there, I took the kids home so the moms can go shopping.
But we passed by Shibuya crossing to see the Hachiko statue. How can you go to Tokyo without seeing that loyal dog? Of course it was at Shibuya crossing so there were so many people there! The van driver got nervous and followed me and the 5 kids just in case.
Mission accomplished! Brought them home (all complete!) right after.
Our last full day! The plan was just to stay home and rest, but how? We had to see the polar bears and pandas at Ueno Zoo! Took the train as well, and caught a Farfetch’d (yes, we still play Pokemon Go)! Saw the penguins as well.
Day 7 was the end. We rushed to the airport. Rushed to the gate. And back to the loving arms of the Philippines!
I truly love Japan. It is such a nice place to visit. Good food. Very polite people. A bit too quiet, but it isn’t stressful as everything is in good order. Where in Japan can we go next?