Japan has always been one of my dream travel destinations even before I discovered my passion for travel. My priority has always been to explore the Philippines first but it seems like the law of attraction is in the works. The universe responded to my wish to travel in Japan.
Jetstar Japan has started offering their new direct Manila-Narita service and I was fortunate to be on their inaugural flight. Finally, it was a dream come true to experience Japan for the first time.
For Filipinos, a VISA is required to enter Japan. I couldn't describe the feeling when I finally got hold of my VISA, which was released only a couple of hours before our flight! It was nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. In case you're wondering, Japan has begun to implement a simpler visa application process for Filipinos, unlike before.
Our Japan trip was really short but unforgettable. It felt like we've seen and experienced Japan so much. Watch the video below for the highlights of our Japan trip.
Upon arriving in Narita, I had my first taste of authentic ramen at the airport. We took the express train from Narita to Ginza where our hotel was located. Since we had very limited time, we wasted no time and dropped our bag at Ginza Capital Hotel. We spent the rest of the day exploring Tokyo. And our first order of the day was to hunt for cherry blossom or Sakura.
Our trip was a bit early for the cherry blossom season (which typically blooms from late March to early April) so we just kept our hopes low. However, the trip to Shinjuku Goyen National Garden didn't disappoint us as we were able to see about four cherry trees in full blossom. We were lucky!
Our next stops were the Ueno Park, and Shibuya Crossing which is rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world. We also didn't miss the chance for a photo op with the bronze statue of Hachiko just located outside the Shibuya Station.
We ended the day exploring Ginza's shopping strip. Ginza is known as the fashion capital of Tokyo so if you have shopping in mind, put Ginza in your must-visit list.
Our second day was spent exploring the city of Narita for some sightseeing, historical, and shopping adventures. But before the Narita City tour, we had a chance to visit Tsukiji Fish Market which is another favorite destination for tourists. This requires waking up very early in the morning though to experience the guided tour.
The major means of mass transportation in Japan is rail transport. And it is very efficient. In Japan, we took a couple of train rides to transfer between places, which could be confusing for first-time travelers, especially in busier stations. Since we had very limited time, using the train was the best way for us to quickly get to our next destinations.
In Narita, I had my first taste of barbequed freshwater eel, or locally called unagi, which is a relatively expensive delicacy in Japan.
Another amazing experience was the opportunity to try the kimono on at one of the shops in central Narita. For a moment, I felt like a cosplayer channeling the Ruroni Kenshin character. It was a great experience and you can try it for ¥500 only.
We also got to explore the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, a popular Buddhist temple complex in Narita, on a guided tour. The large temple founded in the mid-10th century is one of the biggest attractions in Narita City.
Our tour in Narita ended up with some shopping before flying out from Narita Airport. We had a quick visit at Uniqlo store and Mega Don Quijote, one of the newest shopping stores in the city.
Thanks to Narita Tourism Office and Jetstar Japan for this memorable experience.
Visit Jetstar.com to book your flights to Tokyo. Jetstar Japan also starts offering direct flights from Manila to Osaka on April 1, and Manila to Nagoya on April 7.