Friday, December 18, 2015

Japan trip Autumn 2015, Part 7 - Day 7: Ueno Zoo, Alice Café & Yebisu Garden Place

December 2 was our last day of the trip! But because of how Hawaiian Airlines flights are scheduled, we still pretty much had one more day to fill with adventures since our flight wasn't leaving until 23:55 that night.
Breakfast on this last morning was the small buffet offering on the 17th floor. This is free for Prince Shinagawa N Tower guests (no extra fee with your reservation), so we decided to take advantage.

My OOTD is my new set from One Spo that I just bought the day before on Day 6 with my new Liz Lisa pumps from Day 2!

We checked out of our room and then went to drop off our luggage in the main tower to leave it there for the day until we returned to catch the airport shuttle at around 21:30.

Free of our bags, we headed off to Ueno!

And after a short walk through Ueno Park, we arrived at our activity of the day: Ueno Zoo.

We bought tickets at the machine at the entrance. There were a number of people lined up on the left side where there was a person at the window, but the machines had English, so we just purchased there.

Right at the entrance of the zoo, there is this super cute panda display. We had to stop immediately and take pictures. Luckily, it wasn't very busy and we didn't have to wait in line for it or anything lol.

And then we started our exploration of the zoo! The photos here are organized chronologically, so you're basically taking a glimpse at how we explored the zoo. I made Christa stop and take pictures of me in a lot of places since it was the last day, the weather was pretty good and I really liked my outfit lol.  

After a thorough walk-through of the zoo, we finished our visit at the counter service restaurant near the center of the zoo. Christa was swayed by the panda style udon lol. I ordered beef curry.

We took our time eating and then continued on our way out.

We hadn't intended on much shopping, but Christa saw a red panda plush that she couldn't pass up. We were unable to see the red panda exhibit due to construction, so I guess this was the next best thing lol.

We ended up spending a good couple hours at the zoo and left at around 14:00!

We left Ueno and hopped on the JR Yamanote line for a leisurely 1/2 hour ride over to Shibuya. We looked around at Uniqlo again because S remembered another thing he might want lol wtf. I didn't find it, but had to take advantage of the mirrors.

When we exited Uniqlo, we noticed that there were some small drops of rain. I hadn't checked the weather report before we left that morning and had packed my umbrella in my suitcase which I left at the hotel. I didn't want to get all wet and gross since we had to catch a plane that night, so I had no choice but to go and purchase an umbrella from Family Mart lol. Initially, between Christa and I, I thought we might as well only buy one because I didn't even think I'd want to waste the effort to try to bring the umbrella home with me, but then it actually began raining and she went and bought one for herself so we didn't have to be attached at the hip when walking lol.
At around 15:30, we went over to Hachiko by JR Shibuya station.

We met up with Ebony who was delayed a bit due to the trains being uncooperative. We didn't have something solid planned but we figured a café or something similar would be best. The Cinnamoroll café in Shibuya wasn't open yet, so we decided to try the Kawaii Monster Café instead and hopped on a train to Harajuku.
When we got to the café,
We realized that we had just missed the last seating for "lunch" by 8 minutes lol. None of us had considered that they closed between lunch and dinner. For your information, the last seating for lunch before the break is 15:50. They don't reopen until 18:00 for dinner. We had arrived at 15:58, so we were obviously too late and had to figure out another plan. Christa and I had already done our shopping on Takeshita Doori and didn't really have any pressing need to do more on the last day with our bags already packed, but I did want to finally check out LaForet which I had just bypassed on past trips because I didn't have enough time to visit. We spent about an hour exploring the stores in there, but none of us purchased anything.

Then we had to figure out what we would actually be doing lol. Ebony was super helpful and found a café that interested us in Shinjuku. She attempted to make a reservation online and then we headed over there on the JR Yamanote line.

It took us a little while to find it because it's on a third basement level of a building and not obvious from the outside, but we arrived at around 17:20.

It's an Alice in Wonderland themed café called 魔法の国のアリス.

We were allowed to borrow Wonderland themed headbands during our visit.

The food menu & dishes, drink specials and coaster all followed the theme.

We had to order drinks with our meals.
Ebony and Christa ordered cool exciting drinks and I ordered...
Ginger ale lol.

We were given this "charm" but warned that it would make us "small". It's essentially crackers and some sort of dip. This wasn't something we ordered, but because we were at the café during dinner, there was a 500yen charge and this "charm" is how it appears on the menu.

What we ordered -

And our desserts which we shared and was probably the best part! 

We finished our meal and then went over to Studio Alta to take purikura.

Ebony sent me the pictures that were sent to her email and I also did my best to scan the print lol :)
The two full length photos ended up being the most hilarious. Ebony had to cleverly use some stickers to hide the disasters lol. In the one where we're forming a heart, mine and Christa's hands that aren't forming the arches are supposed to meet in front of Ebony to create the point. Christa didn't put her hand there but I did, so it looked like I was just pointing to Ebony's crotch lol. Then on the other one, Christa's hand was pulled into the "leg" edit and her fingers were ridiculously elongated to her knee lolol. Seriously we are such a mess at purikura.

We finished with that on the fifth floor and on the way out, I couldn't resist stopping at the Liz Lisa on the first floor as one last chance at possibly finding something. ...but I didn't, as expected lol.

We bid adieu to Ebony at Shinjuku station and then got on the JR Yamanote line towards Ebisu. We were headed to the Yebisu Garden Place to check out the illumination there as recommended by Ebony via a website online. While we were on the train, I got a feeling that I just wasn't bringing enough things back for my family. I had hardly shopped for myself but I had hardly shopped at all in general! We didn't have much time left in the night but I knew I wanted to grab just a handful of other omiyage-like things from a Daiso. I quickly figured out that there wasn't one near our destination in Ebisu, but the train we were on would stop at Harajuku, so I told Christa my plan and we hopped off the train a few stops early so I could run into the Daiso on Takeshita Doori. I know there are other 100yen stores throughout the area, but I didn't feel like we had time to try and search for one and I knew exactly where the Harajuku one was and what kind of items they had.
I finished up quickly in Daiso and we hurried back to the station and got back on the JR Yamanote line with my purchases for two stops until we reached Ebisu. Looking at its location on Google Maps, it didn't seem all that close to the station but the website that mentioned the illumination had said it was only 5 minutes away. This is made possible by the network of moving walkways connecting the station and Yebisu Garden Place, and with a brisk pace, I think we made it in under 5 minutes lol.
We were able to more leisurely use the moving walkways on the way back lol. Checking out the illumination didn't take as long as we thought, so it was just about 20:30 when we were done and we didn't really need to be back at the Prince until closer to 21:15.

We left Ebisu station
and got back to Shinagawa. I ended up diverting us to a bakery so I could pick up a snack for the plane and also the 7-Eleven near the station to quickly look for more small things to buy before heading back to the hotel and claiming our bags.

We sat in the main tower lobby, rearranged our things based on what we had bought that day, changed into our clothes for the airplane and just waited until about 21:30 when we went out to meet the shuttle.

We got to the Hawaiian check in area without much issue and was able to beat everyone else on the shuttle who was catching the same plane because we were able to use the escalators instead of having to wait for the elevators lol. Check-in and security were both no problem, and we headed straight for the gate.

On our way to the gate which was pretty much the last one along the corridor we were on, I stopped at the Samantha Thavasa store since I hadn't had a chance to visit one previously on the trip. Since I hadn't done much personal spending, I allowed myself to splurge on a new bag and charm just about an hour before boarding the plane lol.

By the time we were seated and settled in, it was about 23:20 and I was so tired lol. I knew I had to sleep on the plane since we would be arriving in Hawaii at about noon during the day and I hate dealing with jetlag. I did sleep for the most part, but not as much as I would have liked.
As promised, we did arrive just a few minutes after noon, and somehow miraculously got through immigration extraordinarily quickly. Christa still had another flight to California, but since we touched down in the US, this is where she'd have to go through customs, so we both went to the baggage claim together. MY ONE SUITCASE TOOK FOREVER TO COME OUT wtf. It didn't even matter that immigrations had no line lol. My bag was one of the last to show up on the carousel and I had almost gotten worried at some point that someone else had walked off with it lol. Christa had to go through a different customs line since she wasn't leaving the airport, so that's where we had a hasty goodbye.

My dad picked me up from the airport, we picked up something for me to eat for lunch and I was at work at 13:00 lol. (I had previously put aside my intended work clothes and things before I left for him to bring for me so I didn't have to wear my plane clothes.)

I got home at around 16:30 and since I had forced myself to stay awake my that point, I figured I could make it to a reasonable sleep time since I still had to go to work at my regular time the next day anyway (06:30).
I was so happy to be home and couldn't wait to unpack my stuff but I knew that it wouldn't be as impressive as past trips. I still really liked all the things I bought and didn't buy anything I was extraordinarily lukewarm about, but now I realize that this is totally the wrong season for me for clothes shopping in Japan, and there really just isn't a lot in the way of things that might also work in Hawaii.
Check out Part 8 to see what I purchased throughout the trip :)

Because of the time difference, December 2 was a really, really long day lol. I was glad that we picked Ueno Zoo for our activity in the morning. I had never been there before and the weather was just right for a casual walk through. We were able to get through a most of the exhibits without rushing or feeling too exasperated. It was unfortunate that it started raining in the afternoon and I had packed my umbrella in my luggage, but at least all convenience stores carry them for cheap prices and I ended up bringing it all the way to Hawaii lol. I was so happy that Ebony had time to meet with us and found the Alice café! She was incredibly nice and generously accommodating and I can't thank her enough! That was a great end to the trip since we had kind of been lacking on the cool food experiences the entire time lol (mostly due to my pickiness although we did attempt to go to a café on Day 6 but it was closed wtf). Fortunately, except for missing the Kawaii Monster Café lunch cut off, the day went reasonably smoothly including getting to the airport and the flight home. A pleasant end to a good trip :)
Japan trip Autumn 2015 posts
Part 1 - Day 1, November 26: Tokyo DisneySea
     Part 1a - Planning for Tokyo DisneySea
Part 2 - Day 2, November 27: Hair Salon NALU, Shibuya & Harajuku
Part 3 - Day 3, November 28: Ghibli Museum, Shirohige Cream Puff Shop, Ikebukuro, Rikugien Garden & Nagomi no Yu
Part 4 - Day 4, November 29: Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari & Fire ramen in Kyoto
Part 5 - Day 5, November 30: Minoo Park, Kaiyukan, Tennoji, Namba & Umeda in Osaka
Part 6 - Day 6, December 1: Shibuya, Yokohama (Chinatown) & Seirinkan
Part 7 - Day 7, December 2: Ueno Zoo, Alice Café & Yebisu Garden Place
Part 8 - Liz Lisa & Other shopping purchases
Part 9 - Budgeting for a week in Japan
Part 10 - Travel notes: Planning, Tips, Accommodations & Pocket wifi

Japan trip Summer 2015 posts
Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
Japan trip Summer 2014 posts


  1. The Alice theme cafe looks so awesome - I'd love to go to it - it was lucky you guys found it. The Zoo looks like it was fun too. It seems like a super long day but at least it was fun. ^^

  2. Great article! Here is a video of the Pandas in Ueno Zoo & Park, for you and your readers.

    Hope you enjoy


  3. Great post! Do check out our coverage of our Japan Travels as well!

    Happy Travels Everyone!

    Tom & Kate,