Thursday, February 2, 2017

Japan trip Winter 2017 Part 1: Arrival and Day 1 - Tokyo errands, Ebony/Liz Lisa & Shiodome Caretta Illumination

After receiving an email from Hawaiian Airlines about cheap flights to Japan from mid-January to April, I decided to just cautiously check it out. But we actually ended up booking tickets! Visiting Japan during the winter has been on my to-do list for a while and ideally would have been during New Years/Fukubukuro season, but those tickets are usually on the expensive side and weren't included in the lower fares (as well as the accommodations and many stores/restaurants are closed for several days due to the holiday), so we decided on a short 6-day trip late January!

On January 23, we arrived at the airport to check in for our 17:20 flight. The Hawaiian Airlines check-in counter line wasn't too long, and we were able to move through security without much fuss with TSA pre-check.

Gates for international flights are all the way on the other side of the airport and I wanted to walk it instead of catching the shuttle because we'd be sitting for about 10 hours, but it's actually pretty far lol. Saw a Hawaiian Airlines Moana plane along the way!

We ended up being one of the first ones at the gate and I was able to upgrade my seat to Extra Comfort with my Gold status that's expiring next month wtf. I've had it for about a year but I usually travel with S so I don't want to upgrade without him. This time, I'm already the odd man out with my parents so I definitely wanted to take advantage!

Once we boarded the plane, we realized how empty it was going to be. Most of the people traveling to Japan with us seemed to be Japanese nationals going home instead of local Hawaii people going out haha. I guess it's not a popular time to go right now with the weather. I ended up being able to have the aisle and window seat both completely to myself!

Extra comfort also came with a little amenities pack which included things like a comb, pen, lotion, earbuds, earplugs, sleep mask, tissue and even a little toothbrush and tooth paste!

We arrived in Tokyo almost 10 hours later on January 24 at around 22:00. The flight going over always takes so much longer than the flight coming home wtf. I usually try and keep myself awake on the flight as much as possible since we arrive at night in Japan time and I want to be able to sleep enough once we settle in so I'm not terribly jetlagged but that doesn't always work.
changed into boots for arrival
We deplaned, went through immigration and customs and got our bags (almost the last pieces off the plane wtf) and then caught the Keikyu line from the Haneda to Shinagawa for about 1/2 hour.

From there, we transferred to the JR Yamanote line to get to Shibuya. Our accommodations was on the Hachiko side of the station but the elevator only lets you out on the South exit side...which we figured out the hard way. We ended up going back up onto the tracks, walking over to the right side and then huffing it down the stairs so we would be exiting on the correct side.
After we figured that out, it was a quick walk to the Airbnb we booked which is a few blocks behind Shibuya 109 right next to a Lawson. We settled in, connected to the pocket wifi provided and then called it a night!
There was almost no battery power for the wifi because it seemed like the charging cable didn't work but thankfully I have a micro USB cord that I brought that we were able to use wtf.


The next day, January 25, the first thing we did was catch the train to Shinjuku to exchange our vouchers for our JR Rail Passes. Shibuya station has an exchange office, but the Shinjuku office opens at 08:00 and we wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible because we had other things to do in the morning. The staff was very efficient at this office and we were out of there in no time.

Because of that, we were able to stop and pick up some pastries and check out other places along the way back to the apartment. For me, it was just something from one of the convenience stores.

At around 10:30, my mom and I went down to Shibuya 109 just to scope out a few things since it was already open. We left my dad in the apartment because we were expecting our second wifi unit to be delivered between 10:00 and 12:00 as requested.

Then my mom and I headed down to the subway and made our way over to Ebony's apartment because she had graciously received a package for me and I needed to pick it up.

We got a bit turned around on our way over there, so we arrived just about on time at noon.

 The three of us ended up catching a cab back to the Shibuya since the box was quite bulky.

By the time we got back to the room, it was about 12:30 and the wifi unit hadn't arrived yet. Luckily, Ebony was able to call the company (Pupuru, whom we've used many times before without issue) and figure out what happened. This was quite irritating because my dad had been sitting in the room waiting for the delivery for 3 hours by that point because they had made it a big point that the delivery time was GUARANTEED and that someone MUST be there to accept the package. As it turns out, somehow the delivery person was given the wrong address(???) and they didn't have a new estimated delivery time wtf. Not wanting to leave my dad in the room all day, I gave him the wifi that came with the Airbnb so he could go out with my mother, and then I went out with Ebony who was able to generate a personal hotspot for me with her phone when I needed it.

We first went to a café to eat just down the street right next to 109!

(While we were sitting and chatting, the Pupuru customer service called back and said the package would be delivered between 16:00 and 18:00, so I agreed to meet back up at the apartment for that.)

After our meal, we went to 109 and meant to start at Liz Lisa on the 5th floor but were chatting too much and ended up starting at Ank Rouge on the 6th.

We went back down one floor and shopped around in Liz Lisa. I tried on a pair of pants and ended up buying a few things for myself.

Machida 109 shop staff Kaede (IG / Twitter) happened to be working in the Shibuya 109 store that day and recognized Ebony and myself from IG!! I know her account as well but it took me a while to place her because I so closely associate her with the Machida account that I wasn't expecting to see her in Shibuya lol. She was super super nice and it was so great to meet her! She told us that she was going to stop working at Liz Lisa soon (last days in early February), and I was shocked to learn that! I love seeing her pictures on the Liz Lisa Machida 109 twitter account.

By the time we were done shopping, we were running a little short on time, so Ebony and I raced over to take purikura before I had to return to the apartment and she had to go to work.
(We were wearing matching Liz Lisa x My Melody 10th collab vol 2 dresses in the all pink limited color & also similar Liz Lisa pom pom boots but mine are the old 2014 version and hers are from 2016!❣)

Got back to the apartment and the wifi unit was delivered at around 16:15. Thankfully we didn't have to wait for the full 2 hours time slot. With that taken care of, we all headed to the Shibuya Sansui store where I purchased a few things for S.

Then we caught a Yamanote line train 1 stop to Harajuku. I wanted to go to Liz Lisa first, stopped at Tutuanna for more tights and socks, and then window shopped my way back to Daiso.

We went back to the apartment in Shibuya to drop off our purchases then went in search of Ichiran, a popular tonkotsu ramen restaurant that my dad wanted to try. Ordering is vending machine style and is mostly the popular tonkotsu ramen with optional add-ons at cost.

Then you fill out a preference form (available in English upon request) where you can customize flavor strength, richness, garlic, etc.

There's an electronic diagram that shows you which seats are available (represented in green) but when we went, there was also staff to assist you in finding seats.

The seating is counter style with "single booths". If you are with other people, the partitions can easily be moved to the side so you can enjoy each others' company.

My preferences made the ramen really mild wtf but that's usually how I like it. I do prefer a shoyu type broth in general, but this was really good and super hot and quick! Great on a cold day.

When we were done, we still had some time, so we went to go check out one of the Illuminations. There were about 6 locations that were still running in Tokyo but my dad had seen the Shiodome one on a TV show, so that was what we picked. We took a Tokyo Metro train to Aoyama-Itchome and then transferred to the Toei Oedo line (use the same ticket but exchange it for a Toei ticket when transferring and going through the gate) to get to Shiodome.

There weren't many other people there when we arrived but it was also so cold because of the wind! We had just enough time to walk around and take our own pictures before the 21:00 show started - great timing :)
It's about an 8 minute show but it was so cold and windy that we almost didn't stay for the whole thing. It was really interesting to see though and I'm glad it worked out that we didn't have to wait much to see it.

To get back to Shibuya, we ended up walking to JR Shimbashi station so we could just use our Rail Passes instead of paying for the subway fare again. Once we got back to the room, we called it a night!

Not the most event-filled day and there were some bumps to the start of our trip with the wifi and a few other mistakes, but I was really happy to relax and shop/chat with Ebony and meet Liz Lisa shop staff Kaede which was a highlight of my trip! The timing for the illumination show also just seemed so perfect so it was a nice way to end the day aside from the cold weather. Overall, not the best start to our short trip, but it wasn't the most terrible either, and on a scale of things, everything mostly worked out!

Japan trip Winter 2017
    Part 1: Arrival and Day 1 - Tokyo errands, Ebony/Liz Lisa & Shiodome Caretta Illumination
    Part 2: Day 2 - Yokohama NOAH Inner City Zoo, Knot, Chinatown & Machida 109
    Part 3: Day 3 - Nagano Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park & Omiya
    Part 4: Day 4 - Tokyo shopping, Imperial Palace & dinner with Yuni
    Part 5: Day 5 - Shizuoka Izu Cactus Park (Capybara onsen!) & Mount Omuro
    Part 6: Day 6 - Last minute shopping, Ameyoko & Harajuku
    Part 7: Liz Lisa & Other shopping purchases/coordinates
    Part 8: Travel Notes - Airbnb, Pupuru pocket wifi & weather
    Part 9: What's in my bag - Japan trip edition

Japan trip Spring 2016 posts
Japan trip Autumn 2015 posts
Japan trip Summer 2015 posts
Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
Japan trip Summer 2014 posts


  1. I'm glad that internet/delivery issue didn't end up ruining the whole trip! I love all the pictures of the clothes and trinkets and that bowl of ramen had me drooling! I can't wait to read and see more about your trip!

    1. I think we would have ended up being able to think on our feet and possibly get another option (probably more expensive though), but it really did feel like half a day wasted! The company ended up refunding us for that day but it came out to about $4 versus about 5 hours that my dad had to just sit in the apartment for the "guaranteed" delivery. If they had just notified us that it would be late, it wouldn't have been so bad! I'm just glad we were able to call and figure it out.

  2. I was there in Shibuya 109 Liz Lisa on the same day, I'd have liked to meet you by chance ♥ (I saw you were there the same day as me on Ebony's fb ^^)