Saturday, February 4, 2017

Japan trip Winter 2017 Part 2: Day 2 - Yokohama NOAH Inner City Zoo, Knot, Chinatown & Machida 109

Day 1 was a low key day, but Day 2 (January 26), we had slightly more ambitious plans. There were a few things my parents had seen featured on TV shows focused on things to do in Japan that they wanted to visit in Yokohama, so we dedicated this day mostly to that!

Since those things didn't open until closer to noon, we started the day with a simple convenience store breakfast, and then went down the block to the Don Quixote in Shibuya when it opened at 10:00.

We made our purchases, dropped them back at the room

and then headed out to JR Shibuya station where we caught a Shonan-Shinjuku line train to Yokohama.

At Yokohama, we transferred to the Keihin-Tohoku line to get to Shin-Sugita station where we transferred yet again (and stopped and got some pastries for a snack), this time to (non-JR) Seaside Line to get to Torihama station.

From Torihama station, it was a short walk to the Yokohama Bayside Marina area where NOAH Inner City Zoo (website) is located.

NOAH stands for Nature Oriented Animal House and it's a small indoor "zoo" with all different kinds of animals, from birds and guinea pigs to coatimundi, armadillos and porcupines. Not just those with a Japanese origin but animals from all around the world.
I didn't get to a take a picture of every single animal (especially because some move very quickly), but there's quite a selection!
Apparently it's known to be controversial because the animals are kept in small pet-type cages rather than big exhibits and some are even for sale, but we were able to spend some 1:1 time with the owner who speaks very good English (due to his past life as an investment banker), and you can tell he has so much passion for animals and their well being. He can open the cages and the animals will come to him without hesitation as a friend as he's had some of them since they were very small. The other staff seem to care for the animals with just as much heart and care as well. It is a rather tiny location compared to what you might typically think of as a zoo, but there is definitely an interesting collection of animals and being able to talk to the owner in English in depth about some of the specific animals was a great experience. My mom even got to feed the night monkey and pet a few of the animals. Admission is 500yen which is fair for the size of the zoo, and my parents considered the money and time getting there well spent based on our experience.

The building the zoo is in is right next to a Mitsui Outlet mall, so we took a quick look around there but didn't stop to buy anything.

We went back to Torihama station, then we caught the Seaside Line back to Shin-Sugita where we stopped for a small meal,

and then we transferred to a JR line to get to Ishikawacho station. This is where Yokohama Chinatown and Motomachi are located and we opted to check out the Motomachi shopping street side first. Our target was Knot, about an 8 minute walk from the station.

This was another thing my dad had seen on TV and became interested in. There are other locations in Japan (the main one in Kichioji in Tokyo) but we opted to go to the Yokohama one because this was the one he saw in the show + we would be able to get 2 for 1 and also visit Chinatown at the same train stop.

The store interior is simple but well designed. The display in the center includes most of the watch face and band choices. The items that Knot produces are all 100% manufactured and made in Japan. The parts are not outsourced from other countries and then put together in Japan, but it's a completely Japanese product. Customers can "customize" their purchase by picking from a selection of faces and bands which are easily interchangeable if you want to wear it for different occasions.
Even though my dad was the most excited for it, my mom and I also got a watch for ourselves as well as one for my bf as well. We ended up spending over an hour in there because my dad couldn't decide which face and band he wanted because there were so many choices!

Once we were done, we walked over to the Chinatown side of the canal and just browsed a bit.

My parents wanted to try these Shanghai Dumplings that seemed to be popular and it turns out they were quite good! We also just shopped around for some touristy things before making our way back to Ishikawacho station.

Next stop was Machida which is about a 45 minute train ride away. I really just wanted to go to Machida 109, and for some reason I always pair going to Machida and Yokohama together. We exited Machida station at the North exit, and you can see the 109 building just down the block. Liz Lisa is on the 2nd floor, but along the way we also stopped at an accessories' store to pick up some hats. (I think it was called JUICE?)
I like this location because it often has a few things that are sold out elsewhere, especially for sale items. My main objective was to purchase the Strawberry Gingham OP which had just released that day but I also took my time with deciding not to get much else -__-.

Shop staff Kaede that I had seen with Ebony on the previous day at Shibuya 109 was working at this Machida location at the time, so I was able to see her again! She was just about leaving when I got there but I was able to take another picture and then ask her for a dinner recommendation before she left!

I made my purchase and then we went up to the Can Do on the 4th floor for my mom to look for a few things.

Then we walked over to the next building (Tokyu Twins) which had the tonkatsu restaurant Kaede had suggested in the area.
The food was quite good and very filling!

My feet were ragged by that point, and even though I had intended to also go to the Yokohama Vivre Liz Lisa that night, I decided it wasn't worth it, especially if I didn't think I would necessarily buy anything. My feet were absolutely dying, and I still needed to get something to help protect my white Liz Lisa coat for the next day's activity.
Instead, we went to the Uniqlo in Machida. I found the items I needed and my parents picked up a couple Heat Tech items as well.

The quickest way back to the apartment was to take the Odakyu Odawara line to Shinjuku and then transfer to a JR Yamanote line train to get to Shibuya. We ended up getting on a local type train on the Odakyu Odawara line which was a huge mistake wtf. Luckily there was a long stop at one of the stations where we were able to jump across to a rapid and save at least 1/2 hour. We got back to the apartment and quickly called it a night.

I thought that Day 2 would mostly be a boring shopping day but we ended up having a really great experience at the Inner City Zoo. It was really interesting to hear the owner's point of view about caring for the animals and the "controversy" that surrounds it. He really is quite knowledgeable and passionate about what he's doing + his English is really great so everything was easy to understand as well. Knot also ended up being more fun than I anticipated and I'm wearing my watch right now! (You'll see it in Part 7 with my other shopping purchases.) The only crappy part of Day 2 was that my toes were dying in my shoes (yeah...I paid for that later) and I didn't get to go to Yokohama Vivre, but otherwise, it was a pretty reasonable success!

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 really enjoy reading your Japan adventures! Can't wait for the rest of the posts! ♥

  2. I love seeing all the animals. I'd love to talk to the guy you did too cause I think that would be interesting. The shopping all looks good too - the watches look nice too and an interesting shopping experience.