Sunday, April 2, 2017

Japan trip Spring 2017 Part 1: Arrival & Day 1 - Liz Lisa shopping and Ueno Park

Welcome to another Japan trip blog post series! I had actually planned this trip earlier than my January 2017 one because the dates were very specific since I was traveling with S who still has to be mindful of school breaks. Although I've already been to Japan during this time (in Spring 2015), it's definitely worth another go!

We left Honolulu on March 22 at around 05:20pm. I went straight to the airport from work after getting my full 8 hours in lol. Luckily I don't work very far and can most of my things the night before and just add in the daily essentials in the morning.

Back in economy ~

Our flight landed in Haneda pretty much on schedule around 9 hours and 45 minutes later, close to 10:30pm. There was quite a bit of turbulence during the flight which didn't bother me but these long flights are starting to really take a toll - especially on crowded/cramped planes. The last hour is really killer for some reason.
There was a sizable line to get through Immigration but the staff was attentive and we were able to pass without much fuss. By the time we got to the baggage claim, our check-in luggage was just coming off the carousel so the timing was perfect!

After getting through Customs, we easily purchased tickets for the Keikyu line and caught a train to Shinagawa. No transferring this time! We exited the station and walked straight to the Airbnb apartment which is one we were already familiar with after staying there on our Summer 2015 trip.

It was already past midnight by the time we settled in and showered, so we quickly just went to sleep!
It was actually super cold within the apartment somehow (I guess very little insulation), and we didn't turn on the heater so it was cold all night wtf. Definitely something I always forget about when traveling during colder seasons is that I need to have warm clothes to lounge around and sleep in!


Friday, March 24 was the first real day of our trip. There's a 7-Eleven just downstairs from the apartment which is super convenient for getting a simple breakfast.

We woke up early thanks to the cold and partial jet lag and easily got ready in time to go to the Information counter at Shinagawa station 10 minutes before it opened at 09:00. We wanted to be sure to get our passes right away so we could also stand in the separate line to reserve our shinkansen tickets for the trip.

After that, S started his day and I went back to the apartment. The Airbnb came with a pocket wifi unit but since S and I would be separate fairly often, I knew it would be best to get another (so we could have one each). Even after the debacle during the last trip with the delivery, I decided to trust Pupuru again and set the same delivery time: 10:00am - 12:00pm which is the earliest time slot. I waited in the apartment from 10:00am until the package was safely delivered at around 11:15am.
Not the best case scenario considering I was just sitting around doing nothing for the whole time, but at least it arrived within the guaranteed time frame, so I'm not unhappy!

I ripped open the package, turned on the wifi and headed out on my way.

I got to Shibuya via the JR Yamanote line just before noon and started shopping!

First stop Liz Lisa in its new location on the 6th floor of Shibuya 109 which is much smaller but still nice IMO. I don't mind the layout so much but it does feel quite tiny in comparison to the 5th floor store which now sells trendy shoes.

I tried on a few dresses and ended up just making a huge bulk purchase because I was surprised to find there were quite a few things I wanted that were in stock!
I was planning to visit several other Liz Lisa stores this day, but I'm never sure about what each will have exactly so I've learned to just buy when I see it to avoid possibly missing it completely.

Once I made my purchase at Shibuya 109, I left the building without really looking anywhere else and hopped back on a JR Yamanote line train to get to Harajuku. Quickly exited using the Takeshita exit and was right where I wanted to be!

Since S and I decided that we weren't going to meet up for lunch after all, I stopped in the Family Mart at the top of the street for onigiri. It was so crowded and slow moving on Takeshita doori that I had plenty of time and cover to eat it lmao.

It really seemed like it took forever to get down to Liz Lisa which is kind of on the latter half of the street (but still kind of in the middle) but in reality it only took 5 minutes. If there was a minimal crowd, I'm sure it would only take half that time to get there though.

I saw a few things I wanted in the first floor and also went to look on the second floor as well.

When I was done in Liz Lisa, on my way back to Harajuku station, I stopped in Harajuku ALTA to look at Swimmer but it was way too crowded in there and I had too many bags to really browse much.

I continued on to Daiso to look for a few basic things and the lines were crazy long and it was also super crowded, but I managed to make my purchases after a short wait.

Next, Shinjuku station (after utilizing the JR Yamanote line again)!
Of course....I exited on the entirely wrong side of the station YET AGAIN. How many times can I make the same mistake before I just stop and take my time and look up what exit I should be using instead of just taking a chance. I ended up feeling really lost while simultaneously remembering being lost in the exact same place before so it was also stupidly somewhat familiar.

 In any case, I eventually found my way to Studio ALTA.

Which was kind of for nothing because this Liz Lisa didn't have anything new that the others didn't and also they got rid of the Can Do on the fourth floor which I was really looking forward to going to :|
Disappointed, I just went back to the station wtf.
For the record, if you want to this Liz Lisa without walking around the entire station, IMO the best exit to take is the East exit or the Central East exit and walk through and out Lumine EST. When you get to the street level, you should be able to see the top of ALTA and instantly know where to go from there.

I wanted to meet up with S who was in Ueno, so we agreed to meet at Ueno Park.

It took us a while to get to the same place, but eventually found each other. There weren't many cherry blossom trees in bloom in the areas we were, and we weren't willing to walk around the entire park, but I was able to see a few!

We ended up just walking through a short section of the park to get to a restaurant to each a late lunch together.

My parents ate at Sushizanmai twice during our previous trip but I've never eaten there before. I don't really eat raw fish so the cucumber sushi is mine. Apparently S wasn't too big a fan of this though. He said the salmon didn't seem fresh at all.

Once we were done eating, we went back to Ueno station and separated again. Thanks to my JR Rail Pass, I was able to easily just catch an Asama-type shinkansen bound for Nagoya in an unreserved car. I got off one stop later at Omiya after a short but comfortable ride.

I know that when I'm at Omiya, the West exit is the one I want lol. Omiya Arche is right there to greet me.

Again, went straight to Liz Lisa on the third floor. This store had one of the things I wanted that the other stores didn't, so it was definitely worth the trip!

I also stopped at Daiei, which I always do in Omiya for some reason, and also the 100yen shop right next to it where I was able to get what I wanted that I didn't see in the Harajuku Daiso or the non-existent Shinjuku Alta Can Do. Score for Omiya! (Apparently didn't take any pictures of this which I'm not surprised about because my arms/hands were a little full.)

Feeling pretty tired at that point, I decided to just catch a train back to Shinagawa to drop off my purchases.

We had initially planned to eat dinner at a restaurant that specializes in unagi and go to a park, but it was too far away and S had gone all the way to Chiba without enough time to make it back, so we ended up just meeting back up at the apartment and getting Sukiya for dinner.

Unfortunately, I don't have very many pictures from this day because all I did was shopping. It's not the best for blogging, but it was very productive for me! I knew I wanted to get to as many Liz Lisa stores as feasible on the first day so I could figure out what was going to be in stock and if I was going to have enough clothes to wear during the trip. I got to 4 stores (Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku and Omiya) but thankfully, Shibuya 109 had 85% of the items I really wanted, and even a few I wasn't expecting to see. (Liz Lisa purchases will be shown in Part 8!) Thanks to a bit of jet lag, and all the walking around + carrying shopping bags, I was already so tired by like 20:00, but I wouldn't consider it a waste at all because I knew I needed a good night's sleep!

🌸 Japan trip Spring 2017 🌸
    Part 1: Arrival and Day 1 - Liz Lisa shopping and Ueno Park
    Part 2: Day 2 - Liz Lisa x My Melody Shibuya 109 release and Yokohama Ramen Museum
    Part 3: Day 3 - Tokaido Shinkansen to Osaka and meeting Mintkismet/Rilakkuma cafe
    Part 4: Day 4 - Hiroshima Peace Museum, Hiroshima Castle and Miyajima/Itsukushima Shrine
    Part 5: Day 5 - Nagoya Aquarium, Nagoya Castle, Science Museum and Oasis 21
    Part 6: Day 6 - Tokaido Shinkansen back to Tokyo and MariCAR Street Go-Kart Tour
    Part 7: Day 7 - Kawatsura Strawberry Farm, National Art Center, Rikugien Garden Illumination
    Part 8: Liz Lisa purchases/coordinates
    Part 9: Travel Notes - Airbnb, JR Pass, luggage & Pupuru pocket wifi
    Part 10: OOTD breakdown 

Japan trip Winter 2017 posts
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 always love seeing your store pictures! Glad the wi-fi got delivered within the time frame this time as well.

  2. omg the tiny amount of leg space on your flight made me feel so frustrated just looking at it! I would get antsy too. I was relieved to see your wifi situation worked out better than the nightmare last time and I love that dress with the big cherries on it (I think they're cherries) but the print is amazing! Also I giggled when you said you got lost in the same place that you'd already been lost in before so it was stupidly familiar. I have totally done that before hahaha

    1. Yeah and I feel like the little screens in the headrest are slightly poorly designed/some people just dont get how to use them and on some flights you get someone jabbing at the back of your headrest for the whole flight lmao.

  3. Thanks for blogging about your travels again! ♡ I'm always dreaming about visiting Japan and it's nice to be able to live vicariously through through your posts, haha. I can't wait to see your purchases in Part 8! >_<

    1. I hope you can visit soon! I'd love to see all the outfits you'd create for your travel and the kinds of things you'd buy!

  4. Ahh you went on another trip to Japan! Excited, is this when you bought those cute Liz Lisa shorts (the flower print ones)?

    You did so much shopping lol it's both impressive and scary (rip wallet). I know that you say that you budget out a section of money just for clothes shopping, but still that's a lot of clothes! Glad you made it out well- the more you save on shipping the more you can use shopping :D

    1. I'm trying to think about what shorts you mean but I can't seem to recall. Where did I post about them?

      While I appreciate the humor about the rip wallet haha, on a serious note, I just want to say that because of how I plan for these things, my wallet (while a bit less full overall) is definitely still in a usable state! Before I leave Hawaii I exchange X amount of money and have yet to spend more than that amount on myself. (On the previous trip in January I actually came back with about half what I brought, so I didn't spend much at all.)
      On this past trip, I did some shopping for other people (where I would get paid back at a later date) that would have sent me over that limit but I don't personally count those.
      It's definitely something I'm VERY conscious of because I want to make sure that enjoying my trip doesn't put me in a bad place financially! I'm only mentioning this because I want to encourage people who don't have a lot of financial flexibility (like myself) to set hard limits while still being practical about having the best experience while traveling. It really helps to plan ahead and keep in mind what your personal priorities are. Spontaneity is fun but debt is not. Sorry to take the serious turn but I've seen one too many people get into money trouble lately.

    2. Whoops, you haven't made a post specially about the shorts! They're on the bottom row of your masterpost, the white and brown ones next to the Christmas bear skirt. I believe you've also worn them with a blouse for an outfit.

      No problem with the seriousness, it's good to keep a cool head concerning finances. It also shows that you put a lot of work into budgeting which is really important, especially in a foreign country! I have definitely had buyer's regret over something I couldn't return because I've left the place and I really should have made a note about it then (like that cardigan from your recent most important wardrobe pieces post). Budgeting for blunders like these is really helpful for the future!

    3. Oooooh good eye! Actually I received both of those secondhand (one as a gift from a friend and another from a random fb seller) and probably will not be featuring either in an exclusive blog post like I do for new purchases. I've been wondering if I should be doing a "secondhand-but-not-from-japanese-secondhand-sites" collective post every quarter or something but those kinds of purchases/acquisitions are not consistent and sometimes there's only 1 every 4-5 months and sometimes there's like 8 items in a span of a few weeks lmao.
      The shorts are actually from several years ago and had a matching top that I'd still love to find.

    4. 0; oh seriously? dang, those shorts are so cute I just assumed that you got them recently. I'd be interested in a secondhand post? I feel that you don't need to do something quarterly, just update whenever you want :3c ? Personally I like LL clothes (obviously lol) but I also just like the way you blog so if you did non-jfash/not from japanese seller clothing posts I'd still read them.

    5. I think I'm just someone who enjoys continuity and standardization lol so that's why I was thinking quarterly, but you're right, even if it's not consistent, it's still something. I'll consider it - or maybe just one about the shorts since I have them in two colors now?...I think trying to catch the backlog of Liz Lisa-ish secondhand buys even from the last 6 months is a little daunting.
      I probably no longer buy enough non-Liz Lisa/non-Jfashion things to necessitate posting about those things, but for specialty items (like that heart purse from Kate Spade) I would probably do a short something! Thanks for the feedback.

  5. Just curious, did your BF go shopping too? When I travel, I'm always hesitant to leave my group, but this shopping day seemed like a great time! I can't wait to see Post 8!

    1. Because we've been to Japan so many times by now, my bf and I are comfortable shopping separately and for this trip, really did that a lot. That's why I had to wait in the apartment to make sure we received the second wifi unit - so we could each have one and constantly be able to contact each other since we were always splitting up to avoid wasting each other's time.
      The downside (if you can call it that really) to shopping completely solo is that I didn't get very many good pictures from this day (of myself lol).

  6. Yay another japan trip! I really love reading these holiday blogs of yours~ Wow, i don't think i could visit the same type of store a bunch of times in one day, i'd feel like im transporting through time lool ^^; But there are so many cute things in Liz Lisa! So i guess that explains it haha, cute post x

    Minae ♥ MinaekeiLatest Blog Post!

    1. Haha well since each store carries different stock and I was looking for certain items in particular, it was definitely worth it!