Friday, April 14, 2017

Japan trip Spring 2017 Part 7: Day 7 - Kawatsura Strawberry Farm, National Art Center, Rikugien Garden Illumination

March 30 was the last day of our trip! Since our departure time wasn't until 23:55 at Haneda, we still had most of the day ahead of us.

We started with the free breakfast on the top/17th floor of the hotel. It's a small selection but buffet style so you can get as much as you want within the opening times and everything tastes fresh and delicious.
My favorite is usually croissants which they didn't have this time but the little slices of bread were a good replacement and so good toasted :O

We finished packing up our bags, checked out of the room, left our luggage in the lobby, reserved tickets for the airport shuttle and made it down to the JR tracks by 08:20am.

We caught the JR Yokosuka/Sobu Rapid train to Chiba where we transferred to a JR Togane line train bound for Naruto - our final desination. We were going to pick strawberries again!

We arrived in Naruto just after 10:00 (about 100 minutes later). Thankfully we were seated for pretty much the duration of both train rides otherwise that would have been miserable.

It seems like they're doing some renovation to the station, but we followed the signs to get to the taxi stop where they were two cars waiting. We got into the first one and showed the driver the little pdf that Kawatsura Farm provided to ask to be taken there but he didn't seem to understand. We got a little worried because we had ridden all that way and didn't really want to walk all the way down to the farm bc it was actually quite sunny and hot and it would have taken at least 45 min to an hour. The taxi driver ended up conferring with another driver and we took off.

We actually passed the farm and had to pay a little extra while we waited for him to turn around and find his way back to it, but at least we arrived! (Cab ride was about 1270yen but it should have been closer to 1150yen if we didn't have to backtrack.) I guess it was kind of our fault because we saw the signs for it but didn't say anything until after we had passed.

We've been to Kawatsura Strawberry Farm once before during our Spring 2015 trip. My bf wanted to pick strawberries again since it's the right season for it. I tried to do some research to figure out where else we could go, but most places are best accessed by car or even farther away than Naruto so in the end we decided to stick with what is familiar, especially since it was one of the top recommended strawberry farms to begin with and we had an enjoyable experience last time.

We arrived just after 10:15 and noticed there was a sign that said the farm was only open until 11:30 that day. On our previous visit, there wasn't such a short time frame but we had also visited on a Saturday (versus this time it was a Thursday). Either way, it wasn't too big of a hardship for us since we still had plenty of time. A solo staff member greeted us, we paid the admission fee and each received the little plastic dish and a small container of condensed milk, and then he led us to the open greenhouse that day.

My boyfriend just went to go start eating strawberries immediately wtf. Like last time, it was extremely warm in the greenhouse. We hung up our jackets on the hangers near the entrance, and then were free to pick and eat!

And also take pictures/force my bf to take pictures of me.

When we had our fill of strawberries, we returned to the main (administrative-type) building and the Katwatsura staff told us that he could drive us back to Naruto station at around 11:40. It was about 11:07 at that point but since there wasn't really a good chance of a random taxi passing by and it would definitely take us longer than that to walk back, we gratefully accepted and just hung around for a bit.

The Kawatsura staff actually closed up the greenhouse at 11:30 and we were able to leave right after that in the van.
This really worked out for the best because we didn't have to pay the return taxi fare and because of the train times, we arrived at Naruto station with just enough time (but not too much) before the next train. Essentially we could have tried to catch a taxi and paid 1200yen and then waited around Naruto station for 1/2 hour, but instead we just waited around Kawatsura Farm for about 1/2 hour and got a free ride. We used to the time to try and plan out the rest of our day anyway so it wasn't a waste and it was really kind and generous of the Kawatsura staff to offer us the ride.

We got to the station at around 11:36 and the next train for Chiba was at 11:46, so it was perfect. We weren't rushing and could figure out exactly which track we wanted. There was also a delay of at least 5 minutes at the ticket gate because the staff was helping someone at a window so we could get through with our Rail Passes.

We got to Chiba station about 45 minutes later. I no longer really have anything to do in the area since the Junnu Aurora Mall Liz Lisa closed, but my bf needed to get something at the Sansui there, so I went with him. Even though he had been there earlier in the trip by himself, he forgot which exit he wanted and it took us a little while to figure it out. For the record - the West exit will work.

We were supposed to eat lunch together but couldn't find a convenient place that looked good right around Chiba station. Instead, we both got on a train bound for Tokyo, but I got off earlier and made a few transfers to get to Nogizaka station. My bf had more errands to run in Shibuya, so he continued on.

I had read Mitsu's post that there would be a Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Art Center in Tokyo while I was visiting and I wanted to take a look!
But...when I got there the ticket line was way too long and intimidating (also just in direct sunlight wtf), plus the ticket price was a bit more than I realized. (The ticket price wasn't listed online on the NAC website as it varies per exhibition.) With those two things combined and it being my last day of the trip, I decided I didn't want to spend my remaining time in line for not only the ticket but also the various lines to get into the exhibition areas and also felt like I might be able to allocate my money elsewhere in that case. (It's not that the ticket was a ridiculous price, but I wasn't feeling up to paying $20 to stand around in lines and crowded spaces for what would probably be 2 hours.)

There were supposedly "free" areas of the National Art Center according to some of the blogs I had briefly looked at and I tried to wander around and find those but it wasn't really worth the effort I think due to the crowds, so I mostly looked around the outside of the building. I didn't take a picture of it, but the museum gift shop line looked absolutely ridiculous!
(At least I could see the outside of some of the Kusama exhibition areas?)

The trees on the exterior of the museum were also decorated! My outfit actually kind of matched but since I was solo, I couldn't get a good outfit + tree picture :|

There were a few cherry blossom trees a bit away from the Art Center building and since I made a special trip to the museum and didn't go to the museum, I figured I might as well see the sakura up close lmao. For once I was in an area that wasn't crowded with people trying to take photos with them.

I finished trying to make the most of my non-visit and walked back through the open part of the museum so I could get back to the subway station as quickly as possible.

My bf was done with part of his errands in Shibuya and still hadn't eaten yet so we agreed to meet up to get a late lunch.

Luckily Nogizaka is actually pretty close to Shibuya so he didn't have to wait long.

We hadn't eaten Yomenya Goemon pasta thus far on the trip and this was pretty much our last opportunity, so that's what we did! The 109men's location was closest so we went straight there.

By the time we finished eating, it was just around 15:45 and we still had about 5 hours before we needed to be back at the hotel for the airport shuttle. I knew of a few errands I still wanted to run if possible but that was plenty of time. My bf was already ready to call it a day though so we just did some casual small shopping in the Shibyua area.
Finally found the Muji in Shibuya wtf. (Told you I'm back at navigating around there.)

And also found the Loft too, which was crazy crowded on the basement floor.

I wasn't really finding anything in particular that I wanted and since my bf wasn't going to stick with me for the rest of the day anyway, I separated and made my way to 109.

All the way up to the 6th floor to take one last look at Liz Lisa. I told myself that if I saw the strawberry gingham dress in blue, I would just get it. Ebony had been posting about it and even though I wasn't sold on getting the OP in another color other than red (which I was wearing), I had somehow ended up wanting blue (which I had seen at a couple prior stores even before the restock but decided to pass at the time).
No blue OP for me and there wasn't anything else I was dying to buy at that point, so I left with nothing.

Stopped by Secret Honey as well for a quick peek just in case something irresistible caught my eye.
But no lol.

And Cecil McBee.
Again, no buys.
I also stopped at Delyle Noir but I didn't get any pictures because I didn't want to engage in conversation with the shop staff by staring at anything too long (I get nervous and sweat FML if I can't conversate like a normal person and didn't want to be super gross on the plane ride). There was a set price for a cute top and skirt that I knew I wanted to buy before the trip, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the money on it after all, and in the end I decided not to buy it :|

Also tried to take pictures of myself in whatever mirror I saw because I was in love with my outfit and I'm always afraid of not getting a good picture of it while I'm wearing it so I just try whenever I see a reflective surface and it won't disturb other people (like in a bathroom).

I wanted to find something casual and cheap but still semi-cute to wear on the plane since I didn't want to muss up my strawberry gingham OP and also didn't think it would be that comfortable, so I found my way to Forever 21.
...and didn't find anything that I wanted to spend money on even with all the different floors.

It was getting a bit later in the day and I still had one more thing I wanted to do! I hopped on a JR Yamanote line train and made my way to Komagome station.

I crossed a couple streets and made my way to Rikugien Garden! I've been to Rikugien once before during my Autumn 2015 trip when I went to see the koyo illumination. This time it was for the sakura! Admission fee is 300yen.

From the gate I entered, the tree is just a short walk in. It's easy to tell because there's a huge crowd of people.

I had initially wanted to go to Rikugien on the first day of the trip, but we didn't have time and it didn't work out. However, that was probably for the best because I don't think there would have been as many blossoms a week prior.

I walked a bit further in the garden to the iconic photo taking spot in autumn.

And then decided I was tired from standing and had enough. I didn't follow the path through the garden because I've already seen it once and I didn't feel like going again by myself. I exited out a different gate because it was the first one I saw but I was pretty far from the station in comparison to where I entered so idk if that was really the best decision.

I eventually made my way back and caught the train going back down towards Shinagawa.

I was initially going to stop only in Harajuku, but when I thought about possibly having to battle the crowds to go down the street, I was like uhhhhh, maybe I'll stop in Shinjuku quickly first to see if that will be good enough.
I got off the train in Shinjuku and did NOT make the same mistake as Day 1 and easily found my way to Studio ALTA.

...but also didn't see the strawberry gingham dress in blue and didn't see anything else of particular interest.

So I booked it back to the station and rode a couple stops to Harajuku.

I guess because it was so close to closing time (20:00), I was able to make it down to Liz Lisa with absolutely no problem at all in record time!
Again, no blue strawberry gingham OP but I did end up making two small last minute accessory purchases since this was the last store I was planning to visit and I still had a bunch of room in my suitcase. As it turns out, I think the stores only (re)stocked the red and pink dresses this weekend and didn't stock blue until a couple weekends later, so I was running around looking for it for nothing but I'm also kind of glad because I don't really need it and I only saved money by not purchasing it.

I stopped in Family Mart at the top of the street to look for something to drink or something simple to eat but didn't find anything (probably bc it was so late in the day) and just returned to the tracks.

And stopped in Shibuya again! At this point it was close to 20:00 and my bf was really questioning why I was still out and about, but I felt like I didn't want to just sit in the lobby, so I wanted to make the most of it.

I didn't stop at 109 this time but went straight to Can Do to pick up a few boxes of things that I had found earlier that I liked. I also stopped at the Family Mart in Shibuya but again didn't find anything that I wanted.

I did see a storm trooper at Shibuya Crossing though.

Time really was wearing thin at that point and I went straight back to Shinagawa station and scooped up a few things from the vendors in there. Very last minute omiyage and a bento for dinner.

And since I didn't get the drink I wanted at either of the Family Marts, I went down the grocery level of the Wing to grab something for myself and my bf who was already waiting at the hotel lobby.

Hands a little full from all the purchases, I just had to cross the street and walk a bit to make it back to the hotel at around 20:40. (Imo plenty of time before the 21:30 shuttle.)

Luckily there's plenty of couch space there (unlike the hotel we stayed at in Umeda last time) and I could easily just drop my things and retrieve our stored luggage, pack all the new things and eat my bento.

We had already purchased the shuttle tickets, so at around 21:15 when we were both ready, we moved towards the pick up spot with our bags but stayed inside because of the cold. I also mailed the two Pupuru pocket wifi units from the lobby at that time as well.

About 10-15 minutes before the shuttle was to arrive, a staff member greeted us and asked us how many bags we would be putting in the undercarriage and tagged them appropriately. We boarded the bus and left on time at 21:35.

We arrived at the airport just around 22:00 and luckily there was no one at the check-in desk by then. Usually there's a huge line. We had a little issue with an oversize check bag for my bf's fishing rods (which usually pass as sporting goods with no issue) but it was just 5cm too tall and we had to pay the overage fee and deal with them figuring all that stuff out.

The security check line was super long and I didn't take any pictures in that area (I don't really think you're supposed to) but it took us almost half an hour I think. Along the way to the gate we stopped at a store to buy Royce nama chocolate and then continued to where we were supposed to be. We got to the gate at around 23:00. I think that's the latest I've ever arrived at an airline gate lol. I still wanted to change my clothes and shuffle the things around in my carry ons (to make sense for the flight) before boarding but since we were in the last boarding group it wasn't much of a problem. The bathroom in the area was super crowded though and I didn't end up changing my dress there (because I didn't want to hog the stall) and just ended up changing on the flight lmao.

The flight was relatively uneventful and I slept through most of it with no issue. I think the flight time was around 6 hours and 15 minutes and we arrived ahead of the scheduled time (at around 11:15am on March 30 since we go back in time when flying to Hawaii). We passed through immigration without issue and without much wait, but it was all wasted because we had to wait FOREVER for our check luggage to come out, almost 45 minutes alone.

Other than the bags taking so long, Day 7 was a decent end to the trip even though it was a really long day! I went to work immediately after getting my bags and still got in about three hours. My hair was kind of gross but I managed lol.

(Concluding thoughts to the trip on a whole will be in Part 9!)

🌸 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 Park 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. Strawberry picking seems like so much fun lol. I'd like to do that. All the blossoms look so beautiful <3 Also, you look amazing in the strawberry OP - the whole outfit is A+

    1. I LOVE it with the peplum cardigan! When I first got the cardigan I was like wtf am I going to wear this with/why did I think it was a good idea to buy? But now I think I'm slowly starting to figure it out lol.

  2. So nice! I love the strawberry picking farm, when I saw it listed for day 7 I was super excited for this post :D Those strawberries look soooo delicious!
    It's a shame the art exhibit was closed off but the sakura trees were lovely. And your outfit today was A+, super cute! Strawberries on strawberries and gingham is so summery.
    Too bad that nothing interesting was in stores. ;/ Though I guess you got most of your shopping done earlier that week!

    1. Well I suppose I expected to pay extra for the Yayoi Kusama exhibition but I honestly didn't expect that much of a line on a Thursday afternoon lol. There were several other popular exhibitions featured there as well and the whole Art Center was full of people! I guess I know better for next time lol.

  3. Welcome back! XD
    OMG YOUR DRESS <3 It's perfect for anything with strawberries or picnics! I wanted something from that series so bad but was always broke when it was available T_T
    I love the photos at the strawberry farm and with the sakura! So beautiful ♥

    1. I love this dress and this series but the only bummer is that it's supposed to be dry clean only :|

      Thank you!