Let's see... here's my thought process when I start planning my Japan trip... How many days are we going to be there and what can we jam in those days? Since this is my third trip, I have a better idea of what is doable and what might not be. Also, since this trip is mainly for my mom, the focus is for her and what she wants to do on the trip. My sister is also tagging along, so we let her pick one thing to add to the list. Here goes:
Although mom wasn't really sure what to do in Japan when I asked her, I gave her a few suggestions to choose from. Here's what she told me she wanted to do/see:
1) See Mt. Fuji
2) See Cherry Blossoms or other blooms
3) Go to Puroland (Hello Kitty)
4) Shopping for "cute stuff"
Easy enough right?
OK then I told my sis we could do one day for her.. here's what she chose:
Here's what I did:
Checked approximate bloom times for Cherry blossoms. Its pretty much hit or miss, so difficult to predict and very costly to go during the season. We decided that we'd not target cherry blossom for this reason. Instead, I found some information on the Wisteria bloom, which is normally in late April/early May and is pretty accurate on timing. There are several sites for Wisteria blooming, so we are planning our trip around this event.
Next on the agenda was to figure out our Mt. Fuji trip. Hubby and I have never gone to see Mt. Fuji, so this was exciting for us too! A friend recommended a day trip tour, but again, as hubby researched this, he thinks we can do it on our own. OK, gonna try to do it on our own.. maybe we can take the bullet train this time!
Next, is Puroland. This is one place that I have yet to visit. You would think that as a sanrio fan, I would be all over this, but frankly, no one has wanted to go with me and the last time we "almost" went, the earthquake happened. So this time I have a partner that likes HK as much as me, so I'm looking forward to it! Hubby and sis are not as interested, so I think they will drop us off and then head to Studio Ghibli instead. I've been there before, so I'm ok with missing that leg. Good, then me and mom can have all the HK fun we want!!!
Last on mom's list is shopping for cute stuff. I have tons of places we can go. Harajuku, Asakusa, Shibuya, Ginza... but the place even I have not gone to yet is Ikebukuro- Sunshine City. I hear this place is like 40 stories of stores. I'm excited and scared at the same time. Scared cause I'm worried how I'm gonna bring everything home! LOL!
Sis's list is pretty easy as we have been to Tokyo Disney before. Just gotta check the park hours before we go to decide which day is best. I already figured out the ticket situation. Found out you can buy your tickets at the Disney Store in Shibuya, so then you won't have to wait in the line. Ah! I think we definitely should take advantage of that!
So now that we have a tentative idea of what to add to the itinerary, here's what I came up with:
- Arrive in Tokyo (late night)- check in/sleep.
- Meet sis @ Narita next morning. Hang out near hotel at Nakamise (shopping). Hubby can go to Taiko store. If we are not too tired, we can check out Ueno nearby.
- Head to Puroland/Studio Ghibli; possibly go to Ginza for dinner/shopping.
- Mt. Fuji adventure day!?
- Shibuya & Harajuku Shopping day/ Try to hit Tokyo Station for food and shopping
- Tokyo Disneyland
- Ashikaga Flower Park- Wisteria bloom
- Ikebukuro/Sunshine City
- Last day
Here's where we plan to hit when we go shopping:
Narita: Heard they have a mall nearby we might want to check out. UFO Catchers game?
Asakusa/Nakamise: Gotta get agemanju (deep fried mochi), melon pan (sweet bread), and arare (fresh). Also have kiosks with cute trinkets and the washi paper store. Hubby to go to Morimoto (Taiko store). Oh don't forget Shimojima (stationary).
Ueno: Check out the park, Ameyokocho
Ginza: Hakuhinkan Toy Park, Don K! (Don Quiote), Baumkuchen cakes, Itoya (Stationary Store)
Shibuya: Disney Store, Tokyu Hands, Loft
Harajuku: 100 yen store, Kiddie Land, Oriental Bazzaar
Tokyo Station- Ramen and Character Street
Ikebukuro: Sunshine City
We also want to hit a Samantha Thavasa Store!!
I'm getting excited now. Can you tell? This schedule is not set in stone, but we thought we'd mix up the sight seeing, shopping, and attractions up so we are not overloaded all at once. There are a lot of good resources on the internet that I check out before I go:
Asking for Trouble: She has a great Tokyo Shopping Guide
If I figure out more... I'll add them here. Hope that helps!