A Week In Tokyo – Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of my Week In Tokyo series. If you want to visit go back to see Day 1, see the links at the bottom of the post.

DAY 2 | ASAKUSA + UENO

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Asakusa Shrine | Sensoji 

Start your day at Asakusa Shrine and beat the crowds. This is one of the most beautiful Shinto shrines in the city. The entrance is marked by the Kaminarimon Gate and a huge red chochin lantern. In front of the shrine is an area of market stalls with food and souvenirs. The whole area is charming for tourists and locals.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo for New Year’s Eve, Asakusa Shrine is filled with thousands and thousands of people counting down to the big moment. It’s wonderful and exciting but also terrible if you hate crowds.

Shrine Hours:  Typically 06:00-15:00 (Temple Grounds always open)

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Sky Tree

Sky Tree is another great place to see a beautiful view of the city. In addition, there is a large shopping mall, an aquarium, restaurants, and more all in one centralized location. Be sure to grab your day tickets for the tower before heading into the mall. Day tickets do not have a specific time window so you may have to wait. Or save yourself time by purchasing tickets in advance. Having opened in 2012, Sky Tree is still relatively new so there will likely be a crowd to go up the tower.

Hours: 11:00 – 20:00

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Ueno Park

Ueno Park is one of my favorite places to drink a cup of coffee and people watch. Grab a cup of coffee at the Starbucks and grab a seat by the fountain or under the tree and relax. If you happen to be visiting during sakura season, you’ll find Ueno filled with friends enjoying food and drinking under the beautiful pink blossoms.

Hours: 05:00-23:00

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Visit a Museum or the Zoo 

After you’ve enjoyed a coffee break, you can visit one of the many wonderful museums in Ueno Park like the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, or the Ueno Zoological Gardens. Most have entrance fees under 800 yen (about $8!) which is a bargain.

Hours: For most 08:00-17:00

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Ameyoko Shopping street

After you’ve become more cultured, take a break and do some shopping. Ameyoko shopping street is once of my favorite places to walk around. You can find everything from sneakers to perfume to spices along the road and alleyways. My favorite purchase I made here was my Japanese sukajan bomber jacket.

Hours: Varies per store

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Izakayas

All that shopping probably made you hungry. Luckily, Ueno is filled with many izakayas for you to choose from. This place transforms into a lively bar scene when the sun goes down. Izakayas serve Japanese bar food mostly in small dishes meant to be shared over drinks. I LOVE izakaya food. When I went to Japan in December, this was our first stop. Order a “nama biiru” (draft beer), any of yakitori (skewers), karage (fried chicken), edamame, a grilled fish, and potato salad. That will get you started in the right direction. There are izakayas all over Tokyo and I recommend visiting as many as you can. Tokyo Cheapo made a great beginner’s guide to izakayas that I recommend reading if it’s your first trip.

Hours: Typically last order around 23:00

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If you liked this post and want to see more recommendations in Tokyo, check out the links below.  Be sure to follow the blog if you’d like to receive guides for Days 3-7. Thanks!

Day 1  | Day 2

♥︎K

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Currently: Jan 2017

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What I’m doing: Prepping For Chinese New Year

I’m officially on holiday today! Hooray! Tonight my fiance and I will be heading back to his hometown for the Chinese New Year holiday. I’ve only met his mom, dad, and one cousin, so I can’t wait to meet the entire clan. I’ll be one of only a handful of foreigners in this small town so I’m excited to once again be representing Mexican Americans and sharing my culture.

What I’m buying: Chinese New Year Gifts

We’ve packed the car with fruit, wine, and gifts for the family. We’ve even got the traditional Chinese red envelopes with money for the little ones. I’m not even sure there’s room for our suitcases anymore…

What I’m watching: Terrace House

I started watching Terrace House when I just moved to Japan to help practice my Japanese. I LOVE this show and I’m so happy Netflix just released a new season in Hawaii. This is what reality TV should be and I’m glad it’s gaining popularity in the U.S. I found a great article explaining it’s charm and why American TV should be taking notes. 

What I’m eating:  Pineapple Buns

Pineapple buns are a delicious dessert I tried in Hong Kong . It doesn’t actually have pineapple in it; it’s called pineapple bread because of the crunchy outer shell that resembles a pineapple. It’s made of a sweet bread and often eaten during afternoon tea. It’s very sweet and comes with a giant slice of butter in the center. Pair this with a cup of Hong Kong style milk tea and WOW. Heaven. I like that they look like conchas but the taste is completely different. I associate conchas with my grandparents and coffee. Maybe this is my version.

 

Everything has been leading up to Chinese New Year and now it’s finally here! In addition to family time, we’ll be heading to Yellow Mountain to go hiking. It’s been a while since I’ve seen snow so fingers crossed we’ll get a beautiful white scenery.

Hope everyone has a lovely Chinese New Year!

K♥

 

Engagement Ring Shopping

If you know me (or at least follow me on Instagram) you’ll know that I recently got engaged to my the greatest/sweetest/kindest/silliest guy I know.

He proposed to me in Japan while we were there on vacation. Japan is the country where we met and fell in love, so it was so special having another life changing moment there.

We skipped the traditional route and picked out a ring together. The idea of choosing this first big purchase together as a couple felt very romantic to me.

But I’m not much of a jewelry girl. I only wear necklaces or earrings other people have given me. I was so amazed seeing all the beautiful rings out there.

I made a video to share our special day. Check it out!


♥︎K

A Week In Tokyo – Day 1

Tokyo is one of my favorite cities on the planet and I feel very lucky I got to call it home last year. After our recent visit in December, I was inspired to write a guide to some of my favorite places. For anyone that’s traveling to Tokyo (or living there now), I’ll be writing a series called “A Week in Tokyo” where I give you a day by day guide on places to visit/eat/shop. So here we go!

DAY 1 | ROPPONGI + SHIBUYA

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Roppongi Mori Art Tower (Tokyo City View | Sky Deck)

Get your lay of the land with a beautiful view of Tokyo. This is my favorite place in all of Tokyo. If the weather isn’t great, you should switch this day with another. The view is still amazing but you won’t be able to go out on the sky deck. If you’re traveling with a significant other, you might want to come back just before sunset. It’s very romantic.

Hours: (usually) 10:00-23:00

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Tokyo Midtown 

After visiting the sky deck, head down the road to Tokyo Midtown. You can enjoy some shopping in the mall then head out to the man-made park to enjoy some beautiful nature right in the city. If you visit during the summertime, grab some snacks at the grocery shop in the basement of Tokyo Midtown then have a picnic outside.

Shop Hours: 11:00-21:00

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BrewDog Roppongi

This recommend is more for the expats who have been in Tokyo for a while. Sometimes you need a break from Asahi and Kirin. A great spot to grab a few non-Japanese beers with friends is BrewDog. This place is extremely foreigner friendly and many of the staff members speak English. They have a wide selection of beers on draft and a delicious menu to go with it. There’s also a Super Nintendo you can play. Get your Street Fighter on.

Hours: 15:00-24:00

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Shibuya Crossing

Catch a bus or the train from Roppongi and head over to Shibuya. This is the famous crosswalk you always see on the movies. It’s something to be experienced. Look for the Hachiko exit when exiting the station.

Hours: 24/7

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Shopping at Shibuya 109

See what Japan’s young and fashionable ladies are wearing by heading over to Shibuya 109. For the guys, there’s a Shibuya 109 Men’s across the road.

There’s tons of other places to shop in Shibuya but for now you’ll just want to browse so you’re not carrying lots of bags for the rest of the night. Besides, it’s day 1, you have plenty of time for shopping later! BUT if you can’t help yourself and you buy too much, you can usually rent lockers in the train station for a few hours to store your goodies until you’re ready to head home.

Hours: 10:00-21:00

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Dinner at Genki Sushi

This place is my favorite kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant in Tokyo. It’s delicious, affordable, and it’s a chain so you can find them in different locations around the city. Try to go slightly before or after regular meal times or you’ll find yourself waiting for a seat.

Hours: 11:00-24:00

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See a Concert at the Chelsea Hotel

I love live music and I especially love live music in other countries. You don’t need to understand the language to feel engaged with the music. This basement venue is a great place to check out a punk/rock show. Check out their schedule online to see if there’s a show when you’re visiting or just drop by and take a look.

Hours: Varies

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I hope you enjoyed this list for Day 1. Subscribe and stay tuned to get guides for Days 2-7.

♥︎K

Taco Bell in Shanghai

 

That’s right! Your favorite (or most hated) taco restaurant (I refuse to call it Mexican food) has returned to China. Taco Bell first opened in China in 2003 but shut down in 2008. 13 years later, they’re back!

As an American expat, I felt it was my duty to visit this brand new eatery and see what all the buzz was about. Check out our video about our visit!

 

 

Stay hungry,

♥︎K

5 on 5 – January 2017

This is my second round of 5 on 5, where I take 5 photos on the 5th of the month. I explained last month how I was inspired  by my friend/photographer Travis’ 10 on 10 challenge. But instead of 10 photos, I made a mini version for myself where I choose 5.

This week’s weather report is rain, rain, and more rain. So here are some photos from my small town Jiaxing.

 

 

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Happy New Year y’all.

♥︎K

I FINALLY FINISHED SOMETHING

Do you ever start a project and your lazy, self-doubting personality gets in the way of  you finishing it? Yeah, that was me.

I spent WAY too long wondering whether people would make fun of me for making a vlog. But guess what? I DID IT ANYWAY!

Hallelujah! It feels so good to finally finish something. I had a lot of fun making this. It’s a much better use of my time than Netflix (shh, Netflix, I still love you). And you know what? From just ONE VIDEO, I’ve learned so much about vlogging and YouTube.

So here it is. I’m so happy to share this with everyone. My first ever vlog/travel guide taken during my travels to Hong Kong.

I hope 2017 will bring more vlogging and videos. I think 2017 is going to be a big year for me and it’d be great to have it recorded.

I’ll be heading to Japan in 3 days for Christmas. I can’t wait to see all the beautiful illuminations and to spend time in one of my favorite cities on earth, Tokyo.

Have a great day y’all.

♥︎K