Our FIRST BONDING TRIP to Tokyo!

Updated: Oct 13, 2018

#SunshineChickadee is no longer the cutie-patootie that I used to carry around! She has grown so much over the years and I want us to know each other again! Sometimes I feel left out of her world, especially moments after she gets smacked for being naughty or when she displayed independence like Mama is not needed anymore! The September holiday is my perfect break to catch up with the chick and have her all to myself!


Tbh, I wasn’t fully prepared for the trip. Booked the flight and hotel a few days before departure, and the itinerary that I’m sharing is what I managed to pull together on the day we were supposed to fly. But Let’s GO!


Overview

Day 1 Saturday – Tokyo Shop and Eat

Day 2 Sunday – Mother Farm in Chiba (Day Trip)

Day 3 Monday – Yokohama Ramen Museum and Ferris Wheel (Day Trip)

Day 4 Tuesday – Sanrio Puro Land in Odakyu (Day Trip)

Day 5 Wednesday – Kawagoe “Little Edo” (Day Trip)

Day 6 Thursday – Tokyo Shop and Eat (Night flight back to SG)

Day 7 Friday – Home Sweet Home


Read on if you are interested to learn more about the places!



Why I chose Tokyo

Tokyo is centrally located from various cities and first time with a 6yo in tow, I’m going to be realistic for this one-week trip. The plan is to plant ourselves at a single central location and simply do day trips from Tokyo!


BONUS: With super punctual trains and established train lines, I knew my transport issues with #SunshineChickadee will sort themselves out.

DAY 1 - Arrived!

The first day is always best to familiarize yourself with the hotel area, and get acquainted with the walking distance to transport system. Explore the hood!


To save myself the hassle, I booked Hotel Sunroute Plaza becoz

  • 5min walk from the Shinjuku JR Station

  • around SGD300 per night

  • The Airport Limousine Bus (from both Narita and Haneda Airport) also stops at this hotel, or near at the Bus Station right opposite the hotel. You will need to check on timings when you buy tickets at the ‘Airport Limousine Bus’ counter upon arrival at airport.

  • There is a reliable MacDonalds around the corner of the Hotel, and a Family Mart opposite the road, as well as many other restaurants and shopping pretty close to the hotel’s doorstep!


Guess the first meal #SunshineChickadee asked for?

MacDees! There was some special menu and a tri-peach slushie beckoning when we walked past. No regrets! Somehow MacDonalds in Japan tastes way yummier – no idea why. Right after lunch, #SunshineChickadee and I hit the Harajuku streets and my animal-café nightmare officially starts!


1. Hedgehog Café HARRY

www.Harinezumi-café.com

@hedgehogcafe_harajuku

Nearest Station: Harajuku Station (Yamanote line)



2. Forest of Owls

Address: B1, 1-1-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo

www.owls-cats-forest.com



3. Tokyo Snake Centre

www.SnakeCenter.jp

@tokyosnakecenter




DAY 2 – LOVE THE FARM!!!!


SHINJUKU or TOKYO JR STATION >>> KIMITSU JR STATION >>TAKE THE MOTHER FARM BUS (30-40min)>> MOTHER FARM

Do check out return-trip bus timing to make sure you catch your train back to Tokyo!

Below info are extracted from :

http://www.motherfarm.co.jp.e.acb.hp.transer.com/access/index.php


Made a beeline for Shinjuku ticketing counters and secured ourselves a pair of JR reserved-seats tickets, direct train towards Kimitsu Station in the Chiba Area, about an hour from Tokyo.



Saw a large sign, once we stepped out of the gantry gates, that says ‘Mother Farm bus stop this way’ but I asked the station master all the same, just to be doubly sure! Prepare your coins to pay the driver once you board the bus.


Apparently Mother Farm is located at a high altitude and I was pleasantly surprised by the cooler air as our bus trudged upwards.



I read somewhere there’s some Butter and Cheese-making workshop so when we stumbled upon the workshop hut, I was pleased that we were just in time for a 12noon workshop, and happily made payment at the counter! In we go!


Little did we know we were IN THE WRONG CLASS. (- _ -“’) Everything was conducted in Japanese.


Things got really suspicious when we were given a large bowl of ICE, and the milk that we were stirring started to look like ice-cream. We were making Frozen Yogurt. I had no idea they do Frozen Yogurt class too! It’s perfect.



The moment class ended, we walked out and I immediately enquired about the Butter and Cheese workshop – it’s up next! Great! Paid up and went back into class. :D Made our first bit of butter and cheese, and we were given crackers to eat it with. Not sure what’s the hurry but everyone sorta gobbled it down – politely. Japanese are always polite.



Recommend to roam the park at your own time, instead of rushing for any activities. There’s Piglet Race, Sheep shearing and sheepdog show, as well as a herding show of 150 sheeps by the sheepdogs on the pastures! After the show, visitors can enter the fenced area and be surrounded by all the sheeps! There’s even fruits picking but we didn’t make any plans for it!


One awesome point is that there were many washing points all over the farm, so you can freely pet and feed the animals without leaving the icky saliva on your paws.


There’s also a Wakuwaku land, essentially a mini carnival park that uses up a large portion of the kiddos’ energy and some of the Japanese yen from your pockets! Equipped with a fun maze for kids to explore and collect stamps, a paddle-cycle mid-air, ferris wheel etc! Tickets for respective activity sold from a vending machine.


Check out their upcoming events from their site!

http://www.motherfarm.co.jp.e.acb.hp.transer.com/information/autumnfes2018/

DAY 3 – LOVE MAKING OUR OWN CHICKEN RAMEN!


TOKYO JR STATION >>> JR/SHIEICHIKATATSU SAKURAGICHO Station

>>> 10MIN WALK TO THE CUP NOODLE MUSEUM (But we flagged for a cab, reached there in 2min.)

Important Notes:

1. CHICKEN RAMEN FACTORY

You will NEED TO PRE-BOOK your slot at the CHICKEN RAMEN FACTORY to make your own noodles here. Reservation website is in Japanese though, so you may need to call or email for advance bookings.


2. MY CUPNOODLES FACTORY

This is where you decorate your own cup, before selecting your noodles and ingredients to customize your own cup noodles. NUMBERED TICKETS ARE GIVEN OUT DAILY AT THE ENTRANCE COUNTER. Once the numbered tickets are all redeemed, reception for the activity will close.


3. CUPNOODLES PARK

A playground themed to CupNoodles Factory production line. Kids become the ‘Noodle’ where they go through ‘seasoning (ball)pool’, virtual fryer etc and emerge from a slide, ready to be ‘shipped’. Tickets separately purchased at the Playground ticketing counter. Playtime 30min slot.


The Yokohama Cup Noodle Museum, about an hour away from Tokyo, was one of the day-trips that I look forward to bringing #SunshineChickadee!

I had made a special reservation at the Chicken Ramen factory for some hands-on ramen-making that I’m sure the Chickadee will LOVE!!! I was right. We arrived right on time just as class was starting.


#SunshineChickadee and I were pleased to find a chick-print head-scarf and apron, that we quickly wore. Felt empowered to make the best ramen!!! Gotta wash and sanitise hands before we got into smaller groups of 5pax to knead the dough.


You can see from my ig stories that I was recording most of the process, so you can probably derive that I got a lot of judging by the instructor who made me sanitise my hands AFTER EVERY IG STORY I TOOK! Eventually the said instructor planted the entire bottle of sanitizer next to me. (- _- “’)


From dough-kneading to rolling out flat dough and shredding the dough into noodles, #SunshineChickadee stayed extremely focused. Despite the course being conducted fully in Japanese, it’s not difficult to understand as the instructors were very friendly and helpful! Was a lot of fun and I definitely enjoyed seeing #SunshineChickadee enjoying herself. :D


We get to bring back the chick head-scarf, our self-made noodle, a packet of their signature ramen noodle plus a bowl-ramen. The class really has some brain-washing effect to make you wanna eat the ramen sooo badly!!!


Class ended, and the next activity starts!!!


We popped right ‘next door’ to the My CupNoodles decorating zone, bought our cup from a vending machine and were ushered to a table to start decorating it. This activity was quite straight forward, but coz #FOMO so we did it anyway – selected our seasoning, ingredients and sealed our own CupNoodles!


Bought yummy noodles and quite some CupNoodles merchandise from the Gift Store, and the helpful Chickadee volunteered to carry her loot! She reminded me we need to get our asses across the road to the Ferris Wheel, that she’d been eyeing since we passed by earlier in the day!!!


The Ferris Wheel, a landmark of Yokohama, is called the Cosmo Clock 21. It looked exceptionally magical during sunset and at night the whole Ferris Wheel lighted up! Purchased our tickets and hopped onto the Ferris Wheel with ALL OUR BAGS. Not many people so we got the entire cabin to ourselves! #SunshineChickadee loves loves loves Ferris Wheel and she was ALL SMILES.

The ride gave us an awesome aerial view of the surrounding areas and I took the chance to figure where to walk to the JR station after that. Definitely recommend a ride on this wheel after the CupNoodles Museum visit!


DAY 4 – CHANGE OF PLANS TO GO SANRIO PURO LAND!!!


SHINJUKU JR STATION >>(ABOUT 30MIN)>> TAMA CENTRE STATION (SANRIO PUROLAND IS ONLY A 5-10MIN WALK FROM THE STATION WITH OBVIOUS SIGNS)


YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE ODAKYU SIGHTSEEING HERE AND PLAN YOUR TRIP WITH THE EXISTING ITINERARIES!

Thanks to Typhoon Jebi, my initial plan of going Hakone for a Geisha dance show (pre-booked this itinerary on Klook, which includes the Romance-car tickets) was also gone with the wind.

The staff at the Odakyu Service Center, Shinjuku West (where I was supposed to collect tickets from) suggested heading to Sanrio Puroland instead. “Do you want to go Hello Kitty Land?” said the staff.


#SunshineChickadee’s eyes lit up immediately when she heard “Hello Kitty Land” and I know I have no turning back.


Was a quick half an hour’s train ride, plus a quick stroll to reach the castle. Not in my plans to visit any theme park but with the impending Typhoon, we didn’t have much choice. It was surprisingly enjoyable especially the Gudetama zone and the Miracle Gift Parade! The boat ride was not bad too, but the rest of the zones are pretty much what you are imagining now – predictable. Merchandise definitely overpriced, and objectively speaking, if you are not a fan of ‘CUTE’ or if your kid is not so young anymore, you may wish to skip this. #SunshineChickadee, however, thinks it’s very fun and as usual she was excited to meet the mascots! Still a child!!! We went on the rides many times coz not many visitors that day! The aim of the trip was to bond with her and spend some time doing what she likes, so I did.




DAY 5 - EXPLORATION OF A QUAINT LITTLE TOWN!


SHINJUKU JR STATION >>(APPROX 50MIN)> KAWAGOE STATION


Look for the Visitor’s Centre at Kawagoe Station to buy your unlimited ONE DAY PASS 600yen (TOBU KOEDO LOOP BUS), Children at half price 300yen. This is really useful to get around the town faster.

FYI There is another vintage bus that I really like but it’s not practical coz it’s a different operator and not as convenient as the above mentioned loop bus.


>> Attach map


Known as ‘Little Edo’, the town consists of quaint shops selling desserts, food, as well as souvenirs. As we arrived only in the afternoon (slept all morning!) our objective was to cover the Penny Candy Lane (Kashiya Yokocho) and the famous Hikawa Shrine, where the pretty fish charms can be found!





Below is a scanned version of the map for your reference but you can easily pick up the map from the Visitors’ Centre.


On our leisure stroll down the Kawagoe street, #SunshineChickadee noticed many girls wearing Yukatas. She voiced out that she’d like to change into a set as well. Oh well, found a shop selling kids’ costumes and #SunshineChickadee chose a red Jinbei set for herself! She attempted to slip her foot into a pair of wooden clogs on the way to the changing room, but was told there were no children sizes. Good try, #M姐!


Once again, #SunshineChickadee stepped out onto the sunshine streets, this time clad in her red Jinbei and walking with some skips in her steps. She was really happy! As we approached the Candy lane, a retro Japanese sweets shop at the corner of the road greeted us with a flamboyant display of Kitsune masks and colourful candies!


Felt like we were transported back in time the moment we slid open the wooden doors of the shop! It was Candyland inside!!! Lots of candies, and sweets in old school packaging you won’t know where to start looking!!!


Finally emerged from the shop after 30min of fighting our sanity not to buy everything we see.


DAY 6 - Shopping and Eating


1. Little Zoo Café

Meet the three cute otters

Chinchilla, Rabbits and Hedgehog


2. Harajuku Mame-Shiba Cafe

Address: 3F, 1-1-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo

www.owls-cats-forest.com


3. Aoyama Flower Café

Never disappointed when we come here. My third time at this café

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