Hello and welcome to post number three in the Japanese series! As I mentioned last week on the Asian Food post, I would today be talking about places I really want to go when I visit Japan. As well as that, I also mentioned that I would have a special guest on this post, which in turn is my boyfriend. He asked if he could write about a place he wants us to visit when we both go to Japan in the future and of course I wouldn’t say no!
I shall be talking about three places I really wish to go and visit in Japan, my boyfriends post will find itself amongst those posts and you’ll be able to tell which is his place that he wishes for us to go and visit… It’s snow related. 😛
Whilst the place he wishes to go and visit is snow related, all mine are kawaii and pretty much anime related, which makes me sound a little bad sad, doesn’t it?
This is going to be a pretty long post, so no time like the present to get talking about all the places we wish to go to when we visit Japan!
When I was talking to my boyfriend about places I could mention on here, I came up with four altogether, this being one of them but when I mentioned that I felt rather silly for wanting to go to such a place, he said he knew how much I wanted to go and it was definitely worth a mention!
I’ve been in love with Hello Kitty and all things Sanrio since the age of 11. I can’t remember how I came to discover who Hello Kitty was, but when I did I was hooked and for years I went out of my way to find things Hello Kitty related to buy. Eventually I discovered that Hello Kitty was by a Japanese brand called Sanrio and there were many other characters just like her and just as cute! I came to find out about Chococat, Charmmy Kitty, Cinnamoroll, Pochacco, Kuririn, My Melody, and many more!
Although Puroland isn’t number one on my list of places to visit whilst I visit Japan, I know it’s definitely there and it’d be a shame to miss it whilst I was there. I’ve seen many pictures of what it’s like inside Puroland itself and it looks like so much fun! I know I would end up spending a lot of money in there, I have to say and that would probably be one of my main reasons for going, to stock on cute Sanrio related products! This is more for children than adults, but after loving Hello Kitty since a very young age, the child in me would love this.
I don’t know if I have really spoken about it much, but I love Pokemon and have done since it came out on the Game Boy back in 1999. It’s been over 10 years since then and over that time there have been loads more games released, the anime followed after the game which I watched religiously as a child, card games were invented, and as well as that, Pokemon Center’s began popping up all over Japan, as well as in America.
When I first found out about the Pokemon Center, I thought it was just a museum and thought nothing more about it, but back in 2011 I did some research on it and pleasantly discovered that it was infact a shop! You could buy all sorts in there and I imagined how amazing it must be to actually go and wander around. Then one morning in 2013 whilst I lay in bed, waiting to go to work, I searching “Pokemon Center Japan” into YouTube and was greeted by hundreds of videos that people had recorded, all of them showing what the Pokemon Center was like. The one that showed up the most, was the store in Tokyo!
The stores are owned by The Pokemon Company in Japan and The Pokemon Company International in America. As I would be visiting Tokyo when I finally go to Japan, the Pokemon Center in Tokyo would be the ideal store for me to visit, this being said there is also a store in Tokyo Bay, so knowing me I’d go and visit both if it was doable!
I’ve already said to my boyfriend that I’ll probably need a lot of money for when we visit the Pokemon Center, as I’d want to buy a bit of everything to bring back home with me. I know when I visit Japan anyway that I’ll be buying a lot of stationery (they have the best stationery!) but I know I’ll want to come home with a huge Eevee plushie. Whenever I watch the videos of people in the Pokemon Center’s I just want to buy most of the things they show and I envy what things I watch people showing off that they’ve bought in haul videos.
This is probably number one on my list of places to visit in Japan… Alongside all the yummy food shops too of course!
Shiga Kogen, Nagano Prefecture – The place Dane (my boyfriend) wants to visit
Japan is a destination I NEED to visit in the near future, although being content with doing the expected things of visiting Tokyoʼs many attractions and districts (Iʼm looking at you Harajuku), getting communal in an onsen and traveling south to visit Osaka and Kyoto.
There is one thing I must do and that is to snowboard in Shiga Kogen, Nagano.
As Natalee may have explained, I am an avid snowboarder going on yearly trips away to the French Alps. Resorts in the French Alps tend to be very similar and having to go there every year is becoming quite monotonous. Apart from going up north to Norway and visiting the homeland of my all time favourite snowboarder, Torstein Horgmo, snowboarding in Japan is a high priority.
Japan is notorious for is snowfall, is an incredibly mountainous group of islands and has literally hundreds of Skijo (ski hills). Adding the fact some of my favourite snowboarders, Kazuhiro Kokubo and Tadashi Fuse, are both from Japan it all greatly adds up for me to snowboard there. If you want to truly understand what it is like to snowboard in Japan see the snowboard ﬁlm “Seven Samurai – The Catcher on the Line”. And to quote Jimmy Peterson from his book “Skiing Around the World”:
“Snowstorms breeze into the Japanese mountains almost unabatedly from December until late March. The cold, stormy fronts blow in from Siberia, picking up extra moisture as they cross the Sea of Japan. They then dump enormous amounts of white ﬂuff all along the western side of Japan. A number of the Japanese resorts rank among the most snow-rich ski areas in the world.”
That above image should give you an idea of what I want to experience.
Most tour operators (I.e Crystal Ski) would suggest going up north to Hokkaido for the fresh powder. There are two problems, I can think of, with that.
The ﬁrst being that it’s an 1hr 30min plane ride away from Tokyo, where as going to Shiga Kogen is nearly a 4 hour drive away. Bear with me on that. Yes it takes longer, I have taken multiple 24 hour coach journeys to the Alps and even with ﬂying there is always a 2-3 hour transfer from the airport. Plus ﬂying is always a hassle of checking in, boarding and waiting to ﬂy. So I can handle a measly 4 hour bus journey. In the long run it is much cheaper and you get to see the sights of Japan en route.
The next reason is as follows…
Do I need to explain more?
Well yes. This is the Jigokudani Monkey Park, located on the edge of the national park in the Nagano prefecture, a short distance from Shiga Kogen. A place where just under 200 macaques live and bath in the natural hot springs, which you can visit and get up close to. How close you say? These guys are supposedly incredibly tame and let you get within inches of your camera to take nice close-ups, whether I want my camera/phone stolen by a monkey is something of contention. Having it in such a close proximity to a great resort would be incredible and taking a day trip to visit the park is a must in my book.
Like most people, I LOVE Studio Ghibli movies and since I first discovered their films back in 2004/2005 when I watched Spirited Away and since then I have gone on to watch My Neighbour Totoro, Porco Rosso, The Cat Returns, Kiki’s Delivery Service and many more!
I vaguely remember finding out about the Ghibli Museum even existing due to reading about how there is a short film about the cat bus from My Neighbour Totoro and how it was only being shown at the museum at that time. I researched a little about the museum and since then I have wanted to go there myself!
I won’t talk too much about Studio Ghibli here, as I’m saving it for my fourth and final Japanese Series post next week, but I will say this much… Studio Ghibli is the Japanese version of Disney so I can only imagine the museum to be like a mini version of Disney Land, but that little bit better!
Upon checking out the website in the past about what the museum is all about, I’m already craving to go at this sentence:
Standing in front of a sign that says “Ghibli Museum, Mitaka”, a very large Totoro welcomes you at the entrance. When you look through the portholes, soot-black Dust Bunnies are there as well. But this is not the real entrance. Totoro shows you where the real entrance is.
Real entrance??? This is a total children’s fantasy, adventure world, and it just sounds wonderful! Plus the fact that you are greeted by a huge Totoro, is somewhat of a dream come true.
Some of mine and my boyfriends friends have been to the museum and they’ve told us nothing but positive things about it, but as well as that I’ve seen various YouTube videos about it too and all of the people in question spoke of what a wonderful place it was to visit and how they want to go back in the future.
This isn’t number one like the Pokemon Center, BUT it is the second place I would like to visit and I already know like the Pokemon Center that I WILL need a lot of money when I visit, as I will want to buy myself a huge Totoro to cuddle and keep on my bed.
As my boyfriend and I are both big fans, we both really want to visit the Ghibli Museum and it’d be lovely for us to venture around together.
We’ve really got into Studio Ghibli more than ever and with my boyfriend collecting all the films, our visit to the Ghibli Museum in the future will be extremely exciting!
Speaking of Studio Ghibli, next weeks post is going to be a really exciting one!
As I mentioned above, my fourth and final Japanese series post will be about Studio Ghibli and I’m excited to write about it come the weekend.
So, which places would you like to visit in Japan? Hey, have you been to Japan? If so where did you visit, any places you can recommend?
My boyfriend recently inquired about prices for our future Japanese holiday and now we have decided to save up for it! So as many suggestions as possible, especially kawaii and food related!
Until next week, talk care all and I hope you’re enjoying this series.