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If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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Accessible Side Attractions from Kichijoji

I’m back with another post in my favourite area in Tokyo, none other than Kichijoji! As you have read my previous entries on this area you would be familiar with its surroundings and activities to do while staying there.

Truth be told, staying in this area once (also made another short trip down as well during mid autumn) is never enough because there are other attractions i’ve yet to see which i wasn’t able to the last round like Studio Ghibli Museum but i learned a great tip for this which i’ll be sharing in this post. This time i’ve decided to explore abit further without having to go through the trouble of changing hotel locations, walking more than 800 meters to the nearest train station or having to worry about storing my luggages in lockers after checking out. My whole Hanami quest (sakura flowering viewing) this trip was successful and i can’t wait to share all the beautiful pictures i’ve taken in this blog entry.

This itenary i had is slightly more adventurous compared to my previous posts, so feel free to modify it according to your own comfort level. Total of days spent staying in Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel was 4 days 3 nights.

Day 1: Arrival
I learned the hard way to always check your flight details thoroughly before purchasing because i had to wait 8 hours of layover in Singapore before my connecting flight to Narita and it was really exhausting, not to mention time consuming.
Arrived pretty late evening so i took the limousine bus service directly to Kichijoji, this bus was heaven sent because i could sleep throughout the 1.5 hour ride. I could have easily taken the train but when you have large luggages with you or kids, highway buses are the best (they have toilets in the bus too)!

One way Airport Bus Transfer (Narita airport to Kichijoji) costs 3100 Yen
You can purchase your tickets at the bus at the bus ticketing counter right outside of the arrival hall.

And the bus arrives drops off passengers about 150 meters walking distance to Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel, which is so convenient! 

Day 2: Adventure Begins!

I was abit sad that i came almost a week later after Inokashira Park’s full bloom period but nonetheless there were still a few late bloomers that tinted the park’s trees with various hues of pink, i could imagine this place swarming with people riding swan boats through the massive sakura petal coated lake, feels like a dream! Sakura season is pretty tricky so you gotta keep yourself glued to Japan’s weather forecast because this year it bloomed slightly faster for Tokyo and Kyoto despite the unusual cold temperatures. 

Another reason why you should stay at this hotel:

Beautiful view during sakura season, it’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists to enjoy the flowers by having hanami sessions (flower viewing) at the park and it’s located less than 5 minutes walk away from the hotel.

Morning (10am- 12pm) : Studio Ghibli Museum
And i’m so glad that i finally got to visit Studio Ghibli after failing twice to get tickets because it gets sold out rather quickly and if you are residing in Japan, Lawson branches do sell the tickets!

Tip: However foreigners like us is best to buy online, i’ve done some research and found that KLOOK is also selling the tickets. Don’t worry they are a legit website, so best to start camping from 1st-5th of every month. Start planning ahead!

It was a breeze walk from the hotel all the way to Studio Ghibli Museum and i did have fun there, it was like being transported into Miyazaki sensei’s world or more accurately inside his head. The queue as expected is insane, but if you have time do sit for their short movie inside, some might find it enjoyable but i found it abit scary because i’m scared of bugs in general lol especially hairy ones.

Afternoon (12.30-1.30pm) : SAMURAID

Yes i became a samurai for an hour and it was the best experience my entire life, i was kinda shy during this session but deep down i enjoyed it alot! After seeing videos about ninja transformation services available at Haneda Airport, i was actually kinda interested because these are some of the activities tourists would try at least once in their lifetime.
And what better way to do it than with professional and dedicated performers guiding you! 

A little gem hidden within Kichijoji neighbourhood is a theatre company that offers similar services except you are learning them from performing experts!
SAMURAID are an independent group of performers who dedicated their time into mastering martial art skills for their live performances and has performed in various events both local and overseas.

If you guys are interested to pick up some samurai skills yourselves, do contact them to make a reservation.

Email: To be updated
Fees: To be updated
Duration: To be updated

They were really friendly and patient with a slow learner like me and i couldn’t keep a straight face half the time, think that’s one of the reasons why i can’t act in front of people because i keep bursting out into laughter lol. Managed to get my performance “right-ish” after 2 tries, okay abit proud of myself for that!

If you guys are worried about language barrier, don’t worry as they have an English speaking representative during the session :) 

Mid Noon (3pm- 5pm) : Gotokuji

If you have seen pictures of temples being filled with figurines of maneki neko, that’s actually at Gotokuji which is only 40 mins train ride using the Keio-Inokashira Line from Kichijoji station.

The reason there are so many figurines of maneki neko at the temple ground its because people purchase a maneki neko figurine from here for their business as a symbol of good luck and once their business is successful, the owner returns the figurine to the temple as a sign of gratitude. In general maneki neko is used to grant wishes/ good luck.
You can buy the figurine from the temple shop as a souvenir, it comes in a variety of sizes (mini to large ones). 

DAY 3 (9.30am-6pm) : Kichijoji to Chureito Pagoda

Little did i know that it was even possible to reach this iconic location where Mount Fuji is always photographed together with a Pagoda on the side from Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel. People come from far and wide to take this shot of their own and after being there myself i finally understood the excitement.
Was also lucky to catch Fujiyoshida area in full bloom that week (they bloom a week later than central tokyo), it was like a dream seeing so many trees covered with dainty flowers.

Tip: Colder areas always bloom a week or two later than tokyo, so if you missed Tokyo’s blooms then take a one day trip out of town to catch them instead!

It’s a misconception that this place is very far from Tokyo and you’ll need to stay overnight around the area, but i’ve tried making this into a one day trip and it worked out pretty well!
Buy evening we are back at the hotel resting, after a fruitful day of sakura sightseeing despite the unpredictable cloudy weather that made Mt Fuji visibility only 10%, more reasons to come back here again then!

Hiking up to Chureito Pagoda isn’t too hard, but be aware once you reached the photography spot there will be tons of tourists camping there waiting for the right timing to click their shutter, also please obey the rules by not stepping beyond the barricaded area, noticed some tourists who did that and they were warned by the guards on duty this is due to safety precautions. 

Also while you are at the area don’t forget to buy some fresh fruits, as Yamanashi prefecture is one of the largest fruit suppliers for whole of Japan and overseas. Their strawberries are so juicy and sweet!

You can easily reach Chureito Pagoda by bus from Kichijoji station which takes roughly about 2 hours of scenic countryside view (you’ll need to change bus once at Chuoji-do Temple Temple bus stop) before reaching Chuodo Shimo Yoshida stop and from there it’s a 30 mins walk up to the Pagoda. Total cost is 1660Yen.

You can take the train too but it takes roughly about 3 hours to reach.

Was super cloudy that day

However if you have an international driving license, opposite Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel has a car rental shop, and driving on the highway takes less than 2 hours drive which you'll pass by Fuji-Q highland theme park. Been meaning to visit it one day but our aim that day was sakura viewing so probably next year i'll stop by and spend a whole day at the theme park lol. Honestly i'm a real chicken when it comes to haunted houses or super tall roller coaster rides but yet i still want to ride them, normal people would avoid but i have no idea why i'm tempted by it and after that i'll definitely be filled with regrets haha!

You can also stop by Lake Kawaguchiko on the way back, more flexibility compared to public transport. 

My usual dose of fresh crispy Taiyaki from Amane (天音)!

DAY 4: Kichijoji To Kyoto
Can’t belive 3 days just passed by so fast and i’m on my way to Kyoto from Kichijoji. Had to drop by Shibuya station earlier to get my JR pass (please buy before coming to Japan, it’s now available for purchasing here but costs extra RM200 from purchasing online) and i was glad that Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel staffs were so kind to allow me to store my luggages for a couple of hours despite already checking out, save me the trouble of lugging around heavy luggages to central Tokyo because the crowds there are insane!
Will always love staying and hanging around Kichijoi area because the crowd isn’t as scary as Shibuya’s T.T plus it’s easier to find food around this area (Kichijoji) that are not in shopping malls.

From Kichioji station to Kyoto, all i had to do is ride on the Chuo line to Tokyo station (30 mins+) and from there Shinkansens are available directly to Kyoto. 
The amount of convenience for this trip from stations to doorsteps i barely walked at all compared to my previous earlier trips to Tokyo back in 2015!

If you are first timers just looking to stay put in Tokyo (fly in and out from either Haneda or Narita) then i would highly recommend to stay here in Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel. Direct limousine bus and easy access all over Tokyo and nearby prefectures like Yamanashi, Saitama and Kanagawa.

Thank you so much for the amazing hospitality Kichijoji Tokyu REI Hotel! :)

Official Website: https://www.tokyuhotelsjapan.com/global/) (English)
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