Meiji Jingu Shrine

One of the popular shrines in Tokyo, is the Meiji Jingu. It is surrounded by forest and also near the Harajuku area (Takeshita street/shopping area).

I have always wanted to visit this shrine and so I had to make time for it.

I’m always taken back by how Japan keeps many of it’s historic places clean and welcoming. The place is amazing and so much history!!!

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation room

Pretty massive is the Tokyo Metro building.

I crossed an elevated bridge and walked inside.

The staff told me the observation room doesn’t open until 9:30am. So I had 45 minutes to look around. I found the promotional spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and took pictures with the mascots.

I was part of the 1st group to go up. Before I could check the views, I saw a ton of souvenirs for sale, but Godzilla captured my eyes!

Then I started to check out the views!

I’ve been going up high buildings and take photos. At least this observation experience was FREE!!!

Afterwards, I headed down to the subway system to get to Meiji Shrine.

Shinjuku Niagara Falls

Just west of Shinjuku station were 2 goals I did not accomplish last time.

One being Shinjuku Niagara Falls and the other Tokyo Metro building observatory.

I work up early as today was gonna be busy (Shinjuku, Meiji shrine, Odaiba, then Kawagoe).

My first goal was to walk to Shinjuku Niagara Falls. Had I went to Minoo Waterfalls in Osaka, I would have made this trip waterfall themed lol.

Shinjuku station at 8am was NO JOKE!!!

As I was walking toward Shinjuku Chuo Park, it was kinda nice to see the buildings and people heading into work.

After passing the Tokyo Metro gov building, the waterfalls weren’t far.

While not as majestic as a natural waterfall, having a spot to go and relax while on break is pretty nice.

The Little Prince Museum

I am a fan of the Le Petit Prince and was fortunate to see cool stuff in Paris relating to him.

When I was planning for Hakone, I wanted to see what was around where we were staying and I couldn’t believe a 10 minute walk would be at the Petit Prince Museum in Hakone!!!

When I arrived to our hotel, I decided to go check it out quick… unfortunately, it was closed. I had arrived at that time where maybe they closed up early?

Nonetheless, I still took a couple pictures of the outside.

Sunday – Shizuoka hotel and F31 meeting > Yokohama

Sunday morning, I woke up early to get breakfast with everyone. Last night I took a good long shower and I was so tired, I turned off the lights by taking out the key card for room out of the slot.

I didn’t realize this, but that pretty much cut ALL electricity to the room… So my cellphone and power banks did not charge.

During breakfast, Uchida-san and Ito-san let me borrow a cable and power bank. Pretty much saved me and did the job for the day. My LG had horrible charging and the battery life sucked.

The day was focused on the Leopard Meeting.  Pictures here :

After the meeting, Okuni-san took me to the nearby station where I would get on and transfer to the Shinkansen. I would stop by Mishima station where I would meet my aunt again. I had stuff that have been left at her place and I wanted to get it all.

It was definitely a pain to carry back to Yokohama (flying out of Haneda).

What was worse is that the capsule hotel, I was looking forward to enjoying, turned me down due to my tattoo (barely showing).

So I had to stay at another hotel for the night, which was better anyway. I had to repack stuff.

Hakone by train

I was going to Hakone, but a different route as Mt Hakone erupted, there was closure of some of the roads.

Kuze-san said he would pick me up at Gora station.

I took the Shinkansen from Nagoya station to Odawara station
At Odawara station, I had get on Odakyu’s Hakone Tozan line.
Hakone Tozan line

Once on, it was about a 20 minute ride to Hakone-Yumoto station, in which we get on another train for Gora station.

If you see the sign, it says that we mus transfer at Hakone-Yumoto station to get to Gora Station

Hakone Freepass… hmm.. Next time!
At Hakone-Yumoto station, there was a welcome sign.

Since everyone was transferring, there was a small line, but nothing too bad.

Sorry for the fingers.
I had to stand as I was one of the last people to get on. But at least my luggage was stored in this small spot.

As we were going up, I didn’t realize that Gora Station was on the mountain side, so there were a lot of switchbacks, meaning, changing direction as we were getting higher.

After going up hill and switching directions, I finally get to Gora station.

I didn’t get on the cable car, but as you an see, it goes straight up hill.

Kuze-san picked me up and we headed to Forest Hakone hotel, where we were 2 years ago.


After getting back from Nunobiki Falls in Kobe,

I had to start getting my shopping list done. I went to Osaka station and walked out side and saw Yodobashi-Umeda.

Went inside and bought what my wife and kids were looking for (Bento box and Harry Potter pen/wands).

Always see cool stuff, but I had to note, I spotted a couple Leopards here! Obligatory pictures.

Pretty cool toys, but they had a rotating Tomica Premium display.

Limited Express Rapi:t

If you land in Narita, you have 2 trains that could bring you to Tokyo. JR N’EX and Keisei Skyliner.

This time, I was landing in Kansai International (KIX) and I wanted to ride the Rapi:t express.


It is about 38 min ride from the airport to Namba station. The price is about $11 one way and I prepaid online.

Upon arrival to KIX, I went to the Nankai office to change my voucher to a ticket.

rapi:t ticket

I then waited for the arrival, which wasn’t too long.

Seat set up wasn’t bad. I opted for Super single seat. It’s kinda nice as it is leopard print!

After arrival to Namba station and exiting the platform, you can always find rapi:t items such as socks, key chains and bandaids.

sorry for the blurry picture. It was busy and I had my luggage.

Hep 5 Ferris Wheel

Probably one of the most visible structures seen in downtown Osaka is a Red Ferris Wheel on top of a building. This is the Hep 5 wheel.

HEP stands for “Hankyu Entertainment Park” (credit to Osaka station website).

This was one of those things I would typically excuse, but this is also a huge wheel on top of a building, so I wanted to try it.

I walked from Osaka station to the Hep 5 building. It was a few minutes walk.

In all honesty, the Wheel is impressive.

Once I got into the Lobby of HEP 5, I followed the escalators up to the 7th floor.

1st Floor has Sperm whales

I had the Osaka Amazing pass and the HEP 5 wheel was covered. But the cost of the ticket isn’t much, I believe 600 Yen (about $6).

This was on Saturday and there wasn’t a line.

The wheel moves slowly and takes about 15 minutes to make a full revolution.

On the capsule’s glass, facing each direction, are red outline guides to what buildings are in view. That’s pretty cool.

Namba Parks

When I was looking for things to do around Namba station (the station I would arrive at) I saw something of Google Maps that caught my eye.

We went up and around Namba Parks. It is hard to capture it as it is huge, but also staggered. We had fun exploring it and enjoying how calm it was.