After months of planning, researching, and booking, my friends and I finally went to Japan for our graduation trip!
I’m splitting up this 11-day trip into four posts, each focusing on one specific area of Japan—so come along on our trip as I look back and retell the story from my memories!
Six months ago (or even more), I told Nicole—one of my best friends—that I was itching to go back to Japan and explore different areas. Originally, my whole group of friends and I were supposed to go to Japan together. Unfortunately, not everyone was free to go, so we decided to push on with the trip with promises of future travel with everyone else instead. In the end, only Nicole, Alecca, and I were free to go.
After deciding on who could go, we talked about what areas of Japan we’d like to explore. Nicole, seeing that it would be her first time to visit Japan, voted for Osaka since she’s been dreaming of going to Universal Studios for the Wizarding World. Alecca, who’s visited Japan once in the past, was willing to go wherever we’ll go, and I wanted to explore Nagoya and Hiroshima. Searching up nearby places to visit, I came up with this route: Nagoya-Osaka-Kyoto-Hiroshima-Osaka.
Now that we had a clear route, we decided on a budget and the activities we’d want to do in each area. Since most of the funds (if not all) for the trip would be coming out of our own savings, we were on a budget for sure. I made an Excel sheet and worked on the budget for flights, accommodation, night buses, entrance fees, and more. Once the budget seemed reasonable, we bought our plane tickets. We booked our hostels and night buses. We bought tickets for USJ and airport express tickets. We exchanged our money and packed—the point is, we booked and bought whatever we could before leaving to ease on us spending yen once we arrived.
Fast forward to March 1 after months of careful planning and research, we were on the plane for Nagoya!
Day 1: Arrival (Nagoya)
(L-R): Nicole, Alecca, and I on the plane to Nagoya!
Chicken Sisig: one last Filipino meal before having eleven days of Japanese food!
Our flight landed earlier than expected, so took our time and rode the airport express to Nagoya Station. We embraced the cool air (which is such a luxury since I live in a tropical country) as we made our way to our first hostel of the trip.
It was all our first time to try out a capsule hostel, so we were pretty excited! It was interesting to see all the different people checking in and hanging out in the lounge. My friends and I booked a female-only floor and we enjoyed how clean and quiet the floor was!
My little space for the next two nights.
We settled down, freshened up for bed, and rested for the day, excited for what tomorrow would bring.
Day 2: Nagoya Castle + Nagoya City Science Museum (+ Karaoke, hehe)
After waking up and getting ready for the day, we headed out to the nearby Yoshinoya for breakfast:
I ordered the salmon + beef set!
With our stomachs full, we made our way to Nagoya Castle!
Alecca and Nicole reminding me where we were—HAHA!
The walk to the castle was brief and relaxing. We ooh-ed and aah-ed at the view of the castle from afar before paying the entrance fee and entering the castle grounds.
It was a sunny day. I’m not sure if you can tell by the way I was squinting, HAHA.
Along the grounds were little shops that sold souvenirs (I picked up a postcard for myself, of course) and snacks. We stopped by to try some of them—Alecca and Nicole having ice cream cones while I ordered a custard Manju from Kinshachi Yaki (spoiler: it was delicious!)
The cake was light and soft, almost making it seem like it’s melting in your mouth, and the custard was warm and light—yum!
We found a little place by the side of the castle grounds that displayed pieces of handmade pieces on display:
Just look at these birds—so cute!
Just realized that my scarf matches the castle, haha!
After a relaxing stroll around the castle, we walked to the station and headed for the Nagoya City Science Museum!
You can’t miss the museum with a giant planetarium starting back at you.
Silly mirrors and fun shots!
The museum was crazy interactive, which we all enjoyed. We learned so much and had a wonderful time exploring each area of the large museum. I’d like to bring my little sister here if we ever end up in this area again in the future!
Shadow puppet wall with demos.
“Care for a spot of tea?”
Tornado demonstration—very cool.
We lost track of time and found out that we actually skipped out on lunch, oops. We found a nearby Indian curry and naan place and decided to have their lunch set (even if it was 3:00PM.) I remember eating Indian curry and naan when I went on an exchange program for a couple of months in Tokyo some years back and remembered how delicious it was. This place did not disappoint! I ordered the chicken curry and naan set (with mango lassi, of course)—and wow. The chicken was so tender and the curry was light with just the right spices. I wish I could bring this back to Manila or, at least, find a restaurant like this back home.
I’m writing this blog post late at night and I’m getting hungry just looking at this photo, huhuhu.
After our incredibly heavy lunch (which we decided would last to be our dinner as well), we headed back to Nagoya Station and made our way to Jankara Karaoke for our reservations. (We got the unlimited karaoke + drinks package from 4PM-9PM, but only stayed until 7:30PM, hehe. We didn’t want to lose our voices, after all.)
Naturally, I just had to sing some of my fav animé openings.
We spent the evening singing our hearts out, taking a purikura, and hanging out by the arcades before walking back to the hostel to rest for the day. Phew!
Day 3: Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Park + Port of Nagoya Aquarium
With our voices amazingly still intact after a night of belting out to some Broadway tunes and throwback songs, we got ready and headed for the nearby Denny’s for brunch.
I had the breakfast set with eggs, bacon, a sausage, rice, miso soup, and tea.
After breakfast, we headed for the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens:
Their mascot is so cute!
We took the monoline around the zoo to start from the back and make our way back to the entrance.
Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to see the “Botanical Gardens” part because the flowers have yet to bloom, but we enjoyed the zoo portion, nevertheless.
Believe it or not, but the sheep’s mouth is actually where the water comes out, haha!
At the middle of the zoo was a lake, and when we saw that we could rent boats, we did.
Nicole and I were paddling with our feet, while Alecca steered the boat.
Saying goodbye to all the cute animals, we headed for the Port of Nagoya Aquarium next!
“I heard a rumor that you’re pretty crabby around people.”
We stayed until the aquarium closed and decided to have a curry dinner (yes, we ate curry for two days in a row) at the neighboring food hall beside the aquarium:
We had time to kill before we had to go back to our hostel, pick up our luggage, and head to the night bus (we’re going to Osaka next!) so we spent some time at the arcade again:
I love this game so much, HAHA. I’m thinking of getting it for the Switch in the future!
That’s about it for our stay in Nagoya!
We had such a wonderful time exploring around and getting to know the charms of the place. I’d want to visit the area again in the future and visit other places like the Toyota Museum and the Nagoya Tower—until next time, Nagoya!
The next part of the Japan 2019 series would be about our next stop: Osaka!
‘Till the next blog post,