Tuesday, 24 March 2015

♥Japan 2014! Trip Report → Day 1 (Ikebukuro & Sunshine City - Sunshine Aquarium & Namco Namja Town!)♥

 Hello everybunny!♪ Welcome to the first day of my holiday in Japan!♥
Ahh I'm really pumped to get all these posts written up now ww♪ For the first day of our holiday, we decided to take it easy and just explore somewhere nearby.^^ We were staying in Ikebukuro, which is kind of split into two halves (east & west) by the huge train station. On this day, we were headed to the east side.^^ Our hotel was to the west.♪
The Ikebukuro train station is really big, and really busy ahah ;; I found it a little difficult to find my way around because of the crowds, but it was pretty neat! Plus many signs were in English & Japanese.♪ There were lots of different stands and shops selling different things, and even department stores! At first I thought it was really strange for there to be so many things in a train station, but quite a few stations in Tokyo were like this ww More on trains another day though, this time we headed straight through towards Sunshine City!
Sunshine City is pretty amazing, it's a little cluster of buildings including a skyscrapers that's 60 floors high called Sunshine 60.♪ The complex contains two shopping malls (alpa & ALTA), restaurants (with some on the 58th & 59th floors of Sunshine 60), a theatre, two indoor theme parks (Namco Namja Town & J-World), a hotel, an aquarium, a museum, a planetarium, and an observatory!

Little flags welcoming people to Ikebukuro East♪

While I was holiday planning, I found a few cute reviews for the Milky Way café, which is near Sunshine City. I was really happy to see where it was, since the reviews I read had been really positive and I wanted to take Jen & Josh here during the holiday.♥
Sorry I didn't take any photos of Ikebukuro. >< I wanted to save my camera battery for the aquarium & theme park.^^ We headed into Sunshine City to have a look around the shops before heading elsewhere.

There was a cute shop selling lots of different sweet & snacks, but I tried out one of the cute sweet machines at the front and got Soot Sprite sweets ww They weren't particularly tasty though, they were basically just sugar ahah;; 

After looking around, we headed to one of the elevators to go to the aquarium. There were quite a few people, so there was a queue with a few different attendants, pretty fancy!♪ It was nice that everything was so calm and orderly. ; 7 ;♥

The aquarium was really pretty and well presented, and although it was quite busy, everyone was considerate and it was possible to get a good look at everything.^^ I got to see some sea friends that I had never seen in real life! I would really recommend a visit here.♥ I didn't visit any of the other aquariums so I can't compare this, but I really enjoyed it!♪ If you're not a sea friend fan, feel free to skip ahead to the theme park report below.♪ There will be a lot of cute sea friend photos now ww♥

I had never seen Spotted Garden Eels before and ahh they were so fun & cute! I really enjoyed watching them.♥ There were many different Spotted Garden Eel goods in the aquarium shop, but I resisted getting the big plushie. OTL

I love the tanks that have a huge variety of things to look at.♪

Spider Crab! It was pretty strange, but also kind of fabulous. - 7-

The Giant Isopod was adorable. ; u ;♥ I'd love to have a pet Giant Isopod, but I think they're happier there with their sea friends.(I'll just have to get a plushie one ww♥)

More Spider Crab! It looks kind of grumpy from this angle though..


I was probably most excited to see the Mola Mola♥ It's so cute & peaceful. uvu♥ I watched it swim around for a while.♪ In the aquarium shop, Josh & I each got one so they could kiss each other. The Mola Mola is very pouty as you can see, so of course we needed our own Kissy Fish couple. o: The downside to the Mola Mola is that it didn't have a Mola Mola-friend, maybe they're solitary fish?

One part of the aquarium was rainforest themed, with animals & fish from rainforest areas.♥ There was also a variety of plants!


The aquarium had sea lions!

We spotted this on the way to the aquarium shop.♪ During summer, Sunshine City had a Hello Kitty collab for her 40th Anniversary.♥ Some cafés, including the aquarium café had Hello Kitty themed food, and there were also many places selling Hello Kitty collab goods.♪ We decided to skip on the themed food since we'd have many opportunities at Sanrio Puroland.♪

The aquarium was on the roof of one of the buildings!♥ Outside were some birds, the sea lions, and some more fish.♪

The outside exhibit of fish contained huuuuuge fish! I'm pretty sure this was an Arapaima!♪

And a pretty water feature as we found our way back to the elevators. Our next stop was one of the indoor theme parks!

Namco Namja Town!♪

It seemed quite quiet, I was expecting it to be pretty busy since it was the holidays but I guess people were outside enjoying the summer weather ww. I preferred being inside because of the heat. >< Hooray for aircon.♥

If you're thinking of taking a trip here, please bear in mind that there aren't many things in English.^^; The attractions are primarily in Japanese, though there are a few where Japanese skills aren't needed to get the full experience. The guide on the website has recommended attractions to visit if you lack Japanese skills. c: Though of course, there's nothing to stop you trying out attractions whether you have a high level of Japanese or not! Inside Namja Town, there are also two 'food theme parks' that sell a variety of desserts & gyoza.♪

You could buy tickets at machines.♪ There was an entry only option, and a passport option which included unlimited attractions.^^ I found that most places we visited had similar options. We chose entry only, since we weren't sure if we wanted to try out any attractions. The machine was really easy to use since there was a button to make everything in English, though it was pretty easy to figure out in Japanese ww

Tickets & guides! As well as Egnlish options on the ticket machine, there were also maps & guides in English. c:
During August, there was an Aikatsu! collab at Namja Town!♪ It's a pretty cute series, though I've barely watched any of it. ;; I've loved what I have seen of it though.^^

There were different themed areas inside, it was awesome! This was a haunted house themed area ww♪

There was also an area with lots of UFO catchers! I didn't attempt any because at that point in the holiday I had 0 UFO catcher skills www. Though now I look at these photos, they don't look too difficult. OTL The plushies were super cute too.♥

There was also a UFO catcher with Pokemon tableware.♪

Many parts of the theme park were interactive & had a lot to look at! I particularly liked this bookshelf ww

In the dessert theme park area, there was a little shop selling ice cream in... probably a million different flavours ww

Another little shop selling more cute desserts.^^

Instead of desserts, Jen & Josh tried some gyoza! We had no idea what the flavours were, I think they picked a recommended set.♪ I didn't get any because I couldn't tell if they were meat filled or not. OTL

Cute napkin!

Instead of gyoza, I decided a dessert would be more to my liking...

And since Namja Town had an Aikatsu! collab, there was of course, Aikatsu! themed food.♥

Ichigo's parfait!♥♥ It was amazing! ; 7 ;♥ Strawberry & vanilla ice cream, cream, cornflakes, sprinkles, strawberry sauce, pocky, a white chocolate Angely Sugar logo wing, and a strawberry gummy!♥ Whew, so much cuteness ww♪ Oddly, I love cereal as a treat, and I'm quite fond of ice cream sundaes, so this ticked many happy boxes.♥

It was quite small for ¥600, but the size was perfect for me.♥ It was so yummy, it's a shame there was no room for another character dessert ahah.^^;;

After our lunch, we popped to the Namja Town shop and I bought some Aikatsu! goods ww♥ We then decided that we would skip the J-World theme park (it's Shonen Jump!) and brave the outdoors ww

We had no idea which exit we took out of the shopping mall, but we were greeted with Animate ww This wasn't the main store, but there was a map directing people there, so we decided to check it out. Usually I'm pretty good with maps but couldn't make heads or tails of it, but Josh worked it out hah.♪ Outside we could hear lots of cicadas, it was amazing! I guess it's super normal over there, super boring & average. But I found it fascinating ww. ; v ; The most we get over here is... crickets making a noise sometimes if you find yourself in a very grassy area, or a bee or two humming.

As well as the Hello Kitty x Sunshine City collab, there were also collabs with Ultraman and Happiness Charge Precure.♪

Our first vending machine experience! On this day, I fell in love with grape fanta ww..♥ I wish we had vending machines like these in the UK, they're so convenient and the variety of drinks is great!♪ They also seemed a lot cheaper than vending machines over here.

On the way to Animate, we stopped at a game centre to have a look around.^^ I spotted this which was pretty cute! Powerpuff Girls x Hatsune Miku. As a huge Powerpuff Girls fan, I very much approved ww♥ We also did purikura for the first time, which was really fun! I was under the impression that purikura was always super sparkly and OTT kawaii and stuff, but a most of the machines weren't. There was an area with changing cubicles and mirrors to do hair & makeup, as well as costume rental. I didn't think purikura got so involved!

The last stop of the day was Animate.♪ Personally I wasn't a fan, I didn't really enjoy it. It was too crowded for my liking, and not my sort of place anyway ww. Still, it was interesting to see the sheer amount of merchandise for different series, as well as cosplays, manga, anime dvds etc. I spotted some Adventure Time and Happy Tree Friends merch too haha.♪ If you're into otaku sorta stuff, you would love it here, it's like all of the stands at conventions that sell merchandise in one handy albeit pretty tight uncomfortable space. OTL One thing I did enjoy though, was all of the capsule machines. I love capsule goodies ww♪
After this we slowly headed back to our hotel and crashed ww Since it was so hot and gross, we just picked up snacks from the seven eleven for dinner. I'm pretty sure I grabbed some jagarico, ate a few, then gave up on life for the day.
Two recommendations:
1. Remember to eat really well on holiday to keep energy up!!! I kept my bad habits and suffered because of it. OTL I did, however, keep really hydrated! Which sort of made up for the fact that for most of the holiday I barely ate.
2. Don't go to Japan in super hot & sticky summer if you're a person who doesn't cope well in hot weather (oops OTL). Hence why I've planned my holiday this year for May!
You'll likely see me emphasise the above points during this holiday report, because they're just so so important! I regret suffering so much in the heat and I regret not having as much energy to enjoy things and getting unwell a few times during the holiday.;; On the plus side, the hotel bed was lovely and comfy, and had amazing aircon so I had a nice place to crash. :3 As I mentioned in the first post, I learned a lot during this holiday, but at least I can use my knowledge to make future holidays better!♪
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you'll look forward to my day 2 report, which will come in two parts since we did so much & took so many photos ww♪

Have a lovely day & dreamy night!♥

Love, Eliza♥

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