Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

· Food, Travel

Let’s start this Japan trip debriefing by the end, with Osaka and more precisely Universal Studios Japan. At first, this park was a bit a pain to understand how it works as I had different feedbacks: purchase tickets in advance? On site? With or without pass?

Therefore, I will try to give details to those who wish to visit the most visited park in Japan (with TokyoDisney Resort) with serenity and also for Harry Potter and/or Sailor Moon fans!

 

Access the Universal Park

The park is located about 20mn from the center of Osaka at the Universal City station. The easiest is to ride the JR Osaka Loop Line toward Nishi-Kujo. Then, change for the JR Sakurajima Line toward Sakurajima and stop at the Universal City station. Then the access to the park is clearly marked-up, you can’t get lost.

 

Book your tickets

Now it gets complicated… well only a little bit! It isn’t as easy as the Disney parks that offer 2 options: entrance tickets and Fast pass inside the park..

Here, comfort and rapidness at the attractions must be paid and thought in advance! We booked only 30min in advance for TokyoDisneyland but it would be unwise to do to the same there, considering the huge line (we actually waited about 20min at the entrance, even though we had our tickets AND it was considered as the « low season »).

Therefore I highly recommend you to book in advance (online with Govoyagin or in a travel agency if you don’t understand anything).

 

ENTRANCE TICKET

The ticket (about 60€ for 1 adult for 1 day) lets you access the park and attractions but you won’t be able to access the Wizarding world of Harry Potter, unless you find a terminal that provides limited tickets for the popular world of wizards from Hogwards.

Better to mention that we didn’t want to stress out in the morning so on top of the entrance ticket we booked an Universal Express Pass, which I highly recommend  unless you like the risk (or you don’t particularly like Harry Potter).

 

THE UNIVERSAL EXPRESS PASSES

These “door-openers” and fast passes are more expensive than the entrance ticket (about 90€ for the Universal Express Pass 7) but I have to admit that we never waited at any attractions mentioned with the pass, which was amazing considering that sometimes there was up to 3 or 4-hour wait (at the main “Harry Potter and the forbidden journey” rollercoaster for instance)

It’s possible to choose between 5 or 6 different Express passes hence my confusion at the beginning. To sum up, we can choose between Express Passes 7 or Express Passes 4: the difference is the list of attractions included in the pass (so 7 or 4 depending on the pass).

Our priority was to try the Harry Potter rollercoaster but also to enjoy the day without rush: so we chose the Universal Express pass 7, which includes Harry Potter. This being said, if you choose a pass, the day will be punctuated by meet-up time: you will need to go to the attraction at the time mentioned on your ticket, which doesn’t let you decide on your exact plan, but we can’t have everything, can we?

For information, find below our given time scheduled of the day with a Pass 7 (make sure to double check on your ticket to not miss anything and be on time):

  • From 11:50 am : The wizarding world of Harry Potter access
  • 12:10pm-12:40pm : Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • 12:40pm-1:10pm : Flight of the Hippogriff
  • 2:30pm-3pm : Lupin the Third Car Chase XR Ride
  • 3:30pm-4pm : Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • And whenever we wanted but to choose between the 2 attractions mentioned::
    The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Ride 4K3 or JAWS (we chose Spiderman)
    Hollywood Dream, The Ride ou Backdraft (we chose Hollywood Dreamm)

Explanations about the “tickets” being done, I hope it’s all clear and let’s move on!

 

The different worlds of the park

The Universal park is divided in 9 different worlds (apparently a new “Nintendo” will open from 2020):

  • HOLLYWOOD : in which we find the 4D Sailor Moon attraction.
  • NEW YORK : with the Spiderman attraction.
  • MINION PARK : as the name mention this world is full of cute Minions

  • SAN FRANCISCO : a small Fisherman Wharf that includes the Backdraft attraction.
  • JURASSIC PARK : to my great regret, the rollercoaster was closed for the day and we didn’t have time to check the world neither!
  • WATERWORLD : I’ve already seen the show in Los Angeles so I didn’t go this time.
  • AMITY VILLAGE : with the Jaws attraction.

  • THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER : smaller than the one in the US apparently, but a numerous number of details for the fans can be found (details below)

  • UNIVERSAL WONDERLAND : a world dedicated to Snoopy, Elmo and the Sesame Street characters as well as Hello Kitty.

The biggest surprise for me was to find the small Sailor Moon area in Hollywood with the unique attraction called “Pretty guardian Sailor Moon : The miracle 4D”…

…but also a shop full of souvenirs (surprisingly I didn’t buy at all!), a popcorn booth dedicated to the defender of Justice of the moon (once again I resisted!) and a special food menu in a restaurant of Hollywood Boulevard ( ok, I gave up on this one!).

So here is the map of the park in case you want to have a look before hand but don’t worry the park is quite small so it shouldn’t be a problem!

 

The wizarding world of Harry Potter

One of the most famous area. Apparently it’s smaller than the parks in Florida and California so if you’ve already visited one of these two parks you might be disappointed.

As for me, i didn’t have anything to compare, and as I only finished to read and watch the HP saga last year only (!) it was a complete discovery!

I was particularly impressed by all the details created for Hogsmeade, with shops full of souvenirs and candies and the Castle of Hogwarts, that hosts the attraction I wanted to try, as I had a lot of positive feedbacks.

Indeed “Harry potter and the forbidden journey” is considered as one of the best attraction in the world and I have to admit that all the element were reunited to help.

 

HARRY POTTER AND THE FORBIDDEN JOURNEY

Without telling you too much, it’s a ride on rotating seats amongst the different movie scenes with very well-made half real AND virtual settings: Quidditch game, chase with the Dementors…

Sensations are real but totally OK (it’s not a hardcore rollercoaster, so not worries). And what particularly surprised me, was the length of the ride: 5 long minutes… we have time to really enjoy and admire everything!

Very different from the other attraction from this world that I will explain later on.

 

THE “THREE BROOMSTICKS” RESTAURANT

Due to our express pass planning we decided to have lunch at the Three Broomsticks restaurant and it was a brilliant idea. The terrasse was quite (even though it was low season) and great view with the castle.

The menu was not extraordinary good (roasted chicken or pork, grilled corn, salad) but I was able to try to well-known Butterbeer, that I chose frozen: quite sweet and caramel taste, is what I remember.

Not as good as Harry, Hermione or Ron would say but at least I tried!

 

HOGSMEADE SHOPS

As per the derived items available in those world, I couldn’t find anything very special… but as I am not a real Potterhead, I might not be the target.

Anyways, fans will find a large choice of magic wands and other changing time key holders. I would like also to congratulate fans wearing Hogwarts uniforms during this summer season: with this heat, wearing a Hufflepuff scarf (apparently I would be in this school) didn’t even cross my mind!

 

The rides

I will detail below the attractions I got to try with or without the Express pass 7: obviously I didn’t have time to try them all: the closed ones (my big regret: Jurassic Park), the ones too intense for me (even though Japanese are not well-know for hardcore rollercoasters) and also because of the time flying!

But the Express Pass 7 allowed us to experience the park in an optimal way without waiting more than 5 minutes at each one (saying it again but really it was amazing!)

  • PRETTY GUARDIAN SAILOR MOON: THE MIRACLE 4D : I really loved the 4D show with 3D glasses and water/air/heat in the main theater. The transformation scenes are particularly nice to watch in 3D: a total immersion in one of the the Sailor Moon adventure.

  • HARRY POTTER AND THE FORBIDDEN JOURNEY : I already told you everything: a must-do !
  • FLIGHT OF THE HIPPOGRIFF : this one was included in the Express Pass but if it’s not your case just pass this one: it’s a kind of super slow rollercoaster without real sensation and very short (not even 1minute… even though I saw a 2-hour line!)

Flight of the Hippogriff : Pass this !

 

  • LUPIN THE THIRD CAR CHASE XR RIDE : my favorite one with Harry Potter, very original, and good sensations (not too strong though). With an augmented reality cask, you’ll ride Lupin’s car for a crazy chase where the real and virtual sensation are perfectly mixing! This is not only a virtual car simulator: you really feel the movements (and the sensation). It’s impressive!

  • DESPICABLE ME MINION MAYHEM : a 3D tour where you will learn how to become a Minion. Nice without being unforgettable.

  • THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF SPIDERMAN : THE RIDE 4K3 : pretty similar to our Ratatouille at Disney but more active.

  • HOLLYWOOD DREAM THE RIDE : I almost skip this ride due to all the screams and the high fall-down in perspective.
    but I took my courage with two hands thinking that in Japan it shouldn’t be too hard. And indeed, it was alright: real sensation but the shock isn’t strong and the fact that we can choose the song to listen during the tour probably helped me! (Taylor Swift “Shake or Off” for me and “Beat it” for my SO).

You can also choose to do it backwards but NO WAY for me… just letting you know if you like it.

The rides I didn’t tried but that might worse the detour (depending how you like sensations!)

  • THE FLYING DINOSAUR : thank god this one was not included in our Express Pass as it might be the worst in terms of sensations in this park. A huge rollercaster very high and fast that gives you the impression to fly over the park rotating up and down. You can watch videos on YouTube if you want to have an idea: I think I couldn’t never dare trying.
  • JURASSIC PARK THE RIDE : As I said, I regret I couldn’t try this one as it was closed that day: apparently you need to be prepared to get wet at the end of the ride!
  • WATERWORLD : a show with explosions and fire that I had already seen in Los Angeles a while ago.
  • GODZILLA VS EVANGELION 4D : in the same theater as Sailor Moon: I can imagine the same style of show but different theme.

There are much more too try, some more for kids and others looking more like a fair (around and in the Minions world for instance): I let you discover this by yourself!

 

The Shows

Unless you stay 2 days in the park, I don’t know how you can do attractions and shows. However, we managed to arrange our schedule to attend 2 shows at the end of the day:

 

HOGWARTS MAGICAL CELEBRATION

A projection of lights on Hogwarts castle with small scenes performed by so-called Hogwarts students (I was expecting them to be Harry Potter or Hermione for instance it would have spiced up the show!).

A bit disappointed by this pretty short show, without fireworks (it would have been beautiful with the reflection in the lake!) nor parade.

 

THE NIGHT PARADE : THE BEST OF HOLLYWOOD

Much better. It’s actually here that we can see the cars with Harry Potter (The Hogwarts Express is pretty well done), Minions, Transformers and Jurassic Park.

I found it less magical than the TokyoDisneyland parade (less performers maybe) but it still a good show to end a very full day!

 

MISC tips

Here are my advices to fully enjoy the day. :

  • Visit the park during weekdays (we chose Thursday) and not during Japanese holidays.
  • Arrive at least 30-45 mn before the gate opening, with your printed tickets.
  • Double check the opening time of the park on the Internet official site, it might change from one day to another (usually it opens around 8:30am)
  • Wear proper clothes depending on the weather: not much areas with shadow so better carry a (bucket) hat and a bottle of water if you go during summer time! You won’t loose anything during the attractions, Japanese thought about everything, even elastics to hold your open shoes such as Birkenstock’s or flip flop.
  • If you chose an Express Pass, make sure to follow the time scheduled for the different attractions and during free times, enjoy other attractions or have lunch. We got the chance to have some time when we arrived so we went straight to the Sailor Moon adventure.
  • If you don’t have an Express Pass, be quick from the opening and go right away to get your ticket for the Harry Potter world and do the attractions as “single riders” to wait less… but you will experience it alone which might not be as fun.
  • It isn’t allowed to bring your own picnic in the park (no choice but to eat inside) so have a look before hand where to have lunch… we already knew we would be inside Harry Potter world during lunch time so we chose the Three Broomsticks but they are plenty of other places in the park: (Park side Grill in New York) and Asian food restaurants (Saido in New York and The Dragon’s Pearl in San Francisco)
  • The food is average (to my opinion less good compared to DisneySea for exemple) but the Japanese care remains and it’s always nice to eat a menu with a special theme: my Sailor Moon ice cream had a better taste than a regular one, no doubt! Haha!

We cannot resist a Hello Kitty bánh bao, right ?

 

I hope I was able to help you out with all the planning for your visit at Universal Studios Japan even though I couldn’t myself try everything (attractions, food, etc). But somehow I had a good overview thanks to the fast-pass tickets.

If you’ve already been to the park in the US then it might not be a must-go as they are a lot of common attractions but it’s always nice to try Japanese’s theme park styles… even though it might have an impact on your budget we must admit!

Feel free to ask all the questions in the comments below if anything is unclear, I will answer with pleasure! And I will prepare the next article soon with all my good addresses in Osaka! (English translation by Quiterie)

Parisian stories

· Decoration, Fashion, Food

To stay in Paris during the summer season has never really been a problem for me as (I know I’ve been telling the same every year) I appreciate the city slowing down and this « summer » atmosphere. So what a pleasure to discover that the BHV MARAIS is currently celebrating the Parisian way of life.

As food ambassador, I attended the new « So Frenchy » activity created by the BHV MARAIS. Here are my discoveries: Report of Inspector TKBB!

 

Made in France shopping

Each floor of the BHV MARAIS, displays nice small cute black and white corners a bit everywhere, highlighting a selection of original gift ideas and souvenirs from Paris with a touch of humor we like!

Enhanced by bouquets of dried flowers, these booths showcase delicacies, small design items and books: tableware from Gien, chocolates with baguette shapes, funny « hangover » or « grandma in the nettle » candles from the brand HUTTE, posters, « Le bijou parisien » teeshirts embroidered with your favorite metro station…

There is something for every taste here! I will show you at the end of this articles what I got tempted by!

 

La Maison Plisson pop-up corner

At the ground floor of the department store, we can find a pop-up space dedicated to the famous delicatessen shop La Maison Plisson called « Le Petit Plisson ». We can sit down for a coffee and croissants (only croissant for me, I don’t drink coffee!).

This improvised Parisian coffee changed to a delicatessen and souvenir shop since where we can find products from La Maison Plisson, collector bowls from Brittany as well as shopping bags and aprons designed by Jean Jullien.

 

The “Sous les fraises” products from the Parisian rooftops

f you followed my Instagram stories last year, you may have seen me on the BHV MARAIS rooftop to discover the vertical vegetable garden up there.

 

Indeed these urban farming were created by « Sous les fraises », which commits to vegetate the city and to promote urban farming: therefore, we can find at the 2nd floor of the BHV MARAIS, a « Sous les fraises » booth gathering all the products made of the plants harvested on the rooftops of Paris: herbal teas, honey candies (yes they also have beehives!), plant based drinks…

 

Brunch on “la Terrasse du Bazar”

I also had the chance to try the brunch served on the 6th floor of the BHV MARAIS: indeed a new spot just opened at this level “La terrasse du Bazar” !

I am quite used to go to Le Perchoir (7th floor) so it allows me to change my habits and to discover another nice place to be (and eat!).

Breakfasts and brunches will be served during the summer season (on reservation) so if you are looking for a new yummy and high place, you can add up this one on your list!

 

My selection

 Vintage postcard and Hutte “Douce France” candle

 

So here are all the things I brought back from my time spent at the BHV MARAIS: I fell for the « Douce France » candle from the French brand Hutte (I also hesitated with the one with the quote about grandma but sorry Grandma, I preferred the bucolic smell of « Douce France»!)

I liked the nod from these made in France fortune cookies: I will be able to surprise my guests in style in the future!

Fortune cookies, honey and truffle artichoke cream Maison Plisson

 Vintage postcards and chocolate (on the right)

I also chose this book with good Vegan addresses in Paris “Le guide du paris Vegan”: I am not vegan but I’ve tried to decrease the amount of meat I eat and I’ve been trying to find some yummy alternatives. This book listing all the best vegan restaurants/pastry shops in Paris will allow me to try out new tastes! I won’t hesitate to share here my beautiful discoveries!

Guide du Paris Vegan by Pauline Le Gall and Aurore Carric, Editions Alternatives

 

I also like when sweets are packaged in nice boxes we can then reuse: example with these marshmallows in a nice candy box !

Bicuits and herbal tea Sous les fraises, marshmallows Les gourmandises de Sophie

 

Anyways, very nice surprise with these « Parisian stories » made in the BHV MARAIS, coming up after the Portuguese atmosphere that was available a few months back. What a pleasure to be a tourist in our own town and to be able to get surprised by what we find: Paris is always a good idea? It seems like yes ! (English translation by Quiterie)

 

This is a promoted post and was made in collaboration with BHV Marais

My Japan Road-trip

· Illustration, Travel

Here I am for another recap of my Japan trip ! My 5th so far, always with the same enthusiasm and even more surprises than usual, which I didn’t think possible, having already been to Japan in spring, autumn and winter.

Only summertime was missing, and even if this time of the year has more an “end of spring” vibe, I got to see a greener, lusher and warmer side of my darling Japan.

For those of you who followed my trip in my Instagram stories, thank you again for sharing my enthusiasm : we continue now on the blog with more detail. I’ll be posting my japanese stories on Instagram (Highlight stories) as we go along so you can have a full immersion experience, and maybe it will also encourage you to prepare your own trip!

Here are a couple tips following this 5th experience (you can also re-read my previous summaries here, here and there). Here we go!

 

Heading to Japan end of May-beginning of June

We prepared for this trip in a rush : we found airplane tickets with a promotion, which made us take the leap. All the preparation took place in the month prior to our departure … almost! When we were in the plane for Osaka, we were still missing a couple hotel nights, which is to say how unprepared we actually were!

I found this timeframe perfect for traveling : the weather was pleasant (26-30°C) and sunny for the whole 2 and a half weeks of our trip (=only 2 days of rain). Of course, the cherry blossom season was gone, but so were the tourists… especially in the area we headed to : Shikoku !

We were often alone on the hiking trails or in the villages : some might find it to lack in atmosphere, but we really enjoyed the peace and quiet.

We found some animation in cities like Kochi, Matsuyama or Takamatsu and more excitement in Osaka but for the majority of our trip we enjoyed an unhoped-for and very much appreciated tranquillity.

 

What should you plan for in a Japan Road-trip?

THE LEGS OF THE JOURNEY

Once again, as for our winter trip, I let my SO manage most of the hotel bookings and determining the legs of the journey. He did great, prepared a well balanced road-trip and found us some lovely places to stay. He is the main instigator of the quality of this road trip, which wouldn’t have been the same without him, so let’s all thank him!

I was just here to give the main points of interest I had listed at the beginning, and he managed to connect it all and build a coherent trip, that wasn’t too tiring.

Pilgrimage in one of the 88 temples of Shikoku

 

The visits we made we decided upon the same day, by leafing through brochures of the tourist information offices or by asking the hotel employees or locals, with the exception of Universal Studios (that we had booked in advance : I’ll tell you all about it in a specific post) and the Chichu Art museum in Naoshima, that we also booked online.

We departed on May 22nd 2019 (early afternoon) and came back on June 8th 2019 (early morning). There’s just one thing we would do better if we were to start over : we should have booked a night near Oboke on day 2 to avoid that round trip we did on day 3 (I made the correction on the map to keep it simple). Here’s our route :

 

DAY 1 : Osaka (where we booked the car at the airport) – Naruto – Sato, Awaji
DAY 2 : Awaji – Kochi
DAY 3 : Kochi – Oboke – Kazurabashi – Kochi
DAY 4 : Kochi – Shimanto
DAY 5 : Shimanto
DAY 6 : Shimanto – Matsuyama
DAY 7 : Matsuyama
DAY 8 : Matsuyama – Ozu – Matsuyama
DAY 9 : Matsuyama – Nagafuchi
DAY 10 : Nagafuchi – Takamatsu
DAY 11 : Takamatsu – Naoshima – Takamatsu (by boat)
DAY 12 : Takamatsu – Teshima – Takamatsu (by boat)
DAY 13 : Takamatsu – Sumoto, Awaji
DAY 14 : Sumoto – Osaka (end of the car rental)
DAY 15 : Osaka : Walk around the city
DAY 16 : Osaka : Universal Studios Japan
DAY 17 : Osaka : Last day, shopping before we boarded that same evening, right before the beginning of day 18

 

CAR RENTAL

It was a first for this trip : we booked a car! For the japanese train-enthusiast that I am, I was almost disappointed that we had to rent a car this time … but let’s be honest, without a car, we wouldn’t have been able to do even a fourth of the trip (or we would have had to double or triple our timeframe – there weren’t a lot of public transportation options available!). It was a huge time saver, and a freedom multiplier. A car is definitively necessary to visit Japan’s more faroff places (…like Shikoku!).

A huge thank you to my SO for being such a champ’ and driving on the left side of the road, with traffic signs in japanese (although they were often translated), for driving down unknown or windy roads and following the sometimes dubious directions of our GPS (it wasn’t the most comprehensible device … we often chose to follow the Plans app on my Iphone).

We rented a car online with Nissan-rent-a-car via the tocoo.jp website. (I didn’t draw the right car on the map, but I love these japanese cubic cars!)

It’s on this website that we found the cheapest option (690euros for 2 weeks, including insurance and a pocket wifi).

After our Paris-Helsinki-Osaka flight, we directly picked up the car at the Kansai Osaka airport and drove to the island of Awaji. We needed a few minutes to adjust (understanding how the car options, the GPS and the automatic gear set worked…) but japanese are pretty safe drivers so we weren’t too stressed out on the road.

 

TRANSLATING OUR DRIVER’S LICENSE

To rent a car and drive on japanese roads, having your driver’s license translated is mandatory. You can have it done online, but we chose to have it done in a japanese agency in Paris : Japan Travel Center by Voyages à la Carte (rue Ste Anne) : the deadline is pretty short (a couple of days) and it costs 70 euros. .

 

TOLLS

You should definitively know that tolls are just about everywhere on japanese roads (which are incredibly well maintained – this explains that). When we picked the car up at the airport, we were offered an ETC card (the equivalent of Telepeage, our electronic toll service in France) and I think it’s really a huge help to ease the travel (no need to prepare your change, dedicated lines for ETC card holders, and the toll gate opens automatically as soon as it detects the card in your car).

You pay your toll “check” at the end, when you bring the car back. We were afraid it would be steep, as we felt like we were driving through a toll every 15 minutes, but it was only 250 euros for our 2 weeks (if you take into account all the driving we did, it’s pretty “reasonable”).

It’s very probable you can include the ETC in your “car rental package” online : in any case, make sure you take it!

 

PARKING

I will also warn you that parking is definitively a budget you need to plan for when you head to Japan (especially true in cities and touristy places; in the countryside you can park however you like, and it’s free).

The hotels we had booked included parking, but in 2 hotels, we were unpleasantly surprised by the fact that they hadn’t booked us a spot … so if you arrive late and there are no spots left, you can explain that you had booked it in advance, well, they’re sorry for you, but that’s how it is, there are just no more parking spaces available (=haha! this all fell on deaf ears!…). So you can either arrive before 5pm or park in a public and paid parking.

The most difficult bit of a road trip is probably understanding the parking ticket machines… however, don’t hesitate and ask for help around you, even if you don’t speak japanese, people will always be available to help you!

 

Airplane

This year we flew with Finnair and I don’t have anything notable to report : puncuality and efficient service (the food trays were maybe a bit frugal).

No Star Wars surprise like the winter of 2018 with Ana and a connecting flight in Helsinki, but all in all it all went according to plan.

Reading all the magasines in the plane really made me want to visit all the nordic countries as well…may be someday!

 

Internet

I’ll send you back to what I said in winter 2018 with regards to the works and the logistics of getting your pocket wifi. For a road-trip it’s all the more necessary, so don’t skimp! Including it in our car rental was also a slight penny-saver : what more could we ask for?

Our last days in Osaka were spent without a pocket wifi, but with a limited 3 Go phone subscription I had ordered via Orange : quite enough fro 4 days (and it’s also a good way to make sure you’re not glued to your phone!).

 

Accomodation

I’ll detail our accomodations as we go along, but what’s for sure is that my SO was eclectic in his selection. We tried simple hotels and more sophisticated options : a hotel designed by Tadao Ando, the famous architect, a small villa by the river, a private home in the mountains, a spa resort… it was a surprise every day and it was perfect!

For his finds, my very own travel agent / SO opted for Booking.com or Japanican (by reading all the comments in detail). For our last nights in Osaka, we stayed in the Marriott hotel (I still have the loyalty card, which incites us to stay with the brand, but we are delighted with the service, so loyalty it is, but we’re enjoying the loyalty) All in all, no disappointments to report : it was perfect!

 

Suitcases

I was SO proud, for FINALLY, for the very first time in my life, I managed to pack our bags perfectly! For 2 people we took one big suitcase (23kg) and a small cabin luggage, contrary to last time where we had packed way too much!

Our great tip was to bring a “Rains x Made.com” soft bag that we flattened at the bottom of our big suitcase on our way to Japan and then used to bring our souvenirs on the way back.

So, of course, the fact that it was summer helps, but still, I managed to create a travel warderobe that was both practical, minimalist and functional, all while maintaining a perfectly organized suitcase all through the road trip, thanks to the Muji travel pouches I found (I especially recommend sizes S for underwear and M for pants/dresses/dungarees/jumpsuits). Size L wasn’t very interesting, as it was the size of our suitcase (I didn’t really get the point …).

Thanks to those pouches, you can immediatly see all the clothes you bring (by folding them Marie Kondo style) and they don’t mix and get disorganized during travel : a true revelation I tell you!

We also managed to do some laundry in a couple of the hotels we stayed at, so it confirms you odn’t need to bring a ton of stuff.

 

My Must-haves

1 or 2 pairs of sandals (Birkenstock since, as of last year, I’m sold to their comfort, but you can always take more refined flat open shoes!)

Walking boots (my Danner boots were optimal for both look and comfort)

1 pair of sneakers

-1 straw hat and a bucket hat (this last one wasn’t the favorite option, but it was very practical during the trip, and if you wear it with a minimalist outfit, the touristy vibes are kept to a minimum)

– 1 raincoat (for those rainy days, instead of an umbrella)

(Ahhh ! Gosh! I finally bought “Daddy shoes” because I wanted to have some more “thick soles” shoes to walk with)

 

-a Denim jacket and a trench (One of them would have been OK but I was willing to vary my style a little bit)

-a bandana scarf (to avoid a cold in the plane and air con places)

-4 to 5 tshirts, 2 light blouses

-1 pair of jeans, 1 dungaree or jumpsuit, 1 lightweight pair of pants

-1 backpack (mine was very light and super practical to carry my waterbottle around)

My backpack “Sanpak” made in Japan (but found in London !)

 

1 to 2 totebags and a minimalist clutch (for your more refined evenings out)

Pairs of earrings (more or less refined – they were my sole “chic” touch with lipstick to round out a more basic outfit in case we headed out for the evening.

Essential toileteries (I also used space wisely in this case, thanks to my bottles (100ml or less) and small containers that I also bought from Muji and where I transferred all my beauty products for 2 weeks and a half. I still had quite some products left when I came back (shampoo, make up remover oil, soap, body lotion …) so it really wasn’t necessary to leave with larger (and heavier) bottles / containers!

-A medicine “cabinet” (without the boxes), with all the classics (headache, digestion issues, antiseptic, cold remedies, antihistamine, antiseptic solution in tiny individual doses, mosquito spray (for mountains and near rivers) a bit of sunscreen  (I am still traumatised from my last trip to Japan, where I had really had trouble finding remedies I needed to get better, because of the language barrier, so this time, I came prepared!)

-a reflex camera and Iphone

-One or two adapters for Japanese style electricity sockets (same as the one for the USA)

 

I think this post pretty much sums up all the tips I can share. Don’t hesitate to ask your questions in your comments, if you need more information, I’ll be glad to help!

Next up, a post on Osaka (I’ll be starting with the end of the trip to accomodate some of my readers, who are preparing a trip to Japan in August), and then we can continue this road trip in the right order! Hop, everybody in the car! (English translation by Marine)

 

My previous trips in Japan :
My 2014 Spring 2014 trip : HERE
My 2015 Fall trip : HERE
My 2018 winter trip : HERE

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