Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 16 & 17 – Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo)

Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 16 & 17 – Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo)

See: Japan Trip 2012 itinerary and summary

Day 16: December 11

This was our last official day in Japan. Our first stop would be Tokyo Sky Tree, which was completed in earlier in the year (2012), becoming the new tallest building in Tokyo (and Japan) and the new hot spot to visit. I knew it would be busy.


Tokyo Sky Tree is not as central as Tokyo Tower (which I didn’t visit the observatory level of this trip, but did go to the top for the previous trip. I’ll touch on a comparison later), but is built with a large shopping, dining and entertainment complex called Tokyo Solamachi. There’s also an aquarium. We were lucky that it was such a beautiful day. It’s really cool to walk up towards the tower and look up! To me it always feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, as surrounding buildings are fairly short and residential compared to the dense skyscraper suburbs.

Because Japan loves new attractions, the waiting queue was monstrous! I think if we had gone a few months earlier it would have been impossible to visit. We lined for close to an hour before getting tickets. There are actually reservations tickets (from two months in advance) and fast-pass tickets for foreigners, so during very busy times, purchasing tickets on the day may not be available if everyone’s purchased ahead.

We purchased tickets for the first and second observatory. These tickets are some of the most expensive admission tickets I’ve purchased in Japan. I would recommend not going beyond the first observatory if it’s not an exceptionally clear day, as you will probably not see much more. They have signs on the first observatory level every day that will let you know which iconic attractions are visible on the day (importantly, Mt Fuji).

As you can see, Mt Fuji was visible on this day (this was taken from the first observatory level)!



On the first observatory level, you can get your photo taken in a specially decorated area. It’s a bit cliche, but the staff will also take one on your own camera as a free service. It’s pretty difficult to get a good photo with a person and the background yourself. The staff have a decent spot set up, and they will use flash. If you don’t give them your camera on the wrong setting (whoops my fat thumb), you’ll probably get a really decent photo for free. We liked the photo they took on their professional camera, so we purchased it as a memento. On the second observatory level, there’s a glass floor to stand on and look down. One other reason why I don’t think visiting the second observatory level appreciably better is that it is ridiculously hot. This was a warm winter day, and being that high up and surrounded by nothing but glass in a confined space with hundreds of people… it was really hot and stifling. I can’t imagine how bad it would be during autumn, spring or summer!

Having been up both Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower, I think they are both unique experiences. Tokyo Sky Tree is less central and a lot taller, so you see more of the greater city of Tokyo, but less of the iconic details that you can see from the more central Tokyo Tower. If you’re not interested in ascending either, Tokyo Tower will always be the most iconic structure, and I think it’s absolutely worth wandering around in the nearby region to get those shots of the red tower against the city. Personally, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower (see day 13 post) is actually my favourite building for city views of Tokyo, because the rooftop offers views undisturbed by a glass window, and you’re really in the heart of central Tokyo with great views of Tokyo Tower itself.

Following that, we had a quick lunch at a simple restaurant in Tokyo Solamachi.


The rest of the day was for us to just wander around Tokyo some more. We walked around Omotesando and Shibuya. It really was such a nice day.



By dinner time, we were in central Shibuya and found an okonomiyaki restaurant in Center-gai. Despite it being such a busy location, it was actually really great.



Every table had it’s own grill plate, and the okonomiyaki was divine!!! There’s nothing like it here.

After dinner, we walked around a bit more, enjoying the (crazy) hustle and bustle and city lights.



We returned to our hotel for our last sleep in Japan.

Day 17: December 12

We had a morning flight from Narita to Hong Kong. We took the JR Narita Express (NEX) from Shinjuku station (purchased the tickets the previous day, just to be on the safe side so there would be less to worry about), which was really convenient and so comfortable. It is, however, quite expensive and still takes 90 minutes.

At the airport, we had a farewell meal of ramen!


And that concludes the two-week trip in Japan! I was pleased with how it turned out and what we were able to fit in. It was my first time really travelling through multiple cities and using the JR pass. I was so glad to check a lot of things off my Japan bucket list. It was well worth doing it all myself after many, many hours of research. Though I realise I’m at a distinct advantage as it’s my third trip and can speak Japanese. Soon I will get started on posting about my 3-week Japan 2016 trip!

But maybe Hong Kong first…

Food lately: July 2017

Pork ragu open lasagne (Romulus & Remus, Richmond)

I could only pick one outstanding dish for the month. I think this was my first open lasagne. The pasta was silky smooth, while the ragu was hearty and had a good kick of chilli too. So yummy.

Various cakes from Ganache Chocolate and Zumbo

I was spoiled by cakes last month. T kindly bought me various mini cakes for my birthday.

Beauty empties: July 2017

NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer (Custard): Still my favourite spot concealer. This is a staple recurring purchase now.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum: This has been my hair serum of choice for a number of years now. The smell is refreshing and it leaves hair nice and soft. It’s not holy grail material, but I’m happy with it. I love supporting this brand’s extremely proactive stance on animal testing.

Jouer Mattifying Bronzer (Sunswept): A few years ago, Youtubers were going crazy for this bronzer (of course there’s barely a peep about this brand nowadays). I purchased this in a gift set as I was running out of my other bronzer. While it was an improvement, over time I started disliking the warm tones that all bronzers have. I now prefer contouring powders and their cool and ashy tones. I didn’t technically finish this (maybe 70%?), but the design of the palette gave me a lot of headaches – once I hit pan, it was hard to get product on the edges due to the rectangular shape, and the powder broke apart from daily impact more than any other pressed powder product I owed. I decided to bin it because I was sick of it breaking off all over my carpet.

Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream: I purchased this in conjunction with a MD day cream which I talked about in last month’s empties. While this cream is a rather scary green colour, it was a good thick night cream (for those who actually like thick night creams). It’s so thick it has a balm-y texture. It is especially nice in cold weather when my skin becomes really dry.

Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot: This is an average compact finishing powder. It’s not as smooth and finely milled as I would prefer. After a few months, parts of the powder oxidised (turned a bit orange…?!) and became really firm, so it became almost impossible to use. I also didn’t technically finish this because I could no longer get any product on a brush without using an unnecessary amount of elbow grease.

JUJU Cosmetics Natural Moisture Aloe Toner: I used a lot of products from this brand a few years ago. In the end I didn’t fall in love with anything but everything was pretty good for such an affordable brand (it’s Japanese). As I am least picky about toners, I used their toners for a few more years after I had tried all the other products. The toner is really gentle, refreshing and doesn’t leave any sensations on the skin.

Beauty empties: May & June 2017

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Whiz (Graphite): I’ve never done my brows or had a brow product before, so I just went with the cult favourite. I found this really easy to use in terms of creating shape and filling in sparse areas. The colour is also a great match for black hair. I don’t use the spooly though, so half the product and space is wasted, which is a shame. I’m already using my second one.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (Trooper): I know this is also a cult favourite, but I thought it was only okay and definitely inferior to my holy grail liquid eyeliners. I felt the ink was not black or pigmented enough, and lost more pigment pretty quickly, making the ink unpleasant and watery. It was also rather troublesome to remove with my usual oil makeup removing cleanser, so all in all not winning in any categories.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner (Intense Black): Another cult favourite and again clearly inferior to my usual two liquid eyeliners. The formula was better than the KVD one, as the pigment was indeed an intense black. It takes a more seconds to dry than I’m used to, which proved quite problematic several times as I ended up with it all over my eyelid after accidentally blinking (I’ve never had this problem with any other liquid liners previously). The most annoying thing though: THE FELT TIP WAS A NIGHTMARE. The felt tip was unforgiving, thick, hard to draw with on the delicate eye area, and the rigidity of the tip was also really harsh on the skin around the eyes and made it very imprecise. I absolutely hated using it and my eyeliner was perpetually messy. Based on this tip, I absolutely hated this. It’s also really difficult to completely remove, so it is definitely “stay all day”.

Kracie Naive Facial Cleanser (Peach): I’ve been using this range for years and years. The most recent time I stocked up, the packaging had changed. I’m not sure if I’m imagining that the formula feels a bit less creamy and foamy than before… nonetheless I still like it.

MISSHA M Signature Real Complete BB Cream (23): This was actually my favourite BB cream and I used this all the time during uni before I landed on my favourite foundation. So I dug it out to finish this year. The texture of this is wonderful and creamy, and blends amazingly into the skin, smoothing pores and evening skin tone while leaving a slightly dewy and very natural finish. The coverage is right up there with foundations – maybe medium-ish. The only thing I didn’t like is the white-grey undertone, so I always used a quarter of a warmer and darker foundation to help with the colour.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream: Nothing bad about this cream, but it wasn’t that memorable. I’ve used better hand creams that felt better.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Day Cream: I got this and a MD night cream at the same time (for some reason I finished the night cream a few weeks later). I loved this day cream as it was the perfect texture and felt so lovely. My only complaint is that (despite using for less than the 12-month-open sign) in the last few weeks, I noticed the remaining cream seemed to have split or something?! It got a bit grainy and oily…?! I’m puzzled and have never experienced this before…

Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (Original): I’m not sure why I keep buying other setting powders, because every time I return to this, I remember how incredible it is. This is the only powder that keeps my T-zone not-oily all day. I’m amazed every time I used this. It’s a bit of a faff to use though, since I’m not a fan of the powders where you tap product out of a small hole into the lid and I find it hard to control. Nonetheless I have repurchased this!

Food lately: May & June 2017

Caballa Ahumada: House cold smoked Spanish mackerel with pine nut gazpacho sorbet (Movida Bar de Tapas, Melbourne CBD)

This was entirely not something I would have ordered. I can’t put my finger on it but in one mouthful, it was a beautiful combination of flavour, texture and contrasting temperature. The sorbet was definitely an inventive and unexpected twist. So yum!

Eggs and Waffle Benedict: Smoked ham and cheddar waffle, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise (Seven Seeds, Carlton)

Sounds simple and homely on paper, but the amount of flavour packed into those waffles and hollandaise made it incredible. One of my favourite brunch dishes!




Regular and deluxe sushi boxes from Omakase menu (Kisume, Melbourne CBD)

A glorious amount of sushi for six people. The seafood was really fresh and the variety of preparations was wonderful.