Tokyo Tower

Two posts in a week! That’s unheard of! The train writing thing is really convenient, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. I figured I should update the last interesting thing I did before Ryan and I start our adventure! 

On 9 December I went out with a coworker. We went to the METoA to see a free exhibit put on by Mitsubishi Electric called Water Journey in Ginza – Water Circulation Connecting the World. I really just wanted to see the virtual manatee display. You get to feed and play with manatees on large screens!

After playing with the manatees, we headed over to Tokyo Tower. I went to Tokyo Tower maybe once or twice when I was on exchange in high school, it’s been about 15 years since I’ve visited! It’s the second tallest tower in Japan at 333m, and it’s celebrating its 60th anniversary this year! There is some construction happening, but the main observation (150m) deck is still open.

I really love going up towers and looking over the city. You can see Haneda airport from Tokyo Tower, so I watched planes take off and land for a while. I’m picking up Ryan from that airport tomorrow! 

I don’t really know how to end this blog, so here are some flowers I pass everyday on my way to and from work! 

December flowers!

Mount Takao

I’m not very good at updating my blog. I thought that maybe if I was happier and not stressed I’d enjoy it more. Turns out I just hate writing 😂

But it’s less than a week until Ryan gets here, so maybe travelling with someone who enjoys writing will inspire me to do better! Also, you should read his blog! Especially for our trip because I’m sure he’ll be much better at updating 😅 I’ll also have way more interesting things to write about since I’ll be travelling!

On 25 October I decided to go hiking at Mt. Takao. It was about 2 hours from my apartment. I definitely fell asleep on the train there – before I even started hiking!

I like to take the most difficult trails up when I’m hiking. I feel like I’m not as active as I was in Canada, so I try to get extra exercise in whenever I can. Most people find they walk more when they’re in Japan, but I’m doing about half the steps I was doing in Canada. I’ve started walking around on my lunch break instead of studying just to make it to 10,000 steps.

The different trails to take

I picked one the more challenging paths on the way up (route 6), and I think it is usually used for descending. During the busy periods (Sakura season, and the fall colours) it’s only for descending. It was a really nice hike. I passed a lot of people coming down while I was going up.

Starting point of Route 6

Here are some other pictures of the journey up. 

I reached a point in my hike where I thought I got lost. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a hike if I didn’t think I got lost! 😂😂

Some of the trails cross each other so you can end up on a different trail. I ended up at a point where the sign told me to go up, but there was definitely a fair amount of water coming down so I wasn’t entirely sure I read the sign correctly. I started to walk towards the other trail and then noticed people coming down, so I decided to hike up. 

… this is what I’m supposed to hike up?

The view from the top was amazing. On clear days, Mount Fuji can be seen peaking through some of the hills, but I got a hazy day so no view of Fuji-san, but it was still an amazing view. 

Made it! 

No new friends this time, like when I hiked Mt. Kaya!

After writing this post on the train for a couple of days, I’m not sure my previous statement of hating writing is entirely correct. It’s a great way to occupy my 2 hours commute each day. As long as the train isn’t ridiculously packed. 

Shitamachi Museum

I went to the Shitamachi Museum, also located in Ueno, on the same day as the Ueno Royal Museum (September 11). The museum showcases what life was like the shitamachi area of Edo (renamed Tokyo in 1868). Merchants and artisans mainly lived in this area, and it while “shitamachi” literally means “downtown,” it was named because the level of the land is lower than the other land surrounding Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace), and not because it was the city centre or business district. Want to know a little more? You can visit their website!  

Outside of Museum
The museum is one of the buildings surrounding Shinobazu Pond.

The museum wasn’t very big, only 2 floors. The first floor is a replica of living spaces and shops. 

The second floor has toys and other everyday objects used in daily life in shitamachi. 

Map of fire destruction in Yokohama and Tokyo, 1923
Typical mid 1950s-1960s Japanese house
Tokyo National Museum (1881)


On 11 September I decided to wander around Ueno and look at some of the smaller museums. I (finally) remembered to bring my camera with me – I kept forgetting to throw it in my bag when I’d head out.  I ended up using at one of the museums I went to, but I’ve misplaced the adaptor so I’ll skip that museum for now and talk about the best exhibit I could’ve stumbled upon!


The Books that Changed the World at The Ueno Royal Museum

I was really excited when I saw a big banner for this exhibit, plus it was free admission!

There were 2 main areas, the first was the Wall of Wisdom, which was a room of architecture related books.

This exhibit was SO busy. It was hard to take time to take a good look at anything, and it was difficult to get pictures. I tried to get pictures of everything on exhibit, but it was often hard to stop and try to figure out the best angle to capture these documents without holding up the line. I used my phone for this museum because it seemed easier than keeping my camera out.

Here are some of the displays from the Wall of Wisdom.

The second part of the exhibit was called the Forest of Wisdom and it was broken into 13 smaller sections: Transmission of Ancient Knowledge, Newtonian Space, Analytical Geometry, Weight & Force, Light, Substances & Elements, Electricity & Magnetism, Radio & Telephone, Flight, Electromagnetic Fields, Atoms & Nuclei, Non-Euclidean Geometry, Einstein Universe. I think in this section I took pictures of everything, but I won’t post them all here – I’ll pick the ones I found most interesting.


I also realize that most of my pictures are slightly blurry – that’s no fun to look at! I did plan to go back before the exhibit finished, but I started working and never got a chance to go back. Sorry, the pictures aren’t that great!

Hopefully, I’ll find the adaptor for my memory card and can upload more pictures from the other museum!

EDIT: Someone got REAL excited about going to the grocery store and forgot to post the last pictures from the museum. So here you go!

There was a bonus part at the end called Special Exhibits for Tokyo. Here are some of the books on display.

And this was on display on the way out of the exhibit.


Exiting the exhibit



Sorry for the lack of posts! I do have some more museums to post about, but I figure I’d give a quick update because I don’t know when I’ll be able to get another big post up.

I started working! It’s not exactly what I had planned to do when I got here, but I think it will be a great experience. My work hours are in the middle of the day, which makes it difficult to do anything before or after work, except grabbing groceries on the way home or running some errands on lunch. I’ve also had a really bad cold and I’ve spent my days off sleeping and resting to try and get rid of it. It’s a little better now, but I still have a cough.

Monday, 1 October was an interesting day to get into work. Another typhoon passed through Japan and it knocked a tree down on my train line. So I had to find another way into work. Fun! I ended up waiting an hour for a bus – the lineup at the bus stop was so long it went down the street, I think I watched 4 buses go by before I could get on one. I got to another station and transferred to a line that would get me to work. It took me 3 hours to get to work that morning, and I was 2 hours late.

I don’t have any fun pictures to post really, except for one of the neighbourhood where I’m working.


Here’s a map of the area I work in, and where I took this picture from.


Hopefully I’ll be feeling better soon and can get some more blog posts up!

National Museum of Nature and Science


On Friday, September 7, I continued my museum exploration at the National Museum of Nature and Science – also in the Ueno Park area. This museum reminded me of Ottawa’s Museum of Nature and the Museum of Science and Technology all in one big museum. There are 2 galleries, the Japan Gallery and the Global Gallery.

The Japan Gallery has 3 floors, and the 2nd and 3rd floors have a north and south wing. I started on the top floor which had the Nature of the Japanese Islands and the History of the Japanese Islands. I don’t think I took any pictures in the nature wing, as it was not very big and there were a couple of other people around. I like to avoid getting people in my pictures whenever possible. There was a lot of reading in this section, and this museum doesn’t have a lot of English write-ups. The main description panels have English, Korean, and Chinese translations, but the smaller description panels don’t, so I spend a lot of time trying to read through and understand what I was looking at. I must admit, I gave up pretty quick trying to read everything like I usually do. I read fairly slow in Japanese, plus I had to keep looking up words on my phone. I decided that this trip would mainly be a “look at all the pretty things” trip instead of a learning one. I don’t think I would’ve made it through the museum had I stopped to read everything. I did take the time to read most of the information in some of the wings (maybe one and a half of the wings), but it is tiring.


The second floor also has a north and south wing, Organisms of the Japanese Islands and Japanese People and Nature. I did try to read almost everything in the Japanese People and Nature wing.


Next was the main floor of Japan Gallery, Techniques in Observing Nature.


Next was the Global Gallery. There are 6 levels in this gallery.
Floor 3: Animals of the Earth and a kids’ zone
Floor 2: Progress in Science and Technology and Investigation Technology for the Earth
Floor 1: Biodiversity – We Are All Part of the Same Ecosystem and Navigators on the History of Earth
Basement Floor 1: Evolution of Life – Exploring the Mysteries of Dinosaur Evolution
Basement Floor 2: Evolution of Life – From the Earth’s Origin through Human Existence
Basement Floor 3: Exploring the Structure of Nature – How our World Works

I did not do a whole lot of reading in this section of the museum, there were some really interesting hands-on activities on B3, but trying to figure out science terminology in Japanese was a little difficult, so I’m not entirely sure what I was doing, but it was still fun.


I did some more museums the following days, and I’m hoping to get those up soon.

In other news… I have a job! I start tomorrow! Hopefully, I’ll still find time to post (and do) some fun things. I’m hoping that having a routine again will make it easier to keep a schedule for updating my blog. I’ve been putting off doing posts because adding the pictures is a little frustrating (and the pictures are the best part!), but I’ll just have to keep playing around with how I want to add them.


Bonus picture! Blue whale outside the museum

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Tokyo National Museum

The typhoon didn’t really affect my area of Tokyo – there was just a lot of wind and rain.

After taking the first week and a bit in Tokyo to set up my apartment, I decided to check out some museums on Thursday and Friday. (I’ll do Friday’s museum in a separate post)

On Thursday, September 6, I went to the Tokyo National Museum. It’s located in Ueno, and there are a couple of other museums and a zoo all in the same area.

The museum has multiple galleries, and I only went 3 of them on this visit.

I started in the Toyokan, Asian Gallery. The Toyokan has artifacts from China, Korea, Southeast and Central Asia, India, and Egypt.


Next, I went to the Honkan, Japanese Gallery. The first floor was divided by genre and the second floor had “highlights of Japanese art.”

Then I went to the Heiseikan, Japanese Archaeology and Special Exhibitions. One of the special exhibitions just ended, and the new ones don’t open until October.

The Japanese archaeology section was my favourite. I love the terracotta figurines and I find Japan’s ancient cultures very interesting.

I’ll be going to go back to this museum in October to see the special exhibits, and to see the places I missed on this visit. I think to do the whole museum in one day, I’d have to get there at opening, and maybe not read absolutely everything…

I forgot to bring my camera with me, so I had to take all the pictures on my cell phone. I’m still getting used to using the camera on this phone, so I’m sorry if the pictures aren’t as good as some of my previous ones!

Here are some bonus pictures that either didn’t fit with the others or that I forgot to include!


I made it!

I figured today would be a good day to post my first update! Typhoon Jebi is passing through today so I’ve decided not to leave my apartment. I’ve also been in my apartment for 1 week today!

I’m living in Itabashi city, in an area called Nishidai. I’m less than an hour away from the downtown area of Tokyo.

My apartment is 13.5m², and it’s on the ground level. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to set up my apartment – but here are some pictures of my main room.

There’s a ladder hanging on the wall that can be moved to the bar above the door to access the storage space.

My apartment is in the middle of a hill, so it’s been fun to walk up at the end of the day in the heat and humidity. There’s a grocery store, dollar store, and a department store at the station, so I’ve been picking up groceries and anything else I need on my way home from elsewhere in the city. And there are many convenience stores nearby, so if I did forget anything, I don’t have far to go!

I had to buy a new cell phone when I got here – despite my phone from Canada being unlocked, it wouldn’t work with Japanese SIM cards. Luckily there was a sale, so I only ended up spending about $80 for the new phone.

My flight was good – I flew Ottawa – Montreal – Narita. The Montreal – Narita flight was about 12 ½ hours, and we landed about 20 minutes early. But around 10 hours into the flight I was ready to get off the plane! I had the window seat, and there was no one in the middle seat so I could stretch out a bit. And the person sitting in the aisle went to sit somewhere else so I had the whole row to myself! I ended up stretching out across all 3 seats for a couple of hours to try and sleep. Getting through immigration was relatively easy – they’ve done some updates in the airport and immigration for foreign passport holders goes a lot faster.

I’m going to start applying for jobs this week, and hopefully start working this month.

Here’s a bonus picture of my adventures through a neighbouring area!


Somewhere between Ikebukuro and Otsuka

Mount Kaya

I was really excited when I found a mountain with the same name as my dog 😂, and on the 23rd I went on a hike up Kaya-San. 

I had to walk 40mins through the town to get to the start of the path. It was a steep climb up, but it was a nice hike, and it was mostly covered by trees, so it wasn’t too warm. 

There was an observation point at the top, and the view was amazing! 

The hike down was a little more difficult. I was following a guide I found online, but I don’t think the path is well used anymore. There was a rope to hold onto on the way down because it was so steep. 

And I had a little run in with a snake, who was soaking up some sun on the path before I so rudely interrupted. The snake went back into the forest, but I definitely waited a long time before starting on the path again 😂 

The view at the end of my hike

The next day I headed to Tokyo for my last week in Japan! 

Bonus pics: Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen 


On the 22nd I did a day trip to Kumamoto. The castle was badly damaged during the 2016 earthquake, so it was all closed off, but you could see the work from a distance. 

I decided to wander around a park for a bit after. 

After getting slightly sunburnt, I decided to head home! 

Here’s a bonus chicken ramen tram!