My Japan Itinerary: 11 Days from Tokyo to Kyoto to Osaka

Travel

Duration of my stay: 11 days – You can add/subtract any of these stops to your preference! But here’s what I will suggest to beginner solo travelers…

  • Look into the Japan Rail Pass (either 7/14 day)
  • Get a SIM card (I ordered mine when I ordered my 7 day JR Pass for $26 for 3 GB/15 days)
  • Get yourself a PASMO/SUICA card (transportation, convenient stores)
  • Google maps will be your best friend
  • Educate yourself on basic Japanese phrases like “Thank you”, “Hello”, and “How much is this?”

Day 1: Flew in from ICN to NRT Airport

6 PM – Arrived to NRT

9 PM – Checked into Guesthouse Fete Hostel here

  • I prefer to stay at female dorms only, but I’ve heard many people say that they’ve had no issues staying at mixed dorms.
  • All the hostels that I chose are around $18-25 a night, since I tried to budget.
  • I prioritize location and cleanliness!

My thoughts on Guesthouse Fete – Extremely warm and welcoming! When I arrived all hot and tired, they offered me a hot meal for around $4.50. Everyone is super friendly especially the staff! There are people from all over – Japan, America, and Europe. (About 7 min from nearest train station)

Day 2: Central Tokyo (Harajuku/Shibuya)

 

 

8 AM – Head to Harajuku

  • Meiji Shrine/Gardens – It’s worth it to walk the whole thing, trust me! Keep going in past the shrine and visit a garden then go to the traditional temple…I had a great experience there!
  • Hedgehog Cafe – For 1,500 yen around $11 / 30 Min you can pet a hedgehog!!!! There’s also an owl, chincilla/otter, and various themed cafes!! (I love Asia)

12 PM – Tokyo Plaza

  • BRING YOUR PASSPORT everywhere in Japan…I made the mistake of leaving mine at home and couldn’t get any tax reductions anywhere 😥 It was a great excuse to save money though and walk away, lol.
  • High end shops! Keep walking around the area and find cute stores filled with Japanese fashion.

5 PM – Head to Shibuya

  • Shibuya Crossing – Ok, it’s infamous and a must-see, but I found it overrated. It’s too crowded and many high-rise buildings block their windows so that people don’t crowd in. Cool for a quick snap!
  • Sushi Stand Up Bar – Walked around looking for a place to escape the crowded streets and fell upon this happy place! The chefs were so nice and I had a great experience. You just order, they put it right in front of you, and you eat STANDING UP. Haha, it’s convenient because Japanese people are always on the go to and from work.
  • MariCart – I have to go back tomorrow, but do this while you’re in Shibuya! I forgot my passport and apparently you need either an International Driver’s License or a military ID card. Also, call in advance and book an appointment because it’s organized in groups.

Day 3: Tokyo (Asakusa/Ueno)

 

 

11 AM – Slept in! Head out for the day

  • Edo-Tokyo Museum – About a 12 minute walk from Guesthouse Fete! Entrance fee is 600 yen for an adult. Free audio guided tour where you can learn about Edo history and culture! Extremely informational and fun to experience. Very family friendly as well! Surrounding gift shops, cafes, and restaurants.

1 PM – Head to Asakusa

  • Senso-ji Temple – Architecture is nice, but I prefer the atmosphere yesterday in the Meiji Shrine because less people. This place was full of people taking selfies (lol) kinda steals away the magic.
  • Market – Street food, souvenirs, etc right by Senso-ji Temple!

3 PM – Escaped the crowd to Ueno

  • Ueno Park – Had shows and food! Traditional drum dances and performances…Had grilled squid and noodles! I just sat by the fountain and people watched 🙂
  • More to do like zoos, galleries, museums, universities, etc!

6 PM – Headed to Shibuya for MariCar

  • SO glad I didn’t skip out on this experience! It’s worth the money (7,500 yen). For one hour, you’re guided around Shibuya and Harajuku, hitting Shibuya Crossing three times.
  • Best experience for those thrill seekers out there 🙂

Day 4: Take the bus from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji

 

 

11 AM – Checked out of the best hostel ever, bye Guesthouse Fete! ❤

12 PM – Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Kawaguchiko Station

  • Cheapest Option: Buy your bus tickets online here (Around $22.30 adults) compared to JR Pass for $250

3 PM – Arrive to Kawaguchiko Station and Check into K’s House Mt. Fuji here

  • 15 Min walk from Kawaguchiko Station
  • 4 Bed/Female Dorm – Hotel style with your own key! Extremely comfortable bed and spacious shower. Instantly clicked with my mates 🙂

6 PM – Rest & Explore

  • Many restaurants around the area! Tempura, Udon, Ramen, Cafes, Indo/Halal . . .
  • Bike Rentals
  • Cable Car

Note: July-August is Climbing Season, but unfortunately it was raining the whole time I was there 😦 You can still climb, but it isn’t recommended because you won’t be able to see anything anyway!

Day 5: Climb Mt. Fuji

 

 

12 AM: Took the bus from Kawaguchiko Station to Mt. Fuji 5th Station

2 PM: Began trekking up to see how far we could go

  • 1-2 hour hike from 5th station to 6th depending on how much you stop to enjoy the VIEW
  • Bring hiking shoes, gloves, and proper hiking gear if you are planning on going to the top.
  • 6th station (2,390m) was already chilly and the weather was changing to rain.

5 PM: Hike back down and take the bus back down

7 PM: Ate Ramen and then went to get some rest!

Best day ever…breathing in the mountain air. We also made people dance on the way back down hahaha and interviewed people who climbed the top! It was so fun to meet people of all ages and backgrounds.

Day 6: Travel from Mt. Fuji to Kyoto

11 AM: Take the bus from Kawaguchiko Station to Mishima Station (2,260 yen)

2 PM: Take the Shinkansen bullet train from Mishima to Kyoto Station (10,200 yen)

  • I decided to return my JR Pass because if you’re only going one way, not round trip, using the bus saves money (around $100)

4 PM: Check into K’s House Kyoto here

6 PM: Ate dinner at a cafe around the hostel

Note: Today was my day off…needed a break! Super exhausted from traveling and didn’t feel like doing anything, which I had to come to terms with that it was ok 🙂

Day 7: Kyoto (Temples/Museums)

 

 

  • Get a one-day bus pass (600 yen) because it saves you money and you won’t lost anything if you take the wrong bus (like me!!!! 5x)
  • Have entrance fee money! Each temple/museum in Kyoto costs 400-500 yen
  • Most everything closes at 5 PM idk why

9 AM: Head to Kyoto Station –> Golden Temple

  • It is extremely HOT during the summer, so hot that I didn’t feel like doing anything.
  • Bring a fan/buy an electric one if you love yourself 🙂

12 PM: Saved money and ate at 7/11

  • Meals on a budget in Japan are so easy! Just head to a convenient store and grab those triangle kimbabs or bento boxes 🙂

2 PM: Went to Insho-Domoto Museum of Fine Arts

  • Beautiful art!! Come here if you love a quick stroll through paintings

4 PM: Ryoanji Temple

  • More NATURE! Took a nap here and people watched.

5 PM: Everything closed, but at least it was a lot cooler!

  • Get google maps and internet and GET LOST…on purpose or on accident…
  • I found a thrift shop and bought two J Theory jeans for half the original price!!

7 PM: Headed back to my hostel for some din din 🙂

Day 8: Fushimi Shrine & Cat Cafe

1 PM: Waited for the harsh heat of the day to go away before I went to Fushimi Shrine

5 PM: Strolled around the area and found a cat cafe

  • Found out I’m allergic to cats

Day 9: Traveled to Osaka

11 AM: Took the train from Kyoto to Osaka

4 PM: Check into Ikidane House here

  • Pros: Capsule style beds (cool experience), great price & distance from stations
  • Cons: Area at night is kind of sketchy and the neighborhood isn’t the most interesting

Day 10: Namba Shopping District

  • Department stores, street shopping & food, and at night the lights are beautiful!

Day 11: Spa World

  • Spent all day here at this typical Asian spa and sauna with an Asia World and Europe World
  • Pool Area for families
  • Massage/Facial Places/Restaurants

 

 

Note: Flew out of Osaka because it was a lot cheaper to ICN.

  • 11 days was the perfect amount of time for me, but you could definitely do more/less.
  • In my opinion, I preferred Tokyo > Kyoto > Osaka. They each had their own unique atmospheres and sights, but Tokyo was a lot cleaner overall and had more to do for solo travelers.

Feel free to comment any questions that you have!

3 Outfits Inspired by Korean & European Fashion

Fashion

IMG_2628

Hey reader,

Long time no see! Today we are going to be looking at Korean fashion and its adaptation of influences around the world. More specifically, what are the differences and similarities of Asian and European beauty standards? If you have been following along on the blog, you’d know that I’m currently in Korea – the fashion hub of Asia. Before coming here, I was worrying about the latest trends and how I was going to blend in. After spending around two weeks gaging the vibe, I am now able to put my own twist to what I think mixes both Western and Asian styles together.

First off, as you can see in the picture on the right, the photos that were posted as inspiration for the designs were taken with a European aesthetic. Keep in mind, this photo was taken in Taiwan, since fashion in Asia mostly stems from Korea or China. You can also see how the designs are clean-cut and neutral in color. Both Korea and Europe similarly design styles that are practical for everyday wear yet stand out on the streets and runway.

img_2572.jpg

However, don’t get me wrong because fashion in Korea tends to be more colorful and fun as well. Walk down the street and you will find heaps and heaps of tiny accessories of different shapes and colors. I lived in Germany for three years and can’t say that I found the styles showcasing these types of accessories. I’d give the credit to K-Pop and Korea’s open mindedness. Even men’s fashion is a lot more feminine, sporting more bold and bright colors. Women’s fashion also tends to appear more “cutesy” as you can see in the display above. With these trends in mind, I put together a few outfits of my own mix and matching the same pieces.

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

  1. Pretty in Pink

Inspired by our trip to a summer getaway, I opted for a fun girly look. In the states, I probably would not wear this much pink at one time, but for some reason in Korea I’m definitely embracing the “millennial pink” a lot more. Here, you can see both European and Korean fashion in my Zara flared shorts and pink blouse LiNE. I also chose matching sneakers from Adidas to be both comfortable and chic for our walk along the mountains.

IMG_3370

  1. Lilac Flowers & Skirts

The next morning we hiked to The Garden of Morning Calm, a beautiful 30-acre garden of flowers and bonsai trees. I kept my same essentials, but switched up my top and bottoms for a more contrasted look. I paired this basic black top from LiNE with this long lilac skirt from Zara. One of the trends this summer are mid-length skirts, which I love because it’s both classy and modest. Especially in Korea, I’d say that the styles are maybe a bit less revealing and more towards the conservative side.

IMG_3016

  1. Platform and Chunky Shoes

Using the same pieces as before, I took the black top from Look 2 and paired it with the Zara shorts. This neutral look felt complete with these chunky white FILA sneakers. When chunky sneakers hit the runway last fall in Europe, many people either love or hated it. In Korea, platforms and shoes with height are being designed with this influence.

So there you have it! I would love to know your favorite outfit or which one you can see yourself wearing. Overall, the fashion and beauty standards in Europe and Korea are influencing each other, which is the best part. While both styles are practical and clean-cut, Korea’s trends are also heavily influenced by K-Pop and streetwear. Being inspired by the two fashion aesthetics, I was able to curate three outfits by mix-matching the same pieces. Bottom line is whether you plan on traveling to Europe or Asia anytime soon, don’t feel pressured to dress like the locals, but rather take it as inspiration! Beauty standards and fashion trends are different all over the world, so give and take with that in mind.

Xoxo,

TheSkinnyPig

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

 

 

 

Fashion in Taiwan: Tulle & More

Fashion

Neutrals / Airy / Simple / Eccentric / Unique / Creative 

Fashion in Taiwan is highly influenced by Hong Kong and Korea, in my opinion. This makes sense, since it’s located in between both countries. Nevertheless, it’s unique in its own way. Walking through street hubs to major department stores, I see a consistency of neutral colors with light fabric. Of course, given the heat, no one wants to walk around wearing all black. On top of this foundation, each designer adds their own touch. Take exhibit A for example:

One thing I noticed is that each store is designed to where the interior complements the clothing. In this store, the clothing palette was white black and neutrals. Stores here also have magazines and layouts on tables so each customer can see the designer’s work and inspiration. Here, you can see my favorite pieces, which consists of the simple white structures with details such as bows and collars. Now for exhibit B, we will take a look at Taiwan’s street style with a mix of high fashion:

Although the colors are very similar to before, there are more uses of different kinds of fabric. There’s also details of color like hues of blue and pink. More patterns such as stripes, florals, and stitched on pieces. Again, you can see how the designer’s inspiration was posted on the wall as a reference and mood board. More street style —

Whiple: For men, women, and children for everyday chic comfort. Here

JUSTIN XX: 18SS COLLECTION

Next, we will take a look at exhibit C: y-u-e-r

Shades of pink oranges and neutrals with a minimalist vibe for your chic gal.

This was my personal favorite store because it looked like something that I would wear on a daily basis. Every wardrobe needs your basic tops and blouses, and this is the exact style that would provide good quality and style.

Last but not least, exhibit D for those businesswomen and CEO’s out there. Fun fact, I had to stop taking pictures because apparently people come from China, etc to take photos of designer pieces to replicate/copy. Here’s what I could get though —

As you can see, there is street style, daily wear, business casual, and more but they are all consistent in the color schemes. Therefore, it makes the designers that more impressive because in order to stand out, you have to be unique. I really enjoyed shopping in Taiwan overall because it was more of an experience than simply shopping. Each store had its own aura and vision as to what goes on behind the scenes. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting this content together! Let me know what you think.

xoxo,

Theskinnypig

3 Products to Achieve that Summer Glow

Beauty

1. Vita Liberata Neroli and Argan Milk Sunscreen SPF 50

This sunscreen by Vita Liberata feels like milk on your skin. I usually don’t like the way regular sunscreen applies heavily or how it smells. However, this product has become extremely handy now that the weather is hot and dry. vtl016_vitaliberata_passionflower_argandryoilserumforface_780x980I’m currently using this sunscreen daily because I’m trying to wear as little makeup as possible. This works as my SPF and moisturizer. Simply distribute an ample amount onto your palm and evenly apply onto skin. After giving it some time to dry, it appears dewy in all the right places.

2. Wunderbrow Eyebrow Gel, Semi Permanent Brows

This eyebrow gel from WUNDER2 sets in perfectly for the whole entire day. After SPF/moisturizer, you really don’t need anymore makeup (that will melt off in the heat). I use the Black/Brown tint to   achieve a full, subtle look.

wunderbrow2 2

 

3. The City Mini Eyeshadow Palette

This eyeshadow palette by Maybelline is the perfect travel size. I use the Downtown Sunrise shade with pinks and nudes. The combination of colors work well with my skin tone. I use the maui pink on my lid with the silver glitter on the inner duct of my eye. This makes my eyes pop with an easy 1-2-3.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-04_at_3.07 4

 

With these 3 products, your skin, brows, and eyes come together for a simple, quick glowy look for the summer. This is what I’ll be using for mine at least! Super quick & easy ❤

xoxo,

TheSkinnyPig

My Travel Essentials: 4 Different Styles

Travel

You can find a simple one-page packing list here

OR I can break it down for you in 4 easy steps 😉

Comfy & Chic

IMG_2292

  • Purse/Tote
  • Hat & Sunglassses
  • Something that reminds you of H O M E
  • Passport
  • Cellphone
  • Scarf (Wear it on your bag/as a headband!)
Practical Use

IMG_2294

  • Portable Medium Sized Purse
  • Watch
  • T-shirts
  • Denim Jacket/Shorts
  • Flats or Dressy Shoes
  • Sneakers
Tech-Guru

IMG_2298.JPG

  • Toiletries
  • Umbrella
  • Sudoku & Entertainment
  • GoPro/Canon
  • Carry-On Bag
  • Beats/Headphones
  • Glasses/Contacts
  • Wallet
Studious Student

IMG_2305

  • Backpack
  • Laptop
  • Water bottle
  • Baseball Cap
  • Pencils/Pens
  • Journal

 

xoxo,

TheSkinnyPig

My Skincare Secrets: Top 10 Beauty Products

Beauty
Hello beautiful!
Today I’m going to share some of my favorite skincare products that I’ve been using nonstop! Of course everyone has their bad days, but I can assure you that these work 99% of the time. I’ve included my daily skincare as well as my top hair and Korean beauty products. Let’s get to it!
Note: I have mostly dry skin / thick, straight hair
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.39.48 AM.png
 1) May Coop Cleansing Moose – Peach & Lily
First up is this cleansing moose that I use at the end of my day to clean off my makeup and any excess build up. I have found that this product is a great sustainable substitute for makeup wipes. It even takes my makeup off twice as fast leaving nothing behind. The texture is soft and foamy, leaving your skin feeling light! Also, I’ve been using the same bottle everyday for the past three months, so you definitely get your moneys worth.
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.40.36 AM.png
 2) Nurture Yourself Set – Olehenriksen
After taking off my makeup, my go-to daily cleanser is this chia & borage seed wonderfeel double cleanser. It’s extremely soft and smells amazing!! The moisturizing creme is light and leaves my skin feeling dewy. As for the HydraClay Detox Mask, I use it once a week. My sister introduced me to Olehenriksen, and I’ve been loving it ever since! To-Go brand.
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.41.41 AM
 3) Facial Tone Up Performance – MIZON
This product is a brightening essence that helps address hyperpigmentation, including dark spots, discoloration from acne, etc. Contains sakura and white flower to brighten and revitalize skin for a healthier, more even skin tone. Ideal for all skin types.
(1) This essence is a recipe for radiance thanks to Vitamin E, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, and Rice Bran Oil. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) provides additional brightening and protection against free radicals/environmental damage. (2) Raspberry extract contributes antioxidants to the equation (3) Jojoba Oil moisturizes and works well with all skin types.
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.43.09 AM.png
4) Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist
A wrinkle-resisting, age-defying softener that contains effective ingredients to challenge visible signs of aging. Gently removes excess surface cells, deeply moisturizes, and instantly helps retexturize skin, making it more receptive to further skincare treatment.
  • Enhances the effectiveness of additional skincare products.
Skin Types: Normal, Combination. Dermatologist-tested.
I like to use this around my eyes and smile areas! Use with a cotton pad and gently dab.
file
5) Rose Soothing GEL – DAMASK
This is another moisturizer that I use, but mostly in the mornings because it dries instantly and doesn’t leave your face with that sticky, heavy feeling.
This soothing gel is made with 95% rose water and can be used as a moisturizer for the face and body. Rose helps condition and hydrate dry, rough, and irritated skin – leaving it looking and feeling more moisturized and soothed. This is a great addition to your regular skincare and body care regimen as a moisture booster. Also formulated with 6 different super berry extracts including cranberry, blueberry, pomegranate, strawberry, orange and grape – to provide nutrition and moisture benefits to the skin. Ideal for combination to oily skin types but appropriate for all skin types.
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.44.14 AM.png
6) Ryoe Korean Herbal Anti Hairloss Shampoo
After using this shampoo, I noticed a significant change in the elasticity and strength of my hair. For a more detailed description, it’s proven to:
  • Contain Biota seed and Red ginseng to lower the heat of the scalp.
  • Promotes elasticity for scalp and make it healthy.

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.44.48 AM.png

7) Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel – IGK

My hair is pretty long and thick, and I must admit that I get very lazy. For my daily routine, I simply lather this coconut oil gel after towel drying my hair. I’ll definitely be taking it with me to Asia this summer where the weather is dry and humid. It leaves my hair smelling like the tropics and conditions it all day!

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.45.32 AM.png
8) Camera Ready Artist Brush Set – Smashbox
If you’re a beginner at makeup and don’t know what kind of brushes to start off with, these are a great start. It comes with a brush for power, concealer, eyeshadow, lips and eyebrows, and bronzer. Whenever I have a shoot, I use liquid concealer and the styling foundation brush to end up with an airbrushed finish. It also comes in a spiffy package 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.46.10 AM.png

9) Babe Lash Eyelash Serum

If you’ve gotten this far, here is my most favorite product ever! Three months ago, I had short thin eyelashes. Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I purchased this product and have been applying it every night. I love using it in comparison to eyelash extensions or fake eyelashes, since it makes my natural lashes longer and stronger. Don’t know exactly how it works, but it’s magical . . .
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.47.03 AM.png
10) ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment – GLAMGLOW
Last but not least, this hydrating treatment is my top empty-product. It is a lifesaver whenever my skin is helplessly dry. I usually use this at night, since it applies heavily. The next morning, my skin is hydrated and dewy — ready to take on the day!
– TheSkinnyPig