Writing Prayers and Wishes in Meiji Jingū

 
Get ready for second day of adventure in Tokyo @ Nakano Station platform.

The tragedy of losing my wallet at Nakano Station made me gulp in fear, it turned out that there was still a coward side behind my courage to explore the world. I calmed down for a moment by sipping drinking water from free water station at one of Nakano Station platforms.

The silver and yellow colored commuter of Chūō Line arrived, I took a step into a middle carriage and sat at long bench on left. I deliberately chose to sit right above a console grill heater. That was my habit while riding Japann’s trains which was slipping into the winter.

I continued to follow the Chūō Line towards east and then turned into south after changing to Yamanote Line at Shinjuku Station. Within twenty minutes, I arrived at Harajuku Station after traveling for about seven kilometers. I only had to pay 170 Yen for this trip.

Crossing the long corridor of Harajuku Station, I came out from West Exit directly opposite Meiji Jingū First Torii Gate on the right. But gosh……

Now that I’ve lost my right glove, how could I resist cold air if my equipment disappeared? I retraced my path when I exited the station platform and finally I found one of those gloves in the middle of corridor after automatic fare collection gates. I didn’t know why?, since this morning, I’ve been stuck losing things even though it were found again. Could this be the start of all surprising things ahead of my adventure?

Alright…Focused back to my steps…..

Now I was posing in front of Meiji Shrine gate. The Torii was so distinctive, the inspiration for a famous automotive company logo in “the Land of Samurai”. I walked through smooth gravel as the entrance to the temple. The path had a width of one meter on left side, combined with a one meter wide paving block path bordered by rope for exit route on the right. Meanwhile, in some parts, the path was bordered by bamboo fences which were neatly arranged as high as the waist of an adult.

In front of the gates of Meiji-jingumae Station “Harajuku” (Chiyoda Line) as part of Tokyo Metro Subway Network. But I didn’t take the Tokyo Metro.
In front of the Meiji Jingū Torii.
Sake drums (kazaridaru).
Wooden wine drums.

Meanwhile, an old officer removed leaves from road using a backpack-leaf blower. Leaves just needed to be pushed aside to road side and allowed to become natural compost, so environmentally friendly.

Within four hundred meters, on the right, I was blown away by neat arrangement of kazaridaru dedicated to Meiji-tennō and Shōken-kōgō. While right on the left side was an arrangement of wine drums made of wood.

Arriving at the main Torii of shrine, every visitor must wash their hands at Temizuya with water using a long-stemmed dipper. This ritual of self-washing or misogi aimed to purify the body and mind before standing in front of a deity to pray.

Temizuya (shinto shrine pavilion for purification) in Meiji Jingū.
In the middle of temple.

For a moment I stopped after passing through main gate, I was amazed by the size of the Meiji Jingū . This was a shrine dedicated to the spirit of Meiji-tennō , the ancient ruler of Japan.

Meanwhile in some parts of the temple was being renovated. Workers in white carpenter uniforms, complete with various carpentry equipments on their waists and wearing safety helmets, were seen standing on the step ladder, busy making repairs.

While at the end of the shrine, tourists could be seen queuing up at a shop which sells ema and omamori boards. The shop seemed to be guarded by beautiful women dressed in white and red kimonos, they looked polite and graceful to serve the visitors.

While I was busy writing a prayer on a piece of paper, then I put it in a box. While some tourists wrote prayers and hopes on the ema board they bought, then hang it on the spot provided.

The carpenters were on duty.
Shops selling omamori were amulets that were believed by the Japanese to bring good luck and safety.
What was I praying about?
An ema board, a small wooden plaque decorated with handwritten art which expressed hope.

It didn’t feel like an hour and a half walked until I finally finished exploring all parts of the temple. This was my last destination in Tokyo, because I would soon be heading to Narita International Airport to catch Peach Aviation flight number MM6320 which would depart at 21:35 hours.

I finally decided to head straight to Harajuku Station and rushed to Tokyo Station, because I was planning to take JR Bus Kanto to the airport.

Let’s go……..

Get ready at Harajuku Station….To Tokyo Station.

Losing a wallet at Nakano Station

Some meshiya around Yadoya Guesthouse … remain of hunting dinner last night.

Mattress at Yadoya Guesthouse’s bunk bed also seemed to like an ice beam, even when early hours have already gone. That morning, I deliberately slowed myself to wake up, I looked like a coward who hid behind the thickness of dormitory blanket. I revenged for my eyes, after almost forty hours didn’t so perfectly closed. The last felt asleep was the day before yesterday, in Taiwan, precisely.

At ten in the morning I just really woke up, due to whispering sound of two lovebirds behind a blanket on other bunk bed which made me uncomfortable. They sleep with intimate and ignoring around. I decided to watering my body under the shower. This time I managed to find the heating button so there wasn’t need to take a shower of super cold water again liked last night.

Afterwards, I was neatly packed all my travel equipments into 45 litre backpack and I prepared to check-out. That afternoon I would fly to Osaka with Peach Aviation. While the remaining time, I would spend to visiting a temple in the middle of city.

I went down in the lobby and poured warm water from a dispenser. Apparently Janessa was preparing it from early morning.

“Good morning, Donny. How were your days in Tokyo? “

“I’m frozen in this town, Janessa. But all are well “.

“Are you going to Osaka tonight? You visited Tokyo very quick “

“My holidays aren’t much, Janessa”

“I hope you will enjoy Osaka, Donny”

“Thanks Janessa. Nice to meet you “.

I said goodbye to Janessa and turned the body to left Yadoya Guesthouse. My steps were automatically head to a FamilyMart in north of Dormitory. I have to have breakfast before heading to the temple.

See you again Yadoya Guesthouse.
Still abled to swallow onigiri. Breakfast for 298 Yen.
North yard of Nakano Station.

I brought Onigiri on a circular bench near northern gate of Nakano Station. Not alone, many local residents had breakfast with me on the bench. Some young men stood in courtyard to enjoying hot coffee. I sat under warmth of morning sun and was accompanied by a group of busy pigeons.

Breakfast was over, it was time to leave … …

Today I won’t buy Tokunai Pass again because I would just spend time in Meiji Jingū. Afterwards, I would go to Narita International Airport.

I was a little troubled to queue in ticketing vending machine, with a backpack on my back. And a map, gloves and a compass in my left hand then I took out my wallet with right hand. While continuing to step forward to front of queue.

Until my turn to pressed various buttons at Ticketing Vending Machine. Not so difficult, because I had conquered that machine hassle on yesterday afternoon at Tokyo Station. I exchanged 170 Yen for a one way ticket to Harajuku Station located in Shibuya district.

As soon as I got a ticket, I resigned from the queue, inserting a map and compass in its place,  put on gloves again then went to the platform. I continued to entering automatic fare collection gates and following the instructions to Chūō Line train towards Harajuku Station.

Once finished stepping on top stairs …

“Helloooo …..helloooo” …

I looked back. A middle-aged man was waving and asked me to wait for him. So until above …

“This …”, he smiled and handed over a wallet to me.

Gosh, why can my wallet fall?

“Arigatou Gozaimasu …”, I said many times while bowing half of him. And the good man smiled.

“Ohayōgozaimasu …Titterashai”, he bowing and went back down the stairs.

I saw my wallet’s contents for a moment after he left, none of them were reduced. Oh, God … you just keep sending good people to me.

I couldn’t imagine if my wallet was really disappeared. I would definitely walk towards Indonesia’s embassy and asked to be deportation from Japan.

Thank you for a middle-aged man who was kind and thank you God, my adventure was still continuing.

Aura of Hachiko Statue, Five Times in Shibuya Crossing

Still remember?…..

When D.K’s black car was chasing Sean Boswell who was speeding in his red racing car and the racing group was led by Han Lue in front who was masculine swerving in his yellow racing car. In the chase, there was a moment when three race cars were forced to pass at an intersection which full of pedestrians. The scene was so thrilling but looked absolutely fantastic from top camera. Unmistakably, that was a piece of scene in the movie “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. And the intersection in question was known as the Shibuya Crossing.

Well, if this was a different story again…..

Have you ever watched a film based on a true story and tell of a dog named Hachi and his master Parker Wilson, played by veteran actor Richard Gere?.

Being tell In the film, Hachi was so loyal and always took Wilson to station every day to go to teach and waited for his return in front of the same station in afternoon. Such was Hachi’s daily activities. Until one day, Wilson died on campus because of a heart attack and would never see Hachi again. But because of Hachi’s loyalty, Hachi until the end of its life still waiting for its master who never again came in front of the station. This legendary dog ​​was a true story of the origin of Hachiko Statue which was located near Shibuya Station and just a hundred meters south of Shibuya Crossing.

That afternoon the air was getting colder, slowly dropping from 4 Celsius degree, the time was 13:45 hours when I was already at the north entrance gate of Nakano Station. Not long, the Chuo-Sobu Line train arrived. In the late afternoon, passengers were still quiet, maybe it wasn’t time to go home from work. I took a seat on the left side of carriage and felt the warmth of air in the carriage. I only realized when I felt hot air gush from under the seat and hit my feet as I sat down. Apparently trains in Japan put a heating engine under the seat.

The inner side of Shibuya Station.
Shibuya Station Gate directly located opposite Hachiko Square.

Just five minutes towards southeast, I got off the Chuo-Sobu Line to change to Yamanote Line. Now the train was moving south for four kilometers and took ten minutes and was in increasingly congested passenger conditions. Yamanote Line is the busiest train line in downtown Tokyo.

I arrived at Shibuya Station on 14:00 hours and took directions to Hachiko Exit Gate at north of station building. When I stepped out of station gate, I was immediately greeted by appearance of Hachiko Square which was already full of visitors. Some sat on each side of the plaza and most surrounded the statue of loyal beast queuing for photos. There was nothing special about the statue, maybe it was Hachiko’s life story which made the statue feel alive and became a attention center.

I enjoyed soon the crowd at Hachiko Square. Because I couldn’t wait to feel the sensation of crossing at Shibuya Crossing. I stepped a hundred meters north and started to stand at that famous five junction. I could only smile to myself when I saw the behavior of some tourists when crossing. Some took pictures in the middle of intersection, some ran and climbed a signpole to take photos from a height, and some posted vlogs as long as the green light was still on. And when a sign sound “tut-tut-tut” loudly shouting after another as a sign that traffic light would turn red, then all tourists and local pedestrians rushed to walk to road edge and briefly left a silence moment, then followed by the sound of horns and the roar of car engines which scrambling across the intersection headed in all directions.

Chūken Hachikō, if it were still alive, t would be 97 years old.
Yuhuu….Shibuya Crossing.
Tsutaya is a well-known bookstore in Japan. I’m @ Shibuya Crossing.
An intersection which is said to be able to cross 50,000 pedestrians for 30 minutes.

I was who still couldn’t believe that I could be there, was infected by their acute strangeness. Since it was an intersection of five streets, it was even five times, I crossed back and forth from side to side at Shibuya Crossing. Oh my God, Was this an afternoon when made me going crazy from exposure to Tokyo life’s aroma?.

Meet with Janessa at Yadoya Guesthouse

Nakano Station building has two levels above ground with eight platforms. The front lobby of station is stretched out with a canopy made of Aluminum Composite Panel until it is right at the front gate of Nakano Sun Mall. When I got there, I exited the north door with a huge paved courtyard decorated with doves which had lunch.

Day was already towards afternoon, it was still cold even though the clock was pointing on 13:40 hours. I just thought of going to the hotel, putting my backpack and starting my first adventure in Tokyo.

I bypassed the parallel road to the right of station’s north gate. Tucked in the haughty feet of Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank. Only a row of mural art on the wall which had fuction as barrier the rail line which was able to provide a mood booster that afternoon..

Then I began to entering narrow alleys with three meters wide heading north. That afternoon, every street I passed was deserted, the bustle was very subtle along alleys I was walking through in the Nakano District. Maybe it was because the population of Nakano was only three hundred thousand inhabitants.

Even restaurants which were mushrooming along the alley were still tightly closed, later I would see the excitement of that restaurants when night came. The night where in every restaurant there would stand a man who invited everyone to entering into it. In my head memory, I still remembered some of the names of these restaurants. This showed that I was very impressed during my stay in Nakano District. Izakaya, Tsuyamaru, Gyu No Simonya, Hakata Mangetsu and Ikkenme Sakaba were some of the names of restaurants there. Did I taste their cooking?. NO, I explained again “NO”. Because everyday in Nakano, every time I walked on to meet my stomach needs, I could only buy two pieces of onigiri at a regular FamilyMart in Fureai Road.

Olala….Arriving at Yadoya Guesthouse.
The cold barrier from outside air was a plastic curtain.
Shared spot to storing food.

“Hi, Where are you coming from?” I asked the dormitory receptionist. I didn’t want to just enjoy her beauty in silence. I better started the conversation.

“Hi Donny, I’m Janessa from Portugal”, of course she knew my name, because she was checking my passport number before giving me a bunk bed where I slept at Yadoya Guesthouse.

“Hi Janessa, I’m very surprised because the receptionist isn’t Japanese, but you”, I started with smile.

“Yeah, I’m working here. It’s nice country”, her smile looked happy.

“Donny, your bunk bed is at fourth level. So enjoying to burn your calorie by walking on stairs there”, Janessa added with a little joke.

“Okay, Janessa. It’s no matter. I’m strong backpacker”, I ended the conversation.

Yadoya Guesthouse left so much impression. There were a lot of silliness in it that made me laugh sometimes when I remembered it. Some of them were when a night I had to wash with cold water because I couldn’t find the location of heating button, or a morning when I found two European lovebirds have cuddle sleeping in a small bunk bed with thick blankets. Or a time on the middle of night, It was hard to closing my eyes because my bed seemed to freezing. Maybe a dormitory for 2,000 Yen per night wasn’t suitable for staying in Japan in winter.

First stairs.
During in Japan, I’ve never been to buy a quota and a local SIM card. I always rely on the hotel’s WiFi to send news to my country.
Go to the room on fourth floor.
Keep stepping the stairs.

From sixteen bunk beds in the room, I met my close neighbor, a solo backpacker from Brunei Darussalam, who was cute in her hijab. Yes, I knew where she came from because I found the image of crescent moon with both hands raised which is the symbol of her country clearly affixed to her backpack.

Whatever I felt, Nakano District still gave a deep impression in my adventure to know Tokyo and Yadoya Guesthouse became the umpteenth home in part of my trip.

Hunting Tokunai Pass: Chou Line from Tokyo to Nakano

Arriving at Tokyo Station.

As usual, perpetuating oneself in front of important spots in other countries was a natural habit. So before entering Tokyo Station, I took a time to pose in front of its gate. It was right in front of the “Yaeshu North Entrance”.

“If you go to Tokyo. You rarely met people above the surface, Donny. But once you enter the underground station, Tokyo residents are like bees in it. Try to prove Donny if you don’t believe it!”, that was what an officemate said who had gone to Tokyo. I was surprised at that time.

Now I was in Tokyo and hoping to prove it. As it turned out, a thing on the surface which people would rarely meet….That was clearly wrong. Tokyo was still a busy city in the world with high population mobility on it. Then, the “underground beehive”….Yeah, that was right. Even before I got to the bottom room, Tokyo station was full of people. Extraordinary.

When entering station building, I prefered to stand attached to a large pole and recorded the back and forth of train passengers who were very tightly packed….. Super busy. Maybe I became the most relaxed human being that morning throughout Tokyo station because I still had time to stand for a long time recording the activities in it.

Now was the time to hunt for train tickets. I had intended to get a one day pass so I could explore Tokyo until midnight. Queued myself at a ticketing vending machine. In the queue, I kept a close eye on how everyone operated the machine. However, when it was my turn, I still didn’t understand. All screens were full of buttons and numbers representing ticket prices. I didn’t know where that destination was. I looked back, I was annoying the queues because I was looking for tickets for too long. I gave up, I stepped back and let  other passengers who seemed very rushed with their time. I continued to stand a bit away from ticketing vending machine and watched them when using it. Still confused…. because they chose to use kanji characters.

In the end I decided to look for the other side of station which was quieter. I found it in the left hallway. The ticketing vending machine was empty. I slowly approached, quietly and I watched carefully every button. Finally I found the “ENG” button which would lead me to use an international language. But I didn’t immediately find the word “One Day Pass”.

I kept looking in the “Discount Card” directory and the words “Tokunai Pass” popped up. Luckily, I had read an article about Japanese railways before setting out on an adventure. In the article it was mentioned that the One Day Pass for Japan was called the Tokunai Pass. So happy I solved the problem. Oh, it turned out that it was easy. I pressed it and then paying for 750 Yen.

Tokunai Pass.
This might be the receipt.

As far as I know, the Tokunai Pass ia available at all JR Line stations. And can be used to ride all local JR Line trains (within Tokyo city) whose rails are located above ground level. So it can’t be used for Tokyo Subway underground train.

As soon as I got the ticket, I headed straight for the platform in the direction of Nakano.

Nakano is located east of Tokyo with a distance of 15 Km and travel time by train is around 20 minutes. I purposely looked for a place to stay that was a bit far from the city center because its price was cheap.

Platform to Nakano.
Arriving at Nakano Station.

I took the Chuo Line to Nakano. At 13:30 hours, I arrived at Nakano Station. And get ready to walk to Yadoya Guesthouse.

Cheap Food for Backpacker at Japan.

Japan had been set by me to be my top destination in East Asia after visited Hong Kong, Macao and Shenzen a year earlier.

For a backpacker who concerns with a budget like me, Japan becomes an expensive place that needs some tricks to spend minimal budget for 4 days exploring its magnetism. Japan magnetism has made every traveler are impressed to Japan.

For minimizing hotel budget, I got a free overnight stay at Kansai International Airport and also got a cheap dormitory at Yadoya Guesthouse (in Nakano area) and Kaga Hotel (in Osaka city).

Transportation budget was also helped by Tokunai Pass in Tokyo and One Day Pass in Osaka.

Well, I will tell how I chose some ways to got cheap food in Japan for saved budget. I did it because I has to save a lot of money for visiting another countries in the world to realize my long backpacker mission.

Lunch

When arrived at Narita International Airport on 11:15 then lunch was something that couldn’t be delayed anymore. It wasn’t possible to waited for lunch in Tokyo downtown. After searched it around Narita’s Arrival Hall, I just found some expensive price at food court, I finally pushed  my steps into Lawson. Indeed many cheap onigiris, but single onigiri certainly wasn’t enough for lunch. Finally it was the best option that I took for my menu:Lunch at Narita

Two onigiris with some companion menu for 248 Yen made me enough satisfied.

Dinner 

My thinking way is simple when being backpacker. I will eat on time to avoid sickness during trip. And wherever is it and when eating time comes then I will try to find the cheapest food around me. I don’t need to go back to a certain place for eating. Just calm and eat something as soon as possible.

My dinner happened when I was enjoying Ameyoko (Ameya Yokocho) Market hubbub near Ueno station. When hungry wasn’t unstoppable I finally started to looked for food around it. A lot of Turkish was opening kebab stall, but it seemed less for my portion.

Dinner at 4 degrees Celsius weather would be better if ate hot noodles like it:

Dinner at Yokoco

Spent for 398 Yen and got a bottle of ice water …. made me could sleep so soundly

Breakfast

I had a breakfast near Yadoya Guesthouse in Nakano where I stayed during visiting Tokyo. Walking around home-based restaurant, I just found a relatively expensive menu. Finally I found Family Mart there. 10 slices of onigiri was being my dish

Breakfast Nakano

Simply paid 298 Yen

Menu in Amerikamura, Osaka

A day later, visiting Amerikamura required me to buy a lunch menu before moved towards Namba Parks.

So hard to found cheap food here, but finally I bought a menu at a home-based Japanese restaurant which selling Thai food.

Here was my choice:

Lunch Amerikamura

 

Slightly expensive to spent for 680 Yen. Because of no other options. But the portion was very much for Indonesian liked me ….. I couldn’t breathe because of satiety.

Well for you who have a minimal budget, don’t worry  for visiting Japan. There is always a solution as long as we tricky faced all condition there.

Let’s visit Japan, friends ……

Makanan Murah untuk Backpacker di Jepang.

Jepang memang sudah saya setting menjadi destinasi puncak di kawasan Asia Timur, setelah setahun sebelumnya berhasil menapakkan kaki di Hong Kong, Macao dan Shenzen.

Buat seorang backpacker yang concern dengan budget seperti saya, Jepang menjadi tempat mahal yang perlu banyak disiasati walau hanya sekedar 4 hari menjelajahi daya magis Jepang yang membuat para traveler terkesima akan negeri itu.

Masalah hotel sudah tersiasati dengan menginap gratis semalam di Kansai International Airport dan mendapatkan dormitory murah di Yadoya Guesthouse (di daerah Nakano) dan Kaga Hotel (di kota Osaka).

Masalah transportasi juga tersiasati dengan kartu ajaib Tokunai Pass di Tokyo dan One Day Pass di Osaka.

Nah, kali ini saya akan membahas bagaimana mensiasti cara makan di Jepang yang pernah saya lakukan untuk menghemat budget. Saya sengaja melakukan ini karena harus banyak berhemat dan banyak menabung demi niat mengunjungi berbagai belahan dunia dalam jangka Panjang misi backpacker saya.

Menu Makan Siang

Ketika tiba di Narita International Airport pukul 11:15 maka lunch adalah sesuatu yang tidak bisa ditunda lagi. Sudah tidak memungkinkan menunggu lunch hingga ke tengah kota Tokyo. Setelah keliling Arrival Hall Narita, melihat beragam harga yang begitu mahal di food court setempat, akhirnya Saya mendorong langkah kaki untuk masuk ke Lawson. Memang banyak beberapa pilihan murah onigiri, tetapi satu buah onigiri tentu tidak mampu membendung porsi wajar makan siangku. Akhirnya inilah pilihan terbaik yang Saya ambil untuk menu siang kala itu:

Lunch at Narita

Dua onigiri beserta menu pendamping seharga 248 Yen atau sekitar Rp 32.240 cukup membuat kenyang perut siang itu.

Menu Makan Malam

Cara berfikir saya sederhana ketika sedang backpackeran. Saya akan makan tepat waktu untuk menghindari sakit selama perjalanan. Dan dimanapun saat itu berada dan ketika waktu makan tiba maka Saya akan berusaha mencari makan terhemat disekitar tempat itu. Tidak perlu kembali lagi ke tempat tertentu untuk menyantap sebuah makanan….keburu lapar…hahaha

Makan malam ini terjadi ketika Saya sedang menikmati keriuhan Ameyoko (Ameya Yokocho) Market di dekat stasiun Ueno. Ketika lapar sudah tak tebendung akhirnya Saya mulai menyisir menu di sekitar pasar ini. Banyak orang Turki yang membuka kedai kebab di daerah ini, tetapi sepertinya kurang nendang kalau hanya sekedar makan kebab.

Dinner di suhu 4 derajat Celcius akan lebih enak jika makan mie berkuah panas seperti ini:

Dinner at Yokoco

Cukup merogoh kocek 398 Yen atau sekitar Rp. 51.740 dapat bonus air es seteko yang akhirnya Saya habiskan….bisa membuat tidur malam itu begitu nyenyak…hahaha

Menu Sarapan

Sarapan ini Saya beli di sekitar Yadoya Guesthouse di Nakano, tempat dimana Saya menginap selama di Tokyo. Berjalan di sekitar restoran rumahan Tokyo yang menawarkan menu relatif mahal buat kantongku. Akhirnya Saya menemukan Family Mart di dalam perkampungan. 10 slice onigiri inilah yang menjadi menu pagi itu

Breakfast Nakano

Cukup membayar 298 Yen atau sekitar Rp. 38.740. Cukup buat modal keliling Tokyo di hari kedua selama 6 jam kedepan.

Menu di Amerikamura, Osaka

Sehari setelahnya, menginjakkan kaki siang itu di Amerikamura mengharuskan Saya membeli makan siang sebelum meninggalkan kawasan itu untuk menuju Namba Parks.

Begitu susah mencari makan murah disini, tetapi akhirnya Saya mengambil jalan tengah untuk mengambil menu di rumah makan rumahan warga Jepang yang menjual menu makanan khas Thailand.

Inilah pilihan saya :

Lunch Amerikamura

Sedikit mahal karena harus mengeluarkan 680 Yen atau sekitar Rp. 88.400. Karena tidak ada pilihan murah yang lain. Tapi ini porsinya sangat banyak untuk ukuran orang Indonesia…..Saya sampai tidak bisa bernafas karena kekenyangan.

Nah buat kalian yang mempunyai budget minim tidak perlu khawatir mengunjungi negeri matahari terbit ini. Selalu ada solusi asalkan jeli melihat kondisi di tempat tujuan.

Mari Kunjungi Jepang, teman……