Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour – visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

Harajuku Japan

Exploring the Harajuku area is a must while in Tokyo. The two major streets to explore are upmarket Omotesando Street and buzzing Takeshita Street.

First we wandered along Omotesando Street, past Louis Vuitton, Dior and every other designer store you can think of.

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.
The tree lined boulevard is a (designer) shoppers paradise. We window shopped up one side of the street and down the other.
Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

Next we walked slowly along Takeshita Street, which is the bustling strip that comes to mind when you think of Harajuku.

Known for it’s quirky style and fashion, the area is a feast of pinks and beautifully dressed people.

Harajuku Tokyo Japan Fashion

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

You’ll find a number of options for the infamous Harajuku Crepes along the street. There are seasonal flavours, along with popular options to help you make up your mind.

We visited during Cherry Blossom season and there was an appealing Cherry Blossom flavoured crepe on offer.

Harajuku Santa Monica Crepes

Harajuku Tokyo Japan Crepes

I went for one of the popular options – banana, oreo and chocolate. The crepe was freshly cooked, warm and richly sweet.

Harajuku Santa Monica Crepe

Another quirky Harajuku find was the enormous cotton candy/candy floss/fairy floss. (Depending where you’re from!)

I watched in awe as smiling person after smiling person descended the stairs carrying armfuls full of cotton candy.

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

As the day progressed the street got busier and busier. By the time we made our way back to the train station Takeshita Street was a bustling sea of people.

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

Harajuku Japan Video Tour

Here’s the video of our walk through the Harajuku area. Hit play below or click here to watch on YouTube.

Harajuku Japan District Walking Tour - visit Omotesando for shopping and Takeshita Street for the quintessential Harajuku Fashion and Style.

We stayed at the Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku, the hotel was excellent – comfortable beds, clean rooms and conveniently located in walking distance to endless eating and shopping options plus Shinjuku station, which is on the same train line as most Tokyo sights, including Harajuku.

Click here to check prices for Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku or enter your dates below to find a hotel in Tokyo to suit your needs.

More things to do in Tokyo:

Ueno Park

Meguro River

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Meguro River Cherry Blossoms

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms – Tokyo Japan Sakura Walk – pictures and video tour from Meguro Station to the picturesque Meguro River.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms - Tokyo Japan Sakura Walk - pictures and video tour from Meguro Station to the picturesque Meguro River.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms

The Meguro River Cherry Blossoms was the next stop on our Sakura tour of Tokyo. (Ueno Park was the first stop.)

Aim to head to Meguro early in the day during Sakura Season as it gets very busy with tourists and locals making the journey to view the 800 cherry blossoms that line the Meguro River. We went early morning and had the place mostly to ourselves.

The walk down the hill from Meguro Station is steep but worth the effort.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms - Tokyo Japan Sakura Walk - pictures and video tour from Meguro Station to the picturesque Meguro River.

Your first glimpse of the cherry blossom lined river will likely take your breath away. Though on the day we visited it was incredibly windy so that could have been a factor too!

The whistling wind added to the atmosphere, with the lanterns dancing happily along the river. At night it must look spectacular with the lanterns shining bright.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms - Tokyo Japan Sakura Walk - pictures and video tour from Meguro Station to the picturesque Meguro River.

There are plenty of photo opportunities within a short distance. No matter whether you visit when the cherry blossoms are tiny buds or in full bloom, you’re sure to find beauty aplenty along the river.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms - Tokyo Japan Sakura Walk - pictures and video tour from Meguro Station to the picturesque Meguro River.

We stayed at the Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku, the hotel was excellent – comfortable beds, clean rooms and conveniently located in walking distance to endless eating and shopping options plus Shinjuku station, which is on the same train line as most Tokyo sights, including Meguro River Station.

Click here to check prices for Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku or enter your dates below to find a hotel in Tokyo to suit your needs.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms Video

Here’s a video tour of Meguro River Cherry Blossoms . Hit play below or click here to watch on YouTube.

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms - Tokyo Japan Sakura Walk - pictures and video tour from Meguro Station to the picturesque Meguro River.

To get to the cherry blossoms, alight at Meguro Station and walk down the hill to the river. You can stop in at the historic Daien-ji Temple.

I’ve mapped the route below from the station to 7/11 as it’s across from the cherry blossom lined river. (And is a great spot to stop for snacks before/after.)

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Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival – Japan Sakura Viewing Season – things to do in Tokyo Japan – Ueno Park Cherry Blossoms.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival Sakura Japan

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

A visit to Japan’s most popular park is a must while in Tokyo. Ueno Park sits on over 130 acres and has more than enough to fill a day (or more) with beauty.

It’s easily accessible, just across from Ueno Station and is well signposted throughout. Making it really easy to navigate around and find what interests you.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival Sakura Japan

There are a number of museums located throughout the park, including the National Science Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum plus the Ueno Zoo.

We only had time to visit the Ueno Zoo, which is an outing in itself. The pandas were the absolute highlight and the crowd ooed and ahhed at their every move.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival - Ueno Zoo Panda

You’ll also find cultural spots of interest such as Kaneji Temple and Toshogu Shrine.

We were lucky enough to visit during the annual Sakura Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival.

There were Hanami parties throughout the park and the atmosphere was electric with the crowd swelling as the day progressed.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

As it was the Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival there were a number of street food vendors located throughout the park. You only need to follow your nose to discover the rows of food. There were sweet treats and grilled meats on offer to enjoy beneath the cherry blossom canopy.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

The cherry blossoms themselves were spectacular. There were blossoms at different stages of blooming and a rainbow of shades of pinks.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival

As you can see from the photos, the weather was glorious. Blue sky and sunshine all around.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival - Japan Sakura Viewing Season - things to do in Tokyo Japan - Ueno Park Cherry Blossoms.

For a unique perspective of the cherry blossoms, hire a boat (or pink swan) to view the Sakura from the lake.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival - Japan Sakura Viewing Season - things to do in Tokyo Japan - Ueno Park Cherry Blossoms.

We stayed at the Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku, the hotel was excellent – comfortable beds, clean rooms and conveniently located in walking distance to endless eating and shopping options plus Shinjuku station, which is on the same train line as most Tokyo sights, including Ueno Station and Park.

Click here to check prices for Ibis Tokyo Shinjuku or enter your dates below to find a hotel in Tokyo to suit your needs.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival Video

Here’s a video tour of Ueno Park. Hit play below or click here to watch on YouTube.

Ueno Park Tokyo Cherry Blossom Festival - Japan Sakura Viewing Season - things to do in Tokyo Japan - Ueno Park Cherry Blossoms.

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12 Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids In Winter

12 Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids In Winter & Rainy Days Too – fun things and activities to do at places around Melbourne.

12 Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids In Winter & Rainy Days Too - fun things and activities to do at places around Melbourne.

12 Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids In Winter

Melbourne is an incredible city to explore with kids. There’s museums, trams, endless city walks and plenty to see and do. There are just so many things to do in Melbourne with kids but I’ve narrowed it down to 12 of our favourites.

1. National Gallery of Victoria

12 Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids In Winter & Rainy Days Too - fun things and activities to do at places around Melbourne.

There’s always something interesting happening at the NGV. Best of all, most activities are FREE.

You’ll find floor after floor of fascinating exhibits. When visiting with the family, don’t just stick to the kids areas. My kids enjoy exploring what the gallery has to offer and there’s always something new to discover.

2. Federation Square

12 Things To Do In Melbourne In Winter

There’s usually a buzz of activity in the outdoor square. Cultural festivals, sports on the big screen and a selection of restaurants abound.

Explore further and you’ll find the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI), which include a free museum showcasing the history of moving images as well as movie screenings and exhibits. Check the ACMI website for details of the latest events.

3. Melbourne Museum

12 Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids In Winter & Rainy Days Too - fun things and activities to do at places around Melbourne.

The newly opened Children’s Gallery offers endless hours of entertainment in addition to the Museum itself.

Here’s a video of our adventure:

4. Afternoon Tea

12 Things To Do In Melbourne In Winter

When my kids were just teeny little things we enjoyed an afternoon tea delight at the Langhan Melbourne. We are well overdue another afternoon tea, a delicious way to wile away the winter hours.

5. Eureka Skydeck

Things to do in winter in Melbourne
On a clear day you can see across Melbourne and appreciate the size and beauty of the city from Eureka Skydeck.

6. Docklands

Things to do in Melbourne - Docklands in Winter

There’s heaps to see and do around Melbourne’s Docklands. There are even fireworks through winter that the whole family are sure to enjoy.

Here’s a video tour of Docklands:

7. Melbourne Parks and Gardens

National Rhododendron Gardens - Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space

Winter in Melbourne doesn’t have to be all about the great indoors – head outside for a crisp wander through the Botanic Gardens, National Rhododendron Gardens or another one of our city parks.

8. Melbourne Markets

Things to do in Melbourne Vic Market

There’s the Vic Market, South Melbourne Market, Prahran Market and more. Explore, sample in season goodies and do your grocery shopping all at the same time.

9. Scienceworks

12 Things To Do In Melbourne In Winter

There’s so much to learn and be inspired by at Scienceworks. It’s great for kids (and grown ups) of all ages.

10. Aquarium

12 Things To Do In Melbourne In Winter

Learn about underwater creatures great and small at the Melbourne Aquarium.

11. City Circle Tram

12 Things To Do In Melbourne In Winter

Escape the cold by watching Melbourne go by through the windows of the City Circle Tram, which offers commentary about sights you’re passing.

12. Shopping!

12 Things To Do In Melbourne In Winter

You can walk completely undercover between Bourke Street Mall and Latrobe Street, taking in the massive Myer Department Store, Emporium Melbourne and Melbourne Central.

There’s more than enough to fill a day (or more) with almost every shop under the sun plus endless eating options.

As you can see – there’s plenty of things to do in Melbourne with kids in Winter and through the whole year. It’s a joy to explore and discover.

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National Rhododendron Gardens

National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda – Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne’s Most Underrated Outdoor Space – Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

National Rhododendron Gardens

National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda - Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space - Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

In Melbourne, we’re lucky to be surrounded by an array of beautiful gardens – Royal Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, Carlton Gardens, St Kilda Gardens and more.

One that doesn’t get nearly as much mention as it should are the National Rhododendron Gardens. Located in the Dandenong Ranges, about 45 minutes from central Melbourne, these gardens are well worth the visit while you’re in Melbourne.

Take a picnic or while you’re on the way, consider stopping in for a pie at Pie in the Sky. It’s our go to and the pies are still hot by the time you’re sitting on a bench enjoying the tranquil surrounds of the gardens.

National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda - Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space - Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

The beauty begins in the car park, where you’re surrounded by dozens of sky high Mountain Ash trees.

National Rhododendron Gardens

While the gardens are at their peak when the rhododendrons are flowering in Spring, they are a wonder to visit all year round.

The gardens are well signposted and there are a number of walking routes you can take, depending on what you’d like to see and how long you’d like to spend exploring the gardens. The signs also point out what to see during each season and where to find it.

We recently visited in early Autumn, when the very first Autumnal colours were beginning to appear. We enjoyed a rainbow or reds, oranges and yellows throughout the park.

National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda - Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space - Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda - Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space - Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda - Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space - Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

The 104 acre gardens are populated with over 30,000 exotic plant varieties and a unique array of wild life. So there’s plenty to see, explore and discover.

Take a peaceful wander through the gardens and you’ll discover a number of hidden lakes and ponds which feel like you’ve stumbled on a secret garden oasis.

National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda - Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space - Dandenong Ranges Gardens. National Rhododendron Gardens Olinda - Autumn in Melbourne at Melbourne's Most Underrated Outdoor Space - Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

We look forward to visiting again in Spring when the Rhododendrons are in full bloom. Though as you can see, the gardens are worth a visit no matter the season.

The gardens are open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day and are located in Olinda in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges. Entry is free.

How to find the National Rhododendron Gardens:

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Embracing Jet Lag in London With Kids

Embracing Jet Lag in London With Kids  – Our Jet Lag Strategy when travelling from Australia to England following 3 trips with our children.

Embracing Jet Lag in London With Kids - Our Jet Lag Strategy when travelling from Australia to England following 3 trips with our children.

Embracing Jet Lag in London

There’s this commonly held belief that Jet Lag is something to fight/overcome/beat when you’re travelling from one side of the world to the other. I myself have attempted many of the tips and tricks on my countless trips between Australia and England.

What if you took on a different belief. Instead of fighting Jet Lag, you embrace it? Instead you let your body slowly acclimatise to your new environment. And instead of being annoyed at yourself, you find ways to make the most of it.

On the first two trips to the UK with kids, I attempted to get them onto a “normal” sleep schedule. The first time my oldest was around 18 months and I was pregnant with his brother. That trip is commonly known as the nightmare trip. Not much sleep happened throughout our England visit.

We waited a LONG time before making the trip again to visit the English Grandparents. Until my oldest was 6 and his brother was 4. What a different trip! The first few nights though, we did all we could but sleep was all over the place and our days were spent grumpy. Eventually we got used to the time zone and adopted our usual routine.

There Has To Be A Better Way

It was on our 3rd trip when my boys were 5 and 7 that I had a serious AHA moment. Our first morning we were all WIDE awake at 4am. Initially we tried the “go back to sleep for a few more hours” routine. And then I just thought, we are up crazy early, why not get the tube, go into London and see some lights! (It was the week before Christmas.) We chose to embrace Jet Lag In London rather than fight it.

The plan was – there was no plan. Just hopping on the tube – emerging at Leicester Square and walking towards Oxford Street and along Regent Street to take in the Christmas lights.

At this point I should add that my Husband is a born and bred Londoner and I lived in London for 2 years. So, we know our way around London slightly better than your average tourist. Not sure if I would suggest wandering around an empty city if you don’t know where you’re going. (And areas to avoid.) BUT hotels are usually open 24/7 and could point you in a safe direction if you wanted to attempt something similar.

So, back to our ultra early morning in London. The tube was virtually empty on our journey in and Leicester Square was completely empty – we had it all to ourselves. We took our time. Enjoying the night air and quietness of London which many don’t experience.

Embracing Jet Lag in London

Christmas Lights Galore

As it was still a while before sunrise, it was dark through most of our London walk. So, we got to enjoy the twinkling London lights in full splendour.

The Christmas Lights were, of course, spectacular. It was the first time the kids got to experience it and it was made even more special because we were the only ones out.

The boys were, of course, smitten with the Hamley’s Christmas Window Display. We loved watching them carefully investigate every display with awe and wonder.

Embracing Jet Lag in London

We actually felt very safe, there were a couple of jolly people we encountered. Probably on their way home from a late/early finishing Christmas party. But other than that it was just one of the happiest mornings of our trip.

Just off Regent Street is Carnaby Street – a quirky street that’s worth a wander. The side trip did not disappoint, in fact the lights there were my favourite of all.

Embracing Jet Lag in London

By this time, shops started opening and we found ourselves on Oxford Street. We couldn’t resist a fancy breakfast at Selfridges to end our morning walk.

Afterwards, we made our way back to our apartment by catching a bus along Oxford Street to Tottenham Court Road. Our boys were lucky enough to snag the front row seats on the top level and our birds eye view of London was the perfect way to end a morning that will be forever etched in our memories.

Embracing Jet Lag in London
If you find yourself in London and want to enjoy the same walk, here’s a map of the route we took:

Rather than fighting Jet Lag and eventually walking around London in a zombie state, we had the experience of our lives and spent the rest of the day relaxing in our apartment with the English Grandparents.

We loved the experience so much that we repeated it a few days later. This time we went to Covent Garden and wandered around. Up and down all the surrounding laneways until a cafe opened and we sought warmth and breakfast.

Within a few days our sleep was more routine but our attitude towards Jet Lag has changed forever.

We have another trip planned to visit the English Grandparents for Christmas this year and you can be SURE we will be repeating our early morning London wanderings.

Embracing Jet Lag in London may have been the best travel decision we ever made.

 

Embracing Jet Lag in London With Kids - Our Jet Lag Strategy when travelling from Australia to England following 3 trips with our children.

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Welcome To Travel With Jolene

Welcome To Travel With Jolene

I’m working on AWESOME travel inspirations to share with you soon.

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