Jour­ney to West Tokyo

Want to travel like a lo­cal in Tokyo? Head to these spots in the west­ern re­gion to ex­pe­ri­ence the city like never be­fore.

CLEO (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

TAMA

1hr from Shin­juku Sta­tion

Tama is home to San­rio Puroland, a theme park ded­i­cated to Hello Kitty, My Melody and many more beloved char­ac­ters. Be­fore head­ing there, buy the Keio Amuse­ment Pass­port from the ticket ma­chine at the sta­tion for 3,500 yen. On top of ad­mis­sion to San­rio Puroland (which costs 3,300 yen on its own), the Pass­port gets you un­lim­ited train rides on the Keio Line and Inokashira Line on the same day.

The San­rio ex­pe­ri­ence starts right after you get off the train at Keio-Ta­maCen­ter Sta­tion, where you’ll be greeted by Pom­pom­purin adorn­ing the sig­nage at the sta­tion plat­form. As you head to ground level, you’ll see Hello Kitty’s iconic rib­bon painted on stained glass on the el­e­va­tor pan­els. Step out of the gantry and be awed by a huge mu­ral of San­rio char­ac­ters moon­light­ing as sta­tion mas­ters.

San­rio Puroland is just five min­utes away from the sta­tion on foot. If you love Dis­ney­land’s It’s A Small World ride, you’ll en­joy the San­rio Char­ac­ter Boat Ride fea­tur­ing San­rio mas­cots. Visit ev­ery­one’s favourite cat at the Lady Kitty House to snap a photo with her! (In usual theme park style, you’ll have to pay to bring home a print­out, though.)

To Hello Kitty-fy your trip, stay for a night at one of the four Hello Kit­tythemed rooms at Keio Plaza Ho­tel.

TIP: If you want to meet Mickey Mouse and friends, Keio Plaza Ho­tel in Shin­juku of­fers a free shut­tle bus ser­vice to Tokyo Dis­ney­land.

MOUNT TAKAO

1hr from Shin­juku Sta­tion

Dur­ing our trip to Ja­pan, the Deputy Di­rec­tor of Mar­ket­ing and PR from Keio Plaza Ho­tel told us that one of the top rea­sons Sin­ga­pore­ans go to Ja­pan is to en­joy na­ture. If you count your­self among them, you shouldn’t miss Mount Takao at Takaosan­guchi Sta­tion.

Take a ca­ble car—which looks more like a tram—up, or if you’re feel­ing sporty or ad­ven­tur­ous, go on one of the hik­ing trails. Sit­ting atop the moun­tain is Yakuo-in Tem­ple. Join the goma, or fire rit­ual, which hap­pens daily at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. Vis­i­tors can write their “de­file­ments”—or what­ever bad vibes they want to get rid of—on wooden prayer tablets, which are then col­lected and thrown into the fire as part of the rit­ual. We sug­gest mak­ing a reser­va­tion for the sho­jin-ry­ori, the veg­e­tar­ian lunch dishes usu­ally eaten by trainee priests, to have a taste of Ja­pa­nese tem­ple cui­sine.

To com­plete your ex­pe­ri­ence, take a lift down, which works in the same way as a ski lift, through the for­est of Mount Takao. There are no safety har­nesses or belts, so don’t do any­thing risky when tak­ing self­ies or you can bid your phone good­bye.

TIP : Be­fore head­ing to the moun­tains, visit the Takao 599 Mu­seum (a three­minute walk from the sta­tion) to find out more about Mount Takao’s flora and fauna.

CHOFU

20min from Shin­juku Sta­tion

We like to think of Chofu as the Jurong East Sta­tion of Ja­pan, as not only is it a train in­ter­change, but it also has lots of shop­ping cen­tres in the vicin­ity and is near places of in­ter­est. The city cen­tre may not be as ex­trav­a­gant as Ginza Six, but there’s still your usual cloth­ing stores, Tokyu Hands, a su­per­mar­ket, and malls all within walk­ing dis­tance of one an­other.

Feel­ing cul­tural? Take a bus or cab to Jindaiji Tem­ple, where you can see one of the na­tional trea­sures of Ja­pan, the Hakuho Bud­dha. The tem­ple is known for host­ing the Daruma Fes­ti­val, which hap­pens over two days in March ev­ery year. The daruma is an aus­pi­cious doll, and to make a wish, you draw in the left pupil, while the right pupil should only be filled in after your wish has come true. While it’s usu­ally made of wood, you can find one that’s made of glass at one of the glass­ware shops down the street.

TIP : Take a walk through the streets around the tem­ple to get ma­jor shi­ta­machi (old town) vibes.

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