Mar 24, 2013

Join us this summer in Tokyo for the "JapanLA Super Mega Fun Tour!" This is our 4th tour to Japan. We take you to all of our favorite places and our awesome tour guide will take you out at night for fun adventures too! Take a look at our itinerary for this summer's trip!

Day 1-2
On June 12, we'll board Singapore Airlines, at LAX, bound for Narita International Airport near Tokyo! (Singapore Airlines is famous for their service and cool stewardess outfits. The food is good too – I'm not a vegetarian, but I always get the Indian vegetarian option.) We'll soar over the International Date Line and arrive at Narita on the evening of the 13th and hop on a coach into the heart of the city to our hotel, the Mark City Excel a few steps away from Shibuya Station and its world-famous “scramble” intersection.

Day 3
We're going to jump right in! First thing in the morning we'll head to historic Tokyo Station to visit Tokyo Character Street, a new underground shopping arcade dedicated to character brands from Sanrio and Studio Ghibli to Shonen Jump and even Winnie the Pooh!

Right next door is Ginza, the classic Tokyo neighborhood of old luxury, home to flagship stores for dozens of fashion brands, and tech companies like Sony and Apple. We will also visit, Hakuhinkan, a five-floor toy store that's a local institution. (It even has a 36-meter slot car circuit!) Ginza is also where you will find the largest Sanrio store in the world and my favorite waffle place, Manneken.

Next it's off to Akihabara, known worldwide as the otaku capital. I'll take everyone on a walking tour, then set you loose to shop, and we'll meet up at a maid cafe for dessert and games!

Day 4
It's off to Odaiba's “Big Sight” convention center for the Tokyo Toy Show, where Japan's toymakers big and small show off their cool, crazy, classic and weird new ideas for the year. This is also where you can find lots of character mascots to take pictures with.

Then in the afternoon, you can either head out onto the island to shop or head to one of Tokyo's only onsen hot springs for a relaxing dip and a walk around an indoor version of one of old Japan's onsen towns.

Day 5
It's street fashion day! We'll tour Shibuya, hitting all the hot spots – Shibuya 109, Parco and more – plus some landmarks for music and vinyl toy fans. Then it's Harajuku, the capital of Japanese street fashion, for more cool clothes and a trip to a Tokyo institution, the toy shop Kiddyland. We'll be joined by a professional photographer, who'll be taking shots of your outfits for our own Japanese-style custom fashion mag, which you'll get to keep as a souvenir when the tour ends!

Photo from: Tokyofashion.com

Finally, in the evening, those who dare can join us for Roppongi Kingyo, a mind-blowing burlesque that blends Japanese traditions with modern music and dance, and where almost none of the dancers are women... though you'll swear they were.

Day 6
It's time for Puroland, the Sanrio theme park, with rides, exhibits and shopping you'll find nowhere else! We're getting all-day passports, so you can hang out as long as you want.

Day 7
Enjoy a free day in Tokyo! If you have special plans or even just a general idea of what you'd like to spend this day doing, we're happy to help you figure it out, so just ask! Tokyo Disney is a popular destination that day.

Day 8
Our last day for the Tokyo-Only group starts at Hayao Miyazaki's Ghibli Museum in beautiful Inokashira Park. Its theater shows short films that can be seen nowhere else, its exhibits and cafe are playful and fascinating, and its gift shop is a great chance for some final souvenir shopping. In the afternoon, we step back in time in Asakusa, Tokyo's old pleasure district, with its temples, shrines and old-fashioned sweets.

Finally, in the evening, those who wish can join us for one amazing sendoff – a pub crawl through my favorite Tokyo neighborhood, Shimokitazawa. A maze of winding, narrow streets, this small area was colonized by student protesters and hippies decades ago, and has today it's a hip haven for punks, artists, jazz junkies and street musicians. Its bars and restaurants are hidden treasures. We'll start at a raucous fusion izakaya that serves sake in tubes of bamboo, sample exotic Okinawan cuisine like champloo and sea grapes with fine, aged awamori liquor, drink from the taps at Tokyo's best craft beer bar and more! Food, drink and transportation are all included.

Day 9
On this day we'll have to say goodbye to our Tokyo-Only guests, but if you signed up for the Kyoto/Osaka option, the tour's just getting started! We'll hop on the shinkansen bullet train for the picturesque journey down the old Tokaido route to Japan's second city, Osaka, at a slick 165 miles per hour. Once we arrive we'll drop our stuff at the Granvia Hotel inside Osaka Station, then head for the cool shopping in Amerika-mura and end the evening as one should – gorging on street food on the Dotombori canal!

Day 10
It's been called one of the few world cities everyone should see before they die. Kyoto, the imperial capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, was also the only major city not heavily bombed during World War II (it was spared an atomic bomb blast only because Secretary of War Henry Stimson had spent his honeymoon there and knew its cultural value). Full of old temples, shrines, geisha houses, monuments and old machiya homes, the old capital is totally unique.

In our own charter bus, we'll visit Kinkakuji, also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion for its coating of gold leaf, and walk through its spectacular gardens. We'll eat lunch at Nishiki Market, a bustling street market, then head to Nijo Castle, the shogun's stronghold built to intimidate the emperor and a treasure trove of intricate wood carvings, majestic walls and quiet corridors full of priceless screen paintings. Next we'll see the longest wood structure in the world, Sanjusangendo, home to a thousand statues of the Amida Buddha, and we'll end the day at the astounding Kiyomizu-dera, a temple 1,200 years old built over a gorge with an unbeatable view of the city and a winding path packed with traditional shops.

Day 11
This will either be a free day, OR you can join us and head to Takarazuka, a small suburb of Osaka famous for two things: as the hometown of Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy and the founder of modern anime and manga, and as the base of the world-famous Takarazuka theater troupe, which puts on spectacular, romantic musical performances in which all the roles, male and female, are played by women. We'll visit the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum...

...then we'll get the unusual opportunity to head to a Takarazuka show ourselves!

Day 12
At last, the time has come. We'll take the shinkansen back to Tokyo, board Singapore Airlines back to LA, and start dreaming of our next visit to this weird, wonderful land...

If you would like to sign up for the tour or want more information, please contact Jamie at info@japanla.com or call the store (323) 934-5201.


Feb 22, 2013

We are doing our 4th trip to Tokyo this summer! June 12-20th in Tokyo and 20th-23rd in Osaka & Kyoto! Please email me, (Jamie), at info@japanla.com if you are interested in joining us!

Check out some of the fun places we will take you!

The Tour Price Includes:

Roundtrip Airfare from Los Angeles, on Singapore Airlines! This is my favorite airline, super fancy and nice!

It also includes your hotel stay in Shibuya, (double occupancy). This is my favorite place to shop and hang out in Tokyo! The hotel is right by the train station, so it's easy to find your way back to your hotel, if you want to wander around in the middle of the night to find claw machines or do the night life thing!

All your transportation in Tokyo is included in the price, including all buses and trains you will use!

Admissions to: Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)

Studio Ghibli Museum (home of Totoro)!

International Tokyo Toy Show! See the newest toys before they come out in stores! And take pictures with Japanese mascots. They are everywhere!

There is also a free day, where people usually go to Tokyo Disney or Disney Sea, or they do their own thing, shopping around or whatever they're special interest is.

Another favorite option to go to is the Japanese Onsen. It is a natural hot springs spa. It has become one of my favorite places in Japan. There's food, activities, and entertainment, in a Japanese festival-themed environment.

There are lots more places we go! We have an awesome tour guide that will also take you out at night, to intimate bars, karaoke, a pub crawl, and cool Japanese shows!

There is an optional 3 day trip to Osaka and Kyoto! In Kyoto, you will take a tour of shrines, temples, and the more traditional side of Japan. In Osaka, you will see the more casual side of Japan. There is street food, shopping, and a fun night life there. The additional 3 days in Osaka include:
JR Rail Pass
Admissions to:
Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)
Nijo Castle
Sanjusangendo (Hall of 1000 Buddhas)
There is a free day in Osaka too, where you may want to visit Universal Studios Japan or Nara Park to feed the deer that roam free. There's lots of options and fun stuff to do in Osaka!

For more info and a more detailed outline of all the places we go, email me at info@japanla.com


Oct 28, 2010

New cute Domo just arrived! Skeleton Domo is super cute, $8.99 each.

Domo String Lights, $15

Hello Kitty String lights too, $24.

Cute! Candy Windmills, $4.25 each. We still have colorful gloomy bears too, $24 each.

Giant Hello Kitty Fluffy Pillow, $95...so cute! We only have a few of these.

Hello Kitty Women's Longsleeve Tee, $37.95

Hello Kitty Women's Burnout Tee, $26.95

Hello Kitty Cute Bling Keychain...Choose Black HK with white hat and bling necklace or White HK with bling headphones and bling necklace...these are super cute, $25 each.

Hello Kitty & Chococat Bolster Pillows, $35 each.

Shiny, Sequin Hello Kitty Face Purses, with long chain strap, choose pink, black, or silver, $25 each.

Mr. Corn...choose happy or sad corn, $20 each.

Cute testicle and ovary plush, $14 each

Come to our fun Halloween Party too! JapanLA and some friends are all sponsoring it. It is a religious theme...which means the staff will be dressed as nuns, priests, popes, etc. It will be a fun party!

The party is at Royal Clayton's in downtown LA
1855 Industrial St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

No list, just show up! Prizes for best costume, goody bags for 1st 100, $1 PBR, $2 Shots, and we'll be there!

Happy Halloween!

We are open everyday 11am-7pm. Come visit us!

XX, Jamie


Apr 7, 2010

It's time for our yearly trip to Japan!!!! This time we are staying in Shibuya, so much fun to be had there!!! And we added another night to the trip! AND!!! We have Mori Chack, creator of Gloomy Bear meeting our group for lunch at 'Sweets Paradise', an all-you-can-eat dessert cafe, to draw pictures and take photos with everyone. So much fun! Here are some of the places we will be going this July 14 - 22, 2010:
Puroland (Hello Kitty Theme Park)
Tokyo Toy Show
Studio Ghibli Museum
Character Street
Japanese Supermarket
Fun Eating Places

We are also doing an optional trip to Osaka July 22-26 for the Fire & Water Festival, plus shopping, eating, and hanging out...plus a tour of Kyoto for tradtional shrines and temples!

CLICK HERE to see the full itinerary and more info on the fun places we will be going on our trip!

Email Jamie for more info and if you'd like me to email you a sign-up sheet at: info@japanla.com

Deadline to sign up is June 2nd, with a $300 deposit to hold your spot.

XO, Jamie

P.S. There is more night time fun to be had too, like karaoke, themed restaurants, bars, and adventures!


Jun 2, 2009

You still have time to sign up for the JapanLA Super Mega Fun Tokyo Trip this August 11 - 18, 2009. The DEADLINE TO SIGN UP IS NOW JULY 2ND, 2009, (or until the trip fills up). Also, the airline has gotten rid of their Fuel Surcharge, so, now you only pay $80 for the Air Tax. You save $100. The tour price is now: $2295 + $80 Air Tax (instead of the $189 that it used to be).

Also, good news for all of you Hello Kitty Fans! The Hello Kitty Black Wonder Interactive Exhibit and Game is going to be at Puroland while we are there. Here is a link to a video taking you through the exhibit. At the end you get a photo with Kuromi or Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel for 500 yen (about $5). http://www.puroland.co.jp/show/movie/bw-flv_english.html

Here are some cool statues made for the Black Wonder Exhibit.

And...while at Puroland, there is a performance of a Hello Kitty Starring in "OZ." That should be pretty awesome!

Here is the link to Puroland, if you want to see all the other cool things there, like the 4 Sanrio stores there. http://www.puroland.co.jp/english/

P.S. If you are not a Hello Kitty Fan, you will not be forced to spend a day doing all this Hello Kitty stuff. Our tour guide can take you somewhere else, once the Kitty Fans get dropped off here.

Please email me at: info@japanla.com, if you would like the Japan Trip itinerary and the sign up form, or have questions.




Apr 24, 2009

I have good news for those of you still thinking about going to Japan with us this summer! We reduced the trip down $100 due to the yen to $ conversion being really good. Also, fuel charges went down...so it is only about $188 for fuel and tax charge instead of the $280 we were estimating before. One other thing to know about Japan is there is no tax on shopping and you don't tip your waiter when you eat out, it is considered rude, so you save a lot of money because of this.

So, the new price is:
$2295 (plus about $188 fuel and tax charge...please note this changes with the economy, and can increase or decrease at any moment, but it looks like it will stay at this rate).

Dates: August 11 - August 18, 2009 Tokyo and August 17 -20, 2009 for the optional Osaka/Kyoto Trip
Included in the price:
Hotel (double occupancy)
Transportation to and from hotel and airport
Local Public Transportation while in Japan, including trains, subways, and charter buses
Admissions to: Puroland, Studio Ghibli Museum, Kingyo (night time show), Comiket Guide Book
Tour Guide (Speaks English and Japanese)

The Osaka Trip is now:
$895 per person because we are adding the Kyoto River Boat Ride into the price. The Osaka trip includes your rail pass (which is about $300), 3 nights at the Osaka Granvia Hotel (very nice hotel), the Kyoto Boat Ride, Kyoto Tour on Chartered Bus, admissions to temples and shrines, local transportation, and your tour guide. This is a really great price for all of those things.

My last blog about Japan gave you a run-down of some of the places we are going, but I didn't talk about food. At night, you will go on your own or in small groups to different restaurants. This is up to you of course, depending on how much money you want to spend on eating out. So, I thought I'd talk about some places you may want to check out!

This is the Lockup Restaurant, in Shibuya.

It is a Haunted Prison Themed Restaurant where they take you off in handcuffs and lock you up while you are eating.

This is Christon Cafe, a Religious Gothic Themed Restaurant. There are alters, stained glass windows, Virgin Mary statues, and lots of other authentic Christian/Catholic Church items displayed. It looks pretty awesome! You can find more information on these and other restaurants at www.notquitenigella.com . I got these pictures from her website and she has lots of other pictures of the food and menus at these and other places.

In Japan, they have these really cool Ramen places, where you walk in and you are super confused waiting to be seated, until you see the machine behind you where you buy a ticket for the Ramen you would like to eat. This is a picture of my Miso Ramen I bought last time I was in Japan. I didn't know Ramen could look so pretty.

There is also an Alice in Wonderland Restaurant where you can get really cute food. This was a dessert someone got there on our last trip. So, cute, you don't want to mess it up by eating it, but we did. The waitresses are dressed in Alice In Wonderland outfits, and the restaurant has themed food and drinks on the menu.

This was some Hello Kitty Food they had at Puroland. They also have Hello Kitty shaped Cheesecake...yum!

Hello Kitty Pancakes too!

Ice Cream Burgers are really more like ice-cream sandwiches with wafer cones. You can find tofu ice-cream here too.

I'm obsessed with sweets, so of course, I would find the Ice-cream claw machine...

And the Hello Kitty Cocoa Krispies claw machine. What? How do you possibly get that with the claw? In Japan, if you try a bunch of times and don't get the prize, after a while, they'll open the machine for you and give you the prize...Nice!

My friend, Mayhem, met up with us in Japan this night, (He is on that MTV show Bully Beatdown). Baby Shimmer Shine is one of the performers at Kingyo, the theater/dinner/drinking show we will be going to in Tokyo. It is so fun! She hung out with us after the show and took pictures. We loved her the best.

I forgot to mention in the last blog, that we will also be visiting Shibuya. You can find super Japanese Fashion Shopping here. This picture is of the girls who worked at one of the stores. We loved them. They were so cute and nice and helpful.

Onto Kyoto! We will be taking the River Boat Ride, and after a while this boat pulls up along side of you and sells you food and drinks. It is so amazing.

This is Osaka! You can find all kinds of food on the street and restaurants everywhere! Stephiee and I ducked into this restaurant because some punk rock Osaka kids were following us wanting to hang out with us. They were harmless...but randomly we found Misha, Winsey, and Todd. We cooked our own food at this place. It was super fun!

I hope this gives you a better idea of some of the fun things you can do while you are in Japan. We do go to areas as a group, but we split up into smaller groups or some people go off by themselves to explore. It is really fun to go with people who share your same interest of wacky Japanese pop culture, and having your tour guide so you don't get lost.

Please email me for more info and an application to go on the tour at info@japanla.com

The $300 deposit must be in by June 2, 2009 or before the tour fills up. The final payment must be in by July 6, 2009.



P.S. Check our blog from March 30, 2009 for more pics and details too!


Mar 30, 2009

So, we are finally finished planning our next trip to Japan! This one is the JapanLA Super Mega Fun Tokyo Tour August 2009! This time we are going to be going to Comiket! The world's largest handmade comic book convention with 35,000 sellers of comic books...crazy right? If you aren't into comics, that's ok too. We have lots of stuff for you to do. Here is the itinerary!

August 11, 2009
Leave LAX Airport

August 12, 2009
Arrive Tokyo! Check into Keio Hotel in Shinjuku. This is a very nice hotel, and you get free internet and tea in your room. There is a Karaoke spot on the 47th floor, and 12 restaurants and 8 bars in the hotel.

This is where you check in, inside the hotel...super nice.

August 13, 2009
Toy and Anime Hunting Day and Studio Ghibli Museum! This is the Studio Ghibli Museum. If you've seen movies like "Spirited Away" or "Princess Mononoke" you will know how cool this place is. There is a cafe, gift shop, book shop, and museum of things from the Ghibli movies. You can also go to the small theater and watch a short film that can only be seen at the museum. It changes all the time, so you will always see something different.

The Studio Ghibli Museum is surrounded by a forest that you have to walk through first. It doesn't look real, but it is.

Now for the toy hunting part...We will head over to Nakano Broadway, where you can find tons of glass cases filled with collectible toys, like this...

Then off to Akihabara...for more toy, anime, and manga shopping...plus lots of electronics, video games, and gadgets.

And lots of maid cafes with cute girls like these serving you...

August 14, 2009
Comiket Comic Convention and Odaiba Adventure
Comiket is a huge convention where you can find unpublished comics. You will receive a Comic Catalog, (like this but for Summer 2009), so you can find your way around the convention.

If you are not into Comics, you can hang out at Odaiba's Aqua City, where you can find an awesome mall, a boardwalk with great food places, Joypolis (an indoor arcade theme park), and a Statue of Liberty (super random, but great!)

This is the inside of Joypolis, the indoor arcade theme park.

August 15, 2009
Japanese Fashion Shopping Day
We will have our own charter bus for this day. So, when you shop, you can leave your stuff on the bus, and not have to lug it around or take it on the train. First stop, Asakusa, to look at temples, a really large Buddha statue...

And shop for souvenirs...

Next...off to Harajuku...where you will find Japanese fashion shops like the Lolita shops at La Foret...

My favorite store, Kiddyland...a 7 story toy store of mostly character goods...

Here is just one floor, the Sanrio floor...7 more to go...

And don't forget about the Japanese teens who hang out on the bridge, in Harajuku, so you can take photos of them...

August 16, 2009
Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)

This place is so cute and fun! It is an indoor Sanrio Theme Park! You can take pictures with the characters walking around...(Badtz Maru was created for boys.) There is also a Segaworld arcade next door, in case the boys get overwhelmed with the Hello Kitty after a while...)

There are also 4 Sanrio stores inside, with some rare items only available at Puroland. You can eat Hello Kitty shaped food here too, at one of the restaurants. Take a tour of Hello Kitty's house and take a picture with her...See one of the shows, like The Hello Kitty Nutcracker, and take the Sanrio Boat ride, it's like Small World at Disneyland but with Sanrio...I love it!

Later that evening, we will be going to Kingyo in Roppongi...This is a live show and dinner...Some of the girls are actually boys, it's fun to try to guess which ones...This is one of my favorite things to do in Tokyo...You will love it! This show and dinner is included in the tour price.

August 17, 2009
Free Day!
Tokyo Disney is an option...or go back to places you didn't get to see.

August 18, 2009
Leave Tokyo or Optional 3-day Trip to Osaka and Kyoto

August 18, 2009
Kyoto Tour
Hozu River Boat Ride
Temple and Shrine Tour
Kinyomizudera (shown below)
Hang out in Downtown Kyoto for dinner

August 19, 2009
Osaka Fun Day!

Shopping in Dotonburi, Namba, Americamura

August 20, 2009
Return to Los Angeles

OMG! That is a lot of stuff to do! There is actually even more options for night stuff. I don't want to overwhelm you though...Ok, here is the price. August is a popular time to travel, so we have arranged a really good group rate so it is affordable and a very nice, fun trip.

PRICE: $2395 (plus tax and fuel charge, about $280)

Osaka and Kyoto Optional Trip: $850

The price includes:
Hotel (double occupancy)
Transportation to and from hotel and airport
Local Public Transportation while in Japan, including trains, subways, and charter buses
Admissions to: Puroland, Studio Ghibli Museum, Kingyo (night time show)

Deposit $300 due by June 2, 2009
Final Payment due by July 6, 2009

This tour is being offered to you by JapanLA and H.I.S. Travel.

This is your fearless tour guide, Ben. He led the tour last year, and is so awesome! He speaks fluent Japanese and English, and has led many many tours. He will help you find all the random places you want to go in Japan, and he is super fun and positive...and I will be going too! Yay!

So, please email me if you have more questions and want me to email you an application for the tour. August is a busy time so, we can bring 30 people max. Last summer, the tour sold out in 2 weeks, so don't miss out on a really fun summer trip!

Email Jamie at: info@japanla.com
or call me at: 323-934-5201
or stop by JapanLA and ask me questions!