Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘japan swag’

Kirin Tea Factory Tour

If you’ve ever visited Japan, then chances are you have enjoyed a Kirin beverage.  Whether you ordered an ice cold beer or grabbed a bottle of tea out of a train station vending machine, it was mostly likely manufactured by the Kirin company.  Well I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of the Kirin Tea Factory and now I’m here to…spill the tea! 😉

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When we first arrived, we were greeted near the parking lot, given a visitor’s badge, and escorted to the entrance of the facility.  Everyone was super cheerful and made us feel like V.I.P. 🙂

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Then we were taken to a classroom where we could take some fun photos with the tea props while we waited for the whole tour group to arrive.

And yes, selfies are a must! 🙂  #ilovetea

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Once everyone arrived, the facilitator showed us a short video about the Kirin Tea Factory and explained what to expect on the tour.  Then they took our photos (I’ll explain why later) and we had to walk through a sanitation machine that sprayed us with sanitized air.

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My four-year-old hated this thing!

We were then taken to a room where we learned about the history of the Kirin tea leaves and saw how the plastic bottles were made.  The kids really enjoyed watching the bottles getting heated up and shrunk down to size.

Then we were able to see the machines in action, however, no photos are allowed in this area because the process is proprietary and basically all a secret. 😉

We entered a last room where they demonstrated how the label stamping machine worked.  We could use our brochures to slide it through a device that stamped the date.  This was much harder than it looked as you had to slide the paper through at just the right time – not too fast or too slow – or else the date would not be centered.

Remember when we took our photos in the beginning?  Well, it was for our own custom labels!  How cool?! We even got to watch the label machine in action!

But the surprises didn’t end there!  We went back to the classroom and learned how to make a special drink that was super delicious!

Also, in the room was a “magical” vending machine where we were able to choose two free drinks! Yay, Swag! And one of them was the newest available Kirin beverage – Citrus Tea! Yum! And the kids were all given the bottles they saw being shrunk earlier in the tour!  More Swag!

Overall,  I really enjoyed this factory tour!  It was very inexpensive, free parking, warm staff, kid friendly, and just a fun way to spend a couple of hours learning more about Japanese culture.  One thing to note is that the employees speak pretty limited English and will only facilitate group tours if it is hosted by someone who speaks both Japanese and English for translation purposes.

And in true Japanese fashion, there was a souvenir vending machine.  I opted for the adorable tea spoon! 🙂

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Have you tried a Kirin drink before?  Which one is your favorite?

~SM

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I’m All the Way Up (in the Tokyo Tower)

If you ever come for a visit to Tokyo, one of the most touristy things you can do is visit the Tokyo Tower!  At 1,092 feet high, it’s one of the tallest structures in Japan and a must-see during your next trip.

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On the outside, it just looks like a cool looking communications structure.  But, on the inside there is actually a museum, theme park, restaurants ,and plenty of shops.  I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Tokyo Tower twice – once in the evening and once during the day – and both times did not disappoint!

The first time I went, it was during the Illuminations in the winter.  Illuminations are basically Christmas lights multiplied by 100 that last from November-February.  You can find them all over landmarks and popular attractions in Japan during this time period. For the Tokyo Tower, they had an Illuminations area at the base of the tower, where there were tons of orange lights and lots of photo ops.

Did I mention you can get some pretty amazing crepes at the base of the tower, too? Also craft beer!

After the lights and crepes, we headed up to the Main Deck Observatory for some sweet views of Tokyo!

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You can also grab a drink and hit up a smaller souvenir shop on this level.  And you can check out this super adorable sparkly pink version the Tower! 🙂

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And if you visit on the weekend or a holiday, you might even catch the Tokyo Tower mascot (yes, there’s a mascot) – Noppon! My kids thought he was Patrick Star from SpongeBob, but they were excited to see him nonetheless.

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I will say there is something pretty dazzling about the evening views from the Tokyo Tower.  It’s mesmerizing to see Tokyo lit up in beautiful lights!  Also, don’t forget to stroll through historic Shiba Park to take in some more sights!

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My next visit was during the day which provided even more unique views!

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This time, we (my cousin and I) headed all the way up for the “Top Deck Tour” because we are fancy like that.  For the Top Deck Tour, you ride the elevator to the Main Observatory, then go to a secret room for a whole different tour.

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You will be given a special phone and headphones so that you can listen to the presentation and tour in English (or language of your choice) and you also get a cup of lemonade and learn a secret hand signal! 🙂 Then, you go into a much smaller elevator to head up to the Top Deck.  Now, I love heights – I’ve hiked some pretty tall mountains and have even gone skydiving – but this little elevator almost gave me a mild panic attack.  Not only is it small, it’s see-through all the way around and it shakes a little as it gets higher.  But, no worries, the nice elevator controller lady explained that it was “just the safety mechanism kicking in”.  A piece of info that would have been handy before entering the elevator.  Anyways, once you reach the top, you enter into a disco ball.  A literal DISCO BALL! Like I said, things are fancy up here.

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The day was a bit foggy, but the views were still nice.

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There’s also an opportunity to stand on a floor window and look below!

But is there SWAG?  Why yes, there is!  Besides the scenery, cup of lemonade, and secret hand signal, you also get a free small photo (with the option to upgrade to a larger one for a fee).

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Nothing can stop us…we’re all the way up.

And if it’s your birthday, you get an envelope filled with coupons for free and discounted stuff within the Tower.  For instance, a coupon for a free crepe!

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Overall, the Tokyo Tower was a breathtaking experience that I will remember forever!  I highly recommend a visit during your next trip to this gorgeous city!

Day or night, the views do not disappoint!

Have you been to the Tokyo Tower?  What did you love about it?!

~SM

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