It was so much more crazy fun than I imagined, so I’ll blog about it as a travelogue.
Vladivostok is very easy to get to even though it’s Russia, as the visa requirements were greatly relaxed in 2017. .
It’s only two and a half hours from Japan, but it really does look like Europe, and it’s perfect for anyone looking for an easy, cheap way to enjoy Russia and Europe!
We had a great eight-day trip this time!
I’m going to show you the places we actually went, from the famous places in the center of the city, to the chalk lighthouse, to other cities on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and even some of the more obscure spots!
I’ll also show you what you can’t find in the guidebooks, how much it costs, and where to go, so if you’re going to Vladivostok, please refer to this!
|Day 1||From Japan to Vladivostok via Seoul|
|Day 2||Stroll through souvenir shops and Fountain Street|
|Day 3||May Day parade and sightseeing at the Submarine Museum|
|Day 4||Sightseeing at the Eagle’s Nest Observatory, Pakulovsky Church, etc.|
|Day 5||Take a bus to the suburbs. Take a streetcar.|
|Day 6||Visit to Vladivostok Station|
|Day 7||Take the Trans-Siberian Railway to Ussuriysk|
|Day 8||Souvenir shopping in various places|
|Day 9||Return to Japan by direct flight|
We took our time enjoying the classic spots on this trip! This is the first part of my travelogue from day 1 to day 4.
We took it easy in Vladivostok, so I think you can get around in about four days if you hurry!
・First time in Vladivostok
・Booking by personal arrangement
・I like to buy sundries and souvenirs.
・Sometimes I buy food from supermarkets or delicatessens and eat it at the hotel.
・I travel mainly by bus and cab.
・Traveling alone this time
If you want to go to Europe easily, go to Vladivostok for the first time, or travel alone or as a couple, I think this will be a good reference for you!
Day 1: From Japan to Vladivostok via Seoul
First, to Seoul
There is a direct flight from Narita Airport to Vladivostok, which takes only two and a half hours.
This time, however, I went to Vladivostok via Incheon International Airport in Seoul instead of taking a direct flight.
The direct flight is very close, only two and a half hours, but the transit flight takes a whole day.
It took longer, but the price of the ticket was cheaper!
On the flight to Vladivostok
After arriving in Seoul, I passed the time in the lounge.
Finally, we started boarding for Vladivostok!
This is my first Aurora Airways & A319.
The flight from Seoul to Vladivostok was two hours.
Arriving in Vladivostok!
Finally arrived in Vladivostok!
After safely entering the country, I decided to kill time at a cafe in the airport until the Airport Express departed a little after 7:00.
I walked around the airport for a bit and found a seafood souvenir shop.
It seems you can buy crab, shrimp, salmon roe, and more! That’s what I call a port town!
Day 2: Go to the hotel and explore the city
Take the Airport Express to the city
A little after 7:00 a.m., we took the first Airport Express train to Vladivostok City.
The fare is $5 to Vladivostok Station.
There are only four round trips a day, but you can travel comfortably without traffic jams.
By the way, in addition to the train, there are also buses ($4) and cabs ($30) to get around the city.
Unlike the train, buses run several times a day, so if the timing of the train doesn’t work out, you will have to use the bus, but sometimes the buses are too small to take.
The bus also goes to Vladivostok Station. It takes a little longer because it also stops at bus stops along the way.
Cabs can be requested at the counter near the airport exit.
The fare is a flat rate of $30 to Vladivostok city.
You can also have this service go to your hotel, so it is recommended for those who want to get around quickly and easily, or those who arrive late at night when trains and buses are no longer available.
Greeting Mr. Lenin in front of Vladivostok Station
We arrived safely at Vladivostok Station by Airport Express.
In the square in front of Vladivostok station, there is a statue of Lenin.
Most of the Lenin statues were removed when the Soviet Union collapsed, but somehow they still remain in Vladivostok.
So I wished him a safe stay in Vladivostok and said hello to the Lenin statue.
Since it was morning, there were not many people taking pictures, so it was easy to take pictures.
Across from the Lenin statue is the Vladivostok train station. This station was so beautiful!
Checking into the hotel
We stayed in two hotels during our stay.
For the first three nights, we will be staying at the Equator Hotel, which overlooks the ocean.
By the way, this time we booked through Expedia!
The rooms are spacious and the accommodation cost is $58 per night, a little cheaper than in Japan.
It’s about a 10-minute walk from Vladivostok station.
It was a convenient location, relatively easy to get to the center of the city.
It was a double room with a bathtub and a closet, so it was spacious enough for two people.
The room was spacious enough for two people, with a closet, and had all the amenities I needed, such as shampoo, conditioner, body soap, toothbrush, hair dryer, etc. I didn’t need to bring anything with me.
The water pressure in the shower is also sufficient.
Basic information about Equator Hotel
Address: Tiger #2 on Tigrovaya Street Tigrovaya Ulitsa, 20, Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai, Russia
First, go to the bank and exchange money.
After taking a break at the hotel, we decided to exchange some money first.
It’s definitely a good idea to exchange the Russian currency, the ruble, locally!
In Japan, there are only a limited number of stores where you can exchange money, and the exchange rate is not very good.
I exchanged my money at the Summit Bank on Admiral Fokina Street.
By the way, the rate was as follows.
- Narita Airport: 100 rubles = 1.6 dollars
- Banks in Vladivostok: 100 rubles = $2.0
You can also exchange money directly from dollars, and it is very convenient because it is open even on Sundays.
Basic information about Summit Bank
Business hours: 9:00 to 20:00
Closed: No holidays
Address: Ulitsa Admirala Fokina, 18, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
We scouted out Blood Gifts, the largest souvenir shop in town that sells everything you need.
With the rubles safely in hand, we next went to Vladivostok’s largest souvenir store, Blood Gift, to check out some souvenirs.
This store faces the central square and has most of the souvenirs you can buy in Vladivostok, both general merchandise and food!
It’s a bit more expensive than other stores, but if you can’t be bothered to visit many stores, or if you have something you couldn’t find in other stores, please go there.
I also bought some hand creams from the “Grandma Agafia’s Recipe” series that I couldn’t find in other stores, so I owe a lot to this store!
▼ You can read more about Vladivostok souvenirs in the following article.
Basic Information about Blood Gift
・Business hours: 9:00 to 18:00
・Closed days: None
・Address: Korabel’naya Naberezhnaya, 1А, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
Stroll along Fountain Street
After visiting the Blood Gift, we decided to take a stroll down Fountain Street.
Fountain Street was just like Europe! It was like a European city.
Actually, until I actually came to Vladivostok, I thought it was no different from Asia.
Russia is in the Far East, and the surrounding areas are Japan, Korea, and China, so I thought it would not be so European…
But when I walked along Fountain Street and the coastline, it really looked like a European city! .
There was not much graffiti and not much trash on the streets, giving me the feeling of a clean Europe.
Also, as a former socialist country, I thought the buildings would be inorganic.
However, this is not the case at all, and there are many lovely brick buildings, making it a very fun place to walk around.
Dinner at a local restaurant
For dinner, we came to a local diner called Starobaya.
At Starobaya, you take what you want from a line of food and pay for it at the end.
You don’t need to understand Russian!
All in all, it was pretty cheap, about $4, and I got a full meal!
The store also has a nice Russian atmosphere.
There are many Starobaya’s in Vladivostok, so just go in the one that catches your fancy!
We went back to the hotel this day.
Day 3: May Day parade and sightseeing at the Submarine Museum
Watch the May Day parade
Day 3 started with watching the May Day parade!
In Vladivostok, there is a parade on May Day (May 1).
The streets are blocked off from the Golden Horn Bay Bridge to the Central Square, where the parade march is held.
In the central square, there was a stage show and a little food stall, it was really a festival (laughs).
Watching a pre-World War II submarine
After watching the parade, we went to the Submarine Museum.
This museum displays an actual C-56 submarine as it was, and you can see what it was like inside.
In Japan, you don’t get a chance to see the inside of a submarine very often, so even if you’re not particularly interested, I thought it would be fun.
The main attraction is the room at the end of the submarine, where the torpedoes are placed on the gun platform.
This room has the torpedoes and the crew’s beds, and is quite a sight to see.
Cafeteria? A rest room? There is also a room that looks like a cafeteria?
It was raining all day, and I was soaking wet and cold, so I decided to go back to the hotel early.
Basic information about the Submarine Museum
Entrance fee: 200 yen (100 rubles)
Opening hours: 9:00 – 20:00
Address: Korabel’naya Naberezhnaya, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
Vladivostok with a beautiful sunset.
Later, the rain cleared up and we could see a very beautiful sunset from the beach in front of the hotel.
After this, we bought some prepared foods at a supermarket near the hotel and ate them.
Day 4: Sightseeing at Eagle’s Nest Observatory and Pakulovsky Church
Behind the Gum, a very beautiful brick building
Day 4 started with a tour of the area behind the Gumu Department Store (a.k.a. Gumu Ura)!
Here you’ll find cute grocery stores, the famous white hamburger, ice cream shops, and more.
When I got there around 10:00, the stores were still opening here and there (most of them start at 11:00), and there were not many tourists yet, so I could take as many pictures as I wanted.
One of my goals was to visit a store that sold cute goods, but unfortunately it also opened at 11:00, so I gave up that day.
While eating a salty caramel flavored ice cream ($1.40) from the ice cream shop, we headed for the cable car station to the Eagle’s Nest Observatory.
This ice cream has the perfect amount of saltiness, which helps to reduce the sweetness of the caramel, making it more refreshing than I expected.
Visit the Russian Orthodox Church
There is a Russian Orthodox church called Uspenia Church under the Golden Horn Bay Bridge, about a 10-minute walk from the back of Gumu.
It is not very large, but it has a Russian architecture that looks like a crab with onions on it.
Admission is free and you are free to visit.
Unlike churches in Western Europe, the interior has no stained glass, but is decorated with icons made of gold work all over the walls, creating a very bright atmosphere.
This is a church that cannot be seen in Western Europe, and is very worth seeing.
Basic Information on the Church of Uspenia
Opening hours: 7:45 – 19:00
Closed: No regular holidays
Address: Svetlanskaya St, 65, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
Riding a Soviet-era cable car to the top of the mountain
We walked another 10 minutes from the Uspenia church to the cable car station.
To the left of the station entrance there is a statue of Pushkin, looking sad.
I’m not sure why it’s so depressing, but please go see it.
There are no ticket gates at the cable car station, so proceed directly to the platform.
The fare is $0.3 one way, which you pay to the conductor after getting on the train.
The cable car runs about every five minutes and takes about four minutes to reach the top station.
From the top station, cross over to the other side of the road via the passage under the road, and climb up the stairs to the Eagle’s Nest Observatory!
Basic information about the cable car
・Fare: $0.3 (14 rubles)
・Opening hours: 7:00 – 20:00
・Address: Владивосток, Приморский край, 690091 (station on the foot side)
Overlooking the city of Vladivostok! You can also see Russky Island in the distance.
Finally, we arrived at the Eagle’s Nest Observatory.
Located 200 meters above sea level, the Eagle’s Nest Observatory offers a panoramic view of the city of Vladivostok.
It was a beautiful day and the sky was clear, so we could see as far as the island of Luzhniki.
I was there in the daytime, but I’m sure the view in the evening and at night is just as beautiful, so if you have the time, be sure to come back again and again!
Basic information about the Washinonosu Observatory
・Opening hours: 24 hours
・Address: Владивосток, Приморский край, 690091
Visit the Pakulovsky Church, with its gorgeous Russian architecture.
From the Eagle’s Nest Observatory, we took a cab to Pakulovsky Church, the largest church in Vladivostok.
By the way, cabs in Vladivostok are not metered, but basically the price indicated by the app.
So there is less risk of getting ripped off.
After a 20-minute cab ride, we arrived at the Pakulovsky Church for $3.10.
The Pakulovsky Church has a symbolic onion on top of the building, which is a symbol of Russian architecture. The church has a symbolic onion on top of the building, which makes you realize that Vladivostok is Russia.
By the way, the Pakulovsky Church is larger than the Uspenia Church and is the largest in Vladivostok.
The interior is still decorated with goldwork icons instead of stained glass, and the atmosphere here is also very bright.
Perhaps because there are not many tourists, I felt that there were more devoted believers than in other European churches.
Basic Information about Pakulovsky Church
・Opening hours: 8:00 – 19:00
・Address: Okeanskiy Prospekt, 44, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
Briny, a Russian specialty, for lunch.
I took a bus from the Pakulovsky Church to Fountain Street.
By the way, there is a bus stop near the Pakulovsky Church, and you can take any bus to Fountain Street (I didn’t know that, so I waited for the bus for almost half an hour).
For lunch today, we went to Ufty Brin, a restaurant specializing in brinj (Russian crepes).
In Japan, crepes are just a snack, but in Russia, they are eaten for breakfast and lunch.
This time, I ordered a briney with ham and cheese and a cocoa.
The crepe is not sweet, but the moderate saltiness stimulates the appetite.
It may not look like much in the picture, but it’s surprisingly hearty, and I think women can fill up on this alone!
Basic Information about Ugti Brin
・Opening hours: 10:00 – 21:00
・Address: Ulitsa Admirala Fokina, 9, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
Have fun at the amusement park on Seaside Road.
After lunch, we went to Seaside Avenue at the end of Fountain Street.
Seaside Avenue, as the name suggests, is a street facing the sea called Sports Bay, and the whole area is a park.
There is a large fountain here, and it is a place for families, couples, and tourists to relax.
There is an amusement park a short walk down this street along the ocean.
The amusement park has a Ferris wheel, screaming machines like Vikings, and attractions for small children, making it a fun place for everyone.
I’ll be buying my ticket as soon as I can and having some fun!
Buy a ticket for $10 and…
The first thing we did was to ride the bumper cars.
This is an attraction that is not very familiar in Japan, but I have been very curious about it ever since I saw it in an illustration of an amusement park in “Search for Wally” when I was little.
I decided to ride it the moment I found it (laughs).
Anyway, the movements are unpredictable. When you step on the gas pedal, the car moves forward and backward on its own, and the steering wheel is so severe that it turns easily!
The steering wheel is so severe that it turns easily! It’s the kind of vehicle that would make parents angry in Japan, where people play by bumping into each other (lol).
One guy in Alaska got excited all by himself!
Next, we ride the Ferris wheel.
It’s an open Ferris wheel with no walls (lol).
So it’s a great thrill! It is a ride that offers a great view of the sports bay and the amusement park, and the wind is very pleasant.
It’s not that high, but you can see everything below, so if you don’t like heights, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you don’t mind, try it!
Basic information about the amusement park on Seaside Road (Karseri)
Fee: Free admission, $4-5 (depending on the attraction)
・Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00
・Address: Batareynaya Ulitsa, 1, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
Looking for a cab to the Tokarevsky Lighthouse
After enjoying the amusement park, we decided to visit the Tokarevsky Lighthouse, which is about a 30-minute cab ride from the center of the city.
We went through Fountain Street from Seaside Street, and looked for a cab around the intersection with Aleutskaya Street (the largest street running north-south).
I looked up the fare ($5) on maxim (Vladivostok’s cab app) and called out to the cabs.
But all of them refused to take me, saying they would not go unless I paid $10.
Normally, they would go for the maximum fare, but since it was a little far away, they were also very aggressive.
We thought it would be impossible to go there at the normal rate, so we switched to a policy of reducing the price as much as possible, and managed to reduce the price to 600 yen.
It took us about 30 minutes to get to the Tokarevsky Lighthouse.
By the way, besides cabs, you can also take a bus for $0.46, but you have to walk 20 minutes up and down from the nearest bus stop to the lighthouse…
Unless you really want to save money, I would recommend taking a taxi.
Tokarevsky Lighthouse with its beautiful white walls
Finally, we arrived at the Tokarevsky Lighthouse.
From the parking lot to the tip of the lighthouse, we walked for less than another 10 minutes.
The footing is not good, but it’s comfortable because it’s flat all the way and the sea breeze is nice to walk in.
On the way, we passed a halfway point with a huge steel tower, and finally the chalk lighthouse came into view.
We’re at the lighthouse!
The city of Vladivostok and the island of Russky can be seen in the distance.
This is the entrance to the Golden Horn Bay and the Eastern Bosphorus, and the sea is so beautiful that I wish I had brought a bathing suit to swim in it!
There’s nothing much to do but enjoy the sea breeze here.
By the way, it is said that during high tide, the path you walked disappears into the sea, and the lighthouse becomes like an island, just like Mont Saint-Michel!
After playing by the water and being satisfied, we headed back to the city.
On the way back, we paid another $6 and took the cab that we had taken earlier (we had promised to wait for it).
Basic information about Tokarevsky Lighthouse
・Opening hours: 24 hours (not recommended at night, as it is pitch black)
・Address: Владивосток, Приморский край, 690091
Taste the classic Russian dishes
We were back on Fountain Street again!
It was past 7:00 p.m. and we were getting hungry, so we decided to go to a Russian restaurant on Fountain Street.
The restaurant we came to was called “Suvoy Fete”, which is a Russian restaurant introduced in many guidebooks.
Starobaya is a Russian home-style dish, but here you can taste standard Russian dishes such as borscht and beef stroganoff.
I also got a little excited and ordered borscht and beef stroganoff, and a strawberry lemonade for my drink.
First, the borscht and drinks arrived.
The borscht was not too red, which was very appetizing.
In fact, it didn’t have too many peculiarities, so even I, who has many likes and dislikes, could eat it!
I was also surprised to find that I could eat the black bread, which I had never liked before, without any peculiarities!
In the past, when I ate it at the airport in Moscow, I couldn’t finish it because it was too sour…
After waiting for a while, the beef stroganoff finally came out.
It was also insanely delicious!
It was filled with so much beef that it melted in my mouth every time I ate it!
It melted so much that I finished it in a flash.
It was a satisfying dinner from start to finish.
Afterwards, we wandered along Fountain Street, which was tinged with the setting sun, and then went back to the hotel.
The sunsets on Fountain Street are really beautiful, so be sure to stop by in the evenings too!
Basic information about Suvoy Fête
・Opening hours: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
・Closing days: None
・Address: Ulitsa Admirala Fokina, 3, Vladivostok, Primorskiy kray, Russia 690091
This is the end of the fourth day. Stay tuned for the second part!
▼ Click here for the second half of our 7-night, 9-day trip to Vladivostok.
Popular Vladivostok Articles
▼ Ranking of Vladivostok Tourist Attractions
▼ Full of Russian Flair! Sundries in Vladivostok
▼ Travel expenses in Vladivostok