Sunday, February 17, 2013

Japan 2013 (A-5-5 Edition): Tokyo & Kyoto Travel Itinerary

I feel like blogging a summary of my Japan/Kyoto 2013 trip. Perhaps it will be easier for me to backtrack later on (if I ever needed to lol).


#1: Shinjuku: Had breakfast at Yoshinoya, visited Kabukicho and Don Quijote.

Exchange JR pass at Shinjuku Station

#2: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office: Amazing view of Tokyo from both North and South observatories for free :)

View of Tokyo
#3: Harajuku: Ate mille crepes and shop at Takeshita Dori.

#4: Tokyo Tower: View of Tokyo at night for 820 yen.



#5: Tsukiji Market: Queued for 3 hours to eat sushi at Sushi Dai. Best and freshest sushi ever.

#6: Asakusa Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Dori: Famous temple and its shopping street.

#7: Odaiba: Paid 620 yen to take the Yurikamome Line to Odaiba and had a night view of Rainbow bridge.


  • Took a 1 day tour from to bring us to Mt Fuji and Hakone.
  • We departed by bus from Washington Hotel Shinjuku.
#8: Mount Fuji first station: Due to weather conditions, only managed to go up to first station. We had lunch at Fuji Highland Resort and afterwards a cruise along Lake Kawaguchi.

#9: Owakudani Valley, Hakone: Had the famous sulphur longevity eggs here before the bus dropped us off at Hakone-Yumoto train station. We then took a bus to our ryokan guesthouse - Fuji Hakone Guesthouse.


  • Took a shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto from Odawara Station using our JR Pass
  • Arrived at Kyoto Station and then took JR Nara train to Fushimi Inari.
#10: Fusimi Inari Shrine: Rows and rows of red Torii gates makes a picturesque view.

#11: Kyoto Station: Worth visiting for its numerous shops and nearby underground malls.

#12: Gion District: To spot geishas and to see Kyoto at night.


#13: Kiyomizu Dera: UNESCO Heritage Site and also visited nearby Jishu Shrine for the love stone.

#14: Kinkaku-ji: Also known as The Golden Pavilion, amazing scenery.

#15: Ginkaku-ji: It is called The Silver Pavilion, but not made from silver.


  •  Visited one last place at Kyoto before taking our shinkansen back to Tokyo.
  • Check in to Shibuya Granbell Hotel for our last night at Tokyo.
#16: Nishiki Market: To look at Kyoto's fresh produce and try their snacks.

#17: Meiji Jingu Shrine: Returned to Tokyo and visted the shrine dedicated to First Emperor of Modern Japan.

#18: Shibuya: Visited Hachiko dog statue and Shibuya crossing nearby Shibuya Station. Spend our last night shopping at Shibuya 109 mall, the 5-storeys H&M as well as Forever 21. Also had our Starbucks at Tsutaya building overlooking Shibuya Crossing.



#19:Tokyo Station: Had our transit here en route to Disneyland via JR Keiyo Line.

#20: Tokyo Disneyland: Took snapshots nearby the main entrance and shop for souvenirs here.

#21: Akihabara: Did some shopping for all kinds of electronic gadgets and products.

  • Spend the rest of the day doing last minute shopping at Shibuya and Harajuku before taking the airport limousine to Haneda Airport for our flight back to KL.

  • With numerous buys, photos and memories. Japan was awesome!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 7: The end of a beautiful and wonderful trip

Our last day in Japan. Quite sad because it would mean we have to return to our reality working life. The morning started with breakfast in the hotel. There were 4 choices of breakfast set meal.

Mine was Western
Clara chose Japanese
For our last day, we only have one sightseeing to do and then it was going to be a shopping day. We planned to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Using JR Pass, we went to Tokyo Station to transfer to JR Keiyo Line and stop at Maihama, where Tokyo Disneyland is. The journey there was quite far. And there were many people aboard the train since it was a weekend, some clad in Disney-inspired accessories lol.

But before that, we took some pics in front of Tokyo Station. It is a really beautiful building with wonderful architecture. Reminded me of those colonial-style mansions.

Japan Day 6: Back to Tokyo

Today is Day 6 of CNY. Pretty soon will have to start work. Le sigh. Next public holiday in May. Y we no have public holidays every month lol *troll face*. 

Today went to watch "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters". Freakin' awesome movie love it! Jeremy Renner is also so awesome. Love him since I saw him in Avengers. If you don't mind gory scenes, then you have got to watch it.


Coincidentally, it is also Day 6 of Japan trip lol. In the morning, we decided to visit one last destination at Kyoto before heading for the train station. It was between Nijo Castle or Nishiki Market. In the end, we chose the latter.

Unique shop signboard
Since our train was leaving at 10am, we left really early to walk to Nishiki Market which usually opens at 9am. We actually got lost but a very kind passer-by taught us the directions although her English was not that fluent. Luckily, we managed to find it in the end.

The entrance to Nishiki Market
We actually arrived there before 9am so many of the shops had yet to open. But we just walked around and snapped some pics.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Japan Day 5: Kiyomizu-Dera, Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji

Continuing on my posts about Japan 2013 while I am still in the spirit of blogging. Maybe coz I am still on my CNY leave from work. Most people are starting work on Monday but I took one more extra day, up to Tuesday. I am still debating if I had done the right thing. Lol. Even taking leave also makes me in a dilemma T__T.


Waking up to a beautiful morning from a good sleep at Kyoto Royal, we had our breakfast at a noodles shop. Cannot remember the name but it was a small shop with a vending machine that was supposed to take your orders. We had to select our menu which was written on the buttons, placed our money and then a ticket would come out. So, we have to hand this ticket to the person in charge who will then prepare our meals. But because we could not read the Japanese names on the buttons, the person in charge asked us to just choose from the menu and she will take down the orders for us lol.
My beef soup udon only 390 yen (~RM14). Nothing beats the feeling of eating a hot bowl of noodles during the cold winter.

Our first stop of the day is to Kiyomizu-Dera temple, part of UNESCO Heritage Site. I have seen pictures of this temple in many blogs and websites so I was quite excited to see it.

But first, we had to figure out how to get there. It was quite easy from the map given, we knew which buses we had to take and transfer but the flaw with the map was it didn't tell us which bus stop on which side of the road we have to go to. So, the first bus we took went in the opposite direction that we thought it will go. Although eventually we did reach our destination but it took us much longer than expected.

To go to Kiyomizu-Dera, we have to walk up a sloping hill. This really tested our stamina. Along the slope, we noticed a really pretty and quaint Japanese traditional house with an equally beautiful garden.

And this shop was selling all sorts of crafts with little monks theme like these statues outside the shop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Japan Day 4: Journey to Kyoto

Day 4 at Japan started with us waking up to this wonderful view outside our guesthouse:

Yes, it was so cold outside but such a beautiful view, no? I think it would look even better during summer. Behind the bamboo fence lies the outdoor onsen that we had the privilege of enjoying the night before.

We decided to change our plans and to leave for Kyoto that very morning. Initially, I had planned for us to go sightseeing for Hakone but seeing how weather can be so erratic I didn't think it would be a good idea. If you would like to visit Hakone, it is advisable to get the Hakone pass which gives you free access to all modes of transportation within Hakone area. I think the 2-day pass costs 3900 yen.

We went to the Sengokyoro-mae bus stop and waited in the freezing cold for the public bus that would take us to Odawara station. No joke, it was so freaking cold just standing and waiting. When you are walking, you do not feel as cold but if you are just standing I think we waited for half and hour or so but it felt like hours.

At Odawara station, we changed our JR train tickets and opted for an earlier train to Kyoto. Hungry, we decided to have breakfast at Beck's Cafe.

My breakfast set that costs 610 yen (~RM21) but man, I was seriously craving for coffee
It felt awesome to have some western breakfast instead of always having onigiri. All the patrons were so disciplined even in the cafe. After eating, you are supposed to place all your cutleries and plates and whatever rubbish on the tray to be handed to a waiter standing behind the counter. 

After our hearty breakfast, we did some shopping at Odawara station before searching for our train platform. Actually, we got a little lost inside the station and by the time we reached our platform we were about 2 - 3 minutes late. To our disappointment, our train has already left. We were all like WTF? So we learned a lesson here: Japanese trains are very very very punctual!

We went back to the JR ticket counter and purchased another set of tickets to Kyoto. Lucky for JR pass if not we will have to fork out another amount of money (or no need? I also don't know). Fortunately, shinkansen to Kyoto runs quite often and within half an hour, there is another train so we didn't have to wait for long.

This also meant we had more time to camwhore at the train station wtf.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Japan Day 3: Mt Fuji and Owakudani

After spending two awesome days at the metropolis, it was time to head outside of Tokyo as we embarked on our journey towards Mount Fuji area, situated in Kanagawa prefecture.

We booked a one-day tour to Mount Fuji and Hakone via They picked us up from Shinjuku Washington Hotel which then took us to the bus station at Daimon where a bus was ready to take us to Mount Fuji. There were a lot of foreigners inside the bus, that was the first thing I noticed lol.We also had a tour guide, Take-san, who started telling us an introduction about Tokyo and its culture as well as attractions.
Tokyo Tower during the day
After having such good weather for 2 days, on our 3rd day we encountered a rainy morning. A rainy day at Tokyo meant that it was snowing at Mount Fuji and despite our excitement that we may see snow, our guide informed us that the roads may be in icy conditions and therefore the bus may not be able to take us up the road to Mt Fuji.

So excited to see the huge amounts of snow
The bus dropped us at Mount Fuji 1st station. It was supposed to take us up to the 5th station but as expected the road leading up Mt Fuji was closed so this was as far as the bus could take us. In total, there are 10 stations leading towards the peak of Mount Fuji. Take-san informed us that he has climbed Mt Fuji 8 times! Like wow!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Japan Day 2: sushi, temple and bridge

Moving on to our 2nd day at Japan. Because our Tokyo Metro pass was still valid today, we wanted to fully utilize it at Tokyo.

Btw around 5am that morning, we experienced a minor earthquake. I was actually still asleep but I could feel the bed shaking. It only lasted for a few minutes. I still did not get up from the bed even after the earthquake was over. I know =.=''

Our first activity of the day was to eat sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market. This is definitely the place to go if you are craving for sushi as they serve the freshest sushi ever! Around 5am, there is usually the tuna auction event and it is opened to public, but in limited number of people. Because we were all so exhausted from the day before, we did not managed to wake up early. In fact, by the time we reached Tsukiji it was already around 9am.

To go here, nearest station is Tsukiji-shijo which is on Toei-Oedo line. So again, we had to pay the fare which was 260 yen. You can take the Tokyo Metro line but will take around 10mins walk (according to Google Maps, which we know measures athletes' speed of walking lol).

PCK style
Walking towards the sushi restaurants, we saw lots of things selling at the market, including these cool fisherman boots lol.

Doesn't this bring you back to your childhood? I still remember those times reading Doraemon comic books. Who doesn't love that magical cat with awesome magic pocket?

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Japan Day 1: Tokyo is Love

This must be the first time I am actually blogging about a trip so soon. I miss Japan so much. It was so much fun and also to get to experience the winter (although it gave me flu and left me with dry skin and lips). Anyway, I am feeling spirited to blog about Japan so here goes. Lots of pics too, might take a while to load...

We arrived late Saturday night. Actually our flight arrived earlier than expected. First time for me, even flights to Japan are efficient like that. We debated for a while if we should go and explore Tokyo or just stay inside the aiport. Finally, we decided on the latter. Besides, Haneda airport has free wifi, so we weren't exactly bored the whole night either.

Illuminated lights at Haneda airport

Our first meal upon arrival at the airport
It was my first time staying overnight at an airport. It was unfortunate because I had flu even before coming to Japan and the anti-histamines I took made me so sleepy. So, I was able to catch some sleep at the departure hall. Turns out we weren't the only ones sleeping at the airport, it took us some time to find some empty rows of seats as most were already occupied.



(unless you ask ms blogger first)