Day 1: Singapore – Japan
Dragged myself out of bed to go to the airport for the flight to Japan. Lucky thing, this time round no cramps so can walk properly. Even than, squeezed into the small little seat on the plane and stuck there for 7 hours, the legs were suffering and it was with relief that we finally touched down at Narita Airport the next morning.
Day 2: Narita – Akakusa – Kinugawaonsen
Managed to fumble our way and boarded the Keisei Skyliner to Akakusa in Tokyo. With only less than 5 minutes to spare to catch the next outgoing train, decided not to chance it and purchased tickets for a later train. Went for breakfast. Our fast real meal in Japan and what do we eat – MacDonald! Sheesh!
After 2 train rides and 4 hours later, we finally reached our first destination – Kinugawaonsen, a region famous for its Onsen which means hot spring. But it is early winter and temperature here is about 4 degree. Er how to bath in the hotspring in this type of cold? Anyway, after checking in, we took a bus to the Edo Village, a replicate of a typical village during the Edo or Tokugawa period. Cause we arrived in the early afternoon and it being winter where they close early at 4pm, we did not managed to see everything so it wasn’t worth the admission price.
By 4 pm, the sky had started to turn dark and by 5 pm, it was dark as night. Back at the hotel, dinner was a buffet spread – nothing special to crow about. Next was my initiation into the Japanese public bath – suffice to say – one can get hooked to it. The hot steamy water + the jacuzzi soothed all the ache from my legs and was good therapy for washing all the aches of the marathon away.
Day 3: Kinugawaonsen – Zao
After another forgettable buffet breakfast, we set off for Zao – our main destination for this trip. Zao is supposed to be one of the premier ski resort in the country and we were not disappointed. Beautiful sceneries along the way and Zao itself causing us to forget the expensive journey (S$1,800.00 to hire the coach+driver for the 5 hours trip!). Temperature at Zao went below 0 degrees but still all the kids were happily chucking snow ball at each other.
Dinner was exquisite but than it has to be since the room was burning a pocket the size of S$600.00 per night.
Tried our hand at skiing. But it is still early winter and the skiing schools has not open yet so we are left to play around with the skis and snowboard and bucket. Somehow the snow bucket was the easiest. Just sit in it and push off and zoom down the slope. Alicia took to the snowboard like a duck to water and was soon happily sliding down the slope. Everybody had a great time despite the tumble and fall.
Dinner both night was one after exquisite and beautifully arranged affair. This is the life!
More pictures of the food here
Another trip to the Onsen – told you it can get additive – this time to the outdoor volcanic onsen. This one is really bliss even though the sulphur smell was so strong. The sign there claimed soaking in it can cleanse the skin and make the skin smooth. No wonder the ladies are crazy over it. Even M went twice!
Day 6 – Zao – Tokyo: Akihabara – Ueno
Another S$2,200.00 to get the 18 of us back to Tokyo. Sigh… moving around in Japan is so expensive! (We have been warned by friends not to even try taking the taxi!).
Of all the place to stay, we stayed in Ginza – the most prime shopping area in the whole of Japan. Ginza is not comparable to our own Orchard Rd. In fact, our Orchard road is a slump compared to the Ginza! Just witness the size of the LV store. We don’t even dare to go in!
In the evening, went over to Akihabara – supposingly the electronic centre of Japan. We walked into this store and it has 7 floors of electronics products + toys. My saliva was drooling at the sight of the Ultraman toys and monsters and Alvin of course got all excited at the gaming section. Er.. how come they got such a wide range of sexily dressed figurines?
From there, we move on to Ueno but by than it was too dark and most of the shops were closing which was a waste. There were many shops selling shoes with shelves after shelves of sport shoes from the major brands. Just wonder – are these for real?
Day 7 – Tokyo: Central Fish Market – Sea Life Park – Shinjuku – Ropponggi
First stop for the day is the Fish Market at Tsuggii where there is a wide range of fish – from tuna to all sort of crabs, shell fish, and exotic fish.
Alicia didn’t want to see dead fish so we went to the Sea Life Park. Our train overshot the station or rather we took the wrong train and ended outside Disneyland. So now we can claim we went to Disneyland as well! Back to Sea Life Park where we saw tunas in captivity and many weird looking fishes include a fish with legs and wings (yes wings!)
From there, we made our way to Shinjuku. All of us were awestruck by the size of Isetan. We counted 4 separate buildings – one for the men, one for the ladies, one devoted just to cosmetics and got know what else! Takashimaya was just as huge – 12 storey high with floors after floors of branded goods.
In the evening – we moved over to Ropponggi – the nightlife centre of Tokyo but actually as we don’t drink and pub, we didn’t really enjoy it. Saw this shop promoting ‘grass’ or marijuana though. Was told later we should have gone to Ropponggi hill.
Day 8 – Tokyo: Harajuku – Singapore
Finally, after 7 days of freezing our butts off, we enter the last stretch – Harajuku in the morning. Unfortunately, there wasn’t many of those kids that made Harajuku such a famous name. Went to the Meiji shrine and was lucky enough to catch a real wedding there. Also, the first sighting of Japanese women in Kimonos! Also, saw 3 separate long queues. Turn out the people are queuing up for some sale at some boutiques!
Bought takeaway lunch at a supermarket before we wind up the trip with a big big hole in the pocket but it was a wonderful experience and I think we all enjoyed it tremendously.
More pictures here