Nagoya Again and Also Kanazawa

Having to find a destination that can fit an itinerary for 5 days, wasn’t hot in the summer, wasn’t raining, was affordable from a trip from Hong Kong, was easy to get around and walk around, and a city that we haven’t been many times before or recently, we settled on Nagoya.

To visit the major sites of Nagoya, you could probably do it in 3 days.  So since we were there for 5 days, including the flights, we decided to also pay visits to Shirakawa-gō, Kanazawa, and Tojinbo.

Nagoya is actually the fourth largest city in Japan, but you definitely wouldn’t see it that way when you arrive here.  The city represents a sense of calmness, serenity, peace, and all things that a city wouldn’t possess.  Yet at the same time, there is everything you want from a city – interesting people, convenient transportation, lots of food, and more.  It’s just organized and cleaned up well here.

I’ve written about a post about Nagoya before, so if you haven’t already, please check out Let’s Drive: Nagoya (Japan Part Three).  I’ll try my best to not overlap any sort of information. Continue reading Nagoya Again and Also Kanazawa

Tokyo Is Like A Bento Box

You read that right, Tokyo is like a bento box.  A perfect metaphor as I sat watching my friend struggle to think of a way to eat his bento box… without a spoon.  You’d expect a bento box bought in Family Mart to come with a spoon somewhere in the packaging, but actually you would need to get the spoon individually.  I guess he didn’t double check as we were rushing to take the train to Shinjuku from the airport… trains in Japan are never early, never late, always punctual, and so we wanted to be at least 2 minutes early to the platform. Continue reading Tokyo Is Like A Bento Box

Okinawa aka All You Can Eat Agu Pork

Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a travel destination by its pictures.  I’ve been to places where the photos are prettier than the location, but Okinawa is the opposite – just when you think the island is just about the beaches and the sea (like Kenting), Okinawa provides a lot more than water activities and tanning.

Even though American military (navy) is based on this island, don’t think that you can speak English anywhere.  In fact, treat it as if you were at anywhere else in Japan – they couldn’t speak English most of the time!  Body and hand signals are vital if you don’t know how to speak Japanese! Continue reading Okinawa aka All You Can Eat Agu Pork

Nara Deer, Kobe Beef

Both Nara and Kobe are places convenient from either Kyoto and Osaka.  While Nara is famous for its deer, Kobe is famous for its beef.  Whereas I could spend a whole day in Nara, I would definitely spend less than half a day in Kobe… besides eating, there really isn’t anything else to do there!  Well, except for shopping probably.

Nara

There’s going to be a lot of walking in Nara as the park is pretty big.  I had a big luggage with me, since I just checked out of Osaka and planned to go to Nara first before heading to Kyoto for my accommodation at night.  It would be ridiculous for me to carry a huge luggage around.  Thankfully, there was a Nara City Tourist Information Center next to JR Nara Station where you can leave your luggages there from 9am to 7pm (Tel no. 0742 27-2223). Continue reading Nara Deer, Kobe Beef

A Stranger In Kyoto

Kyoto is a mixture of both culture and urbanisation.  It retains history while integrating beauty and city elements within it.  It has everything that makes it the perfect place to visit in the world – amazing food, rich culture, cleanliness, friendliness, serenity, hustle, and more.  If there’s one thing that it’s lacking, it’s an airport.

Aside from that, I am thoroughly impressed by Kyoto.  I find myself immersed in everything about it.  It’s romantic, it’s leisure, it’s dreamy.  No wonder why Lonely Planet has it ranked #2 in Best in Travel 2016.

It is a big regret that I spent only 4 short days in Kyoto… I felt a great belonging there.  Kyoto is one of those places where it’s yearning to be explored.  Being Japan’s old capital before, the city contains hundreds of temples. Continue reading A Stranger In Kyoto

A Vibrant Energy In Osaka

Prior to this trip, people told me that a few days in Osaka would be sufficient.  As a tourist after visiting the city, I’d agree.  Osaka isn’t really a boring city.  I am sure if I lived there, I would have fun there.  It also gives off a fun, youthful, and vibrant culture to it.  Not to mention there is a lot of shopping and good food there.

But Osaka is like any other city with its own foods and shopping.  However as a tourist, you would definitely have enough time to visit all the important attractions within 3 days.  Mind you, I was there for about 2.5 days… but from my research online and from my guidebook, I felt I have covered the major attractions that I had to see.

And Osaka is a convenient stop for you to travel to other major parts of Japan – Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe to name a few.  And the nightlife there seems to be pretty happening on any given weekday. Continue reading A Vibrant Energy In Osaka

Let’s Drive: Tokyo (Japan Part Four)

Out of the four posts in this series of posts of Japan, this title is probably the most misleading as I didn’t drive around Tokyo.  After Nagoya, I returned the car near Shibuya and took public transportation for the rest of my stay here.  As you may know, Tokyo boasts some of the most expensive parking and finding places to park isn’t easy.  Even just driving here from Nagoya was a headache for the last two hours as I spent most of my time stuck in traffic.

Read part one: Izu Peninsula, Hakone and Gotemba

Read part two: Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes

Read part three: Nagoya Continue reading Let’s Drive: Tokyo (Japan Part Four)

Let’s Drive: Nagoya (Japan Part Three)

This is part three of a four part series blog post.  The first talked about my days in Izu Peninsula, Hakone, and Gotemba.  You can read it by clicking here.

The second part talked about the climb to Mt. Fuji summit and Fuji Five Lakes.  You can read the second part by clicking here.

This blog post will concentrate on Nagoya.

You can read about the 4th post, on Tokyo, by clicking here.

Accommodations

Nagoya – Dormy Inn Premium Nagoya Sakae.  2-20-1 Nishiki, Naka-ku, Nagoya Station / Downtown, Nagoya, Japan, 460-0003.  Booked through www.agoda.com. Continue reading Let’s Drive: Nagoya (Japan Part Three)

Let’s Drive: Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes (Japan Part Two)

This is a continuation of my Japan trip.  For more information on my climb to Mt. Fuji summit, read below.  For part one on Izu Peninsula, Hakone, and Gotemba, read here.  For part three on Nagoya, read here.  For part four on Tokyo, click here.

Accommodations

Mt. Fuji Station Hotel.  2-7-12 Matsuyama, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi, Kawaguchi-ko / Sai-ko, Mount Fuji, Japan, 403-0016.  Booked through www.agoda.com.

Similar to the Hotel MyStays; it’s like those very good budget hotels that aren’t terrible but is quite small but honestly it has everything you need, and it’s tidy and clean enough that you don’t have to worry about a thing.  Please note that this hotel was booked for the days we were suppose to visit Fuji Five Lakes AND Mt. Fuji, but this hotel is not exactly in any of the locations.  It’s still some driving distance (around 15-20 mins) from the lakes, and definitely far from the Yoshida 5th station at Mt. Fuji (more on that in 2nd post).  Also has parking. Continue reading Let’s Drive: Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes (Japan Part Two)

Let’s Drive: Izu Peninsula, Hakone, Gotemba (Japan Part One)

This is a series of four blog posts because of the number of different places I went to for my Japan trip, and I want each post short enough to keep you from getting bored but long enough to provide you as many details as I could.

This first post will focus on the western parts beyond Tokyo – Izu Peninsula, Hakone, and Gotemba.  The second part will focus on Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes, especially focus on Mt. Fuji since I feel it deserves a more special post.  The third part will focus on Nagoya, and the fourth post will focus on Tokyo.  The Gotemba was mainly going to the Gotemba Premium Outlets, and we actually went on two separate days.  So it was outlets, Mt. Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes, then a revisit to Gotemba again. Continue reading Let’s Drive: Izu Peninsula, Hakone, Gotemba (Japan Part One)