Apparently Jack Ma is residing in Hakone, Japan and enjoying lots of uni and toro? And planning to learn about advanced agricultural technology and bring back to China? Or so the media says.
Now that I’ve captured your attention, going to Hakone for my second time was a delight. Hakone is most notable for its ryokans, and there is no feeling that feels more authentically Japanese than staying at a ryokan and being served a Japanese breakfast and dinner, and sleeping on a tatami.
Hakone really isn’t a place for sightseeing and activities. I think the most interesting would probably be the museums, especially the glass museum we visited, but the rest weren’t that impressive. You go to Hakone to enjoy the ryokans mainly. If you haven’t done so already, you can read about my last trip to Hakone at Let’s Drive: Izu Peninsula, Hakone, Gotemba Continue reading Hakone Is Where Jack Ma Lives? And the Amazing Ryokans
Each time I go to Tokyo, I admire it more and more. There’s always something new to be discovered, the cleanliness of the city and the politeness of the locals are impeccable, the Christmas decorations suggest it to be more than just a capitalist city but a cultural landmark and one that embraces liveliness and atmosphere, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I dream about living here.
When I talk to my friends who have lived or are living in Japan though, they see things that we tourists don’t get to see. The rigid office hierarchy, the formality that you have to adopt when talking to others (and you are not exempt from it even if you are an expat as long as you are Asian looking), the difficulty of making new friends, and of course the challenge of learning Japanese. Then there is lack of public transportation during the night, and taxis are expensive not only during the day, but more so during the night. I’ve seen videos from Youtube talking about how it’s different living in Japan than going there to visit. Usually there’s a few months of honeymoon phase, then a few years of depression and detest towards the culture of actually living in Japan, then after the acceptance phase.
If you’re looking for my recommendations on places to eat, you can read my blog post Recommended Places to Eat in Tokyo.
Shibuya Continue reading teamLab Tokyo and Why Is Tokyo So Beautiful
It’s a Christmas miracle that only after visiting Tokyo on multiple occasions, do I finally make the less than one hour trip to visit its younger and similar sibling city, Yokohama. Despite arriving early afternoon on the first day and leaving the city prior to lunch on the second day, I felt I was able to get the gist of what the city has to offer.
Continue reading A Romantic Christmas in Yokohama
Prior to my Tokyo / Hakone / Fujikawaguchiko trip, I did a lot of research finding a variety of different Japanese foods to eat – sushi, ramen, unagi, BBQ beef, soba, udon, Kaiseki, pancakes, seafood donburi, and tempura. And trust me, even after 9 days, we felt that we were not able to eat all the Japanese meals we wanted, because there just simply wasn’t enough time to do and eat everything! We ended up not eating one of the soba noodles I researched, missed a udon shop we wanted to try because they ran out of udon noodles, and sometimes just didn’t feel hungry enough.
For booking restaurants in Japan, you will probably need to use the websites https://tabelog.com/en/ and https://omakase.in/. With the huge influx of tourists going in to Japan these days, along with locals just dining outside in general, it is highly recommended that you book at least a month, preferably 3 months, prior to ensure you have a table booking, otherwise it can be difficult to book. Also it is recommended to have someone who knows Japanese to help you book because with the websites, you will have to rely on Google translate sometimes and sometimes the translation may not be understandable, so you might end up booking a set menu when you actually could have just booked a table with a la carte instead (what happened to us with Yoroniku Ebisu).
This post will focus on restaurants we ate only in Tokyo, as I will do separate posts for Hakone and Fujikawaguchiko and talk about the trip itinerary including the restaurants for those. It will talk about which ones were yummy and worth the price, and which ones that weren’t. Continue reading Recommended Places to Eat in Tokyo
It’s 2016 and what better excuse to travel to different places by attending different music festivals around the world? There are so many different music festivals, with different atmosphere, differente venues, different genres, different people, and of course different artists, that each and every single one of them can bring you a unique experience. Here are 16 music festivals you should go to for 2016 (in alphabetical order): Continue reading 16 Music Festivals To Go To In 2016
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.
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
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
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)
Quick tips about Hokkaido:
- The people here do not speak any English… like at all. You’d expect the hotels to know English, but a majority of the staff couldn’t speak the language even one bit
- As yen continues to depreciate, the value there keeps getting cheaper. I was extremely happy with what I was getting for food and for shopping for the price I was paying
- So yeah it’s a food paradise
- Since public transportation is quite expensive, and since the weather can be a bit harsh in winter times, I would actually recommend renting a car if you have a group of three or more. 4 days rental was quoted at 29,000 yen including insurance
- If you are traveling short distances and going with 3 or more people, you can consider riding a taxi too
- Felt very safe the entire trip
- If you want to see the autumn leaves, you should go there around Sept / Oct. If you want to go for skiing / snowboarding, you should go there around December to February
- Sapporo is a great city, but to appreciate Hokkaido’s scenery, you really have to go outside the city to other parts of Hokkaido
Continue reading Hokkaido in November