22 Feb 2013

Posted by under Trips

Kyoto – A Night Out

Previous post: Off To Kyoto

Date: 20 December 2012

 

Since we started the day rather earlier, after checking into the hotel, we had a long rest before we decided to go out and look for dinner:

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We passed by well decorated/illuminated street:

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We came across a shopping mall that somehow looked interesting:

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and went in:

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On the top floor there were a few restaurants. We decided on this one because we were attracted to the fish dishes on display. Waiting for the food:

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Bonding?

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Here came the dinner of grilled fish and squids:

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With rice, and the usual accompaniments (miso soup, dessert):DSC03615

 

And the bill:

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Tummies full, we wondered around:

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Kyoto Tower at night:

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Gigantic christmas tree inside the Kyoto Station complex:

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Some light and sound display on the huge staircase. On the far right (hardly in the picture) is the open escalator which is just as high as the staircase!

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Some of us sat on the staircase, and became part of the display, hahaha!!!

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While some tried to capture the dispaly from down below, near the X-mas tree:

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We could even see part of the Kyoto Tower from where we sat (inside the station complex):

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22 Feb 2013

Posted by under Trips

Off To Kyoto

Previous post: Back To Tokyo

Date: 20 December 2012

 

We left our little Tokyo hotel, and found ourselves back in Ueno Station, looking for our bullet train platform:

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Waiting at the platform:

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Here came ours:

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It’s always a good idea to check the necessities, printed on the foldable table:

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Some country view:

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As usual, DH was engrossed in recording the speed of the train:

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While the kids recharged their energy (I bet they stayed up late the night before):

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DH’s bento lunch:

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We got a glimse of Fuji-san too :) :

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My humble “lunch” (because I dislike Japanese food) . Actually I had some cookies and kit-kat too (I know, they surely blew my calori intake!)

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Aina, enjoying hers:

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I tell you, bullet train rides are much more comfy than flying!

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We finally arrived at our destination (slightly less than 3 hours later):

 

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I was once here in the scorching summer of 2004. This time it’s freezing, but that didn’t stop me from posing:

 

 

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The grand Kyoto Station:

 

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And Mae had a pose with the Kyoto Tower in the background (quite difficult to get the whole tower in it):

 

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Our hotel was nearby. We checked in, and checked the view of from our hotel. Oh, it’s the Kyoto station (on the left)!

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22 Feb 2013

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Back to Tokyo (From Kawaguchiko)

Previous post: Kawaguchiko & Fuji-san

Date: 19 December 2012

After a brief walkabout in Kawaguchiko, we started our journey back to Tokyo. It was quite exhaustive:

 

We managed to beat the rush hour:

 

Aina wanted to visit the “Korea Town”, so here we are:

 

First, we came across a Halal outlet!!

 

There were actually a few other halal outlets on the same street!!

 

We walked on…

 

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And finally found one of the shops that we wanted:

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We went into a few other similar shops, and later went back to out hotel with a very much happier Aina ;)

 

 

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27 Jan 2013

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Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) & Fuji-san

Previous post: Way To Mount Fuji

 

Date: 19th December 2012

Sunny, but cold day, with only 5.7C at 12.59pm! (refer to pic below)

 

After walking towads the lake, We decided to have lunch first at a nearby (with a view of part of the Kawaguchi Lake)

 

with tummy well-tucked, we took the nearby cable car.

 

The view of the lake as we went up:

 

The all-purpose kiosk up the hill:

 

With the Fuji-san partially hidden:

 

Whiling our time away (waiting for Fuji-san to show its complete self) we saw a shrine:

 

and wishes nearby:

 

Oh, Mr Fuji, when are you coming out?

 

Ah, well…. Let’s enjoy the view of the lake again:

 

Quite sunny, and yet could not see the tip of Mr Fuji:

 

Took a seat, with Fuji Chan (turquoise blue with white topping) looked at us:

 

I leapt with joy when Fuji-san finally showed its tip:

 

A rare family photo, taken by an Indonesian lass we met there:

 

Fuji-san surely looked so majestic:

 

another angle:

 

Yeah, I too love Mount Fuji :)

 

But we had to go, so a final look at it (it took us the whole day to get here, and back to our hotel!)

 

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22 Jan 2013

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Way To Mount Fuji

 Previous post: Tokyo Station, Pokemon Centre & Haneda Airport

Date: 19 December 2012

 

Early in the morning, we were back at Ueno Station,  to catch a train to Shinjuku. At Shinjuku station we took a limited express (very few stops) JR train to Otsuki:

 

The interior of that train:

 

A busy train station:

 

We then took the Fujikyuko Line (not JR)

 

This lady (with her back facing us) first came to check our tickets, then came back with the trolley of food and drinks for sale! Multi-tasking indeed :)

 

Very cosy inside the train:

 

After about 30 minutes into the journey, we got to see the majestic Fuji-san:

 

DH went to the front and had a peep into the driver’s compartment:

 

Mount Fuji again!

 

I think this pic was taken when the train stopped at the ‘Mount Fuji” station:

 

We soon arrived at the Kawaguchiko terminal:

 

The train was very cute, with the character “Fuji Chan” all over it,  that DH decided to snap a few pix of it:

 

The other train (the one on the left in the following pic) was equally cute:

 

A brief restroom stop at the station before we started our walk:

To be continued…

 

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13 Jan 2013

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Tokyo Station, Pokemon Centre and Haneda Airport

Previous post: Akihabara, Tokyo

 Date: 18 December 2012

 

As we were going back to the station, we saw an “experience the earth quake” demo:

 

The public was welcomed to try how shaky it could be by this simulated “quake” machine. It lasted for about 30 seconds each, after which the volunteers were given free mineral water and some crackers :)

 

We also came across a couple of well-kimono-dressed lasses:

 

We took the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Railway Station. This is the majestic Tokyo Station Building:

 

Despite being in Tokyo for 7 weeks in 2004, I never came out of the station, so I was pleasantly surprised:

 

More surprise came when we saw a tourist rickshaw with Air Asia (Air Asia, Japan) on it:

 

Tokyo certainly made known that it is bidding to become the host for 2020 Olympic!

 

old and new harmoniously together;

 

You can never get lost here because maps that indicate your position can be found everywhere:

 

Typical skyline:

 

We actually wanted to visit the Royal Palace ground, but it was obvious that we  were still very knackered from the previous day outing, and the kids had something else in mind :)

 

So we went back into Tokyo Station to catch the train;

 

The centre ceiling  was so fascinating:

 

Anyway…  A couple of stations away, we ended up here:

 

Yes, The Pokemon Centre!!!!

 

I thought it was a theme park or some exhibition centre, but I was wrong. It’s a one-stop centre to buy anything Pokemon!!

 

While the kids were in the shop (and I just sat outside it – i went in for a while but it was just not my ‘piece of cake’), DH did bullet train watching :)

 

After quite a long while, the kids came out looking very contented (not really. They wished they had more Yens…)

 

 

We then took the monorail ride to Haneda Airport (officially “Tokyo International Airport)

 

I just enjoyed the free wi-fi while I rested my tired legs. Kiddos and DH went to see the planes:

 

Nice observation deck:

 

Inside, the Christmas mood was in full swing:

 

not so busy…

 

We saw a lot of this advert:

 

When we arrived back at Ueno Station it was dark

 

Walked a bit at the nearby park, but we soon gave up (too tired)

 

and decided to go back to our hotel rooms

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Jan 2013

Posted by under Uncategorized

Akihabara, Tokyo

Previous post: Hiroshima to Tokyo

Date: 18 December 2012

 

The night before, when we arrived at Ueno Station, Tokyo:

 

That morning we came back to Ueno Station:

 

Our first destination was Akihabara Station:

 

At the square outside the station, we realised that there’s free wi-fi, courtesy of JR East, so we did some updating on Facebook :)

 

While Aina posed in front of the AKB48 Cafe & Shop. Her cousin is a fan of AKB48′s :) :

 

It was not the station that we were interested in. We wanted to take the kids to the “IT Heaven” of Tokyo, Akihabara :)

 

Most of the time DH and I just waited and enjoyed “people-watching” while the kids surveyed what’s on offer along this famous road:

 

It was a clear morning, and still very autumn-ish here:

 

It sure brought a lot of memories of when I spent 7 weeks in Aug-Sept 2004 here. At least twice or trice a week my fellow trainees and I would come here on our way back from our training centre to our accomodation in Tokyo Kenshu Centre in Kita-Senju :)

 

A lot of secondhand shops for cameras & gears:

 

as well as brand new ones too:

 

Akihabara is also a heaven for computers, handphones & other IT gadgets:

 

For game lovers too!

 

We came across a halal joint:

 

and decided to have our lunch (before we adjourned to the next destination) :)

 

 

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06 Jan 2013

Posted by under Trips

Hiroshima To Tokyo

Previous post: Miyajima

Date: 17th December 2012

 

It was indeed a long day for us. After the visit to Mazda Museum and Miyajima, we still had to make a long train journey to Tokyo. Earlier in the morning after checking out, we left our luggage at the hotel, so before we continue our journey to Tokyo DH and the boys had to go back to the hotel to collect them (while Aina and I conveniently waited at the Hiroshima Station :) ).

 

At the hotel lobby:

 

Luckily it was a nice afternoon (despite drizzling morning). The boys with the bags walking towards the station:

 

While DH stopped by to take this interesting picture (see the Santa on the porch?)

 

We saw a very advanced announcement too!

 

Soon we got ourselves into the waiting lobby for the Shinkansen. We were curious of some sweet desserts that we saw being made and sold at a some of the stalls that we bought a packet of them:

 

Yes, very neatly packaged (it was done in front of us, right after we made our order), with a nice box inside:

 

Nicely arranged inside the cute box:

 

It tasted very similar to our own “apam balik” .  The only difference was the filling. Here it consisted of sweet red bean paste:

(updated on 25th January 2013: I was later informed by a friend that these are called doriyaki, and can be found in Kuala Lumpur too :)   ) 

From Hiroshima we had to take 2 different Shinkansens – one to get to Shin-Osaka, and another from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo.

 

This is the first train at the platform. The gap between the train and the platform is very small (you could hardly see here):

 

The Japanese are so systematic. The coach/car number is already marked (for various train services) and the trains would stop exactly that point!

(even the total number of cars per train is indicated! In this case, there were 8 cars)

 

Our train finally arrived:

 

Very cosy  inside:

 

As expected, the important sections/points in our car and the adjacent ones were well indicated in front of every seat:

 

Again DH tried to record the speed, and again the fastest he got was 299kph:

 

Arriving at Shin-Osaka:

 

DH and kids bought some bento sets for their on board dinner. Then choosing the drinks at the vending machine (never mind that they also have vending machines INSIDE the trains!):

 

Here came the train that was to take us to Tokyo:

 

New, clean (as expected) and cosy, though not as spacious as the previous one:

 

DH’s table with his tablet and bento set:

 

The kids enjoying their bento dinner:

 

Inside DH’s bento:

 

The one wrapped in some leaf (rice and salmon):

 

I think this one used bamboo leaf:

 

Tokyo is over 500km away from Osaka. When we finally arrived at Ueno Station in Tokyo, it was almost midnight!

 

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06 Jan 2013

Posted by under Trips

A Brief Visit to Miyajima (Itsukushima)

Previous post: Way to Miyajima

Date: 17th December 2012

 

Once out of the ferry terminal on the island, we started our stroll:

 

Came across one of the  local deer with visitors:

 

Nicely lined and decorated shops:

 

Some of the fish/seafood dishes on offer:

 

More shops to feast the eyes:

 

We stopped at an eatery for our lunch break:

 

DH and the kids had this set meal – rice, mussels, cake and coffee. I don’t like mussels, so I just had white coffee with cake :(

(Finding food is a torture to me because most of the fish dishes would have eel, salmon, tuna or mussels, and I don’t like any of them! Those that have eggs and vegies would have cheese, and again, I don’t like cheese :( )

 

Miyajima, or Itsukushima,  is a sacred shrine island, with the shrine complex being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

It is also famous for one of the Japanese icons, the Torii Gate:

 

We decided to have one rare shot of us (DH and I seldom have our photos taken together)

 

Here’s one with my 3 kids:

 

The shrine is a huge complex:

 

Y ou have to pay a fee to enter. Since we were pressed for time, we decided to just admire it from afar…

 

Soon we were on our way back we saw a group photo being taken (so common in Japan :) )

 

One last round of stroll along the “mall”:

 

We are always fascinated with the way the Japanese present their product and arrange their shops. this one sells local cakes:

 

The lighting too:

 

Finally, entering the ferry terminal.

 

We almost missed the ferry that was about to leave that we had to run to the ferry. Once inside, we were warm enough to enjoy the open deck:

 

Arriving at the mainland terminal:

 

At the far end of this pic is the ferry terminal. Underneath this junction is the pedestrian crossing. That’s why the junction looks neat :)

 

Here’s the Miyajima-guchi train station:

 

We took our train back to Hiroshima…

 

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05 Jan 2013

Posted by under Trips

Way To Miyajima (Miya Island)

Previous post: Mazda Museum, Hiroshima – Part II

Date: 17 December 2012

 

After the visit to the Mazda Museum, our next destination was a World Heritage Site, Miyajima (Miya Island).

The train that we took near the Mazda HQ goes directly to Miyajima-guchi, the gateway to Miyajima and it took us about45 minutes to get there.

Once we got out of the train and station, we walked towards the ferry terminals:

 

With our JR Passes, we were entitled to take free rides on the JR ferries to and fro Miyajima:

 

Waiting for the ferry:

 

The other ferry terminal on our left:

 

Here’s our ferry:

 

Once inside the ferry, we opted for the open deck level:

 

As our ferry was leaving Miyajima-guchi:

 

Suddenly it became breezy, and chilly!! Typical of the Japanese, even the ferry was well stocked with vending machines that sell both cold and hot drink!

 

As we were approaching the island, everybody started to stand up and look ahead:

 

One of the famous Japanese icons, The Tori Gate was so visible:

 

As we docked, we saw the other JR ferry leaving the island:

 

Out of the ferry terminal (on the island), we were greeted by the illustrative map of the island :)

To be continued..

 

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