A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Day 01 Changi –Narita -Shibuya -Meiji Jingu- Harajuku

22/23 Nov 2009

22 Nov 2009
Changi Airport

DSCF4466

DSCF4466

At Changi Airport next to the ANA check-in counter, all set for the overnight flight to Narita Airport

P1010001

P1010001

23 Nov 2009
MEIJI JINGU 明治神宮 - Harajuku - Takeshitadori + Omotesando hills

DSCF4468.jpg

DSCF4468.jpg

7 am: After almost 7 hours on board the plane, we finally landed on the tarmac of Narita Airport. Phew….

Since we had 3 luggage in addition to 2 haversacks with us, it doesn’t make sense to take the train though it’ll be a lot cheaper. We took the logical alternative - Airport Limousine Bus .
Locating the Airport Limousine counter was quite a breeze, really. It’s just outside the Arrival Hall exit.
Single trip cost 3,000 Yen per pax.

P1010003.jpg

P1010003.jpg

Smiling faces on board the airport limousine bus.

shibuyaexcel.jpg

9.30 am: After a 1.5 hour ride and some 40 winks, we arrived at Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu.

large_DSCF4484.jpg

The hotel is conveniently located above Shibuya Station, possibly the busiest train station in Japan

It was too early for check-in so we left our luggage at the concierge & had breakfast at a nearby café.
Hmmm... yummy

DSCF4472.jpg

DSCF4472.jpg

DSCF4473.jpg

DSCF4473.jpg


DSCF4474

DSCF4474

DSCF4475

DSCF4475

DSCF4476

DSCF4476

DSCF4477

DSCF4477

DSCF4479

DSCF4479

DSCF4480

DSCF4480

DSCF4481

DSCF4481

As planned, our next stop is Meiji Jingu. This was to be our 1st train ride in the subway. We headed down to the Shibuya Station and then I found myself staring at a huge board with all the possible train networks.

DSCF4707

DSCF4707

Wow, what a maze. Amazing! The next thing that struck me was all the stations in the networks were in kanji (Chinese characters). Omigosh…. I was expecting it to be in Romaji (romanised Japanese). Time to try my survival Japanese....

P1010030

P1010030

We made it! - Harajuku Station

P1010005

P1010005

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. In Shinto, it is not uncommon to enshrine the deified spirits of important personalities.
Emperor Meiji was the first emperor of modern Japan. He was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1868 at the peak of the Meiji Restauration when the power was switched from the feudal Tokugawa government to the emperor. During the Meiji Period, Japan modernized and westernized herself to join the world's major powers by the time Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912.

DSCF4493

DSCF4493

DSCF4496

DSCF4496

DSCF4498

DSCF4498

DSCF4499

DSCF4499

DSCF4504

DSCF4504

DSCF4506

DSCF4506

DSCF4508

DSCF4508

Barrels of sake blessed by shinto priests

DSCF4509

DSCF4509

DSCF4510

DSCF4510

DSCF4511

DSCF4511


P1010010

P1010010

P1010008

P1010008


DSCF4514

DSCF4514

P1010006

P1010006

P1010012

P1010012

DSCF4519

DSCF4519

Taking a leak inside a traditional japanese lavatory

DSCF4522

DSCF4522

P1010013

P1010013

Cleansing ritual before entering the shrine

DSCF4527

DSCF4527

DSCF4528

DSCF4528

DSCF4529

DSCF4529

DSCF4530

DSCF4530

DSCF4535

DSCF4535

Shinto priests performing some ritual

P1010014

P1010014


DSCF4537

DSCF4537

Offerings made entirely of vegetables

P1010016

P1010016


DSCF4538

DSCF4538


P1010017

P1010017


DSCF4539

DSCF4539

DSCF4540

DSCF4540

DSCF4541

DSCF4541

DSCF4545

DSCF4545

DSCF4546

DSCF4546

DSCF4548

DSCF4548

DSCF4550

DSCF4550

DSCF4551

DSCF4551

The Meiji Shrine was completed in 1920, and rebuilt after being destroyed in World War Two. It is located in a wooded park area next to Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. Various events and festivals are celebrated at the shrine throughout the year.

img=http://photos.travellerspoint.com/254140/large_P1010015.jpg caption=P1010015][]P1010018

P1010018

P1010019

P1010019

Shopping at Takeshita - a very popular shopping belt within Harajuku vicinity

DSCF4552

DSCF4552


P1010020

P1010020

P1010021

P1010021

P1010022

P1010022

P1010023

P1010023

P1010024

P1010024


DSCF4554

DSCF4554

DSCF4560

DSCF4560

DSCF4561

DSCF4561

P1010026

P1010026

Posing with some red haired devils

P1010028

P1010028

P1010029

P1010029

Free impromptu performance by some spiderman wannabe?

DSCF4574

DSCF4574

DSCF4575

DSCF4575

Taking a break at the hotel room after a long day before another round of shopping in the evening!

P1010031

P1010031

P1010033

P1010033

That face shouts Oishii!

PB240034

PB240034

Tired grouchy faces. That's right, heading back to our hotel on a subway train after a long day.
[/list]


Posted by jeanken 18:21 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 02 Ueno Park – Ameyayokocho – Asakusa – Hanayashiki

24 Nov 2009

DSCF4623

DSCF4623

Our original plan was to visit Ueno Zoo. Upon arrival at the zoo, we were shocked to find it closed for the day. The Zoo closes on the eve of every public holiday. sigh.

Nevermind, we had backup plans.

Ueno Park

An early morning stroll in the park does wonders for uplifting the spirit ...

DSCF4613

DSCF4613

DSCF4615

DSCF4615

DSCF4618

DSCF4618


PB240035

PB240035


PB240036

PB240036


DSCF4808

DSCF4808


DSCF4627

DSCF4627

It's snacks time after a stroll in the park.

PB240037

PB240037

Next we proceeded to Ameyayokocho for shopping. This is one great place to shop. The assortment of goods on offer are varied and prices reasonable.

PB240038

PB240038

PB240039

PB240039

PB240043

PB240043

PB240045

PB240045

PB240044

PB240044

Taking a lunch break after some backbreaking shopping spree.

Next stop - Asakusa.

DSCF4605

DSCF4605

To the train station again..

DSCF4606

DSCF4606

PB240047

PB240047

DSCF4643

DSCF4643

DSCF4645

DSCF4645


PB240048

PB240048

PB240049

PB240049


DSCF4647

DSCF4647

The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built there for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple.

DSCF4648

DSCF4648

When approaching the temple, visitors first enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of the Sensoji and symbol of Asakusa. A shopping street of over 200 meters, called Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the temple's second gate, the Hozomon. Besides typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks from the Asakusa area are sold along the Nakamise. The shopping street has a history of several centuries.

DSCF4650

DSCF4650

The famed Sensoji Temple. Sensoji (also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, the cente of the shitamachi (lit. "low town").

]PB240050

PB240050


PB240050

PB240050

PB240051

PB240051

PB240051

PB240051

PB240052

PB240052

PB240053

PB240053

PB240056

PB240056


PB240057

PB240057


DSCF4652

DSCF4652

DSCF4653

DSCF4653

DSCF4656

DSCF4656

DSCF4658

DSCF4658

DSCF4660

DSCF4660

DSCF4661

DSCF4661

DSCF4662

DSCF4662


PB240059

PB240059

PB240060

PB240060

PB240061

PB240061

PB240062

PB240062

PB240063

PB240063

Street vendors..

DSCF4672

DSCF4672

DSCF4673

DSCF4673


PB240064

PB240064


[]DSCF4665

DSCF4665

DSCF4666

DSCF4666

DSCF4668

DSCF4668

Next we headed for the Hanayashiki Amusement Park

We had originally planned a trip to Tokyo Disneyland but decided to substitute it with Hanyashiki simply because this is the oldest amusement park in Japan!
Hah! Talking about nostalgia... it sure brought back memories from days past.
Besides, we aren't really big on amusement parks and secondly, disney parks are a dime too many.

PB240072

PB240072

The Asakusa Hanayashiki location has a long history, first as a flower park opened in 1853. This edo era amusement center included tea shops, entertainment (misemono) and the exhibit of some animals. After World War II it became an amusement park, operated by the Togo company which is now celebrating their 50th anniversary (1999) as manager of the 146 year old park.

DSCF4675

DSCF4675


DSCF4676

DSCF4676

DSCF4678

DSCF4678

DSCF4679

DSCF4679


DSCF4680

DSCF4680

DSCF4682

DSCF4682

DSCF4683

DSCF4683

DSCF4687

DSCF4687

DSCF4688

DSCF4688

PB240065

PB240065

PB240066

PB240066

PB240068

PB240068

PB240069

PB240069

PB240070

PB240070

PB240073

PB240073

PB240075

PB240075

PB240076

PB240076

PB240077

PB240077

PB240078

PB240078

PB240079

PB240079

PB240080

PB240080

PB240082

PB240082

PB240083

PB240083

PB240084

PB240084

PB240085

PB240085

PB240086

PB240086

PB240087

PB240087

PB240088

PB240088

PB240090

PB240090

PB240091

PB240091

Night shopping in Asakusa area..

PB240092

PB240092

PB240093

PB240093

PB240094

PB240094

PB240095

PB240095

PB240096

PB240096

Enjoying a cuppa hot sake.

PB240097

PB240097

DSCF4691

DSCF4691

DSCF4694

DSCF4694

DSCF4697

DSCF4697

DSCF4698

DSCF4698

DSCF4700

DSCF4700

DSCF4701

DSCF4701

DSCF4703

DSCF4703

DSCF4705

DSCF4705

DSCF4706

DSCF4706

Posted by jeanken 21:38 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 03 Tsukijishijo – Ueno Zoo – Tokyo Tower (1 of 2)

25 Nov 2009


Tsukiji fish market (築地市場, Tsukiji shijō)

We decided to do something even more interesting today - visit the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world! The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo, and is a major attraction for foreign visitors.

The market handles more than 400 different types of seafood from tiny sardines to 300kg tuna, from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar. Overall, more than 700,000 metric tons of seafood are handled every year at the three seafood markets in Tokyo, with a total value in excess of 600 billion yen (approximately 5.5 billion US dollars). Tsukiji alone handles over 2000 metric tons of seafood per day. The number of registered employees varies from 60,000 to 65,000, including wholesalers, accountants, auctioneers, company officials, and distributors.

PB250121

PB250121

Tsukiji market is huge -- the market covers 57 acres -- and coupled with entertaining live theater. The whole array of spectacular display is mesmerising.

PB250114

PB250114

You can walk right through the inner market in a maze of stalls. You squeeze through the aisles, surrounded by tubs and trays of creatures big and small from the sea, along with the frozen tuna that is being sawed into pieces for wholesale customers.

PB250136

PB250136


Video version:

PB250169

PB250169

Watch out for these motorised trucks though. They quietly squeeze through the narrow aisles and can be a real hazard to unsuspecting visitors.

DSCF4797

DSCF4797

PB250147

PB250147

Particularly impressive is the unloading of tons of frozen tuna. The auction houses (wholesalers known in Japanese as oroshi gyōsha) then estimate the value and prepare the incoming products for the auctions.

PB250149

PB250149


DSCF4733

DSCF4733


DSCF4764

DSCF4764


PB250100

PB250100

PB250102

PB250102

PB250103

PB250103

PB250104

PB250104

PB250105

PB250105

PB250107

PB250107

PB250109

PB250109

PB250112

PB250112

PB250113

PB250113

PB250118

PB250118

PB250119

PB250119

PB250129

PB250129

PB250132

PB250132

PB250133

PB250133

PB250138

PB250138

[PB250141

PB250141

PB250142

PB250142

PB250144

PB250144

PB250145

PB250145

PB250154

PB250154

PB250156

PB250156

PB250159

PB250159

PB250162

PB250162

PB250164

PB250164


DSCF4788

DSCF4788

DSCF4784

DSCF4784

DSCF4782

DSCF4782

DSCF4779

DSCF4779

DSCF4776

DSCF4776

DSCF4775

DSCF4775

DSCF4756

DSCF4756

DSCF4754

DSCF4754

DSCF4740

DSCF4740

DSCF4724

DSCF4724

PB250170

PB250170

PB250171

PB250171

Delightful ... these must be the freshest sashimi on earth - straight from the wholesale market.

DSCF4802

DSCF4802


DSCF4795

DSCF4795

DSCF4793

DSCF4793

After a dizzying tour of the 57 acre market, we had to ask for directions out!

Next stop is Ueno Zoo - see next entry

Posted by jeanken 16:56 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 03 Tsukijishijo – Ueno Zoo – Tokyo Tower (2 of 2)

25 Nov 2009

Ueno Zoo

Ueno Zoological Gardens is the oldest zoo in Japan. Founded in 1882, it has grown over the years, expanded its area to 14.3 ha (35.2 acres) and been the flagship of the Japanese zoo world. Now it's home to over 2600 animals from 464 different species and provides visitors with learning experience about the diversity of animals as well as fun and enjoyment.

In its long history, Ueno Zoo has received numerous animals from abroad. In 1972, the first giant pandas arrived from China to Ueno Zoo. We have been cooperating with Beijing Zoo (China), San Diego Zoo (US), and Chapultepec Zoo (Mexico) for conservation and breeding of wild giant pandas.

DSCF4813

DSCF4813

Unfortunately, Ling Ling the last giant panda at the zoo died on April 29, 2008.

PB250178

PB250178

DSCF4860

DSCF4860


DSCF4870

DSCF4870

DSCF4871-1

DSCF4871-1

DSCF4873

DSCF4873

DSCF6003-1

DSCF6003-1


DSCF4869

DSCF4869

DSCF4872

DSCF4872

DSCF6007-1

DSCF6007-1

DSCF6013-1

DSCF6013-1


DSCF6008-1

DSCF6008-1


DSCF6017-1

DSCF6017-1

DSCF6014-1

DSCF6014-1

DSCF6033-1

DSCF6033-1

DSCF6036-1

DSCF6036-1


DSCF6040-1

DSCF6040-1


SANY0007-1

SANY0007-1


SANY0019-1

SANY0019-1

SANY0018-1

SANY0018-1

SANY0016-1

SANY0016-1

SANY0013-1

SANY0013-1

SANY0011-1

SANY0011-1


DSCF6034-1

DSCF6034-1


DSCF4815

DSCF4815

DSCF4820

DSCF4820

DSCF4817

DSCF4817

DSCF4831

DSCF4831

DSCF4832.jpgDSCF4835

DSCF4835

DSCF4839

DSCF4839

DSCF4841-1

DSCF4841-1

DSCF4850.jpgDSCF4852

DSCF4852

DSCF4854

DSCF4854

DSCF4857

DSCF4857

DSCF8007

DSCF8007

DSCF8008

DSCF8008

DSCF8009

DSCF8009

DSCF8010

DSCF8010

DSCF4819

DSCF4819

DSCF4848

DSCF4848

DSCF4846

DSCF4846

DSCF4837

DSCF4837

DSCF4855

DSCF4855

DSCF4859

DSCF4859


SANY0030-1

SANY0030-1

SANY0031-1

SANY0031-1

SANY0034-1

SANY0034-1

SANY0036-1

SANY0036-1

SANY0038-1

SANY0038-1

SANY0040-1

SANY0040-1

SANY0027-1

SANY0027-1

SANY0009 (68)

SANY0009 (68)

SANY0005

SANY0005


DSCF8009

DSCF8009

SANY0015

SANY0015

It's already early evening by the time we reached Tokyo Tower. Just as well, we got to see the spectacular night lights of Tokyo city from the observatory.
At 333 meters, Tokyo Tower is 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower of Paris, and the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower. It was completed in the year 1958 as a symbol for Japan's rebirth as a major economic power, and serves as a television and radio broadcast antenna and tourist attraction.

SANY0018 (86)

SANY0018 (86)

Visitors can ascend to the main observatory at 150 meters and the special observatory at 250 meters to get a bird's eye view of Tokyo. Under good weather conditions, Mount Fuji can be seen in the distance.

The tower also houses an aquarium, wax museum and several more attractions. The Wax Museum however is not worth a visit. There are far better wax museums elsewhere.

SANY0022 (90)

SANY0022 (90)

SANY0020

SANY0020

SANY0024 (92)

SANY0024 (92)

SANY0026 (94)

SANY0026 (94)

SANY0040

SANY0040

Views of Tokyo city's neon lights, taken from the Observatory decks.

SANY0045

SANY0045

SANY0049

SANY0049

SANY0052

SANY0052

SANY0055

SANY0055

SANY0056

SANY0056

SANY0059

SANY0059

SANY0061

SANY0061

SANY0062

SANY0062

SANY0063

SANY0063

SANY0065

SANY0065

SANY0066

SANY0066

SANY0068

SANY0068

SANY0070

SANY0070

SANY0072

SANY0072

SANY0073

SANY0073

SANY0074

SANY0074

SANY0075

SANY0075

SANY0076

SANY0076

SANY0077

SANY0077

SANY0078

SANY0078

SANY0079

SANY0079

SANY0080

SANY0080

SANY0081

SANY0081

SANY0082

SANY0082

SANY0090

SANY0090

Posted by jeanken 23:09 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 04 Hakone

26 Nov 2009

Today, we decided to get out of Tokyo. It's a 2 hr train ride each way from Tokyo to Hakone..

Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, outdoor activities, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among Japanese and international tourists looking for a break from Tokyo.

Our Planned route: Shibuya Station - Shinjuku Station - Odawara Station - Hakone Yumoto - Gora -Sounzan - Togendai - Hakone Machi - Yunessun - Hakone Yumoto - Odawara Station - Shinjuku Station - Shibuya Station

Upon arrival in Shinjuku Station, we proceeded to the Ticketing Office for purchase of Hakone Freepass (Yen5,000 per pax). This entitles us unlimited rides on the Odakyu Railway between Shinjuku and Hakone. In addition, most rides in Hakone are also included eg. cable car, ropeway, cruise, train and bus.

PB260185

PB260185

Posing next to the shinkansen. Hakone-Yumoto, the starting point of the Hakone Tozan Train, can be reached directly from Tokyo (Shinjuku) by Odakyu Line “Romancecar”.

PB260182

PB260182

PB260183

PB260183

See all the sleepy heads in the train during the long journey?

DSCF6006

DSCF6006

Here's something to kill the boredom.

Etozan_ph002_1_

Etozan_ph002_1_

From Hakone-Yumoto, the Hakone Tozan Train takes a leisurely 40 minutes to cover the 15-kilometer distance to Gora.

DSCF6007

DSCF6007

Beautiful trees of red and orange hues line the mountain sides.

Ecable_ph001[1

Ecable_ph001[1

]
PB260187

PB260187

The Hakone Tozan Cablecar covers the 1.2-kilometer distance between Gora, a popular Hakone sightseeing spot and site of numerous hot springs (onsen), and Sounzan Station in 9 minutes. However, the number of people queuing for the cable car was horendous. The Swiss-made cable cars have large windows through which visitors can enjoy ever-changing scenic panoramas throughout the four seasons. The difference in elevation between Gora and Sounzan is 214 meters.

PB260195

PB260195


PB260190

PB260190


PB260191

PB260191


Erope_ph002_1_

Erope_ph002_1_


DSCF6009

DSCF6009

The Hakone Ropeway, covering a distance of 4,035 m between Sounzan and Togendai, is the longest in Japan and the second-longest in the world after the Kriens Bahn in Switzerland. Gondolas carrying 13 passengers rise up into the sky once every minute.

DSCF6017

DSCF6017

DSCF6020

DSCF6020

DSCF6022

DSCF6022

DSCF6024

DSCF6024

DSCF6029

DSCF6029

DSCF6033

DSCF6033

DSCF6034

DSCF6034

DSCF6037

DSCF6037

DSCF6039

DSCF6039

DSCF6040

DSCF6040

DSCF6041

DSCF6041

DSCF6043

DSCF6043


PB260192

PB260192

PB260193

PB260193

DSCF6045

DSCF6045

DSCF6048

DSCF6048

PB260204

PB260204

PB260205

PB260205

DSCF6052

DSCF6052

We stopped at Owakudani Station to have a closer look at the volcanic smoke and got to try the black eggs boiled by the hot sulfur spring.

PB260206

PB260206

Enjoy sweeping panoramas all the way over the sea of trees from Sounzan to Togendai near Lake Ashi, via Owakudani and Ubako. At its highest point, between Sounzan and Owakudani, the ropeway is 130 meters above the ground.

PB260197

PB260197

PB260198

PB260198

PB260199

PB260199

PB260200

PB260200

PB260201

PB260201

PB260202

PB260202

PB260203

PB260203

The large crater visible below is impressive in its overwhelming energy. Owakudani (also known as death valley) is the area around a crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3000 years ago. Today, much of the area is an active volcanic zone where sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers can be experienced.

PB260207

PB260207

PB260209

PB260209

PB260210

PB260210

Proceeding to Ubako and Togendai, the ropeway offers grand views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji behind Mount Kami, with the scenery reflecting the changes of the seasons. The journey between Sounzan and Togendai takes approximately 28 minutes.

PB260211

PB260211

PB260212

PB260212


DSCF6105

DSCF6105

DSCF6104

DSCF6104

DSCF6094

DSCF6094

DSCF6091

DSCF6091

DSCF6090

DSCF6090

DSCF6088

DSCF6088

DSCF6076

DSCF6076

The Hakone Sightseeing Ship cruise has four ships on Lake Ashi. The journey from Togendai to Hakone-Machi takes about 40 minutes.

PB260234

PB260234

PB260235

PB260235

PB260236

PB260236

PB260237

PB260237

PB260238

PB260238

PB260240

PB260240


PB260213

PB260213

PB260214

PB260214

PB260215

PB260215

PB260216

PB260216

PB260217

PB260217

PB260219

PB260219

PB260218

PB260218

PB260220

PB260220

PB260221

PB260221

PB260222

PB260222

PB260224

PB260224

PB260225

PB260225

PB260227

PB260227

PB260228

PB260228

PB260230

PB260230

PB260231

PB260231

PB260232

PB260232

PB260233

PB260233

PB260241

PB260241

slide1_1_

slide1_1_

After a long day, we headed for the Yunessun Onsen ( a themed hotspring resort)

PB260243

PB260243

slide3_1_

slide3_1_

detail_coffee_1_

detail_coffee_1_

Coffee pool

detail_green_tea_1_

detail_green_tea_1_

Green Tea pool

detail_sake[1

detail_sake[1

]

Sake pool

detail_wine_1_

detail_wine_1_

Red Wine pool

Posted by jeanken 18:44 Archived in Japan Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Doy 05 Some last minute shopping before our flight home

27 Nov 2009

Harajuku

DSCF6136

DSCF6136

DSCF6137

DSCF6137

DSCF6144

DSCF6144

DSCF6147

DSCF6147

DSCF6153

DSCF6153

DSCF8007

DSCF8007

PB270249

PB270249

PB270250

PB270250

PB270251

PB270251

PB270253

PB270253

DSCF6146

DSCF6146


DSCF6134

DSCF6134


]PB270252

PB270252

PB270253

PB270253

PB270254

PB270254

PB270255

PB270255

PB270256

PB270256

Posted by jeanken 23:37 Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 6 of 6) Page [1]