Shirakawago

Hi all!

A visit to Shirakawago was on my list for quite some time now. I was also closely monitoring the weather channel in hopes that there would be some residual snow but no snowfall and the temperature would be slightly warmer (~11 °C). But alas, it was not meant to be. It was actually hovering between -2 °C to 1 °C. As the bus rode up the slopes, there was some snowfall going on which I thought was rainfall since it was my first time experiencing a snowfall. The coldness started to seep in through the bus but it hit full force when I stepped off the bus when we arrived. Coupled with the snowfall, it made for some beautiful pictures (the place looks better in winter). But I ended up with soaking wet feet (I didn’t have waterproof boots) and cold rash for the next 2 weeks. Of course, with my first time experiencing snow in its full glory, it was ooh-aah nice in the first 5 mins, and painful coldness for the reminder of my time there.

IMG_1496

IMG_1498

IMG_1499

IMG_1500

IMG_1501

IMG_1505

IMG_1507

IMG_1509

IMG_1513

As I was walking up the slope to this viewpoint, I felt my umbrella getting heavier and sinking lower, so when I accidentally tilt it to one side, all the snow just slide off. Haha, I didn’t even realise snow was collecting on it. The snowfall made for a poor overview of the houses at the viewpoint.

IMG_1515

IMG_1518

IMG_1520

IMG_1525

IMG_1529

IMG_1535

I attempted to locate a restaurant I wanted to have lunch at and walk up through wet roads only to be welcome with a sign that says they’re on winter break. Cold, wet and feeling really miserable at this point, I found this place that was open (it seemed like it was the only one) that sold food. Had a nice warm bowl of noodles before venturing back out to the bus station to wait for my bus.

IMG_1543

IMG_1539

Unfortunately, I over-catered for my time here and book for a bus that depart for Kanazawa at 2 pm when I was all ready to leave by 11.30 am. That day was also packed so I couldn’t exchange my ticket for an earlier time slot. Also, the waiting area should really invest in a heater. Without the heater and the doors opening every other second as people walked in and out, everyone was just feeling really cold. Because my feet were wet, I also started to shiver miserably until I could get on my bus. Of course the snowfall had to stop and the sun showed itself when it was time for me to depart.

My initial plan was to explore a bit of Kanazawa before heading back to Tokyo, but seeing the snowfall as we drove into town make me decide enough was enough. I reserved for a JR ticket back and stayed in the train station until it was time to leave. When I got back, I headed to the mall near Tokyo Dome (which was within walking distance of my hotel) on a mission to find waterproof boots. But it was a tad too costly for my budget and I didn’t want to withdraw more money at this point. So I headed back to seek cover under the blankets. Till the next post, bye!

IMG_1544

IMG_1547

 

Advertisements

Tokyo I

Hi all!

It took a while to arrive in Tokyo from Kyoto so by time I was settled in, it was time for lunch. When in Tokyo, I couldn’t leave without having some raw fish. At Tsukiji market, there was this really interesting store where the patrons could grab as much dried cuttlefish as they could for a fixed price. I also had the classic tamago on a stick (I got the salty version) before entering at a random store for a mixed of salmon, engawa and ikura rice bowl. While the portion looked small, it was actually quite filling. Because of the crowd, store owners here are quite protective of their front space. They’ll literally  shoo people away if they’re not intending to patronise their store.

IMG_1430

IMG_1434

IMG_1437

IMG_1440

IMG_1445

White ichigo! I realised the average Japanese strawberries are really quite on par with Korean strawberries but a lot pricer. Can’t afford the super high end one yet though. I read somewhere that the seeds from Japanese strawberries were stolen to Korea. That’s why both types taste similar.

IMG_1450

After lunch, it was down to Meiji shrine for a stroll. Despite the hustle and bustle at its station exit, the shrine itself was a such a semi-hideaway from the city. Perhaps it was the sakura season, but I witnessed another wedding ceremony here!

IMG_1453

XS7xV

IMG_1461

IMG_1463

IMG_1464

Takeshita street in Harajuku was seriously packed. I think I bothered to only make my way pass the famous crepe shop before veering off to one of the side streets that had lesser people.

IMG_1471

IMG_1476

After Harajuku, I made my way to Coffee Elementary School, a cafe recommended on one of Buzzfeed’s video series on Japan. Got a bit lost trying to manoeuvre my way across all the temporary overhead bridges in one of Shibuya crossroads due to all the on-going construction works. But the cafe is located at the top of a slope in a neighbourhood area so it is a bit out of the way. But they sell really fragrant and good coffee.

Coffee Elementary School. Address: 12-6 Uguisudanichō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0032

IMG_1477

Camped out at Starbucks to get a good shot of the Shibuya crossing. It took a lot of tries because my cranky and old SD card kept hanging (my newer SD card was full). But it’s actually really fun to people watch and witness the things people do at the crossing. I also came across those who dressed up in mario theme costumes driving their karts around the city. Ending the day with a snapshot of Hachiko. Till the next post, bye!

IMG_1480

IMG_1484

IMG_1489

IMG_1491

IMG_1494

Part III: Nara

Hi all!

I set foot in Nara (after Inari and Uji) in the middle of a heavy rainstorm. Being on a budget after all the large food expenses spent during my stay in Kyoto, I trudged through the rain to Nara park for some deer adventure. A must-do in Nara is getting the deer biscuits to feed the deers. It’s such a fun and slightly traumatising feeding these greedy little creatures. They can literally sniff out the biscuits on you.

IMG_1370

IMG_1374

IMG_1378

IMG_1382

IMG_1384

Thereafter, I headed to Todaiji (600 yen/adult), a beautiful wooden temple. Despite the crowd, there’s some form of peace to be felt as I wandered through each corner in the main hall.

IMG_1387

IMG_1390

IMG_1391

IMG_1396

IMG_1400

IMG_1404
IMG_1419

Along the way to Nara park and Todaiji temple, you’ll walk pass the famous mochi pounding shop – Nakatanidou. I was fortunate enough to witness it in action as I was making my way back to Nara station. But unfortunately, there was this group of tall Russian ladies (at least 175 cm and above) who were standing at the front. They basically formed this wall that no one could pass and they kept retreating back to get a better shot at the process. Kind of inconsiderate really, but I could only peep through the little crevices to witness it in action. Once the mochi was ready, i was put through a machine to be filled with red bean paste. Because I hate red bean with a passion, I didn’t buy one of this yomogi mochi (mugwort mochi) to try.

IMG_1424

IMG_1426

Ended my day soaking wet as I decided to walk back to the hotel (~30 mins walk) because I was desperately craving coco ichibanya for dinner, plus I didn’t want to pay extra to take a bus. Also, the shop was located somewhere in between my hotel and the station. Really ended up as a drowning chicken as I ploughed through the wet weather. It’s literally a blessing that I didn’t fall sick during the rest of my trip. Coco ichibanya was fantastic but I ordered shabu shabu instead of pork cutlet – a mistake on my part. But it was still good. Ended the day with a visit to Tokyu Hands, located round the corner of my hotel, for some stationary supplies. Till the next post, bye!

IMG_1427

IMG_1429