A Never Ending Story of Japan Endless Discovery : Spring is Calling in Japan!

Konnichiwaaaa!

I was too long in absence to posting blog. I know, I have been promised for my fricking adventure in India but I haven’t finished yet. lol.

Don’t you worry, I have been in Japan last Spring. Japan, again? And YEP! Well, I was going to Japan with my mum after had a good deal from All Nippon Airlines (ANA). Don’t get me wrong, I’m the lucky girl. 😉

Well so here we go!

Day 1 : In A Rush to Kawaguchiko

Oh too much lucky charm that I have, the day we had flight to Japan was the election day for Jakarta’s governor period 2. Well, I don’t want to talk about election in here, but so we had day off and easily for us to go to airport without any traffic around. Our departure flight was 21:20, so we will be arrived in Haneda in the morning, 07:00. Why Haneda?

EASY TIPS #1: Haneda is nearby from Tokyo rather than Narita.

Yes, Haneda is close from Tokyo Downtown, only need 15 minutes to go to Shinagawa Station by Keisei Line, or Monorail to Hamamatsucho station (JR Lines). And less expect, we were arrived in Haneda at 06:10! That’s why I love Japan! It supposed to be arrived at 07:00, but the plane was landed at 06:10. *standing ovation*

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Mount Fuji sight in the clear sunny day from Haneda Airport! 🗻

Okay, since we have landed in Haneda, we wanted to buy JR East Pass Nagano Area in JR Office. But too bad, the long queue had been up to the office, so I have been changed to plan B, we were going to buy JR Pass in Shinjuku station. Why Shinjuku? Because we were going to Kawaguchiko and the train (Azusa, Super Azusa, and so on) running to Otsuki are from Shinjuku. So, let’s go!

Jet lag! Yes, 7 hours non-stop flight made me jet lag even I had a good sleep. So I REALLY WAS CONFUSING AND HAD NO IDEA WHERE THE HELL WAS JR OFFICE IN SHINJUKU! I was, well, me and mum, were lost in Shinjuku in the peak hour! Can you imagine? Please, don’t be. Hahaha. So yeah, the JR Office in Shinjuku is near Shinjuku Bus Station (where the bus to Kawaguchiko leave), South Exit of Shinjuku Station. And thank God, we bought the JR PASS yet. Oh, why we did buy JR East Pass Nagano? Because we will explore Nagano Area. Oh, for information type JR PASS, I would post in another blog post. 😉

Chooo~choooooo~~ Well no, it’s different train. lol! So we made it to hopped on Super Azusa to Otsuki. Hell yeah! So, our route to Kawaguchiko are :

Shinjuku 🚄 Otsuki 🚈 Kawaguchiko

After 3 hours train from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko, so here we are!

Kawaguchiko is located in foothills of Mount Fuji. I have been there last year for cherry blossom and Mount Fuji view. But too bad, I had visited Kawaguchiko in the early April, that means the Sakura hasn’t bloomed yet. And I have been re-arranged for my next trip (which was my last trip) in the mid-April. Oh and that was so beautiful as always!

We were staying in K’s House Mt. Fuji. It’s just 15 minutes walking from Kawaguchiko Station, or you can take the Red Bus Line or Green bus Line and stop in the fourth stop : Oji, then walking 3 minutes. And oh, it’s pretty good location because it’s 10 minutes walk to Lake Kawaguchi! Since we were so tired and having jet lag, we had a good rest. So long!

Day 2 : Strolling Around Fuji Five Lakes Area

On the next day, we have plan to strolling around Fuji Five Lakes area. Yes, there are 5 lakes around Mount Fuji because its activity hundred years ago that created 5 lakes around. The most reachable by public transportation are Lake Kawaguchi and Lake Saiko. Since I have been exploring so many places in Lake Kawaguchi, in the next day, we were going to Lake Saiko. Ohho, before we were going to Lake Saiko, we came to visit Saiko Iyashi No Sato Nenba. This place was former farmer village near Lake Saiko. It’s kind of theme park, but shows the traditional village that produce of farming, mining, and crafting. It was so cute since they also provide kimono/samurai outfit rent. It cost 1,000 Yen (it was 500 Yen before). And then we visited Lake Saiko. It was very beautiful IF Mount Fuji hasn’t covered by cloud. Oh, damn.

At the noon, we were going back to hostel and my mum seems so tired. So I let her to sleep, and I was continue strolling around on Green Bus Line. I was going to Bus Stop no. 55 (Shikishima-no-matsu) and walking to bus stop no. 54 (Fuji Omuro Sengen-jinja Shrine). What was on that?

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Pretty Sakura Tunnel in between bus stop 54 and 55 Green Line Bus!

After walking like 500 meters, I arrived at Fuji Omuro Sengen-jinja Shrine. Yes, one of hidden gem in Yamanashi area. Why? They have lovely sakura tunnel inside! And of course, Sakura was on full blooming on that day!

And after all, I went to Nagasaki Park and Fujiyama was shy, hid behind clouds slightly. And what a sunset!

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View from Nagasaki Park

Day 3 : Up to The North! Matsumoto!

Time flies so fast! Sigh. So, today was our last day to stay in Kawaguchiko. Oh, in the morning, I found a really good object! I didn’t mind about 6 degrees in the morning, it was sooooooo cold as hell. OMG! But it was worth to see! What? The reflection of Mount Fuji in Lake Kawaguchi because the wind hasn’t blown yet in the morning, so voila!

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Fujiyama with its reflection! 🗻

Alright, alright. Ever since last year I couldn’t visit Pagoda Chureito, but it’s time! Wait, what is Pagoda Chureito? This pagoda is offering us sakura and Mount Fuji and the picturesque red temple uphill. But too bad, when I was there, Mount Fuji was still shy behind clouds. So bad!

It wasn’t hard to go to this pagoda, just drop by to Shimoyoshida station, fifth station from Kawaguchiko station. And the sign to pagoda is clearly since the government made the pagoda pathway for signage to go to pagoda! I was hiking about 25 minutes with loosing my breath up to the hill. Hahahaha, sorry, I am not into hiking, FYI. 😛

But the view is worth to be captured!

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I’m in love with the view!

 

We were in a rush! Where were going to go?! Matsumoto! What’s on Matsumoto? A castle! Yes, another Japan National Treasure in Nagano area. Now you got it why did we buy JR East Pass Nagano area. Hehehe. Okay, so we came too late to Matsumoto. It’s 15:00 and we were in a rush too to go to the castle. Ah, we took Matsumoto City Bus Circle, the Northern Course, which passed by the Castle. It costs us 200 Yen/person/one way. They have time table that you can look up on its website. So we just walking around and enjoy the nice weather in Matsumoto!

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We went back to Tokyo and it was raining in Tokyo. So after we arrived in Shinjuku, we decided to eat in Menya Kaijin, pretty close from South East Exit Shinjuku station. It’s muslim friendly since it is a ramen with seafood based soup. Just ask without chicken balls, or only shrimp ball to put in the ramen. You can see my post about Halal food in Japan on another post.

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mmmm! 🤤

Where will we stay in Tokyo? Anne Hostel Asakusabashi was. I highly recommended this hostel to stay! Well they have elevator, so don’t you worry with your big suitcase. lol! I stayed in Traditional 3 Beds dormitory, and oh there was a guy stay in there! And I just knew there are no female/male/mix dormitory, so the receptionist, I forgot her name, she was soooo nice with very helpful moved us to female dormitory, and there were nobody in there! So, just two of us, me and mum. But who knows tomorrow someone would come. Hehehe. So, what a day today!!!

Day 4 : Pay a Visit to Daruma Village

We are going up again to the north of Tokyo. Yeah, Gunma is just 1 hour train ride by shinkansen. What up on Gunma? Daruma! What is Daruma? A Japanese traditional doll for Bodhidarma, the founder of Zen, sect of Buddhism.

 

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Super Big Daruma

We were going to Gunma, called Shorinzan Darumaji Temple. It’s 25 minutes from Takasaki station, you can take bus Gururin Loop Bus Line 1 or 2. But Line 2 will take you an hour because it’s riding the circle. So, when you are coming to the temple, you take Line 1, and when you are back to the Takasaki station, you take Line 2.

This temple believed that Zen sect was born in here. I just fascinated with Daruma doll. lol. It’s cute and just cute! Our time well spent in there, with less crowded visitor. And we bought a lot of Daruma doll in here, well my mum called it “Kathok Uwok“. 😂 Takasaki well known as Daruma village!

I was planning to Kamakura, but too bad it was late and my mum seemed tired. So were going back to hostel and get ready for tonight. Uh, we were going to Harajuku and then Asakusa for finding some souvenirs. Nothing special in Asakusa, just went to Don Quijote. After that, we had dinner to the most delicious ramen halal in town, Ayam-YA! For its location, you can check here.

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Best in Town! Ayam-Ya Okachimachi, Tokyo.

Day 5 : Drama NEX and Sayonara Japan!

Okay so, this is our last day in Japan! We were really tired, well my mum actually. At first we were planning for watching Sumo training in Arashio-beya, and then have a walk morning to the Hie Shrine and then Asakusa. But, we just made to visit Arashio-beya.

Okay in the early morning, we have been ready to watch sumo (Japanese wrestling) training. Yes, this sumo training will be held from 6 am to 10 am. But make sure first via telephone. Well, they speak Japanese, of course, but you can have direction from its website.

 

Okay in the early morning, we have been ready to watch sumo (traditional Japanese wrestling) training. Yes, this sumo training will be held from 6 am to 10 am. But make sure first via telephone. Well, they speak Japanese, of course, but you can have direction from its website.

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Keiko (training in the morning) of sumo!

After that we were coming back to hostel to get ready for check out. But too bad, I was having a looong coversation with some guys while breakfast. That was fun tho, but that made us waste our time. lol. So, we were going to Asakusa to buy some souvenirs and having lunch in Naritaya for its beef bowl! I recommend it sooooo bad, because it’s delicious! I ordered A VERY BIG Gyudon Bowl. It was seriously super big even the guy asked me was I sure that I ordered the big one? 😂😂😂😂

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The Super Big Gyudon Bowl!

We were going back to hostel and re-pack before having flight back to Jakarta. Nah, our flight was inbound from Narita, so we have to spare much time because it took an hour to go there. Okay, so we were in Tokyo station and we have no idea how to take a ride NEX. HUH?! Yes, because when I arrived in the NEX platform, there are no “Non-Reserved Seat”!! Which means we have to make reservation in JR Office!

EASY TIPS #2 : If you are out-inbound from Narita airport, don’t forget to make reservation for Narita Express (NEX)!

Omg, I was in a rush because it was 3 PM and our flight was 6 PM!!!! So, I was running (trying to run as fast as I can, literally. lol) to go to JR Office and made reservation for two. I let my mum stayed in the platform. And we got the train at 3:30 PM. Omg, I was still nervous, afraid missing flight to Jakarta. T_T But thank God, we were choosing ANA, so no long queue for check-in!!! Because Narita is ANA based, so they have a loooooot of counters for check in! Fuck yeah, ANA!!!

Well, that was my story, for complete itinerary you can check on this sheet on ACTUAL ITIN.

Thank you, and have a nice day!

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