This was the much anticipated trip of the year!
We started planning for this trip very long ago, with the purchase of SQ Super Sweet Deals tickets. Planning went on and on and it was a pity that hubby was down with sore throat right on the day we were departing. Packed a number of medicine to bring with us and the next 2 weeks turned out to be medicine-full days…
But we were very lucky to be able to see 富士山 Mt Fuji from the plane!
Hubby noticed it first (before the pilots, haha!) and quickly whip out his iPhone to take a picture. Ms V and I unfortunately went to the toilet and missed the first sighting. When we came back, the pilot was announcing that passengers seated on the left could see the magnificent mountain, and we spared no time to get back to our seats and shoot! 🙂
The rest of the journey went on well, and I think it’s partly due to the sighting of 富士山 Mt Fuji!
- Day 1 (Sat 28 Nov): Touched down at 羽田空港 Haneda Airport on flight SQ632 at 3:35pm, bought Pasmo cards, and took Subway Line to 品川駅 Shinagawa Station to our Airbnb apartment. Had ramen dinner at なんつッ亭 Nantsuttei at Ramen Street. Checked out the nearby supermarket to buy breakfast before calling it an early night.
- Day 2 (Sun 29 Nov): Train to 原宿駅 Harajuku Station to visit 明治神宮 Meiji Shrine. Took a quick stroll to 代々木公園 Yoyogi Park and caught our first autumn leaves. Walked through 原宿 Harajuku and had Strawberry Cheesecake Crepes from Cafe Crepe Harajuku. Walked to 渋谷 Shibuya to visit the Farmer’s Market @UNU. Checked out the famous Shibuya crossing from the linkway at the JR station, before taking train to 浅草Asakusa. Bought breakfast on our way back to Airbnb.
- Day 3 (Mon 30 Nov): Woke up bright and early to have sushi breakfast at うまい鮨勘 Umai Sushikan at Tsukiji fish market. Lunch at NOA Cafe and Ginza, before splitting up, with Ms V visiting Bead Town at 浅草橋 Asakusabashi, while the 2 of us went back to the apartment to try to sleep off our flu and sore throats. Met up again for tsukemen dinner at 六厘舎 Rokurinsha, Tokyo Station. Exchanged our voucher for the JR pass and made reservations for the next few train rides. Did a bit of window shopping before calling it a day.
- Day 4 (Tue 1 Dec): Took train to 河口湖 Kawaguchiko Station for a day trip. Tabao-ed gyudon from すきや Sukiya for dinner. Ms V continued to rest at apartment, while we paid a quick visit to Tokyo Station to see the Christmas illumination and the nearby supermarket.
- Day 5 (Wed 2 Dec): After cleaning up the apartment, we left to catch the 新幹線 Shinkansen to 京都 Kyoto, and had our first train bento sets. Left our luggage at 9hours Capsule Hotel. Had late lunch at はしたて Hashitate near Kyoto Station, and went to 東福寺 Tofuku-ji Temple to enjoy the autumn foilage. Rushed back to 高代寺 Kodai-ji Temple for the autumn night illumination, then the 祇園 Gion area (little lane). Ms V found a lovely Izakaya, 我逢人 かっぱ, where we had our best dinner so far. We were fortunate enough to see a Maiko walked past as we exited the 居酒屋 izakaya! Strolled back to hotel and enjoyed our first capsule hotel experience.
- Day 6 (Thu 3 Dec): Took Shinkasen to 岡山 Okayama, grabbed some drinks at Tulley’s Coffee, and checked in at Koroku Hotel. Trained to 姫路 Himeji, where we enjoyed the views of the 姫路城 Himeji Castle. Decided to visit 神戸 Kobe for some beautiful Christmas lights up before returning back to Okayama. We chanced upon an oden place near our hotel, and had a very enjoyable time!
- Day 7 (Fri 4 Dec): Visited 後楽園 Korakuen in the morning before leaving for 高松 Takamatsu. Had an amazing 讃岐うどん sanuki udon. Spent the afternoon at 栗林公園 Ritsurinkoen, before heading back to Takamatsu Station to pick up information for next day, as well as a coffee break. Strolled through the vast shopping arcade and had dinner at しるの店 おふくろ Shiru-no-mise Ofukuro.
- Day 8 (Sat 5 Dec): Took ferry to 小豆島 Shodoshima island, for a day trip. Back to Takamatsu station to source for ideas for next day. Had the famous in-bone chicken for dinner.
- Day 9 (Sun 6 Dec): We decided to go climb some 785 steps to 金比羅神社 Konpira Shrine, with plenty of window shopping along the way, sampling foods and buying souvenirs. Had an awesome 焼き鳥 yakitori dinner.
- Day 10 (Mon 7 Dec): Chiong back to 京都 Kyoto and check-in our hotel, and had lunch at Ramen Street at Kyoto Station. Ms V and I continued to Universal Studio Japan in Osaka to Harry Potter World, while hubby enjoyed a relaxing massage in Kyoto. We all ended up tabao-ing dinner back to our rooms.
- Day 11 (Tue 8 Dec): Slept in abit more and visited 嵐山 Arashiyama late morning for a day trip. Returned back to near our hotel for the fantastic katsu dinner.
- Day 12 (Wed 9 Dec): Went to 伏見稲荷 Fushimi Inari for the impressive Torii gates. Travelled to 錦市場 Nishiki Market, where we had a delicious gyoza lunch (part 1), ramen lunch (part 2) at 一蘭 Ichiran, 3D latte art coffee break at ELK Cafe (part 3)… And then we had an early buffet dinner!!!! And then supper!!! OMG…
- Day 13 (Thu 10 Dec): Left Kyoto via 京阪 Keihan line to 大阪Osaka, and left our bags at the hotel. Spent the afternoon at 黒門市場 Kuromon Market, and finally, took a break at Cafe And in Namba Walk. When we were well-rested/well-shopped, we went to Dotonburi. Spent the rest of the night trying to squeeze all our loot into the luggage bags.
- Day 14 (Fri 11 Dec): Woke up bright and early to catch then train to 関西空港 Kansai Airport on this rainy morning. Since we reached early, we did more breakfast at Tulley’s Coffee and Ciao, while Ms V did more last minute shopping. Plane took off 30 minutes late at 1130 due to congestion… And our holiday comes to an end…
- We got the Pasmo card at Haneda Airport, which required a ¥500 deposit and stored value of ¥2500. The deposit cannot be used, but we were unsure how to get a refund as we were departing via Kansai Airport. The good thing is that the Pasmo card is valid for 10 years, so we decided to keep it as a souvenir 🙂 For the final trip to Kansai airport, we did not have enough stored value in the card, but we simply needed to top up at the ticket office (the place where we show our JR Rail pass to).
- It was important to have some flexibility in the itinerary, as weather played an important role. We swapped our plans and had a lovely trip to Kawaguchiko, as it was sunny that day, and we enjoyed the view if Mt Fuji in its full glory. We also decided to go to Universal Studio Japan a few days earlier, as it was forecasted to be a rainy day on our original planned day. At Takamatsu, we didn’t really have much choices as it was cloudy everyday that we were there, so the view at the view point at Nankei Gorge Ropeway was not very good.