DT: Travel & Living Journal

Archive for the ‘✿Japan✿’ Category

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Before I went Hong Kong for summer holiday, I received message via MSN from Nicole asking whether I interested to go Japan with her or not. At that moment, I had another plan to travel to Australia with my mother and siblings for December holiday.

So I was thinking, if I choose to go Japan, I might need to apply more leave and of course might leads to unpaid leave, which means my montly salary will be deducted. But when reconsider again, when will I had this golden opportunity since most of my friends are recently busy working and lacking of money, therefore unable to travel with me. After thinking for almost 2 weeks, finally i said “YES” to Nicole and there goes two little ladies backpacking by their own. Oh yeah! I would like to stress here that Nicole and I are actually luggage draggers, not backpackers. Hahaha..

Before going to Japan, plenty of preparation need to be ready before enter Japan. For example, during application for visa, I need to go photo studio to take picture with white background. Not only that, lots of requirement needed just to apply such a small piece of visa such as letter from your company, full itinenary of the trip, a photocopy of fixed deposit and so on. Even Nicole had to contact her sister in Singapore in order to get the Japan Rail Pass. That’s why some people prefer to follow organised tour guide to avoid the troublesome requirement.

Some of the readers asking me how much had I spend for this trip. Well, including transportation, accommodation, foods and not forgeting madly shopping, roughly around RM5k – RM6k. But before this, I had compared with organised tour guide where it costs RM5-6k for the tour package. That price not yet included your shopping ooo…

Started to make entry post on 14 December and just ended it recently on 22 June, it took me half year to finish positing of this Japan trip. So, for those who just recently read my blog, here is my Japan trip itinerary because I don’t blog consecutively.

Day 1 (26 October 2010)
5 Different Airports in 24 Hours
First Night Dinner at Osaka

Day 2 (27 October 2010)
Kyoto City Tour

Day 3 (28 October 2010)
Osaka at Daytime
Osaka at Night Time

Day 4 (29 October 2010)
Asakusa Nakamise Shopping Street
Akihabara Electronics District

Day 5 (30 October 2010)
Tsukiji Fish Market
Harajuku & Takeshita Dori
Shibuya – Another Shopping & Entertainment District of Tokyo

Day 6 (31 October 2010)
Lake Kawaguchi of Mount Fuji
Tokyo Tower, the Looks alike Eiffel Tower

Day 7 (1 November 2010)
Tokyo Disneysea

Day 8 (2 November 2010)
Japan Transportation & My Last Day in Japan

Extra Features:
1) J-Hoppers & Fukushima
2) Tokyo House Ikebukuro

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SAYONARA JAPAN!

This afternoon, I received message from my bestie that she are leaving to Japan for 3 months for the training purpose. What a great opportunity she has! How I wish I got this opportunity too? To dearest Matilda, have a safe trip and enjoy your life there. Wish to visit you but now is summer season in Japan. Must be damn very hot!
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Attractions? Checked. Accommodation? Checked. Foods? Checked. And now end my final post on my adventurous autumn Japan trip by sharing a bit regarding Japan railway and public transportation network.

Frankly to say that the actual period I had in Japan was actually 7 days, not 8 days because Nicole and I spend our last day mostly on the Shinkansen and Kansai International Airport.

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What is Shinkansen by the way? Shinkansen, the first bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Running at the speeds of up to 300 km/h, Shinkansen is known for punctuality and it will depart exactly on the scheduled time. So ,don’t expect for Shinkansen to wait for you.

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Aerodynamic nose of the fabled Shinkansen

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The journey from Tokyo to Kansai International Airport took us 3 hours by Shinkansen

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The number on Shinkansen indicates whether the truck is reserved or non-reserved.

Similar to airplanes, most of the Shinkansen offer seats in two different type of classes; ordinary or enocomic class and business class or known as green car class. Due to Nicole and I are Japan Rail Pass holders (will talk about this later), we can only reserved the ordinary class. However, no matter what class it was, for me the seat is so comfortable and so spacious compare to the airplanes. Hey what! I’m almost forgot that everytime I on board, I had no problem with the tight legroom space because I am shortie by the way. Anyway, it is not a bad sign to have the Japan Rail Pass because we can reserve the seat for free.

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Look at the picture at the upper right, Shinkansen offer a generous amount of foot space. Even their number are being numbered and lettered in the same style as on airplanes.

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The safety guideline.

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We knew that we were almost reach airport when we saw Hep Town.

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Finally reached Kansai International Airport, which closer to the city of Osaka.

Japan’s public transportation network leades the world in terms of efficiency, safety and comfort. Most of the places especially the attractions can be reached by taking the public transportation including Mount Fuji. However, when seriously look into their railway line, it is awesomely so complicated and complexity. On the first day we arrived, we were almost lost and confused for 10-20 minutes when we plan to buy ticket to the guest house from Kansai International Airport by using their ticket machine. At the end, we gave up and we went to the ticket office to buy the ticket instead of using the ticket machine.

Don’t believe? Look at the map of the railway line on the top of the ticket machines below.

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Not only one

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But there are two. Really makes both of us scratched our head.

Talking about that Japan Rail Pass, Nicole recommended to buy it as we plan to visit more than one region of Japan. If you plan to visit Kyoto, Kobe, Nara and even Osaka besides Tokyo, then you need this as it offers an incredibly economical way to travel throughout Japan. This pass gives an unlimited travel on almost all trains of the nationwide network of JR lines, including the Shinkansen as well as on many JR bus lines. We can simply travel at anytime we want without reserve any ticket and like what I said before, we can even reserve the seat for free.

However, this Pass can only be purchased outside of Japan before the visit. It is not for sale inside Japan itself. Nicole bought this pass from Singapore by the way. There are two types of Japan Rail Pass and each of these types is available for either 7 days, 14 days or 21 days.

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My name and details on Japan Rail Pass

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We spend our last at Kansai International Airport, Japan’s second largest airport.

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For this trip, we took Jetstar where departed from Singapore and transit to Taiwan before reach Japan.

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Not WELCOME but it’s GOODBYE TO JAPAN!

Finally, that’s the end of my Autumn Adventurous Japan trip with my university housemate, Nicole. It was really one of the amazing and wonderful trip I had. Before this, both of us had been travelled many places during our further study in Sheffield, United Kingdom including the trip of 20 days around Europe. It was a sudden invitation from her to ask me to go Japan. Honestly to say, that moment Japan was not in my current travel list but I am truly not regret on the decision I’d made to travel with her. Lots of exciting experience I had including lost in the middle while try to find the locations and not forgeting too the language barrier we encountered.

Hereby I would like to thanks to Nicole for the invitation and thanks to for doing all the planning and booking the accommodation. Well, she is the host for this trip. THANKS NICOLE!! Can’t wait for our next trip.

[Credit to: Japan-Guide.com, Japan Rail Pass homepage and Wikipedia]

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Konnichiwa, everyone!

My Japan post almost comes to an end. However, still feel like something is missing if I don’t introduce and share with you the foods I had during my trip there.

As you know, most common and famous Japanese cruisine is like sushi, salmon, sashimi and so on. We are so lucky to live in a country that offers a very large variety of dishes and regional specialities. So when Nicole and I went to Japan, their foods are not a big deal for us.

If you plan to go Japan and want to have a fresh Japanese cruisine especially salmon, sashimi and even the expensive sea urchin, plan your journey to Tsukiji Fish Market (click here).

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How can you resist this and you might want order second bowl.

Besides the above, not forgeting to try the origin of where takoyaki from. Takoyaki or commonly known as octopus ball is a ball-shaped, pan fried dumpling made of batter. The best location to search for delicious Takoyaki would be non other than Osaka, as this is the city where it was first popularised from.

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Shinsekai is the spot where Nicole and I had this Takoyaki (click here)

And in case you are green tea ice-cream lover, you should try the tastiness and sweetness of this dessert in Japan. Not only matcha, they do have houjicha – Japanese roasted green tea ice-cream.

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Now I feel like I want fly back to Japan just to have this.

I can’t have the above almost everyday during my 8 days trip in Japan or else it will burn a big hole in my pocket. Even the normal meal I had during my first night arrived in Japan which was Tori Kaarage (fried cutlet chicken) with rice, had cost me RM45 (click here).

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Tori Karaage

From there onwards, Nicole and I hunt for our dinner at 7-Eleven or even other 24 hours convenience store such as Lawson, Circle K Sunkus and even Family Mart. These convenience stores primarily sell foods including a large range of meals from sushi to bento and even spagetti. Honestly to say their 7-Eleven are far more better than the one we have in Malaysia. They even offer services to heat your cold foods.

Nicole and I won’t never miss a day to visit these convenience stores to get our meals from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love to buy their bento where sometimes a completely meal set with chicken, egg, potato, fish and even prawn together with rice.

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Yummy yummy Japanese dishes as my dinner.

So next time if you got the chance to visit Japan and run out of idea where to have meal, let’s go to these convenience stores as they are everywhere and easily to allocate. I didn’t took any pictures of these convenience stores but you can refer to one of my post during my trip to Taiwan (click here).

ITADAKIMASU EVERYONE!

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Date of Visited: 1st November 2010

If you came back from Tokyo, besides Mount Fuji, sure most of the people you know will ask whether had you been to Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland is the first Asia Disney theme park opened outside the United States.

Tokyo Disneyland is one of three main entertainment sections of Tokyo Disney Resort which opened on 15th April 1983. Then Tokyo Disneysea came in September 4th, 2001 with a park themed based on nautical exploration to create a world where imagination and adventure set sail. Due to the time constraint, Nicole and I can only choose one; either the Disneyland or the Disneysea. Since both of us had been to Paris Disneyland and I just came back from Hong Kong Disneyland, therefore both of us agreed to visit Tokyo Disneysea. The other reason is because this is one and only ocean theme park exclusive to Japan.

In order to get to Tokyo Disneysea, we need to take Disney Resort Line monorail.

Note: Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea are separate themed park. So, if you want go for both, you need to purchase admission ticket for two.

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Before this in my Shibuya entry (click here), I ever recommended that if you plan to go Tokyo Disney Resort, to take a safeguard in case you didn’t bought the online ticket, you are advisable to purchase ticket from there. Why?

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Don’t wait until you reach there or else you will regret.

Once we reached Tokyo Disneysea, we saw a huge model of globe which similar to the one in Universal Studio (although I haven’t been yet to any of the Universal) in the entrance of plaza. It is one of the two symbolic icon of Tokyo DisneySea.

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DisneySea Aquasphere
There are seven uniquely themed areas or known as “ports of call”. One of it, Mediterranean Harbour is the entrance of the park which opens up to another six more nautically theme ports; Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Port Discovery, Lost River Delta and American Waterfront.

1. Mediterranean Harbour – the main entrance “port of call” and themed as an Italian port city, complete with Venetian gondolas. Here, we saw an artificial gigantic volcano, Mount Prometheus, located in the center of the park. is another symbol of Tokyo DisneySea.

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1. Mediterranean Harbour (1)

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Another Venetian replica
2. Mysterious Island – the smallest “port of call” features a large volcano and located in the center of the park. It is also known as Vulcania Island. This area has little greenery, and is mostly rocks and ornaments.

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One of Mysterious Island’s attractions which featured from Disney movie

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3. Mermaid Lagoon – Tokyo Disneysea is incomplete without the home characters to “The Little Mermaid”. The facade is made to resemble like the Palace of King Triton and features colourful seashell-inspired architecture. This unique “port of call” is mostly indoors and recreates the feeling of being underwater. Lots of attractions and rides are available in this area but mostly are geared towards younger children.

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Time to be “Under the Sea”

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4. Arabian Coast – recreates an exotic Arabian harbour, combining another Disney popular animated film, Aladdin with an enchanted world from the 1001 Arabian Nights. As such, the architecture and atmosphere are inspired by many Middle-Eastern and Indian influences.

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5. Port Discovery – This “port of call” is hailed as the marina of the future. It is also sometimes known as “Tomorrowland” of Tokyo Disneysea.

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Align Center

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6. Lost River Delta – features the most famous attraction Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, which based on the Indiana Jones film and it is the sixth collaboration between Disney and George Lucas. Don’t tell me that you don’t know who is George Lucas. Still don’t know? Go google it.

For this ride, both of us had to queue for almost two and half hours. Most of them are Japanese and I only saw few Caucasians in the theme parks. My most here define as 99% and I had checked the calender. Neither school holidays or public holidays but everywhere crowded with the locals. Guest they no need to work or school.

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7. American Waterfront – represents the northeastern seaboard of the United States in the early 20th century. This land is dominated by the large passanger ship (picture as below).

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The most popular attraction, Tower of Terror. Not sure whether similar to the one in Paris Disneyland (click here) but what I know I don’t want another long queue again.

So there you have it. A brief introduction of the seven different themed areas and their attractions in Tokyo Disneysea accompanion with the picture I took. Lastly, never leave Tokyo Disneysea with empty hand.

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There are 2 items unable to allocate to be part of my collection – fridge madgets and Mickey T-shirts. Too bad!

How to go there:

Take the JR Keiyo Line to Maihama Station which is adjacent to Tokyo Disney Resort. Turn left once out from station to take the Disney Resort Line monorail which cost 200 yen. For Tokyo Disneyland, it is just few walking distance.

The admission fee and opening hours is vary from time to time. For safeguard, do visit the website for more details. Before I forgot, do print out the map as I can’t find any English version. Luckily I print out earlier for my research before I reach there.
[Credit to: Wikipedia, Wikitravel and Tokyo Disney Resort main homepage]

UPDATED: Tokyo Disneysea is being recognised as one of the world’s best theme parks (click here).

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Date of Visited: 31st October 2010

I almost forgot about this not until I browse my picture few minutes ago.

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Don’t you think the two towers look the same?

The two towers actually looks alike but actually these are two different towers. The first pic is Japan’s Tokyo Tower wherelse the second pic is Eiffel Tower, France. Nicole and I went for sightseeing after we went to Harajuku for second trip.

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Tokyo Tower’s structure is actually inspired by Eiffel Tower and it is painted with white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations. Stands at 332.5 metres, Tokyo Tower is Japan’s second tallest artificial structure after Tokyo Sea Tree with its full height of 634 metres which is currently under construction. By the way, Tokyo Tower is 13 metres taller than Eiffel Tower.

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Looks my phototaking skill is much more better than Nicole. =P

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The big and huge Christmas tree and present under the Tokyo Tower.

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Miniature of Tokyo Tower at the lowest ground floor.

As Nicole and I did not had the intention to go all the way up to the top floor of the Tower, both of us went to the first floor to check it out any special place to visit. Without noticing, there is sourvenir shop. Spend few minutes to buy Japanese snack and local foods.

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Japan is the place for those who likes Hello Kitty as it is everywhere.

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Banana soft biscuits. Regret for puchase 1 box as it is so crunchy and tasty.

How to go there:
Stop at Hamamatsucho Station on the JR Yamanote and JR Keihin-Tohoku Line and walk for 15 minutes.

Admission fee: 1420 yen (to top floor), 820 yen (to intermediate floor only)
Opening hours: 9.00 am – 10.00 pm

[Credit to: Wikipedia, Tokyo Tower main homepage, Japan-Guide]

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{Note: Air Asia is having BIG SALE currently and the fare is incredible cheap for just as low as RM0.10. Did you manage get the ticket you want? As for me, after trying for 7 hours and 10 minutes, I just managed get 1 while one of my friend within 2 hours after the sales start, he managed to book to 3 places. I wonder how he get through the irritating waiting room} confused

Tokyo is well-known to be one of the most expensive city and finding an affordable and cheap accomodation is not an easy task. So for those who are going to Tokyo soon after bought the most cheapest ticket I ever knew (imagine just RM330 for return ticket), here I would like to share the place where I stayed during my last year autumn trip to Japan in an affordable price that would not burn a hole in your pocket during your trip there.


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Tokyo House Ikebukuro is conveniently located in the heart of Tokyo area, Ikebukuro. Its located 5 minutes from the Ikebukuro Station and if you take the C1 exit of the station, it just take less than 2 minutes walk to this guest house (we only realised about this on the last 2 days of our stay ==”). Not to worry about the language barriers as this guest house are managed by the Taiwanese.

There are two types of room;

1) Japanese-Style – 16 japanese-style rooms featuring Japanese tatami and matress. No bathroom or toilet attached but there are 4 separate public bathrooms with shampoo, conditioners and shower gel. It is so damn clean and sometimes I almost fall in love with their toilets. Inside the room, there are heater or air-con, TV, alarm clock, hair dryer and closet.

2) Annex Suites – 6 suites with private bathroom/toilets. There even has a mini living room, refrigerator, water boiler and microwave oven inside the suites.

Nicole and I opt for Japanese-style room to experience the living style of the Japanese.

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Cosy and warm room for two guests cost ¥6,000 per night.

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Ignore the messy things and bag.

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The super duperb clean bathroom.

There’s even an open kitchen for you to cook your food and enjoy your meals.

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THREE MAIN REASONS I love this guest house are:

1) Free breakfast provided (bread, fruits jam, butter) at 7 a.m. But the lady is so kind when she heard that we are leaving as early as 4.30 to the Tsukiji Fish Market (click here), she prepared and put on the table for us.

2) Free 3 minutes call to call back home – During our 8 days trip in Japan, we were unable to call back home. Don’t know what is the problem with Digi and Maxis line (not sure for Celcom). The only way to connect back home is through net. But thanks God! The lady told us that we can use the phone which located at the front desk for free. So, immediately call my mother and told her I am OK.

3) Not only free wireless Internet in the room, but they even allow us to use the Internet PC for free. I almost need to pay ¥50 for the usage of half hour of Internet PC during the stay in J-Hoppers (click here) but luckily I hold on my plan to do so. The reason why I need PC is to transfer all the photo from our camera to the external hardisk which I brought to there. You know how life could be miserable while you are taking photo during travelling and your camera is showing this, “MEMORY FULL”! Gosh.

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The free PC which I conquered most of the time.

I’m almost forgot. There are coin-operated washers and dryers available. But the lady (the management of the guest house which I refer to) told us that we could use the washing machine which located at the back of the guest house for free. I guess there are more than three reasons I love this guest house.

Highly recommended guest house for those who travel with budget that comes with good amenities and facilities and great location. There are two 24 hours convenience store such as 7-11 and even McDonald nearby the guest house.

For more details, check their website www.housejp.com.tw/englishindex.htm.

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{Note: Actually this is my scheduled post as I am on my way to KL for 2 days to attend one of my coursemate’s wedding. Never thought that when I was small, received tons of invitation card to attend for friend’s birthday party but now receiving invitation card for friend’s wedding party. Oh ya! There is a tremendous changes in my blog. Find out what had I change.}

Without noticing, we were almost closed to the end of our Japan trip. During our second day in Tokyo, we went to one of the infamous Japan’s Holy Mountain, Mount Fuji.

Mount Fuji, a dormant volcano is the highest mountain in Japan and its perfectly symmetrical volcanic cone is well-known as Japan’s symbol. But do you know where is the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance?

As there is no direct access to Mount Fuji by train, the most nearer staging points are either Fujiyoshida or Kawaguchiko. Both of us opt for Kawaguchiko instead.

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Food vendor machines are everywhere.

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Saw the temperature?

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Lake Kawaguchiko is the easiest to access and offers more things to see and do among Fuji Five Lakes. The other four lakes are less developed and not as easy to access by public transportation.

However, the mountain is not always visible to view due to the clouds and poor visibility. OK! We are unlucky one to see the world most beautiful mountain and perfectly shaped volcano.

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I am dog lover.
If I see dog everytime I’m on going, sure won’t miss out any opportunity to snap them.
For example, during my Wales trip, few photo with dogs which I took (click here)

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We will come back to visit you again, Mr Fuji!

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Anyway, I got myself to grab this – Blueberry Cheese Cake Kit Kat (limited edition).
Only available at Mount Fuji train station.

There are more varieties of Kit Kat in Japan.
Want to know more? Stay tune for my never ever finish Japan post.mrgreen

[Credit to: Wikipedia, Wikitravel, Japan-Guide]


  • ken: >so cool ah the miniature world.. gotta admire the precision and accuracy of the structures :)
  • Diana Diane Teo: >CathJ and ladymariah - Thanks so much! =)
  • Diana Diane Teo: >Armstrong - Although quite sad because it comes to the end, but I am quite happy to see it ends with good ending. :)Sailor - Thanks for the compli