Monday, 27 April 2015

Land of the Rising Sun 2

It was unexpected that we would be returning to Japan so soon after the first trip back in September 2014. But since both daugthers were keen to join us for the family trip, it was decided it would be Tokyo and Osaka. Went on AirAsia website and booked our flights, flying from KLIA2 into Haneda on 3 April 2.30 pm, arrival at 10.45 pm and return from Osaka to KLIA2 on 14 April 2015. A total of 11 nights stay.
A word of caution. It  was beginning of April, the start of spring. Later on we realised it was cherry blossom season, so we thought great, added bonus. About a month before the trip, w e only begun to look for hotel accomodatiion. To our dismay and shock, it was a  super peak season and most of the affordable hotel rooms in Tokyo were going fast with only a few rooms left! As a result, we did not managed to book the hotels on the dates of our choice and ended up with our itinenary as follows:

2 nights in Kawasaki, 1st night Daiwa Roynet Hotel, Kawasaki, 2nd night Nikko Hotel.
3 nights in Tokyo, 3rd and 4th night in Tateshina Hotel, Shinjuku, 5th night in Best Western Nishikasai near Disneyland.
6th - 9th night, Yokohama Isezakicho Washington Hotel and finally
10th and 11th night, AirBnB apartment near Osaka Castle.

The good that came out of it..we covered more cities thus a wider area. The bad...we needed to change hotels frequently, lugging our heavy baggage through subway stations and navigating the maze. Here's a map of Tokyo subway system.
Lol! Looks complicated. But it is surprisingly easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. All the places of interests are connected by their subway or JR lines

Another mistake to avoid. Try not to fly into a foreign country late at night. Our AA flight from KLIA2 was delayed and we only reached Haneda at about 11.30 pm. All trains and subway in Tokyo stops at 12 midnight. Not only we wasted one night hotel stay, we needed to hire a taxi to our hotel.

Kawasaki, 3 & 4 April 2015

Early morning touchdown at Haneda International Airport, at about 1 am waiting for the taxi to take us to Kawasaki.

7-Eleven and Lawsons convenience stores are everywhere.
Ikuta Ryokuchi Park

At the entrance to the park. Cherry blossom tree in the background

Close-up shot of the cherry blossom

Hanami literally means "flower viewing". It is traditionally practice for the Japanese to have a picnic under the blooming trees.
Select your meal. Pay the amount, get back your change, take the receipt and give it to the waiter at the counter. Your order will be serve shortly.
5th & 6th April 2015, Tokyo Metropolitan 
Buffet breakfast at Kawasaki Nikko Hotel.
 From Kawasaki JR station, took the JR Tokaido line into Tokyo station, a journey of approximately 15 mins. At the station, purchased in advance our Kodomo Platt Shinkanzen train tickets to Osaka. 
We bought the Tokyo Metro subway day pass at 600 yen per person. This allows unlimited travel on the Tokyo Metro line. Took the subway with our baggage to Shinjuku-Sanchome and checked into Hotel Tateshina.
It has the world's busiest railway station. It has a large entertainment, business and shopping area around the station.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
This is one of the highly recommended sites for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo.

At the entrance to the park. Entrance fee 200 yen.

The flower is strewn across the grounds



Avid phtographers busy taking pictures
Another popular shopping district south of Shinjuku. It is a centre for youth fashion and culture together with the nearby Harajuku.
A prominent landmark is the world famous 'Scramble Crossing'. It would be a shame to come to Tokyo and not walk across the famous intersection and take a photo with 'Hachiko, an Akita dog remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner which continued for many years after his owner's death.  

Take a pic with Hachiko..checked


Some of the interesting people you would see on the street


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