Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Land of the Rising Sun (Part 2)

Day 4 :
We spent the morning of our 4th day in Japan, exploring Kyoto by foot.

Shinkyogoku shopping street located about 10 minutes walk from our hotel was a pleasant place to visit.
Lined with many food stores (selling local delicacies), we feasted our eyes and tummy with these….

..and had a hard time deciding what to eat..

 Finally, this is our breakfast or brunch

Apart from eateries, there were also lots of shops and shrines along the street.

   A Shinto Shrine

We returned to the Hotel before noon in time to check out. Had coffee in the Starbucks cafe located in the hotel before we journeyed on to Tokyo.

We boarded a Shinkasen from Kyoto all the way to Shibuya. A distance of over 500km. Unfortunately, we were not able to reserved seats as all the reserved seats were already snapped up. The train was jammed packed (due to the festive season… natives going back to the cities after the New Year holidays). We ended up having to stand almost all the way .. a journey of 2 1/2 hours.
It was dark by the time we arrive Shibuya Station. So we went straight to the hotel. Checked in, freshened up and off we go looking for food for dinner in Shibuya. One thing about the Japanese is, they love vending machines.
You select you meal and purchase the ticket for the food you want to consume using the vending machine.

Then you enter the restaurant and hand your ticket to the waiter/waitress.
See the small white ticket on the table…
.Get comfortable and serve yourself with some water (it’s complimentary)

Tadaa… dinner served.

Tempura Ebi with Gohan (rice)
Our simple Japanese dinner.

After dinner, we walked around Shibuya (the shopping &entertainment district in Tokyo).

The temperature that night was quite low and there were flurries as we walked back to the hotel.

Day 5 :
We booked into a ryokan  for a Japanese styled room with tatami mats that could accommodate the whole family during our stay in Tokyo. So for the 3 nights in Tokyo, this is was our sleeping arrangement….

 Hotel Fukudaya is a charming Japanese inn situated in the quiet neighbourhood of Shibuya.
 With the children in front of Hotel Fukudaya.
With DS1 at the Entrance of Hotel Fukudaya
  With DH in front of Hotel Fukudaya.

Since the hotel is within walking distance from the Shibuya train station, we took a walk there.
Planned to travel up north to Nagano Perfecture  for snow and hot spring.
While at the station, we noticed that we were late for our connecting train to Naganohara-kusatsuguchi.
At Shibuya Station – missing the intended train (for the first time)

Grabbing a bite at the Shinkansen Station in Omiya.

The journey of 170km took us almost 2 hours 40 minutes where we had to travel by Bullet train, Subway train, local express train and bus.
The sceneries along the way was amazing…

We finally arrived Kusatsu after 2 pm. Our initial plan was to experience the Kusatsu Onsen (Hot Spring). However, as we only have about 2 hours before we leave the place, we had to shelf the plan and instead just played around the station vicinity and have our lunch.
 DH & DS2 along the road at Kusatsu
DD playing snowball
DS1 with his snowball
DD & DS2 in Kusatsu

Coming from a tropical country, this is the children’s first time playing with snow. They had so much fun. Given a choice, they would have stayed longer here. However, since it is still a long journey back to Shibuya, we had to bid Kusatsu farewell by 4.30pm.
Arrived Shibuya after 7.30pm and stopped by at a restaurant for dinner before heading back to the hotel.
Stay tuned for the final part of our trip to Japan………..

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