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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Japan : Lake Ashi, Hakone and Harajuku, Tokyo

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Hotspot #13 and #14 : Lake That Hid Fuji and It's Cosplay Time

“Thank you soooooooo much for the amazing hospitality.”

“Nothing la…wanted to bring you for local foods, but you guys slalu balik malam, gile punya itinerary.”

“Hahahaha! Kan…”

It was our last day in Tokyo. Since we failed to get Okayama night train (Sunrise Seto), we had to drag our plan to an earlier train, via Shinkansen Hikari, on reserved seat.

We left our bighearted host and her family, and walked to Gyotoku Station, to catch a train to Otemachi, on Tozai Line.  From there, we changed to Tokyo Station, on Marounochi Line, that cost only 230yen with the help of JR Pass along the way.
It was quite challenging to find the platform, at first, since it was Saturday. Compared to weekdays that full of men in suits and women in coats, weekends gave us an idea about fashionable and trendy yuppies.

“Can’t wait to experience Harajuku!” I said. “It’s been my dream to go there, besides Shibuya Crossing.”

“Wait…we meet Fujisan first.” Hubby slapped my face.

In Tokyo Station, we looked for coin locker around the Shinkansen area but failed to look for it. Without wasted any longer, I asked one of the officers and she pointed the direction, where all lockers were located at one floor below. We purposely took the nearest locker, just right in front of the escalator, to ease the trace.
There were three types of sizes…small, medium, and large, which each and every size came in different prices…300yen, 400yen, and 600yen. Since my bag pack was quite bulky and bigger than hubby’s, we took a medium-size locker that cost us 400yen per day. I snapped the picture of the locker location and walked back to the Shinkansen platform.

“Ok…so where to?”

“Hakone.” The natural beauty for locals who looking for a break from Tokyo city. It is part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park that famous for hot springs.

“We need to wait for Hikari 483, car no. 6. Let’s look for the correct platform.”

Hubby then explained clearly on the differences of green cars, reserved cars, and non-reserved cars. Before I got myself confused with the numbering, I followed hubby to the correct platform. Suddenly…
“WHOOOOSHHHHH!”

“WHAT WAS THAT???” I totally stunned.

“Shinkansen la.” Hubby gave me a smart face.

“I know la Shinkansennnnnn! But was that a Nozomi?” I was hoping to see Nozomi, the fastest Shinkansen to date.

“I don’t know…maybe…”

Within 3-4 minutes, again…“WHOOOOSHHHHH!”

“OMG! SO FAST! I FEEL LIKE BLOWN AWAY!” More and more Shinkansen passing by. 500 series, 700 series, you name it. It came in different shape but all of them were remarkably handsome!

I was crazily excited and tried my best to capture the moment on still picture, but it wasn’t easy! So I took videos after one and another, but I was too slow to catch the motion! Hahaha!
“Ah…the great Shinkansen…I finally got to ride one!” I had butterfly in my tummy.

“Not only once, could be more than 10 times! We are soooooo going to over-utilize the JR Pass!” Hubby laughed evilly. (Read on how do I get my JR Pass, here.)

A bit of facts on Shinkansen. All Shinkansen is under JR Group. It is divided into 5 operators, Hokaido, Central, West, East, and Kyushu. Each operators having different names, ie: Tokaido, Sanyo, Tohoku and such. And every Shinkansen has different names like Hikari, Kodama, Sakura, Nozomi, as well as different series like 500, 700, etc. I will, for sure, try Hayabusa, next time I go to Japan :)

When our ride came, we walked into the coach with a smiling face. We straight away looked for the reserved seat, but were confused with the scene, where reserved coach was quite full compared to unreserved coach. Huh…? Baik tak reserve jer kan…hahaha!
There was not much different if to compare Shinkansen with bullet train from Tianjin to Beijing, but Shinkansen has stewardess. Hehe. Nice…and she bowed before entering and going out from each coach. I mean, EACH coach!

It’s been said that Mount Fuji can be viewed along this stretch (Tokyo to Osaka). Indeed, along the way, we were presented with nice view of Mount Fuji from afar. The snow can be clearly seen from far, just like what we’ve seen on the Hazeline Snow day cream. Hahaha!
It was a 30 minutes ride before we finally reached Odawara. I quickly went out and went to the end of the platform, to pose with the aerodynamic famous face. Mancung hidung dia!
From Odawara Station, we looked for Tozan bus station, located outside the station. Since we can’t simply cross the road like what we always do in Malaysia, we tried to find the connecting tunnel to the other side, but later, went out from the wrong exit. Not once, but twice!
At this moment, the cloud started to group, covering the sun. AH SUDAH!

We purchased the Tozan bus day pass that cost us around 1700yen and waited at the designated platform. While discussing the route (Tozan bus has three main routes) and looking at the Tour Cookbook, two bus attendants came and greeted us. The spoke English quite well and told us that it was quite late to view Mount Fuji since it was already 10am. Plus, it’s going to rain. (Blame the forecast weather!)
With doubt, we had no choice but to proceed with the plan, since we had allocated the day for Mount Fuji viewing from Lake Ashi, one of the Five Fuji Lake (Fujigoko). We prayed hard, for God will grant us the chance to experience nice view, along the way.

Good enough, it wasn’t raining…but the sky wasn’t clear either. After an hour of bus ride, we reached the Moto-Hakone Port, the most recommended place to view Mount Fuji by the famous Lake Ashi. It was a very cold windy day that once in a while, we had to stop and hide from the breezy wind.
“I don’t see Mount Fuji. Where exactly the spot?” I started to lose patience. The highest dormant volcano mountain with height of 3776 meters was not in presence.  
“It should be somewhere in between the hills.” Hubby pointed to the right, where on top of the hill, I saw one cable car on ropeway, riding down the hill.
I gave him a sad face.

I looked at the quayside, there were two to three men, fishing. I looked at the lake that was formed after the eruption 3000 years ago, there was one big red Tori Gate standing still. There was sightseeing boat cruising around the lake.
I almost cried. And I sobbed...but I smiled...
Hubby tried to soothe me. “I swear, regardless Moto-Hakone or Hakone-Machi, these are the best place to view Mount Fuji. It’s all about luck.”

I recalled, I read somewhere on the internet, you have to consider yourself lucky if you get a clear view of the mountain (by Japan EGuide). Redha jer la. Luckily we had a clear glance of Mount Fuji during Shinkansen ride earlier.
We walked towards the main road and waited for the next bus. This time, we planned to catch an Tozan Railway train (scenic option) at Hakone-Yumoto Station, since it is covered under Tozan Pass. In 20 minutes, we reached Odawara Station and took a Shinkansen back to Tokyo Station.
Where do broken hearts go?

Harajuku!

We knew that we’ve reached Harajuku Station once we saw more and more yuppies in fancy clothes and colorful hair. The station exit was super duper packed and we had to queue in order to get out from there.

Guess what? It was triple packed outside the station! Well, as everyone knows, Saturday and Sunday are the correct time to visit Harajuku, in order to experience the teenage culture and its most extreme cosplay (costume play). That was why we PURPOSELY chose Saturday. From the station corridor, over the flyover, to the other side of the road, came back to the station entrance, all were OVER CROWDED!
I quickly asked hubby to cross the road while snapping pictures of those yuppies. Hubby later, suggested for a better aerial view from the flyover. Without a doubt, from this view, with zoom lens, we able to capture more Harajuku girls.
“There! There!” I pointed, hubby clicked.
3 minutes after, “There! Another one!” We repeated the craziness for almost half an hour.
There was one Harajuku girl in big hair tied with big ribbon sat still near us. I consistently asked hubby to snap tones of her photos but hubby didn’t care much. He said “She looks fake…like wannabe…and she’s Eurasian.”

Ah…no wonder. But later, another Harajuku girl came. This time, she’s a Nihonji.

We then went to Meiji Jingu (Shinto Shrine) but decided not to explore the whole area since we need to give some buffer time to catch the Shinkansen to Okayama at 6pm.
From Harajuku Station, we took JR Yamanote Line (the only line that encircling Tokyo city) and stopped at Tokyo Station. We did some quick window shopping on local souvenirs, mainly on snacks and desserts. I swear, I almost wiped my saliva on the floor, knowing that they were so delicious (judging from the look), but I can’t have them! Dang!
And what I bought was only onigiri. Sob sob.
It was getting colder. While waiting for the bullet train, I was struck by one local man, walking attractively in yukata. I approached him and he agreed to pose for me. In the train, we grabbed the chance to pose with the seats (don’t ask me why), just to show that how empty the Shinkansen was. Hahaha!
In less than one hour, we reached Okayama, the largest city in Chugoku Region after Hiroshima. Since we booked Okayama Business Hotel Annex last minute, the price has cost us a bomb! 6000yen per night was definitely double up from what we’ve got for other pre-booked hotels.
Locating the hotel was not difficult as we earlier, snapped the map directly from the internet. The hotel was clean, presentable, and pleasant. The reception officer spoke minimal but understandable English.
In the room, we enjoyed wearing yukata and watching TV. "Haiiiit!" I played karate kid.
“Eiiii! So cold la!”

“Where’s the heater?”

“Got heater ke?”

“Just turn on the air-cond, and set to the highest temperature. Jadi la heater.”

“Oooooooo…” I seriously never thought of that.

“Sleep, sleep. Tomorrow need energy to explore the Castle and Korakuen!”

Read HERE for Travelista version.  

18 holler:

Danny / John said...

shinkasen tu mmg kosong ke? bestnya dpt berlari2 dlm coach tuh! hehehe.

ko x pakai mcm harujuku tu ke? heheh gmbr jepun kuno mmg sgt awesome!

Biqque said...

shinkansen tu panjang ya amat sampai ko takkan nampak from end to end. gile! haah almost sume coach ada 5-6 orang jer, tapi shinkansen tetap jalan tepat pada waktunyer. best kan?

aku nak pakai, aku bawak wig, sepit rambut, riben, baju bagai, tapiiiiii aku maluuuuu! rupanya orang pakai selamba jer...next time la aku nak pakai :D hahaha!

Danny / John said...

ic...teringat platipus sbb muncung dia sama. HAHA. owhhh...takde org ler rupanya. sbb kat sana byk company yg offer service trains ni.

nape ko tak pakai??? ruginyaa!!!! hahaha

Biqque said...

aku tgk macam cacing pun ye gak! eiiii! geliiiii! sbb dia muncung patu panjanggggggggggg gile.

actually sume under JR Group. then terbahagi pada 5 operators, hokaido, central, west, east, and kyushu. each operators ni nama dia lain2, mcm tokaido, sanyo, tohoku and such. patu setiap shinkansen ada series2 nyer and nama2 nyer, like 500, 700 camtu. patu nama hikari, kodama, sakura, nozomi and etc. nanti aku gi skali lagi, aku nak try hayabusa! haaaaa lajuuuuu sgt!

shinkansen ni mahai gile (murah kat foreigner jer sbb JR Pass), so takde la ramai sgt orang nak naik, tapi ADA la orang naik. peak season mungkin lebih ramai.

aku nak pakai kena ada geng. kalo tak, jadi cam minah yg duk atas railing tu la hahaha! termenung sorang2 sampai kawan dia dtg. hahaha!

fatt said...

aku nampak pompuan tayang nenen...kakakaka....uit, masa ko pegi ni temperature about berapa? ko tau tak pak tony nak buat domestic flight dlm jepun...apacer? mcm kena ripit lagi je ni..hehehe

Biqque said...

hahaha fatt, ye, BANYAK sgt mags tayang breast hahaha! masa aku gi, dalam belas2 degree, sejuk sbb angin kuat. dah la coat aku nipis2 je sume.

domestic kalo murah dari shinkansen ok gak! hahaha! mmg nak ripit, tapi tade tarikh lagi kihkih!

Janggel said...

Wow macam muncung danny...hahahaha

Gunung Fuji tu nampank camtu je ye? len kali jom kita naik gunung fuji jom!

Biqque said...

janggel, muncung danny? hahaha!

gunung tu besarrrrrrrrrrrrrr sgt! tinggi tul mcm tipu jer hahaha! nanti nak pi tido kat kaki bukit la :D

Anash said...

biqque,
hazeline snow? lama tak dengar that words (eh ada lagi ker product tuh??)

gile aaa tgk train nyer mocong...dah leh buat main panjat2 pastu mengelongsor turun..pastu kena marah dalam bahasa jepun by uncle jaga train.

wah...letih baca blog yg padat dengan isi kandungan...
tapi serik? noooooo...
like the ilmiah part!!!

BlueEwoke said...

Rugi ooo sapa tak naik tren muncung panjang tu kalau pegi Japan..kan? kan? kan??

Kami sudah kan biqque? anda, anda, anda dan anda bila lagi?? (smbil tunding ibu jari ke mereka2 itu) kekekekkekek

Ha a.. AAX nk fly ke 3 city jepun yang lain, antara nye Okinawa dan Sapporo, satu lagi aku tak ingat...ha sapa nk terjahhhhhhhhhhh???

Biqque said...

anash, kalo gi kedai kat kampung, rasanya ada lagi kot hahaha!

ha moncong tu rasa cam nak peluk patu gelongsor hahaha!

jgn penat baca, ada terselit kisah2 lucu di dalam post2 saya, sekian terima kasih. hahaha!

na, ye, kami sudah. anda bila lagi? sambil tunding jari ala mexican wave kat semua. hahaha!

ye ke??? haaaaaaaaa sedap sgt la tu buat bekalan di masa hadapan :D

3plepl8 said...

Blue: mmg buat gempar satu malaya la berita AAX nk fly ke Okinawa, Sapporo, Fukuoka. Tp bkn AAX tp AA Japan domestic dr Narita. Sib baik xbukak airasia.com lagi dan TEKAN itu button.

3plepl8 said...

Cawan: betul la majalah gadget hebat2 kt sana. luaran gejet, dalaman doremon. kahkahkah!

Ely Hasrul said...

okkk aku nyumpahh terus bile ko xpakai cam harajuku!!!! mati2 ingat ko akan pakai cam dorg!!!! arrrghhh dh la aku baca slow2 semata2 nk tgk ko pakai apeeee!!! hanginn nyeeeee!!!!

tp aku dpt bayang muka 'smart' sharul hahahha.. patu aku dpt bayang juga kalu aku kt platform tuh everytime tren smpai aku sorak sbb terlalu laju dan hebat hahahahhahahahha

Biqque said...

3plepl8, nak TEKAN??? I LOIKEEE! (majalah gadget pun i loike :D)

skin, hehehe...segan laaaaa :) pasal tren tu mmg aku ngaku, aku jakun! hahaha!

patradresses.org said...

Thanks for this. The picture looks just like me, except I had heavier pants and a sock over the right leg to keep it off the chain. The ski mask is definitely the way to go. Of course, in just one winter of commuting and rather enjoying it this way, I killed half the parts on the bike, whereas the ladies who merely commuted just put on their winter clothing, changed nothing about their bikes or their relaxed pedaling, and always got there just as much on time as I did and probably more safely too. I'll put in a good word for the studded tires though. When you brake, good ones tend to grip the ice again even if they slip a little.
bullet stickers

Anash said...

mexican wave?
wah..camne ghupenyer?
Japan??
.....
..
.
.
..
mcm tak cukup haul aje tabung arnab itu...
huhu

masMZ said...

okbai.

#mood frust tak dapat tengok biqque pakai harajuku......


hahahahhahahahahahah bestnya

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