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7 Dec 2008
Flight from Taipei Int'nal Airport to Narita Int'nal Airport, Tokyo
Departure Taipei Airport - 9:25 am
Arrival Narita Airport - 1:20 pm
Boarded limousine - 1:50 pm
Arrived VILLA FONTAINE Hotel - 4 pm
With a companion (taiwanese colleague, JEN) the 4hours++ flight passed by like a blink of eyes!!! The very 1st breathe of air in this land of the rising sun gave me tremendous excitement!! Weather was really surprisingly good (10-15 degrees), i could take it so much better than i had initially thought!!
However, something got me feeling so inferior (being a malaysian) at the airport, thou passing thru the japanese custom was a bliss process!! u check out below .....
then, being the 'jakun' that i am, 1st thing while waiting for the arrival of the coach, i quickly go release myself or rather check out the japanese toilet that was much talked about !!!
apart from being simply amazed, astonished & impressive with such 'luxurious gadget' to a m'sian (despite a common thing in japan), i spent QUITE a few minutes in there....ransacking every buttons that i can read....bwahahaha !!!
in the midst of checking into the hotel, our dearest japanese colleague (Sach) arrived to greet us. thank god with her presence to handle the conversation, we managed to bargain some discounts for 2 nights of our stay, phew !!! then we got our luggages settled down and that's when Sach offered us some of her winter clothings & accessories....just in case we didn't bring enough, so thoughtful of her !!!
and i have stories here.....u know what, the japanese has been well renowned for their great fashion but to what extend it reaches, i've yet to uncover....until it became a reality right in front of my eyes!!! the ladies i came acrossed thru the journey from the airport to the hotel were enough to make me see the elevated level of their fashion taste!! everyone was in suit/jacket/coat with 3 colours seen mostly (black, white, brown)...so smart, can die!!
all the men looked like "ah mark kor"
all the ladies dressed up like they were a CEO/MD here...LOL LOL
seeing how the japanese dressed up, my self esteem suddenly plunged down, i continued to feel inferior & hated the bulgy jacket that i borrowed from mom !! I even instantly told myself that i'm not gonna put that on....and as if god knows, Sach brought me in time a long black smart jacket..... phew..... without hesitation i put that on, hahaha (so vain)
Sach & I
by the time we were done with our luggages, it was nearly 6pm...so time for dinner!! it was a sunday, so Sach had reserved a place for our very 1st night dinner of shabu-shabu. our hotel is located at SHIODOME, a business area which Sach chosen bcoz it was one of our corporate hotels & other guests had given a fair review of it. and it just happened that Shiodome is quite near GINZA, a prestigious area of the Tokyo city i suppose...just like our KLCC area in K.Lumpur. so it was Ginza that we had our shabu-shabu. the 1st night was usually the most excited one....with everyone having so much to update & talked about....boy... both Jen & I were so exhausted that night !!
.... fresh beef slice, shabu-shabu & sake .....
the night ended pretty fast.
Moving on to the following day (a Monday), Sach has arranged us to join a local tour while she had to work:
" KAMUKURA WALKING TOUR "
btw, before proceeding with the tour, we had our breakfast in the hotel.
below are snap shots of the spread of our breakfast which we had to swallow for a freaking long 4 days....no change of menu at all !! can die eating breakfast like this...but no choice, foods are awfully pricey there!!
"KAMUKURA, which can be reached in just one hour from Tokyo is an interesting place to visit for people interested in history, going on a hike through the green hills, or to enjoy water sports. Kamakura was once the capital of Japan and remained so up until about the 14 century".
"Kamakura has an interesting mix of shrines and temples making it a good place to visit, especially if you are unable to visit the more historical city of Kyoto".
The local tour covered 2 places of interest:
The coach that we boarded brought us from our hotel to the travel agency office where we gathered & waited for other tourists joining in the tour! In the tour was an Aust. family of 3, a chinese couple from America, local japanese guy plus 2 of us making a total of 8 people, small group. The tour guide was a polite & nice lady in her end 40s who spoke quite decent english!! After finishing the tour, i realised why it was named a walking tour....bcoz there were quite a bit of walkings involved in the tour. From the travel agent's office, we walked to the nearest train station then it involved several transit of trains before boarding the Enoden-line to Hase station where another 7 minutes walk would take us to the GREAT BUDDHA. The tour guide has to repeatedly flagged the flag so that none of us would get lost amidst the crowd at the train station.
Once alighted from the train at Hase station, this was what i saw right beside the station :
u say i become thrill or not??
but then it was big dissapointment after visited this 100yen shop...not a place for bento gears, blek!!
Since the weather was extremely cooling, the walks became so relax & such a chill-out thing to do!!
THE GREAT BUDDHA
"The Great Buddha or Daibutsu in Japanese was constructed in 1252 A.D. It was originally housed in a building but it was destroyed by a tidal wave in 1498. The Buddha is 13.35 meters tall and weighs 121 tonnes, making it the second largest Buddha in Japan. The largets statue being Todaiji Temple in Nara".
Jen & I enjoyed the beautiful scenics
here, the tour guide performed a 'ritual' of 'self-cleansing' before entering the holy temple
One of the many highlights around Tokyo city during the season was this type of huge & tall GINGKO tree with very GOLDEN yellow leaves !!!
JEN was extremely amazed & felt in love with these gingko trees that she took so many photos of them !!!
with the tour guide & spotted some kids eating BENTO.....geee, so cute!!
After finishing with the the Great Buddha, we proceeded with a lunch!!
our bento lunch (a very simple one though)
Next, our stop would be at :
The Hase Kannon Temple - Kamakura
The temple is set in beatiful Japanese gardens complete with carp ponds and water falls. It is also elevated enough to provide some great views of Kamakura and Yuigahama beach. Entrance is 300 yen for adults and 100 yen for children.
Be sure not to miss the cave or "Benten-kutsu". You can buy candle sticks and put them on the altar after lighting them. There are 16 statues all carved into the walls of the cave. For tall foreigners, be sure to watch your head as teh ceiling gets very low.
On a usual account, i hate walking....esp. with our hot weather BUT somehow in this walking tour, i enjoyed so much walking along the streets to our destinations. Take a look and you should be able to understand why .....
With the cold weather, unique scenes, smart & beautifully dressed up japanese around (thou some might be riding bicycles), how can i not enjoyed the strolls?? There were simply too many sights that captured my eyes & melted my heart !!!
Finally reaching the entrance. Don't you just love the BONSAI tree??
As described by the definition above, it was indeed a beautiful japanese garden...... yes definitely with an authentic taste!!! Despite not being a very green person & don't usually appreciate gardening, i can't deny how much i admire, adore & value the exquisite scenery of this garden....it was really beyond words could tell !!!
just look at these marvelous huge spread of RED LEAVES .... don't they just made u went awwww !!!???
finally a 'real' japanese garden with koi fishes ... it was just amazing how it made me feel that the air i inhaled was so god darn refreshing !!!
there was also an open dining area where many elderly local folks were seen savoring their breakfast with a sea fronting view ....
this was the view that could be captured from the dining area
By the time we finishes with these 2 locations, it was nearly 3pm. Along our way back to the train station, we were allowed 1/2 an hour of browsing along the souvenir streets as well as the 100yen shop (for those interested)!!
We reached our hotel shortly before dinner time so we had a quick wash, short rest & headed off to GINZA again for ramen dinner. The restaurant was just a random pick in one of the shopping mall as Sach could not accompanied us that night.
Sach had taken the next 3 days leave to accompany us to several popular hotspots around Tokyo and hosted us to many mouth-watering meals for which were really worth sharing here, so stay tune ya !!!
so 'paiseh' that it took me so long to get these updated....i was so afraid that my memory would failed me in treasuring these wonderful vacations i had in life, thus far!!
more photos here