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  • Writer's picturerachrachchang

FEB/MAR 2023 - Chang Sisters in Japan 🇯🇵 (1/2)

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

24 February, Friday | Our flight from Singapore to Narita Airport Terminal 1 is at 2220 hours, we had dinner at home and took a taxi to Changi Airport Terminal 1!

Our luggage is all about 13 kg! Mine is the heaviest haha at 13.4 kg while the sisters' luggage is 12++kg. Hope we don't max out our 20 kg baggage limit on our flight back 就好!


We were pretty early, so after checking in, we went to grab a second dinner (Scoot flight, so nothing to eat until we arrived in Japan) at AH WANG (I like calling Heavenly Wang, AH WANG haha)


I got ham and cheese thick toast with hot Kopi C (should really order kosong as a healthier choice)


We then made our way to the boarding gate, Fatfat and I realised we are seated at the emergency exit seats WITH ALOT OF LEG SPACE YASSSSSS

We also have easy access to the toilet on a 6 - 7 hours flight!


Bili booked her ticket earlier than us, so her booking/seat is separated from ours. No one is sitting in the aisle seat, Bili came to join us for a bit until one of the air stewardesses asked her to move back...


0.03 seconds later, I decided to clip up my fringe because it looks horrible...


The neck pain is real, but we gotta sleep so that we have all the energy tomorrow (who are we kidding, still damn tired)

 

25 February, Saturday | We arrived at Narita Airport at 7ish am, our plane departed later than planned, apparently, Narita doesn't allow touch down before 6 am. The question is why did Scoot plan a flight schedule, knowing that it can't land before 6 am...


The pilot's update on the weather condition is 5°C (oh wow)


Not sure why immigration can't open more counters to handle the load of aliens entering the country, we queued for more than an hour.

It took us until 9++ am to clear immigration!


Once we got our luggage, we went to wash up, apply sunblock and put on our innies/thermals.


We got our breakfast, and shop around a little before going to their JR Ticket/Information Centre to collect our JR pass.

(of course, it's McDonald's! They got pork sausage, I love)


Inserting some Airport travel things:


WOW, SAKE KITKAT LEH

(my inner alcoholic self + friends I know who love drinking, WOULD TOTALLY LOVE THIS)


On our way to Tokyo Station:


After we got to Tokyo Station, we need to take another train to Omiya!

It is 12 ish pm, we were still on our way to our Hotel. We were all feeling tired but excited hehe

Hack: we are using Navitime to check for train coverage and timings!!


Saitama Prefecture, Omiya

SOGO, is totally not something our Generation would know, but there must be at least one auntie in your life that mentioned Sogo once, so here is their Sogo:


We walked for more than 10 minutes (unsure of direction, I don't think it normally takes that long) to get to our Hotel. We left our luggage at the Hotel reception as we arrived at 1 ish pm, way earlier than their check-in time of 3 pm.


Then we headed out for lunch near Omiya station. On one of the building's B1 floor, there are very enticing food advertisements!!!


We decided to have Sushi here~


While waiting for our turn, I saw the view this building has of Omiya station and it is 😍


Outside the restaurant, there are also these little ones and I'm seriously contemplating getting a sushi ring that I will never wear in my entire life hah


Now back to foodie things, this restaurant of course works like Genki Sushi.

(the above images are not an accurate depiction of what we ordered, because we ordered a lot and failed to take pictures of all the plates/dishes we got)


The total cost of our lunch is 3,290 YEN which is approximately SGD $33! We can never get prices (and quality) liddis in Singapore!!!

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Candeo Hotels Omiya

We checked into our room, 8th floor, Room 802!

This Hotel even has its own rooftop onsen, woohoo!


Across our Hotel, I kept seeing PACHINKO SLOT, is this a gambling/casino place? IDK but I will be happier if it is a supermarket haha


We were too tired to be doing anything at this point and decided to rest for 1-2 hours before heading out for dinner. We did not adjust the aircon to heater settings and slept in a cold room (adjusting to outside temperatures lol).


This is the building we went to earlier for our lunch:


And Omiya station at night be like:


After checking out a few places, we settled for Chinese-ish food at:


The menu is completely in Japanese... (thankfully Bili can read, speak and understand the language to a certain extent)


THE FOOD IS SO GOOD!!!! (not featuring the ramen Fatfat ordered, I don't like ramen heh)

It is worth the money too! The meal + an alcoholic drink cost 2,540 YEN!


I didn't know what "White Horse" is, but from the menu, it looks delicious!! IT IS HIGHBALL, and after that, I started feeling high HAHA

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Supermarket buys:

500 YEN Strawberries (never gonna happen in Singapore)


Coffee, we hope doesn't taste like 龙沟水.


+ other nice and cheap things that we wanted to snack on:

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We showered, caught up on what we missed and now starring ponchos our Dad bought in Taiwan, that do absolutely nothing to block the cold wind:

(he insisted that we wear them in Japan)


Dad has this thing about emergency exit, so here is the exit plan (in case he asks, or in case of emergency)


 

26 February, Sunday | We left our Hotel at about 8.35 am. Bili went to the train station to check with the counter on seat reservations for the train rides, while Fat fat and I went to McDonald's near our Hotel to buy our breakfast. It was 8.44 am:

Yes, there are no English words on this receipt! Imagine the effort we took to order McGriddles set with hot latte.


Note: I belatedly learned to pronounce Coffee in Japanese, "Ko-hee"


We have to take two trains to get to our destination today! The first, takes off at 9.26 am, we ate our breakfast at the platform:

(I love pork sausages - not available in Singapore!)


Train station inserts:


And another:


We arrived at Tokyo Station at 9.47 am (Japan and their punctuality), and the train with reserved seats to Kawazu, is at 11.30 am, we went to walk around Tokyo station + shop around!

Bili later figured out how to make reservations for the seats, with our JR pass by selecting "discounted tickets" on their machines.


Outside Tokyo Station:

Despite the sunny looks of this, the wind is super chilling!!!! I took out my scarf from Korea trip to put on.


After going to experience a bit of Tokyo, we went to grab our lunch for our close to 3 hours train ride:


LUNCH (Part 1)


Part 2, HAHAHA

Bili and I decided to trade ours, so we get to try both the Ichigo and Mikan ones!



While eating through the orange cream bread, the orange juice got onto my white knitted top, oops


Inserts of the view from the train:

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On our train journey and between naps, we saw a whole place covered in snow!!! Is it where we will be going in two days? COOL BEANS

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I never really thought of myself as a cherry blossom person, or even a flower person but I don't know, the thought of actually seeing these flowers got me excited!!!!


(After today, seeing a field of sunflowers is my goal too!)


Shizuoka Prefecture, Kawazu

AHHHHH TOO PRETTY!!!!


There are so many people around, and we realised most of the tourists here are locals!

(It's a Sunday)


Random inserts of how crowded it is at the train station + I like the cool railings hahaha

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JUST LOOK AT THE FLOWERS

(referencing TWD)

Photo caption: Auntie taking pictures of Sakura!


Photo credit: bili for being 100% passionate about taking photos of flowers


Foodie things (Part 1)


ENDLESS SAKURA 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸



I attempted to take selfie with the chio flowers, but haiya...

(don't like my bread face)


Here's a better picture with sisters!!


Bili also took this really nice shot of us under the blooming flowers 💕

(my coat matches the flowers heh)


Oh this is one of my favourite photos of cherry blossoms!!!!

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Other than stretches of cherry blossom trees, there are a lot of food stalls around so we kept eating HAHAHA. I am inserting a random photo of us, after I saw more food stalls further up:

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The trees/flowers covered both sides of the path, the pink is everywhere~

(+ bonus: pelican??)


Continued spam of 🌸 pictures:





Close-up of 🌸


More More More


We finished one stretch of fully bloomed cherry blossoms, and reached here:

We saw an old man walking his dog and he spoke to us in Japanese, Bili belatedly told us he asked if we like dogs


YEAHHHHH


We took 10,000 pictures of the view hahaha, before leaving to explore the stretch across the water body!


+ me

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Okay now we're on the other side, I love how the water reflects the image of the stretch of flowers, the cloud, and the sky in this photo!


More 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸


The sakura on this side, seemed to be in a deeper shade of pink!


To clarify, I was not angry...


Everywhere just looks so chio!!


Then we walked back to where the stalls are, and we tried their 日本甘酒, it was a waste of my money - it tasted funny. Later, I went to the toilet to pour it away and put the trash in our madeshift trash bag.


Moving on to the good food part, foodie things part 2!

(fat fat holding on to the unwanted drink^)


We saw people eating these super long fries, how can we miss it!!


I like how this picture turns out with the angled rays of sunlight!


We kept walking to explore more areas and finally got to the areas where we saw all the popular food/drinks (from online reviews of Kawazu):

I couldn't decide what to get, with limited stomach space hah


The Mikan juice auntie wasn't very friendly, and the item was sold out so I got their Sakura Beer!

It tasted slightly sweet and smelled fragrant hehe, loving it! There are sakura petals in the beer. Later on, when I finished the drink, I bit the petals (thinking it will taste good), the petals tasted awful, even when I was feeling high.


Also, my hands were freezing, holding a cold beer in this weather!


Right next to this area, we saw a couple taking pictures using a tripod, really game on hor these people hah. After they left, I took this picture of sakura with yellow flowers below.

This is indeed a chio photo spot!!


Initially, we wanted to wait for the cherry blossom light up, but then the train ride back will take 3 hours, we decided to forgo waiting for the light up and took an earlier train at 5ish pm!


On our way back, there were fewer people at the entrance, and I saw this middle age lady with her elderly father, taking pictures of each other under the cherry blossom trees. so cute la, look at them!!!!

We quickly went for our first toilet break in hours, before rushing to the train station. There were a lot of people boarding the same train.


Thankfully during the ride on the transit train back to Omiya, we got seats and managed to nap in the 2+ hours heh


Also featuring the Taiwanese couple with 累写在脸上


We got back to our Hotel at 9ish pm, and bought our dinner from Family Mart!

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One of my favourite pictures from our trip to Kawazu 💕


 

27 February, Monday | Today is our day trip to Niigata! We were deciding between Niigata or Nagano, but chose Niigata for the food choices hehe


It is another early morning, taking an hour's train ride to Niigata:


Once we arrived at Niigata Train Station, we quickly went to the toilet and the terrible news is the toilet tap water is icy cold, it even hurts to wash our hands...


(but cannot don't wash hands leh)


It was quite a walk out of the station, and the truth is we have no concrete plan of what to do in Niigata, even though I have a few food recommendations from researching this place before our trip.


We went to their tourist center and got some help about what's cool here, and how the bus service works! The people here are really helpful, so now we know we have some time to explore around + have lunch, before taking their local bus to destinations!


Right out of the train station, are the huge words "NIIGATA"


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We walked further down the street, keeping a lookout for good sushi places. Along the way, I saw this really interesting brick-red building (I'm secretly interested in architectural/design stuff heh)

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CHIYO SUSHI

Loving their restaurant layout, and how we don't wear shoes in the dining area! Featuring my Mike Wazowski socks~


Don't think we will be able to order individual sushi pieces, looking at the menu in complete Japanese haha. We were given an English menu, with limited options.


Fat fat's Chirashi is ready but our sushi chef still making our (Bili's and my) order. FASTER LEH

(also seeing him make sushi, made me feel like playing "Sushi Go Round"!!!!)


Featuring Bili taking pictures of our sushi, and look at the plating!!

SUSHI!!!!!!!!!

(4,400 YEN - 小 EX hor)

After our very filling lunch, we went back to use the toilet at the train station, but there was a queue and we don't have much time before our local bus arrives. We gotta hold it, get our bus ticket, and wait for the bus.


A very cute bus uncle is on duty for this ride! Niigata Bus things:


And also ストップ button, so cute!!!!!!

This cat illustration, is featured on all their buses, called "What's Michael?"

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. HAKUSAN PARK + SHRINE


I love how peaceful this place makes me feel~ No wonder it is a place favoured by locals for relaxation and rest.

Also, some background, this shrine as enshrining a goddess named Kukurihime, who supports good relations between married couples even after disputes. Although I didn't come here to pray for a good relationship or marriage, it is a must-visit place!!



Then that's me running away to give Fat fat the chance to take a picture of this, without people in it.


Sorry, we're still at the beginning of this holy park!

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The park is huge, okay la not the biggest.

(we found toilets, btw)


I found these plants interesting! Why are the leaves pointing downward? They look like upside-down shuttlecocks heh)


Also saw this cool thing that people from the olden days used to tell the time!

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Shrine Entrance: