DAY 0 (18th December)
- Flight to Bangkok
- Flight to Tokyo
6.45pm – made our way to the airport! here’s my regular taxi partner
7.30pm – hung around the departure hall before our flight since we were there about 3 hours early. changi airport set up this beautiful wishing well in the middle of nowhere – how timely for christmas wishes to be made
i needed my daily dose of coffee heh heh even at 10pm yes.
11.30pm – stopover at bangkok. my first time on thai soil!
i made a friend on this flight. i was sitting alone, away from my mother and two brothers. there had been a girl who took the seat next to mine and right after the plane took off from bangkok, we started a conversation about shane dawson and tana mongeau. yes, that’s actually how we started talking for three hours non stop, when everyone else was asleep and the cabin was quiet. in those three hours we bonded so much — we talked about our friends and family, our dreams, our schools, our boy problems — it was almost as if the stars that hung in the night sky dimmed down to silence, just to hear the secrets we told each other. i am grateful to have made a friend in the most unlikely of places, at the most unlikely of times.
DAY 1 (19th December)
- Narita Airport
- Maihama Station
- Shabu Shabu Lunch
- Tokyo Skytree
- Oyster Market Snack
- Dinner at Wara-Wara
8am – touchdown at narita airport, tokyo
the best breakfast we could get. japanese supermarket aesthetic, amirite
11am – after we checked into our hotel (hilton hotel at tokyo bay) we took a shuttle bus to maihama station!
12pm – we stopped at tokyo station for lunch! we had an all-you-can-eat shabu shabu meal, the grand debut that my father decided was fitting to the enormous amounts of good food that we’d be stuffing ourselves with throughout the rest of the trip.
2pm – we rushed to the tokyo tower to catch the breathtaking view of the sunset. we had to hurry because the sun usually sets at 4pm during winter.
4pm – we successfully made our way to the top of the tokyo skytree before sunset! we were lucky enough to catch a magnificent view of the city of tokyo slowing down as the sun bled hues of orange and pink into the tear between sky and soil.
met my bestie
6pm – we made our way to a restaurant opposite the tokyo skytree for a light snack before dinner because my dad was getting hungry. we had deep fried oysters as well as fresh ones from different lakes.
7pm – we went to shinjuku to witness the busy, iconic crossing. afterwards, we had dinner at a restaurant called wara wara.
DAY 2 (20th December)
- Tokyo Disneyland
- Dinner at Tsukiji Tamasushi
8am – we took the monorail to the park! the tickets were pretty expensive though
12pm – lunch at hungry bears
we watched the parade at the side of the road 🙂 it was amazing
6pm – headed to the mall at maihama station: ikspiari mall, to have dinner at tsukiji tamasushi. their sushi was DELICIOUS. especially the handrolls and the platters.
8pm – we went to get bread as well as krispy kreme donuts! i had the glazed one, as yes i know i’m very interesting
DAY 3 (21st December 2016)
- San-Sada 三定 Tempura Restaurant
- Kaminarimon Gate
- Sensoji 浅草寺 (Asakusa Kannon Temple)
- Takeshita Street, Harajuku
- Hilton Hotel dinner buffet
10am – We made our way to Asakusa Station to walk to one of the oldest tempura restaurants in Japan, San-sada 三定（さんさだ), est 1837
12pm – the Kaminarimon Gate (雷門) was right next to the restaurant, the starting point of a street of busy souvenir shops and food stalls.
2pm – we made our way to Harajuku station, where we took a walk down the Takeshita Street! I really enjoyed window shopping because the stuff they sold there were really trendy and interesting 🙂 I also bought a jacket from ACDC. We didn’t really see many odd fashionistas, though.
We bought the iconic Harajuku Colourful cotton candy! It was gigantic
We also tried some freshly made cheesy chips from Calbee
5pm – we made our way back to Hilton Hotel, barging our way past the Tokyo rush, for what I would know to be the best dinner buffet I’ve ever had (I forgot to take any pictures because the food was so good and I was so hungry)
DAY 4 (22nd December 2016)
- Drive to Hakone
- Kaiseki Lunch at Fujiya Hotel
- Drive to Nagano
- Soba Dinner at Shinsu Soba no Kusabue
We spent the first half of the day travelling out of Tokyo in the car we had just rented! We took several hours to reach Hakone and we settled down for lunch at a really pretty restaurant in Fujiya Hotel. They served lunch kaiseki style, which means their dishes came in many courses. Sort of like Japanese fine dining.
The food was amazing. It was my first time eating a kaiseki meal and it’s oddly satisfying to be brought bowls of food one after another. The sashimi was the best — it felt like it was melting in your mouth.
We continued our drive until we reached Nagano! We wanted to stop to see Mt Fuji in Hakone, however it was very misty and we couldn’t see much in the distance.
On a side note, look, it’s Lake Cui Ting 湖翠亭
When we reached Nagano, the first thing we did was to set off for dinner. It was about 9pm and we were starving. We decided on a soba dinner at Shinsu Soba in Midori Nagano. IT WAS BOMB. The soup and other condiments went together so well with the handmade soba noodles. No wonder they say this is the second best soba place in Nagano!
DAY 5 (23rd December 2016)
- Zenko-ji Temple
- Soba Lunch
First, we visited the beautiful Zenko-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple built in the 7th century.
Afterwards we hung around the street of souvenir shops where I pigged out on free samples of wafers and lotus paste buns 🙂 We had lunch in a restaurant on the upper floor of one of the shops. Again, soba noodles.
We drove over to Nazawaonsen, where we took a cable car up to the mountain tops to a ski resort! And no, we didn’t ski. We just wanted to ‘take a look’ and also take some pictures HAHA
I swear I almost froze to death (I figured that I have a really low tolerance for cold weather, even if it means summer in Australia lol) so I went into the restaurant to heat myself up so much I started sweating. How traumatizing.
If you know me, you know I love me some macchiato anywhere, anytime
Since we were all freezing cold, we went to an onsen house! It was my first time at one and it has very traumatizing… ha ha ha ha a….
Had dinner at a all-you-can-eat shabu shabu restaurant! It was so good omg. I loved the sauces and also dipping the meat in the raw egg
DAY 6 (24th December 2016)
- Jigokudai Snow Monkey Park
- Ski Resort
- Aeon Mall
- Shibu-onsen Kokuya
We arrived at Jigokudai, where the iconic snow monkeys of Nagano were all at! It was freezing (at least to me) and we had to walk about 2km through the forested path to reach the actual site. God save me.
It was all worth it in the end though because we managed to get up close and personal with the monkeys!!
Later on my brothers went to a ski resort to ski for about an hour but I wasn’t really feeling it cause I wasn’t dressed well enough to keep myself warm in that -5c weather. So I don’t have any pictures but there’s that… Then we drove to an obscure Aeon Mall in the middle of nowhere and I bought like 11 loaves of bread?? Hehe they were all super adorable and affordable so. It got dark so we headed to a ryokan we booked to have dinner and get our sleep!!! The hospitality at ryokans are A+ man. They attended to our every need, gave us cute Yukatas to attend our meals with and even reserved a whole room for us to have a private meal. They also had private onsens but of course I’m never going to one again :–)
I love kaiseki meals oml. So happy I managed to have one for breakfast, lunch and dinner on this trip.
DAY 7 (25th December 2016)
- Aeon Laketown
- Drive back to Tokyo
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY !!! We decided to spend this day just chilling out at the biggest Aeon Mall in the area, Aeon Laketown. IT. WAS. HUGE. I think we spent around 7 hours there, it was crazy.
So yep this is the end of my post!!! Hope you enjoyed looking at this grainy ass photos hahah thanks for reading yay