03 January 2017

Japan Trip - Takayama (Shirakawa-go)

Accomodation :

Stay 🏨  : Ayun Takayama Central Hotel

We chose this hotel simply because its location, within walking distance to the station and Familymart. It's an old hotel with basic amenities, spacious room and clean, but i did not like their minim lighting in our room, service was good, the front desk showed and explained us the main attraction in Takayama eventhough with limited english. 

Pros : Inexpensive, Very close to Central. 
Cons : Old furniture, need to be renovated, no breakfast included. 

Price : 10500 Yen/Night, easily booked via anykind travel website platform.

Click the below link for further details and review about this hotel.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g298113-d1111691-Reviews-Ayun_Takayama_Central_Hotel-Takayama_Gifu_Prefecture_Chubu.html



Transportation 🚌 : 

Since Takayama is a small city, walking is the best way to enjoy and explore the city. Usually Takayama is a transit city to those who wants to visit Shirakawa-go like we did. To Shirakawa-go we booked online the half day tour Shirakawa-go Bus from J-Hop Tour: http://tour.j-hoppers.com/shirakawago_tour.html

There are 2 options  :

-  Morning Half Day Tour:
   Depart at 8:10 from Takayama Station

-  Afternoon Half Day Tour:

    Depart at 13:20 from Takayama Station

We took the Morning Half Day Tour, it took around 45-60 minutes to get to Shirakawa-go from Takayama station, and the tour will give you 2 hours free time to see around Shirakawa-go.


Fees : 4.450 Yen/ person, but if you're staying at J-Hoppers Hida Takayama, you'll get extra discount 500 Yen/person. 



Attractions


Ajikura Tengoku


If you visit Takayama, you definitely shoud try their signature Hida Beef. Ajikura Tengoku is one of many Hida Beef Restaurants in Takayama, we chose this one because the front desk at the hotel recommended this. The restaurant opens at 5pm, to avoid a long wait, be there at least 30 mins early. We came 30 minutes before the restaurant open and there were already 3 groups of people waiting. All i can say is they have INCREDIBLE Hida Beef! we ordered fillet steak which we then cooked on our table, it is so tender and soft that it literally melts in your mouth. Ridiculously good.


You haven't had Hida Beef until you've had Hida Beef at Ajikura Tengoku. Excellent. For our research, their price is cheaper than the other Hida Beef resto.


How to get here : 1-2 minutes walking from Takayama Station. 











Shirakawa-go

This is our main reason to visit Takayama. To visit Shirakawa-go was my husband's idea, he really wanted to see this village which is declared a Unesco World Herritage. This village is known for their traditional house called Gassho, if i'm not mistaken the Gassho houses are made without nails, and allow it to held and shred dozen of snow during winter.



Sarubobo (faceless doll as mascot of Takayama City)

Our first stop was at Shiroyama Tenshukaku Tenbodai (Viewpoint). The view from that spot was perfect. It showed a bird’s eye view of the historical village of Shirakawa-go. From there, I realized that the houses in the village had thatched roofs that look like praying hands. 







We were given time about 2 hours to see around the village, and if you want to see the interior and design inside the Gassho House, there is one famous house which open for public named Kanda House, unfortunately we got separated from the group as we were exploring the other side of the village, so we did not get to see the inside of the house. 


We wandered around a bit before heading back to the rendezvous point with the group. Walked along the narrow garden roads, rice fields, and Gassho-Zukuri houses. We said goodbye to the historic villages of Shirakawa-go, and readied ourselves for our next trip. I enjoyed my late winter trip to this village, but I’m definitely going back here on winter to see the village covered in snow next time that remind me of those cutie Christmas cookies. hihi





How to get here : 

Accessible by Nohi Bus and Hokuriku Railway Bus either from JR Takayama Station on the Takayama Line (about 60 minutes away) or if you are to lazy like me, just booked half day tour from J-Hopper Hotel.


Old Town Takayama (Sanmachi Dori Street)



Walk.Look.Taste.Photograph

Those 4 words represent this street. There a lot of Japanese stalls, traditional buildings, souvenir shops. etc. A lot to see, to taste, to buy and also a lot of spot to photographed. Just keep walking and blend yourself in the crowd. This is a nice place for a stroll and enjoy the old charm of ancient japan.

How to get here:

10 minutes walk from Takayama Station, it's located in central of the city.







We had a good time exporing Takayama and Shirakawa-go before continuing our trip to our last city, Tokyo.

Normally, tourist will take a Shinkansen from Takayama to Tokyo, but we took Nohi Bus because we heard that the view along the road is beautiful and also the ticket fare is much cheaper, you just need to spend 6,690 Yen per person which takes 5,5 hours when the Shinkansen ticket fare is around 15,000 Yen per person which takes 4,5 hours. By taking the bus, we were saving significant amount per person plus you'll get the best view of Japan 😍














Bye bye Shirakawa-go. :)

20 December 2016

Japan Trip - Kyoto

I Love Kyoto, I would love to go back again one day. 💓


Accomodation :

Stay 🏨  : Urban Hotel Kyoto - Nijo Premium

Booked via Agoda for 2 nights stay, we got promotion during our stay. We paid Rp 780,000 on the first night and paid Rp 1,100,000 on the second night, so we paid for Rp 900,000/night in average. 

We loved this hotel, clean, spacious, easy to access, good facilities including onsen (hot water bath) separated man/women at top floor but the staff did not speak English that well. The hotel is close to the Nijo Castle which was great was within walking distance however we did not go to the castle because we prefer to visit the Golden Temple. Just down the block though there is a supermarket which was convenient we chose to buy ingredients to have breakfast in our room rather than pay to have the hotels breakfast which would of been 1500 yen per person. 









> Transportation 🚌   :One Day Kyoto Bus Pass   


    
Can be used within the allocated zone of the city (Arashiyama, Sagano, Takao, Shugakuin etc). Unlimited use of bus on the same day. When traveling outside of the allocated zone, it is necessary to pay the extra amount.

Fare : 500 Yen/adult
          250 Yen/ Kid

You can buy the bus pass at the Kyoto Station. There is another pass if you want to visit other area in Kyoto, but since our main destinations already covered by Kyoto Buss Pass so no need to buy the subway pass.


Attractions :

Kinkaku-Ji (Golden Temple)

Beautiful temple. Serene location with wonderful surrounding nature. The lake right in front reflected the temple and the trees (in foliage) in a magical way. Yes, it is crowded, but then again what is not crowded in Kyoto.

It's very accessible, still within Kyoto city limits and a bus that is clearly labeled will drop you and most likely other tourists right near it. Breathtaking grounds. There's something special about being here. 

There's shops and a place to rest as well. And also there's good Udon Restaurant in fron of the gate, we did try the Udon and it tasted sooooo good. 






Arashiyama Area 

- Sagano Bamboo Forest
- Tenryuji Temple

If you are in Kyoto be sure to take a day trip or two to visit Arashiyama, Definitely to visit Bamboo Forest. The grove itself is a part of Tenryuji Temple, which in itself is a wonder, a lovely and beautiful place, great spot to take million of photos but it was too crowded during our visit. Just go early to avoid crowd.


There is a lot of nice shops and restaurants here too, as well as monkeys across the river and a couple of beautiful temples with great gardens. Plenty to do for at least half a day here, so it's not all about the Bamboo Forest.


Strolling though the bamboo forest will cost you nothing. You just have to prepare yourself and your camera to take this wonderful path.


You can also take a rickshaw ride usually from the young Japanese men, you can ask the men to go through the Bamboo Forest path and around Arashiyama if you want, The price will be around 5000 - 7000 yen depend on where you want to go. Take a rickshaw and wear traditional Japanese costumes so you can enjoy being Japanese for a while and will give you amazing experience. But unfortunately we did not try the rickshaw ride and the traditional Japanese costumes just because we prefer to splurge our budget to culinary than splurge on these, it's just our preference, if you have extra budget do not hesitate to try this ride and wear those beautiful Japanese outfit.




How to get here : Get off at Saga Arashiyama (JR Station) or take the Hankyu Railway to Arashiyama Hankyu Station or you can take City Bus No. 28 from Kyoto Station) using Kyoto Buss Pass.


Gion 
- Geisha District
- Shinbashi Street
- Yasaka Shrine

Gion is an area in Kyoto worth spending time in. Nice place to killing some time, and nice place to stroll and admire Japanese old town, lots of shops and restaurants and bars. Often, one can come across people dressed in traditional costumes, and even Geikos (if you are lucky!). Would definitely recommend to visit this street especially at night with soft lightings, the canals, bridges, traditional houses transport you back to medieval Japan.

Actually nothing much to do though, just keep walking and chill. We went there during winter, it was so cold, just keep warm in chilly weather!


How to get hereGet off at Gion bus stop. Alternatively, the closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.



However, we did not manage to visit all main attraction in Kyoto due to our limited time. We skipped Kiyomizudera Temple and the famous Fushimi Inari. But if you guys have enough time to explore Kyoto, please do visit these two famous destinations.

Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizudera, and Gion can all be easily accessed by the Keihan Line (Fuhimi Inari Station for Fushimi Inari, then Gojo Station for Koyomizudera, and then Gion Shijo for Gion), so the best route would be to begin at Fushimi Inari then go to Kiyomizudera by train. The train ride itself is only about fifteen minutes, though i read the trek up to Kiyomizudera involves quite a walk (nearly all uphill). From Kiyomizudera, you can either take the train or bus to Gion--it is a short distance away by either means (you can walk between the two, but it will take about fifteen or twenty minutes).

Love everything about Kyoto despite its crowdidness, in my opinion Japanese who live in Kyoto are more humble and more nicer than people who live in other Japan area.

Our next destination is Takayama, this is my hubby's pick just because he wanted to see the famous Shirakawa-go. For Takayama and Shirakawa-go stories will be posted soon. Cheers!!!

02 June 2016

Japan Trip - Osaka

Accomodation 

> Flight ✈ : Jkt - Osaka  : Airasia Promo (Rp 1,8 jt / pax)
                      Tokyo - Jkt    : Phillipine Airlines (Rp 6,5 jt / 3 pax)

> Stay 🏨  : https://www.airbnb.co.id/rooms/3266972
                       Rp 900,000 / night


for better view of the room please check their website






It is close to the metro station. The room is a little small but has everything we need. There are many signs for our foreigners. Kazuya provided Internet, pocket wifi, and warmer but unfortunately the warmer did not work properly during late winter so we were a bit freezing. But if you are looking for an okay stay with great surrounding with minimum budget, you can choose this place

> Transport 🚂 : Osaka Amazing Pass (2 Day Pass)

Complimentary admission to 28 facilities by using the attached coupon book including Osaka Castle Main Tower, Floating Garden Observatory, sailing ship Santa Maria, etc.
2-day Pass: All stationmasters' offices at Subway/New Tram, Osaka Visitors' Information Center, major hotels in the city, etc.

Fare : 3000 yen/adult , you can buy this pass at the airport information.

Attractions

Umeda Sky Building

A place where most tourist will go for the scenic views. It provides superb views to see. If you are holding on to Amazing Osaka train pass, you will be able to enter the attraction with no fees needed or you have to pay the entrance fee for around 1000 yen. A simple walkaround to see the views, but awesome. We visited during day time and it was windy so please prepare proper jacket or coat especially if you bring your small kids. 








Hours    : 10:00 to 22:30
Closed   : No Closing Days

How to get here : it is a 10-15 minute walk from Osaka Station and Umeda Station.


Kaiyukan Aquarium Osaka

One word. HUGE. I heard that this is one of the largest aquarium in the world. Personally i would recommend my friends to visit this aquarium as it displays various fishs and marine life and it is very well design. 














We spent almost 3 hrs walking through the various thematic displays and special exhibits. Our 10 months old had fun looking out the fishs displays, she was crawling from one to another.

Hours   : 10:00 to 22:00 

Closed  : Irregular closing days
Fees     : 2300 yen

How to get here : Just drop off at Osakako Station on the Chuo subway line.


Dotonbori

When you visit Osaka, you need to go to Dotonbori, i think it's like Time Squre in New York (eventhough i have not been to go there hehehehhe). There are a lot shops and eatery, also the famous seafood with giant crab signage restaurant located not far from the centre. If you love Japanese cosmetics, you will find a lot of Duty Free shop with special discount for foreigners, just bring along your passport but keep it carefully. The street itself is excellent to look at and also those amazing giant signage will give you different feeling.


It's always busy and crowded everyday, but it's more busier on the weekend, so be ready and be prepared. If you want to try some restaurant here just be ready to wait. 


Dotonbori is definitely worth to visit, if you love to see people and light and try out Japanese snacks and restaurants. And oh, don't forget to take your photos in front of the famous and iconic Glico Man. 😁















We skipped  a few main tourist destination such as Osaka Castle just because we heard it took a long walk to get to the top and  as we bring our baby, 2-3 places a day is quite enough, if you make it to 4-5 places a day i think it's quite ambitious, nonetheless every parents have their own style, as long as both of you support to each other, i think it is doable. Just do it with smile and a happy heart. ❤❤❤


After we had fun strolling around Osaka, we headed to beautiful Kyoto on the second day, there is a lot of option to get to Kyoto from Osaka you can take the high speed Shinkansen (also called the bullet train)  from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station in 15 minutes for 1,420 yen per adult. This is the fastest and most comfortable route from Osaka to Kyoto, and might be worthwhile if you have a Japan Rail Pass to cover the cost. If you do not have a Japan Rail Pass or you want a cheaper ride but a bit slower, you might prefer to travel from Shin-Osaka Station on the JR Kyoto Line’s Special Rapid Service (see below). From Shin-Osaka Station the Special Rapid Service will get you to Kyoto Station in 24 minutes for just 560 yen per adult.

Stay tune.. our Japan Trip will be continued soon.. 

22 March 2016

Travelling with Baby to Japan

Holaa..

Ampun deh, udah berapa tahun ini nggak nge-blog. Rencana mau update trip ke Korea, Padang, sama ke Derawan ngga kesampaian karena sibuk kerja kerja kerja dan urus baby  (yes, sekarang gue punya baby usia 10bulan, hihi Alhamdulillah). Speaking of the baby, baru-baru ini gue traveling with my 10 months baby ke Jepun. Thank God it went very smooth and good. Awal punya rencana ke Jepang sebenarnya karena tiket Nepal kita untuk bulan April 2015 kemarin hangus dikarenakan gue lagi hamil besar. Untungnya nggak 100% hangus tetapi bisa di convert ke big point, dan big pointnya kita pakai buat beli tiket ke Jepang.

Long story short. Bulan Juli tiket pergi ke Osaka sudah ditangan (yes, baru tiket perginya doang hahaha) dan kemudian bulan Desember 2015 baru dapat tiket pulangnya naik Phillipines Airlines. Banyak banget yang mau gue review nih mulai dari Airbnb, Hotel, tempat-tempat seru selama di Jepang tapi seperti biasa gatau dari mana HAHAHHAHA. 

Mungkin gue awalin dengan post Tips Traveling with Baby dulu ya, in this case pas cuaca winter tapi.

so, Tips traveling with infant/baby:
  • Bawa perlengkapan baju sesuai musimnya, dikarenakan kemarin kita masih late winter jadi gue bawa 2 Winter Jumpsuit (kalau bisa cari yang udah sekalian sarung tangan dan sarung kakinya, bawa 4 longjohn heattech (1 turtle neck, 3 standar neck, beli di Uniqlo, bahannya enak dan bagus banget buat winter, heattech ini juga buat dalaman jumpsuit tadi), 3 kaos kaki panjang, 1 sarung tangan, 2 winter beanie (cari yang bisa sampai nutupin kuping);



  • Stroller (Wajib, kudu ini sih. Cari yang light dan gue rekomen Babyzen Yoyo yang super nyaman dan sangat light serta foldable dan ada plastik kanopi transparan juga kalau cuaca lagi hujan atau angin lagi kencang dan oiya di Jepang sangat stroller friendly sekali);
Yoyo is my favourite traveling stroller.





  • Baby Carrier ( ini juga wajib nih, karena ada kalanya si baby bosen di stroller. Dan untuk baby carrier gue rekomen I Angel, karena ada hipseatnya jadi si baby juga ngga pegel karena posisinya seperti duduk);




  • Botol minum ( Karena baby gue suka banget sama air putih, jadi botol minum amat sangatlah diperlukan);
  • Selimut tebal (selimut ini gue bawa bawa kemana-mana, bisa taro di stroller untuk menghangatkan si baby, bisa juga dipakai untuk alas pada saat ganti diaper);
  • Cemilan (Gue bawa Farleys, Gerber, gue taro di dalam plastik transparan yang biasa buat obat supaya ngga makan tempat);
  • Perlengkapan mandi (Gue bawa 2in1 baby bath Johnson n Johnson, Sebamed Diaper Rash Cream, Minyak Telon, Mustela Baby Lotion, Mustela Facial Cream);
  • Obat-obatan. Ini perlu sekali untuk mencegah kalau si baby ternyata rentan akan cuaca baru, pas kemarin kebetulan babyku memang udah pilek, jadinya bawa obat pilek dia dari dokter. Obat-obat lain yang perlu di bawa antara lain: Mucopect (jaga-jaga kalau pilek atau batuk), Breathy (Obat hidung tersumbat), Paracetamol (obat demam), Teething Gel (jaga-jaga giginya sakit), Transpulmin BB (balsam baby, aku olesin terus di dada dan punggungnya supaya hangat), minyak kayu putih ukuran kecil, minyak telon, Betadine ukuran kecil, Bye-bye fever, Tensoplast, dan Tempra.
  • Tissue basah, tissue kering, dan handuk kecil.
  • Payung. Sedia payung sebelum hujan judulnya. 
  • Travel Insurance. Kemarin gue ambil travel insurance dari AIG untul family, preminya terbilang ok dengan cover yang ok juga.
  • Mainan? hmm.. kebetulan baby gue kurang tertarik sama mainan bayi hahaha, jadinya botol plastik atau apa aja yang bisa dimaenin pasti dimaenin, jd lumayan lah ga berat berat bawa mainan hahaha.

Pasti kalau liat list di atas pada bingung ya babyku makan apa selama di Jepang, kebetulan si baby udah belajar untuk makan makanan yang gue makan, jadi selama di Jepang si baby makan sushi (nasinya+ikan matang/telor ikan), udon (baby gue suka banget sama udon!), tempura, kue-kue, roti, pokoknya apa aja yang bisa gue kasih ke dia pasti gue kasih hihihihi. 

Untuk itinerary, pastinya gue ngga ngoyo kayak waktu gue traveling duo aja sama suami, mungkin sekarang maksimal 2-3 tempat per hari dan menurut gue terbilang ok kok, karena gue pun menikmatinya.

Oiya bawa baby traveling itu menyenangkan lho, banyak benefitnya:

  • Selalu dapat priority seat atau antrian;
  • Selalu dapat extra meals hihihi;
  • Selalu bisa naik lift/elevator (karena di Jepang, yang pakai lift/elevator mostly orangtua atau disable);
  • Pernah dikasi voucher makan sama pengunjung resto lainnya, karena liat si baby lucu katanya, happyyyyy 😁
Intinya, traveling with our baby is definitely worth it, memang ngga melulu si baby akan anteng, pasti ada kalanya si baby bosan, menangis, atau cranky, tapi semuanya bakal ketutup sama pengalaman baru yang dia dapatkan, dan senyum dan tawanya yang terekam di setiap foto dan video yang akan menjadi kenang-kenangan untuk kita semua. 😙😙