an Amazing & Adventurous Journey
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25Feb

travel insurance

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An M8.8 earthquake follow by tsunami attacked Japan coast about 4 months before our trip there, then follow by the nuclear plant crisis. I was so worried if we have to cancel our trip because of the risk of radioactive. Anyway, we decided to go ahead with out holiday but did some changes to the destination, from Tokyo vicinity to Hokkaido.

Because of this crisis, I did read a lot about the travel insurance. I even read through the policy wording from a few insurance companies. I want to know in detail about the insurance coverage, especially when there is earthquake, tsunami, radioactive or anything else which could happen anytime. Be frank, I never really look into the insurance coverage before this crisis, but only check out the coverage of flight delay, lost of baggage and baggage delay which always happen during a holiday.

Anyway, now I learn something new and I am glad that I found a cheap travel insurance which I am satisfied to the coverage they offered. I even request to change the date of travel after I decided to extend the trip for another 2 days longer. The process of extension is fast and easy. I am a happy customer of them.


23Dec

Sapporo

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21/7
Hamanasu arrived at Sapporo (札幌) at 0607 punctually. We really under estimated the weather in Hokkaido! It was much chiller than we thought! Instead of walk, we run to the hotel, Best Western Hotel Fino. Thanks god that the hotel is only 2 minutes away from the train station.

the message board at lobby …. nice weather for the day!

It was too early to check-in, hence I spend my time mostly at the computer corner to transfer the photo from memory card to my hdd, and also to check out the business hour of Uniqlo at JR Sapporo station! I want to buy jacket; I can’t stand with the cold and chilly air anymore!!!!

I am glad that I found a jacket under the clearance corner which is only 1500Yen, although only left with small size but surprising it fit me. At the same time, we also bought some short pants for the boy by swiping our Entropay prepaid Visa card.

saw these beautiful displays of baskin robbins ice cream cake at Sapporo underground arcade

We had lunch at a sushi restaurant at JR tower at around 11.30am before the crowd start at around 12 noon. The usual waiting time for this restaurant is around 1hr. We had a total of 12 plates of sushi at 2118Yen, around RM78.








22Nov

a day at Aomori

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Immediately we dig out the jackets after taking photo of Hayabusa and proceed to another platform for train bound for Aomori (青森).

Shin Aomori (新青森) is a new station which is built for Tohoku Shinkansen operation and most of the tourist spots are nearby the existing Aomori station, which is around 5mins train from Shin Aomori station.

Waiting for train to Aomori (青森)

We first went to the JR travel Services Counter at Aomori Station (青森駅) to buy the coupon for Nokkedon (のっけ丼), also to check out the seat vacant status of Hamanasu (はまなす, night sleeping train).

The kids don’t have JR Pass and we didn’t get them any ticket which cost close to RM200+ per child, so we are trying our luck if we have to squeeze 4 of us in 2 seats or we could sleep soundly on our own seat. Well, another option is, we might have to let go the reserved seat which is much more comfy and queue up early at the platform to ‘fight’ with other for 4 free seats. Free seat is much cheaper than reserved seat.

Our first stop at Aomori is, Furukawa Market (古川市場) for the Nokkedon (のっけ丼).

Furukawa Market 古川市場

Nokkedon (のっけ丼) is something like our mix-rice here, you can choose your own sashimi topping, the sashimi topping cost vary from 100Yen – 300yen.

First, get a bowl of rice at 100Yen from the stall with Orange Flag. Then check out the stalls with Blue Flag to choose your favorite topping from the various type of sashimi!

Inside the market

And this is my bowl of Nokkedon (のっけ丼)!!!

The wind is so strong and chill although it was summer!!!!! While walking back to the Aomori Station (青森駅), we stop by at Alga Shopping Mall wanted to find out if there is any shortcut from the mall to the station since the mall is in between them. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut. It took us a lot of effort to return to the train station.

A-O-MO-RI-EKI あおもり駅

A Factory is a gourmet market with food court near to train station. We don’t feel like going out anymore when we are inside the A-Factory although there are a few attractions nearby! All blame to the chilling air!!

Baby chair at the food court

the boy had this, apple cider gelato ice cream …. Not my favorite!!

the famous apple chips!

We spend most of our time at the shopping mall attached to the train station. As for dinner, we had it at Yoshinoya which is minutes away from the train station. Again, it was torture to get out from the station.

Our dinner

After wait, wait and wait…. finally there is boarding announcement for Hamanasu (はまなす) at around 10.20pm. Our seat number is 12A&B while 12C&D still vacant by the time we are boarding. (I did check out its vacant status on and off from the ticketing machine while we are waiting in the station) So, all of us have a seat instead of sharing. The seat could be reclining to nearly 180.

Reserved seat of Hamanasu (はまなす), also called as Dream Car


15Oct

Day 4 : Hayabusa for Shin Aomori 新青森

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20 July

We woke up early in the morning as we have to catch the shinkansen (bullet train) bound for Shin Aomori 新青森 at 10.04am and scheduled to reach Shin Aomori 新青森 at 13.34pm.

Tokyo Station is the main station for shinkansen.

We are at platform No 20

…… waiting for car (cabin) no 6 of Hayabusa (name of bullet train)

We saw this while waiting for our Shinkansen …. The double decker MAX Shinkansen!!!

I wanted to capture a photo of the hayabusa, but it was too fast! :S I don’t want to walk over to car No 1 just to take the photo since we are at Car No 6!

Hayabusa is the latest E5 series of shinkansen launched a week before the M8.3 earthquake. Because of the ‘latest and newest’, we decided to take it instead of Hayate Shinkansen which is running on older model. Both of us enjoy the furious train ride very much. It was much comfortable and spacious than economy class of any flight!

Our seat, 13 D & E

There is power plug for window seat too!!!

The toilet inside the shinkansen …

The shinkansen arrived on time at Shin Aomori 新青森 …

My happy babies   ….

The first thing I did after step out from the shinkansen is, go take photo of the Hayabusa!!! Btw, the air was freaking cold there although it was summer!!!


04Oct

Hotel Eurasia for Disney Resort

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We stayed at Hotel Eurasia nearby the Disney Resort on 18 & 19 July, which is also the same hotel we stayed during the previous trip to Disneyland. The hotel is having don’t know how many anniversary promo and it cost only 7800Yen for a twin room, with breakfast included! It was a steal and lucky that I manage to find a room for my date. It was ‘three consecutive holidays’ in Japan!

The children had their very first experience to bath in the public bath and also dip in the onsen. The both love it so much, especially seeing so many naked ladies/women walking around!!!

The hotel also extended their service to provide free shuttle bus to Disneyland and Disneysea (however, in the morning only). A highly recommended hotel if you are planning to visit Tokyo Disney Resort!!

Our room …

love the bathroom ….

the wireless washlet control panel mounted on wall …. Love this so much!!!!

shoes cabinet, to keep our shoes before we enter to the SPA (oncen) Tower

The view from our room… the volcano of Disneysea!!

the free shuttle bus….

if you would like to call a taxi, you can use this public phone for free


03Oct

Day3 :

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19 July

As expected, we were greeted by the dark and gloomy sky in the morning.

At last minute, we decided to leave our big luggage at Tokyo and bring only the Lesportsac XL weekender to Hokkaido. It was a challenge to pack 6 days’ clothes into the small bag.

We leave the hotel together with the big luggage and our first stop of the day is, The B Hotel at Ikebukuro. That is the hotel where we will stay after back from Hokkaido in few days later. It was drizzly by the time we reach Ikebukuro, glad that the hotel is not far from the train station.

I just can’t wait to have a bite on the macaroon from Pierre Herme of Paris. They have an outlet at Seibu which is inside the Ikebukuro Train Station. We bought 4 so that everyone get one to taste, but it was so tasty and the kids want more… so we went back to buy another 2 for them. It cost 252Yen each, which is about RM9.60 each.

We then take the subway to Kudanshita (九段下) for the famous ramen, 班鳩拉麵. To be frank, the ramen is not as tasty as what I expected; maybe I had too high expectation to it after reading so many good reviews about it. Anyway, the hubs said it was good and the kids love it.

Our next stop is, Ueno for the toys store which we always gave a miss when traveling with the stroller. The toys store is not big, I think smaller than the toys ‘r’ us at Sunshine City.

Anyway, I manage to buy the miniature display which I longed for. The miniatures are now has become the toys of my gal’s Barbie!!! Instead of buying the overpriced ultraman toys for the boy, we managed to get him to buy this

……… grape juice with ultraman printed on the tin.

Before going back to the hotel, we first make a stop at Makuhari (海浜幕張) for the Mitsui Premium Outlet. We didn’t buy anything beside two hand towels since I forgot to pack the hand towel from KL and thought we might need it in Hokkaido. For the first time in Japan, I managed to control myself not to bring the handbags to the cashier counter!!!! LOL


03Sep

Day2 : Tokyo DisneySea

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18 July
It was a bliss waking up the kids by telling them we are going to Disneysea later. :)

We heading to the train station after the simple Japanese breakfast at hotel, the breakfast is complimentary by the hotel.

We quickly rush to the JR-CENTRAL Ticket Office at Yaesu Central of Tokyo Station to get the JR Pass exchange order exchange into JR Pass. JR Pass is not available for sales in Japan, travelers have to buy the exchange order outside of Japan and get it exchange into real JR Pass in Japan. It cost us RM1090 per pax for the 7days JR Pass. At the same, I give the officer a seat-reservation table so that he could help me to reserve the seat of the train I am going to take during the trip. Seat reservation is free of charge for JR Pass holder. :)

We were then heading to JR Keiyo Line platform for train to Maihama after obtain the JR Pass and reserved-seat tickets. I hate this platform as it was very far from the main station!! I think it took about 15-20mins walk to this platform!!

We enter the park at around 11.30am (Japan time) and leave the park at around 8.30pm (Japan time).

Same like last trip, we stay at Hotel Eurasia (Hotel MySpa Maihama). The hotel has a special plan in conjunction to fifth anniversary, it was only 7800Yen for a twin room with free breakfast, and I am lucky to grab the deal before it was sold off!!

the complimentary Japanese breakfast by the hotel
BREAKFAST

the seat reservation table

JR Pass & reserved-seat tickets

Passport to the DisneySea

expensive monorail … 250Yen per way

the signature landmark of DisneySea

had onigiri before start the PLAY

love this pic of her :)

the Hottest star in the park, ShellieMay; the boy version was called as Duffy

expensive Duffy pop corn basket .. 2100Yen and the leather strap (?) cost 900Yen

OMG.. the kids love playing this!!!!

we had dinner at Restaurant Cape Cod Cook Off, there is stage show in the restaurant features by Mickey and friends, and Duffy too!!

the restaurant is under Fast Food Restaurant concept


03Sep

price increase

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I was so shock when I was told that the entrance ticket of the smallest magical kingdom of the world is going to increase again. I remember they revised the price about 3 years ago just before we make a visit there. And now, they are going to revise again and the worst is, the complimentary free entry on the second days is no longer available. Guests have to pay for it if they are intends to visit the park for two days. Why they can’t offer a better rate like SMT Stencils? Anyhow, based on the current exchange rate, it still the cheapest theme park among others.

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