My 2nd trip to Japan in a year and this time was to Tokyo. Didn't do mad, crazy shopping there but it was still good.
Hakuba is a small, sleepy town during spring, summer and autumn but once winter arrives, the entire place comes alive! In Sir Knows-A-Lot's mind, it is the best place to ski. Niseko is just too crowded and tourist-y and since both Hakuba has the soft powdery snow as Niseko, it was a heaven for skiers. We went during autumn and it was beautiful. The mountains and the scenery was amazing.
Arrived in Narita Airport and stayed nearby at the Toyoko Inn. The room was as usual tiny but clean and comfortable. We chose to stay in Toyoko Inn since it was close to the Narita Airport and not too far from the train station where we will be catching the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Hakuba.
Breakfast was provided but didn't have much of an appetite so I only took some buns and a couple of coffee.
Saw some interesting adverts on the train magazine. Some compact powder to cover grey hairs? Sorry the hair looks seaweed green, the magazine didn't agree with the lighting...
After the 1 hour bus ride where I feel asleep and felt as it I was magically teleported to Hakuba.
The map of Hakuba area. It's a very small town that you can't really get lost in. Plenty of shortcuts and beautiful scenery. It's a pity the map was not that accurate. We got a better map later on.
We stayed in Allure. It was a small B&B ran by an wonderful Australian couple. We were the only customers since it was 'off' season. The rooms were about USD150 per night + breakfast.
Saw some interesting mushrooms outside the OneHakuba. Just had to go closer to inspect and take a couple of pictures.
We decided to head to the Tsukiji market on a Tuesday and when we got there it was surprisingly quiet. We found out later that Tsukiji market closes on Tuesdays.
We couldn't believe our luck.
So Sir Grumpy went looking for breakfast instead. He had something in mind and was eager for me to try. Upon arrival, Sir Grumpy ordered sushi set for 3,150 set of sushi. It was absolutely fantastic. the tuna was odorless and fresh.
To me, Tuna has a very distinctive smell and taste of blood. Sir Grumpy explains that if Tuna is drained of blood properly, the meat wont have the distinctive order and taste. Interesting.
This time, he granted my request.
Once was enough.
We chance upon some seafood stall on our way back and the oysters called my name. I floated over in a trace to see all the lovely, fat oysters.
I drooled. Sir Knows-A-Lot generously offered to pay for my oyster. I chose a small sized oyster and damn, it was the best oyster I have ever had in my entire life.
The meat was fresh, slightly creamy, firm with a slight 'crunch' (no I didn't eat the shell) and my biggest regret was not emptying the stall.
Some random shop we passed by
I had to take a picture of this. These are small edible cakes! Arent they the prettiest cakes you have ever seen?
A souvenir I got for 100yen.
You put in 100yen and a small amount of copper ball is flatter and a Hello Kitty design of your choice is stamped on it. It pops out of the machine fresh and hot.
Ate at the Cococurry. A curry house that allows us to select the level of spiciness. Being the arrogant fool I was, I obviously choose level 9. Afterall, I have an unbelievable tolerance and love for chilies. Death sauce in Mexican Restaurants? No problem!
My farts could set my jeans on fire.
I didn't know they use pepper to bring up the level of spiciness rather than chillis. I hate food with an overdose of pepper cause it numbs the tongue and all taste is lost. Well, it was like eating a bowl of pepper paste with some meat in it.
It was spicy alrighty. I sweated and sweated.
Haaa, this is the interesting part. I saw this in some shop and decided that it looks pretty interesting. It was slightly cheaper than my Dolly Wink at about RM40. It comes in only one colour; chocolate brown.
We ordered the tempura set and it was delicious. Especially the side dishes and soup. Found the tempura a little too oily for my liking but it was still delicious!
The wait for the food was horrendous. Unlike Malaysia, everyone waited patiently and never once demanded to know where and when the food was coming. They chatted, sipped beer and just waited. Amazing. We shamelessly asked the waitress about our food and kept looking at them. AHA!
Narita airport's Hello Kitty shop. I saved all my money for this place!
We arrived early for our flight and before checking in our luggage visited the Hello Kitty shop. Bought tons of souvenirs mostly chocolate mochis and butter cookies for family, friends and colleagues.
Overall this trip to Tokyo and Hakuba costed us much more than our trip to Kyoto, Nara, Osaka. The timing is one factor. We went in Autumn instead of winter. B&B in Hakuba are extremely expensive (to me anyway) and while Kyoto had a fantastic bus system, in Tokyo we mostly took the trains. Truthfully, I was much happier in Kyoto than in Tokyo.
Sadly, we will not be going back to Japan again till 2014. we have a big trip coming up and since that trip is bloody expensive, we won't be doing any travelling for the rest of the year.