Japan

Destination, Japan

Chubu Day 4: Shiojiri, Magome, and Nagoya

It was another early morning for all of us. The travel agents making sure to drop of their big luggage at the reception to have it sent to their hotel in Yokohama, us writers making sure we have everything packed for our trip back to Manila.

Fuji apple
Fuji apple

We tucked in a heavy breakfast, which proved to be a mistake, as our first stop was apple picking at Shiojiri, a town about half and hour’s drive away from Matsumoto. It was a farm that had both apples and grapes, and though the grapes are already all gone, the apple trees are laden with fruits.
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Destination, Japan

Chubu Day 3: Nagano, Obuse, and Matsumoto

It was another early morning, and we drove out of Matsumoto towards Nagano. As we got farther from the city center, we were able to see that Matsumoto lies in a basin — surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. Green mountains with patches of reds and oranges near the lip of the basin, snow capped mountains farther on.

Zenko-ji, Nagano
Zenko-ji at Nagano City

We arrive at at the Zenko-ji Temple, where we were met with Mr. Mikinori Komatsu, a representative of the Nagano Prefectural Government. Along with our tour guide Yoshi, he took us around the temple grounds and answered our many questions.
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Destination, Japan

Chubu Day 2: Takayama, Shirakawa-go, and the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway

I woke up relaxed and refreshed, thanks to our dip at the onsen the previous night. After a heavy breakfast at the hotel, we were soon pulling out of the drive and into Takayama. It’s Sunday, which meant that there’s a morning market by the Miyagawa river. Our bus driver parked beside the Takayama Betsuin Shourenji, and together with the group, we walked down Yasukawa Street. It was the same route I took in April 2012, and once again, I felt grateful for the opportunity to come back.

Takayama Morning Market
Something hot to keep you warm, yet there is also an ice cream stall right behind.

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Japan

Snapshot Chubu

A couple of years ago, I have given up on going to Japan. Back then, it seemed like an impossible dream. Then I won round trip place tickets to Osaka. I took that as a sign that I am indeed meant to fulfill one of my travel dreams. After that first trip to Japan, I felt elated and so empowered:…read more
Destination, Japan, Preparation

Project Japan

A lot of you got scared when I posted my Japan travel expenses. It's understandable -- that's a lot of money to spend for two weeks in one country. Japan is worth it. It's very very expensive, yes, but it's also a really really beautiful country to explore. To those who I haven't scared off yet, here's my file, which…read more
Japan

Maximizing your Japan Rail Pass

When I published my Japan travel expenses, most of you balked at the price of my train ticket: Php 23,000 or ¥45,100. I also had the same reaction when Ivan told me about the pass, but upon reading up on it and calculating the amount of money I’ll save vis-a-vis buying the tickets separately, I made sure to buy the pass before I left for Japan.

Rail travel in Japan is very comfortable. All the trains are in great condition, and the seats have legroom airlines can only dream of. While it’s cheaper than flying domestic, it is more expensive than taking the bus. While the bus can save you money on fares and overnight buses can save you on accommodation costs, it eats up more time to travel the same distance. Besides, this is Japan we’re talking about! I can’t pass up the chance to ride the bullet train!
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