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The Peace Park, Gotemba City

// To recap, we signed up and went for Hong Thai Travel’s 8 Days Hokkaido / Tokyo tour package and in this post and the upcoming posts, I will be sharing them via the days (e.g Day 1, Day 2 etc) but if some locations interest me enough, I will share them in details in a post on its own! This is so if anyone is researching on Hong Thai Travel’s tour package, you can have an idea on what to expect. So stay tuned!

The overview of the tour package can also be found here. Day 2 to Day 6’s itinerary is already shared in previous posts! Day 2’s post is here, Day 3’s post is hereDay 4’s post is hereDay 5’s post is here and Day 6’s post is here!

One of the main attraction in Day 6 is the Peace Park in Gotemba City!

“The Peace Park in Gotemba City commands a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji and houses the chalky stupa. Approximately 70% of visitors to the park are tourists from overseas, and the park serves as one of the golden spots in sightseeing in Shizuoka Prefecture. It is located on the mountainside of the outer rim of Hakone crater, commanding a good view of the city. The stupa, the symbol of the park, keeps the Buddha’s ashes presented by late Indian Prime Minister Nehru. 4 golden images of Buddha are also housed. In front of the stupa, the guardian dogs of respective Asian countries stand in line. In addition, The pond circuit-style Japanese garden, the Buddhist Monastery of Nihonzan-Myoho-ji Temple, images of Deity of Mercy ‘Nade Kannon’ (lit. rubbing Kannon) and 33 Kannon images are also well worth seeing. You can enjoy yourselves here all year round, in particular, the cherry blossom and autumn leaves viewing times.”

Source: Here

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At the bottom of the park is a small temple dedicated to Goddess of Mercy and it looks like the usual traditional Japanese temple.

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Spotted this huge tree of Hydrangeas! So beautiful!

After visiting the temple at the bottom of the park, you get to take a short walk up the slope to look at the main attraction!

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The white chalky stupa! Guarding the stupa are many lion statues from different countries!

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It is definitely an interesting place! Too bad it wasn’t a clear day! Otherwise, it would have been the perfect location to view Mt Fuji!

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Hong Thai Travel: 8 Days Hokkaido/Tokyo: Day 6

// To recap, we signed up and went for Hong Thai Travel’s 8 Days Hokkaido / Tokyo tour package and in this post and the upcoming posts, I will be sharing them via the days (e.g Day 1, Day 2 etc) but if some locations interest me enough, I will share them in details in a post on its own! This is so if anyone is researching on Hong Thai Travel’s tour package, you can have an idea on what to expect. So stay tuned!

The overview of the tour package can also be found here. Day 2,  Day 3,  Day 4 and Day 5’s  itinerary is already shared in previous posts! Day 2’s post is here, Day 3’s post is hereDay 4’s post is here and Day 5’s post is here!

Continuing with Day 6, we left Hokkaido and flew back to Tokyo to continue our holiday! It was a bittersweet day as there is so much more to see in Hokkaido but yet, Tokyo is one of my favourite city after New York!

After landing in Tokyo, we went for a simple lunch at a hotel restaurant and proceed towards Gotemba City.

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The first stop was The Peace Park in Gotemba City which provides a beautiful view of Mt Fuji when there is a clear day! It also houses a white stupa of Buddhist origin. Will share more of this beautiful Peace Park in a separate post! As you can tell from the picture above, it wasn’t a clear day and we didn’t get to meet Fuji-san.

Today’s itinerary was only The Peace Park and thereafter we were supposed to check in to the hotel for a traditional dinner and some onsen soaking. Our tour guide who very kindly decided to stop by Gotemba Premium Outlet for an hour just for us! If you have been to a Premium outlet, you will know that an hour is not definitely not enough! The place is huge but in that one hour, I managed to grab some great deals!

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Bought some pretty Cath Kidston pretty makeup pouches at 60% off! It works out to be around SGD 20-30! Woohoo! Addidas was also having a sale where after 5pm, most of the items which are already on discount gets an additional 40% discount! Bought a gym bag for yoga which cost less than SGD 30, more yoga tops between SGD 20 – 40, and a board shorts for my brother! I even splurged on a Kate Spade sling bag! There wasn’t a major discount but it was definitely cheaper than in Singapore. Scary impulse buy in that 1 hour! Haha. It was the most exciting and yet stressful shopping experience.

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Along the way, we finally met Fuij-san! Haha, Mr Fuji was a little shy that day!

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We then concluded the day with a comfortable night stay at the hotel and some onsen soaking! This is also where I got a strange insect bite which resulted in a swollen foot on the last day!

Overview of Hong Thai Travel: 8 days Hokkaido/Tokyo (Aug 14)

It has been a really long time since I last blogged and it only goes to show that my life is filled with fun filled activities! I hardly find the time to sit down in front of my Mac to blog nowadays! On top of my usual 3 days of yoga per week, I’ve got to go for 3 sessions of chiropractic therapy per week. Gosh. Anyway, I’ve got lots to share, first up will be on my Hokkaido/Tokyo trip via Hong Thai Travel, Hanoi trip with my company, Lighthouse Tour organized by National Heritage Board and upcoming in September, a short getaway to Tioman! Hehe. If you miss me on WordPress, you can follow me on Instagram here! Just search for somethingboutrenes!

Back to my Hokkaido/Tokyo trip via Hong Thai Travel, due to some last minute arrangement and family constraints in terms of traveling period, we decided to go with whichever tour agency that has a confirmed departure during our intended travel period. In the end, we signed up for Hong Thai Travel’s 8 days Hokkaido/Tokyo tour. It is technically a 7 days trip as the 1st day is counted in as departing from Changi Airport and overnight on the plane. So in my blog here, the first day of activity with transiting at Tokyo Airport is considered as Day 2. Booo.

Pros
Generally, the hotels provided in the tour was comfortable and spacious, unlike typical Japanese hotels which I stayed in most of the time. The food arranged was also wide in variety with opportunities to try Hokkaido’s crabs and top up for expensive food. The tour leader (a Hong Konger) was a typical uncle, he was also rather caring and self sacrificial in bringing the group around during his free time. He also brought us to one or two more additional sights which is not in the intended itinerary when time permits.

Cons
Some of the down sides, like all other package tour, most of the places we went to were touch and go, we didn’t get to enjoy enough time to truly soaked in the atmosphere. As the group is a rather some group of 20, there were no local tour guide allocated to us. So in the end, details of local cultures and history were not shared during the trip. We also picked a wrong package of squeezing both Hokkaido and Tokyo in one trip as we didn’t get to see much of Hokkaido in the short span of time, but yummy Ichiran Ramen and shopping in Tokyo more than made up for it. The route in this package also did not cover Furano which is famous for their huge flower fields and Lavender in June/July/early August. Lastly, it was not the best season to visit Japan, Summer in early August in Hokkaido is still bearable with occasional cool breeze but Tokyo was crazy warm!

So if you ask me if I would recommend this package tour of 8 Days in Hokkaido/Tokyo if given a choice, I would not recommend. I would love to visit Hokkaido on a free and easy pace in the future but as we were traveling with parents and in a group of 6, logistically speaking, package tour is the way to go.

During the trip, the trip was not planned according to the above itinerary, the flow of sights was ammended but all the sights stated was covered. In the upcoming posts, I will be sharing them via the days (e.g Day 1, Day 2 etc) but if some locations interest me enough, I will share them in details in a post on its own! So stay tuned!

Home-cooked food in Tokyo, Japan

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On the last night that we are in Tokyo, our training coordinator Hana hosted us at his home for dinner. Their hospitality is impeccable and heartwarming.

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Hana’s wife – Noriko – prepared dinner for us. Yummy sushi roll, chawanmushi, clam miso soup and sakura red bean glutinous rice for takeaway.

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Aparently this Sakura Red Bean Glutinous Rice is for family with daughters and it is made to celebrate Girls Day. Since they do not have daughter and we are a group of girls who refused to grow old. Noriko made this specially for us!

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We brought a cake over as dessert and it was really yummy. Soft, fluffy and oh so delicious. I love all their pretty cups, plates and utensils.

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She even prepared a gift for us girls, Celine handkerchiefs with our Japanese name embroidered on it. Awww.

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Their son Yuske is really shy and adorable! We asked for him to play violin for us and he shyly agree after we gave him some encouragement.

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We spotted this at their home and apparently it is commonly found in homes who has a son.

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We had a fun evening playing family friendly memory games and had a great time interacting with this family.

Loving Asakusa

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A visit to my favourite temple in Tokyo, the Asakusa. Even though this is my second visit, I still love the vibe and all things touristy there.

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This temple is very popular amongst tourists and it is often bustling with people and activities. Do try to pop by in the morning around 10am to visit the temple and then walk the street till 12 pm to avoid the mad crowd in the afternoon, especially on a weekend.

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Joining in the fun! The water is cold! Brr.

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On a Sunday morning, we manage to catch a glimpse of a group of passing Geisha! By the time my friend took out her camera, all she is able to capture is their back view!

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Love walking along the streets selling trinkets, souveniors, gift boxes and yummy street snacks! There are a few streets parallel and perpendicular to the main streets with some hidden gems too!

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Yums! Some fried dough with Japanese Sweet Potato in them. Divine!

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Fresh sen bei! Yums! My favourite is the Sen Bei flavoured with Wasabi wrapped with Seaweed! Total yuma!

Review of Hotel Mets at Shibuya, Tokyo Japan

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The second hotel that we stayed in Tokyo is in Shibuya! Hotel METS is located right in JR Shibuya Station at New South Exit. Shibuya Station is huge and the hotel is located nearer to the offices and business area rather than the Hachiko exit where all the happenings are. Despite that, it is really convenient as the New South Exit is nearest to NEX (Narita Express) line! This comes in handy if you have a luggage to lug and are traveling from Narita Airport via NEX line! Walking to Hachiko exit is a mere 10 minutes walk and it is really not that far when the weather is nice.

The good about this hotel other than the location is that it is clean and rather new. It is slightly more spacious compared to other hotels too. Also, there are two cafes to choose your complimentary breakfast from (one is a buffet with poor selection and bad food but beautiful decor and the other one is a set menu with limited selection but better quality food).

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The Public House cafe with really pretty decor but crappy breakfast and coffee.

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The bad about this hotel is the lack of Wifi in the hotel room. They do provide Lan point for free internet usage. So if you buy a Lan router which allows you to use Wifi that will be perfect. Jasmine brought a gadget like that and we had free wifi in the room too! Will share more about the gadget in other posts for tech noobs like me! Haha. Other than that, I really don’t have any complaints about this hotel!

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The other cafe with very nice and modern decor too.

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Their set meal selection. Limited but yummy. Not for people who eats a lot of breakfast though. Haha.

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