Good morning in Yamagata!

Since I did not get the provided hotel breakfast, I just took a very short walk to Matsuya for a cheap breakfast!

I got the grilled fish breakfast set (450 Yen) which consists of a bowl of rice, salad, blended carrot, miso soup, a place of grilled fish and seaweed.

I didn’t have much time to go search so just settled with a simple meal.

Matsuya breakfast

Breakfast at Matsuya

After that, packed up my stuff and checked out of the hotel.

Since I’m going to Zao Mountains, I left my luggage with the hotel and pick it up later when I’m back.

Getting to Zao Onsen

To get to Zao Onsen, all you need to do is to take the bus at the bus stop #1 just outside of Yamagata station.

Bus stop to Zap Onsen

It costs 1000 yen per trip and is about 30 – 40 minutes trip.

You’ll then arrive at the Zao Onsen bus terminal.

Zao Onsen is a huge skiing resort area where many people go there to ski and also to soak in the onsen during winter.

Zao Onsen village

It is also the place where you can see the famous “Zao Snow monsters” which is an amazing sight!

Zao Snow Monsters

To view the Zao Monsters, you need to take the ropeway to the top.

So you have to take a short walk from the bus terminal to the ropeway. Make sure to walk to the correct one!

It costs 2,600 Yen for round trip.

waiting for the ropeway car

Waiting for the ropeway car

Enjoy the beautiful sights along the way up!

Once at the top just head out to view the snow monsters!

Zao snow monsters

The Zao snow monsters!

How these monsters were formed is because of the geographical location where the cold siberian jet streams freezes the cloud water droplets on the fir coniferous trees causing the formation of shrimp tail-like shapes.

That day was pretty cloudy and there were strong winds and snow blowing so visibility was quite poor.

But I got to take photos with them!

Taking photo with the monster

This one looks like a giant parrot!

If you are staying there to ski, the experience will be so awesome on a good weather as you can ski through them!

It’s really cold outside, thankfully there is a cafeteria where you can warm up after staying out in the cold blasting wind and snow!

The snow is very soft and powdery.

Also I recommend to bring sunglasses when you travel to ski places to protect your eyes from the bright snow reflection.

At lower level of the ropeway where there is lower levels of winds, you can play in the snow with lots of photo taking opportunities in the snow!

Zao mountain snow

Playing with snow for a while

The way down via the ropeway is also a beautiful sight to see if you manage to squeeze to the window of the cable car.

After that headed back down to take the Yamagata Shinkansen from Yamagata to Tokyo which is a very scenic train ride.

Tokyo: Ueno

It’s a long journey and we transited from a snowing region to non-snowing place.

no snow

By the time I reached Tokyo it’s already dark in the night.

After reaching Ueno station, took a few minutes walk to my hotel which I had booked online while I was in Yamagata.

walking to hotel

Walking to hotel from Ueno Station

Hotel Sardonyx Ueno

Sardonyx Ueno Hotel is located a few minutes walk away from the main Ueno hotel.

It’s also located very close to the subway train station to the many different lines.

Checked into the hotel.

Sardonyx Ueno Hotel

My room

Hotel toilet

Hotel room toilet

The room was pretty small but I guess that’s quite a norm in Tokyo.

There’s many usb ports at the bedside for you to charge your phone and there’s a sofa for me to sit and put my laptop for my blogging.

As I was starving and tired, I just popped by to the nearest ramen shop near the hotel.

ramen dinner

Ramen dinner

I find it ok, pretty normal ramen. Though the grilled beef shop beside it smells more tempting. Too bad I can’t eat beef.

After that had a walk around in Ueno city.

Ameya Yokocho

Ameya Yokocho

Walking in the streets in Ueno reminds me of streets of Hong Kong or China where there are many Chinese shops, stalls selling authentic Chinese street food and aggressive touting and bargaining.

There’s many Chinese tourists there so it seems to be a popular tourist spot where they can get their Chinese food fix.

Some parts of the alley are darker and there are some red light districts with pimps approaching you and feels pretty underworld. So do be careful walking these streets in the night.

But there are many small restaurants and Izakaya in many alleys where I see alot of salary men stay there for a drink and snacks late in the night.

dark streets in ueno

Dark alley in Ueno

While I still have time before closing, I travelled Kamiyacho station to see the Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

Dropped by at 7-11 to buy some snacks. 7-11 is a snack haven! They have really good and cheap snacks!

After that back to the hotel to rest for the night relaxing and drinking beer and eating snacks bought from 7-11.

new beer

Tried out a new beer in Japan which has lemon flavour. The alchol content is actually quite high!

Rest for the night and get ready for Day 8!

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