It’s day 9 in Tokyo!

Woke up in the early morning and ate my breakfast in the hotel dining cafe while watching people getting ready for work.

Day 9 Tokyo

After breakfast, I prepared and travelled to the famous Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest buildings in the world!

Tokyo Skytree

There are several ways to reach there but I chose to take a short walk from Asakusa station and enjoy the morning walk.

View of Tokyo Skytree over sumida river

From Asakusa, I crossed over the Sumida River. Can already see the Skytree standing very tall among the buildings!

It’s more than 10 mins walk so if you are in a rush I would suggest taking the straight train to there!

Tokyo Skytree

After a leisure walk, I finally reached the Tokyo Skytree!

In there, you need to purchase tickets in order to get to the top. It seems there are 2 kinds of queues, the express and the normal. The express queue is more for international visitors which want a faster way of buying a ticket, but it’s more expensive.

Since I’m early, there wasn’t much queue and just joined the normal queue to purchase the tickets. There are 2 kinds of tickets too, one which is the main ticket (Tembo Deck) and the other is the upgrade (Tembo Galleria).

I bought the main ticket only at 2,060 yen as I feel the upgrade is not worth to take.

After purchasing the ticket you will be ushered to the elevator which will take you to the 350th floor.

Once you are on the observation deck, you can view the whole 360 degrees view of the city of Tokyo!

It was a very clear day and I got to see Mt Fuji from there! It’s good to have a clear beautiful weather when you are up in the Skytree!

City view with mount fuji

City view with Mt Fuji at the background!

 

I spent quite a while there because it was a beautiful view from up there.

There is a cafe and restaurant over there below the observation deck if you are feeling hungry. But do note that if you descend down the lower floor, you cannot go back up.

At floor 340, there is a glass floor which is for you to scare yourself and look down below your feet.

Tokyo Skytree glass floor

After that headed out back and took a train to Asakusa!

Website: Tokyo Skytree

Asakusa

Feeling hungry? Asakusa is one of the must visit place when you are in Tokyo.

That’s because the area has a lot of nice restaurants and also street food in the Asakusa Nakamise Street.

Finding the street is easy because you’ll see this big gate before entering the street.

Kaminarimon gate

In there you can see many shops selling souvenirs and many street food and snacks that you can buy and eat.

Dango

Eating yummy dango

With 1000 yen, you can buy many snacks to eat!

Senbei

Freshly baked senbei (rice cracker) which is so delicious!

Do take note that in Japan, there is a rule that states that you cannot eat while you walk. So after purchasing your street snack, there is a small area just beside the stall for you to stand and consume your food.

As you walk to the end of the street, there is a temple, which is the famous Senso-ji temple.

Sensoji temple

The Senso-ji is a Buddhist temple and also one of Japan’s oldest temple.

After that, I headed on to my next destination which is away from Tokyo.

Shimosoga

As it was coming of the plum blossom season during end of February to early March, I recommend you to visit one of Japan’s plum blossom forests.

So in Shimosoga, it is famous for their plum blossom forest. They have the plum blossom festival there so I wanted to see the plum blossoms!

But first be sure to check the dates of the festival!

To get there from Tokyo, you need to take the train to Odawara and change the train to Shimosoga Station.

Once you reached the station, there is a map for you to check your orientation.

You need to take a walk to the plum blossom forest.

If you are lost at the station, don’t worry, there are many elderly who are also visiting the forest for the festival and you can just follow them.

shimosoga map

The walk took some time.

Plum blossom walk

You can see many plum blossom trees along the roads.

And view many varieties of beautiful and sweet smelling plum blossoms up close.

plum blossom

I got hungry again so I bought a bowl of udon with ume on it from the festival food stall. Delicious!

Ume udon

After admiring the plum blossoms, I had to head back to Odawara and transfer to get to Hakone!

Odawara

By the time I reached Odawara Station, it was almost reaching evening time.

But first, I made a short trip to visit the Odawara Castle!

Odawara castle

It’s a beautiful castle and the golden hour makes it even more beautiful.

I didn’t go in the castle as it was closing time already. After enjoying the sunset view, it’s time to go back to Odawara station. It’s just a short walk back to the station from the castle.

It was getting late and I needed to take the bus to Hakone. No time to have dinner outside. So I just bought a bento for my dinner from the supermarket to bring to the ryokan in Hakone. Its on sale as the supermarket is closing.

Then boarded the bus to Hakone which will stop directly outside the ryokan.

Hakone

The place I’m staying is at Mount View Hakone.

It’s quite a distance away from the main site of Hakone, so the most convenient way of reaching the place is by a direct bus from Odawara station.

Bus to Mount View Hakone

It’s about an hour journey and if you have the Hakone FreePass, it would be much better as the pass allows you to take the bus for free.

There are several attractions to visit in Hakone, so it’s a better deal to buy the pass (which comes in 2 days or 3 days ticket) as you can have unlimited bus rides to get around Hakone.

You can buy it from Shinjuku or Odawara.

Ok so back to my journey, I reached the ryokan in the night which the bus took me to near the entrance.

Reached Mount View Hakone in Night

There were not many people during this winter-spring period. Seems like its the non-peak period for them.

I had booked the single room which I’m glad they have it! Great for us single travellers! It’s difficult to find single rooms for ryokans.

Mount View Hakone Single Room

I think I got the western room, so they got a nice bed, and the room is floored with tatami mat (which I really like). I’m going to stay for 1 night only due to my tight schedule.

Mount View Hakone Desk

There is a desk for me to put my stuff and to do work behind the bed.

Mount View Hakone entrance

Here’s the view of the main door. There’s a TV for me to watch while relaxing on my bed.

There is a natural onsen bath in the ryokan. Hakone is usually a destination for local Japanese to visit and relax as there are many hot spring onsens in Hakone due to the geothermal locations. It is also a popular place for students to have fun there (probably it’s like a chalet to them).

Packed dinner in Hakone

I did not get the dinner package when I booked the hotel, so I had my bento which I bought it cheap from the supermarket in Odawara.

After dinner, I went for my Onsen bath. It’s a small onsen which has both indoor and outdoor hot spring. The only thing I didn’t like is that you have to pay for the lockers, which is coin operated.

It was a pretty quiet night as there was only me and a Korean guy which I made friends with while soaking in the onsen.

The indoor onsen is basically clear, which I guess it’s only hot water, while the outdoor onsen is milkier which contains minerals for health and skin benefits. It’s a good bath since the onsen really heals the tired body after a long hike!

Hakone candid shot with bear

After a good bath, they had a resting area for you to chat and cool down. You can buy drinks and beer, play ping pong, and I took a picture with a giant teddy bear!

Day 10: Hakone

Window view Hakone

Good morning! It’s day 10 and got a view of the mountains from my window.

I had the included breakfast for my hotel booking. So just wash up and got ready for breakfast.

Mount View Hakone Breakfast

Breakfast was good as there is a variety of food dishes and a crab soup also.

After breakfast, there is still some time before checkout, so I went for an onsen bath again before checking out.

Mount View Hakone Daytime

Daytime view of Mount View Hakone ryokan

It’s time to go explore Hakone! Ok, I don’t have much time, so I can only be selective on the places to visit.

So I’m going to take the Gondola at Togendai to Sounzan Station.

Togendai Hakone

It’s quite a distance away from the ryokan, so I had to take a short walk and then take a bus to the station.

On the way, I passed by the Le Petite Prince Museum.

le petite prince museum

When I reach the Togendai station, you will be greeted with a beautiful view of Lake Ashi.

Lake Ashi

There are some swan boats which you can rent to paddle around.

Hakone Lake Ashi

There is a pier where you can take the sightseeing cruise in Lake Ashi which will take you to the other side of Hakone.

But I’m taking the gondola!

Taking the Gondola up Hakone

It’s really good day as the weather is clear and you can see Mt Fuji!

Owakudani

The gondola took me up to Sounzan station where you can take a short walk to Owakudani which is a geothermal valley area.

Owakudani

There you can view their geothermal steam and eat their special black onsen eggs. The eggs are black because they are boiled in the steaming hot spring which turns the shell black. I tried one but it wasn’t really special about it.

Owakudani steam

Got a nice view of Mt Fuji

Owakudani mt Fuji

After some photo taking, I headed back down. There were some gondola stations were closed during that time because of a volcanic activity that happened a few days ago. So do check the websites if the stations are working.

Then took a walk to the next bus stop and stopped by a restaurant to have lunch.

Lunch Hakone

I find the special dish of tempura fishes are delicious and special. Worth to try it out and it’s not that expensive.

special menu lunch

Then after, since there’s time before the next bus back to the train station, I took a walk to a nearest Shinto shrine.

Kuzuryu shrine

kuzuryu shrine

There’s a garden and also a small shrine which is the Hakuryu shrine. I think both shrines are popular with females praying for good luck and marriage.

Another interesting interest is that there is a gate which sits right in the middle of the lake.

kuzuryu gate

Just do note this Shinto shrine is in the middle with no bus stops nearby so you need to take a little hike to get there.

Too bad I had no time to visit other places of Hakone, reserving it for another time to visit. I had to go back to Tokyo and catch an early flight on day 11.

Somehow the hotel prices in Tokyo surged for day 10, it’s probably a holiday coming or the bookings start coming in for Sakura season.

Because of an early flight which I had to take from Narita airport, there is a consideration of travelling time to get to Narita from Tokyo and also my Japan Rail Pass is expiring at the end of day 10!

Well thankfully, I thought of a wonderful idea of booking a nearby hotel in Narita! The price is cheap and it has a shuttle bus to the airport!

So at the evening, I took the Narita Express (you can use your Japan Rail Pass to take the Narita Express to Narita Airport for free). As the Narita Express is a premium ride, it’s there is much more space and more comfortable! The normal train to the airport was so packed!

I booked the hotel at Narita Excel Hotel Tokyu. They have a shuttle bus which will take you to and from Narita Airport.

Narita Excel Hotel Tokyu

It’s useful to stay in this hotel if you arrive in Narita very late in the night and you need a place to sleep or an early flight in the morning and you don’t need to rush for a long train journey.

Here’s a very useful shuttle bus timing for the hotel.

Narita Excel Hotel Tokyu shuttle bus timing

Take the shuttle bus from Bus stop no. 26 at Narita Airport.

narita hotel tokyu room

The room is big and spacious which is nice. The TV is small compared to new hotels.

narita hotel tokyu toilet

The toilet is clean to use.

Had a good night sleep there.

Day 11: Back to Singapore

It’s day 11!

I’m abit sad that I have to be back to Singapore. Wish I had more time to explore more in Tokyo!

So the good thing I booked the hotel near Narita is that I don’t have to worry about transportation time and have more sleep and time to stay in the hotel before checkout.

I took the Scoot flight, which is a budget airline back to Singapore.

scoot flight to Taipei

Had to transit in Taipei for this flight but is fine which can provide a brief break from flying long hours.

Flight to Singapore

Back to Singapore!

See you soon again!

Check out my other travels!