Thursday, May 24, 2018

Travel to Miyagi

Starting from 23rd May 2018, my favourite Japanese group Hey! Say! JUMP will be travel ambassadors for Miyagi prefecture in Japan.

Therefore, I have decided to compile some information here, in English, for international HSJ fans whom are thinking of planning a trip to visit Miyagi, since the entire official website/promotional video is in Japanese.

Please bear in mind that I am also quite unfamiliar with Miyagi prefecture, and my knowledge of Japanese is not really fluent, so this is also going to be a learning process for me as I go about updating more info on this particular blog post.

(updated on 24/5/2018)

Image from official site

Here are the Official Links: 

Official Campaign Website:
Official Youtube video: Here

Official Miyagi tourism site: (Japanese version) (English version)

Locations featured in the promotional video:

1) Yabu (and Hikaru)'s segment: 
Screencapture from official video

Screencapture from official video

Actual Location:
Aoba Castle Ruins in Sendai City
More info:

Google Map:

2) Yamada (and Hikaru)'s segment:
Screencapture from official video

Actual location:
Minami Sanriku Sun Sun Shopping Village: Official website

Location on Google Map:

3) Takaki's segment:
Screencapture from official video

Screencapture from official video

4) Inoo (and Hikaru)'s segment:
Screencapture from official video

Screencapture from official video

Actual location: 
Tashiro Island (Tashirojima) also known as "Cat Island" or Manga Island
More info on how to get to this place:

Location on Google Maps:

5) Yuto's segment:
Screencapture from official video

Actual location: 
Seapal-Pier Onagawa (just opposite Onagawa station)
Official website:

Location on Google Map:

6) Keito (and Hikaru)'s segment:
Screencapture from official video

Screencapture from official video

Actual location:
Matsushima Bay
More info on how to reach Matsushima Bay area:

7) Chinen's segment:
Screencapture from official video

Actual location:
Kessenuma Shark Museum
Official website:

Location on Google Maps:

8) Arioka (and Hikaru)'s segment:
Screencapture from official video

Actual Location:
Naruko Onsen

Location on Google Maps:

Locations featured on the official website:

-More info coming soon-

Stamp Rally:

Official site:

*credits to CeliaSee@twitter for the stamp rally guide below, since my level of Japanese knowledge isn't able to fully understand everything on the website yet.

You need to register first at this link:
Then login here:
Then use any app that can scan the QR code to scan the stamp while logged in.
You also need to turn on the gps location function on your phone.

There are 4 areas to collect stamps.
If you get 1 or 2 stamps, you can exchange for small presents on the spot.
If you get 3 stamps, you can exchange at a special counter for an original HSJ logo hand towel.
If you have 6 stamps, you can enter into a draw for Miyagi specialties.

Sanriku area: 24.05.2018 to 30.06.2018
Kenpoku area: 01.07.2018 to 31.07.2018
Kennan area: 01.08.2018 to 31.08.2018
Sendai/Matsushima area: 01.09.2018 to 30.09.2018

Registration boxes: 1) email address 2) password (>=6 alpha) 3) reconfirm password 4) Sex 5) Age 6) Prefecture. Pick 海外at the bottom for foreign 7) occupation: company employee, freelance, civil servant, housewife, student, none, other Read the t&c then press the orange button.

You will then get a confirmation email. Once signed up, you can login.
You can put in your email in the first box and password in the second. Press the orange button to login.

How to travel to Miyagi prefecture:

There is an airport (Sendai Airport) within Miyagi prefecture.
However, since there isn't alot of international flights using Sendai Airport, therefore, the easiest way is to fly in to Tokyo using either Narita Airport or Haneda Airport, and then make your way to Miyagi (or Sendai) by either train or highway bus.

By train:
A 1-way fare via Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Sendai costs at least 10,370yen (Unreserved seat) or 10,890yen (Reserved seat) *fare as per 24/5/2018 using hyperdia website to calculate
The duration of the Shinkansen journey would take about 100-150mins.

As you can see, Shinkansen fares isn't exactly cheap.
But for us international tourists, there are a few railpasses that covers the travel between Tokyo and Miyagi prefecture that you could consider getting, since it will cover this particular Shinkansen ride.
1) JR Railpass
2) JR East-South Hokkaido Railpass
3) JR East Pass (Tohoku Area) *NOT the Niigata/Nagano area version

By Bus:
Alternatively, you might want to take bus (or overnight bus) instead of train.
Most of the bus websites are in Japanese, however, WillerExpress's website is mainly in English.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

(Japan Oct 2016) Day 14: Tokyo to Kawaguchiko

Day 14 (13 Oct 2016): Tokyo to Kawaguchiko. Stay Kawaguchiko

Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) is a nice place to go if you want to see Mt Fuji.

From Shinjuku, there are actually a few ways to go to Kawaguchiko:
1) Take bus from Shinjuku (costs 1750yen for 1 way, takes about 2 hours)
2) Take either regular JR Chuo line train or Limited Express train to Otsuki station, then transfer to the Fujikyu local or Limited Express train to Kawaguchiko.

Use the hyperdia website to calculate the train schedule/fares

This is the Limited Express train that we took from Otsuki station to Kawaguchiko station.

storybooks at the play area on the train for children to read

There's a toilet onboard this Limited Express train.

We finally arrived at Kawaguchiko station, and saw a Thomas train parked at the station. So I sneaked a few photos of it. :)
Thomas train

The locker room at Kawaguchiko station

Kawaguchiko station. 

 Before heading to our ryokan, we walked to a convenience store not too far away from Kawaguchiko station to buy some drinks and snacks for our overnight stay, since I was pretty sure there isn't any convenience stores near our ryokan.

 After we arrived at our ryokan, we deposited our luggage and headed out to find lunch.

We originally planned to take the ropeway to the viewpoint, but since it was a cloudy day and Mt Fuji wasn't really visible, so we decided to skip the ropeway.

Low clouds

About 5 mins walk from our ryokan, we came across this restaurant.


Gyoza filling stuffed in Chicken wing


Hello Aiba!
 There was still a little time before we could check in at our hotel, so we took a slow stroll along the lake back to our ryokan after having our lunch.

Our room

The view from our room's window.  Too bad it was so cloudy, so we could only see the peak of Mt Fuji on this day.

Go next to Day 15: Kawaguchiko to Tokyo

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

(Japan Oct 2016) Day 13: Visit Tokyo (Harajuku and Kichijoji)

Day 13 (12 Oct 2016): Visit Tokyo (Harajuku and Kichijoji). Stay Tokyo

I apologize for my long absence.  
I'm finally back to updating this blog and hopefully I can complete uploading the rest of this trip (as well as 3 other trips which I had in 2017) before I leave on my next Japan trip in Feb 2018.  :)

So, anyway, back to the topic.

On this day, while my hubby was still sleeping in our hotel room at Shinjuku, I snuck out to Harajuku for another quick visit.  :)

1 of the shops selling un-official Johnny's idols' pics

If you walk into this small alley (Le Ponte), you will find a shop at the end selling some unofficial Johnny's merchandise as well.

This shop.

There's also a shop along the main Takeshita Dori street that sells Johnny's related pins too. 
Kanjani8, Hey! Say! JUMP pins...

After my quick Harajuku visit, I went back to Shinjuku to meetup with my hubby, and we headed to Kichijoji for lunch.
From JR Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo line direct to Kichijoji.
This is our first time visit to Kichijoji and I loved that neighbourhood.

From Kichijoji station, we took a short walk towards the Inokashira Park's direction.
There were many quaint shops/cafes along the way.

Over here, there's a German Sausage Shop that was once featured in a Japanese TV program (Yan Yan JUMP) back in 2012 hosted by my favourite Japanese idol (Yabu Kota from Hey! Say! JUMP), so that's why I chose to come here to see if the shop is still here since it's on the way from Kichijoji station to Inokashira Park.
Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)

Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)

Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)

After a short break, we went to Inokashira Park for a stroll.
Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)

Inokashira Park is a pretty large park with a zoo as well as activities such as the swan boats that you see in the photo below.  But, apparently, there seemed to be a belief that couples who ride on these swan boats together will end up separating, probably that's why we tend to only see parent and children on these swan boats.  

Entrance to the zoo at Inokashira Park. 

After spending some time relaxing at Inokashira Park, we headed back to Kichijoji station's area.

Donki store near Kichijoji Station

 Near Kichijoji station is another shop where Yan Yan JUMP tv program.
This shop sells Tare Katsu don (sauce pork cutlet with rice) which is a speciality from Niigata prefecture.

Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)

Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)

Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)
Screenshot from Yan Yan JUMP (2012.07.01 telecast)

Look at how thin and crispy the pork cutlets are! 

Since my hubby already had a hotdog earlier on, so he chose to just have katsu sandwich for now.

After our late lunch, we continued exploring Kichijoji.  

flaky croissant taiyaki 

This stall selling croquettes near the Harmonica alley opposite Kichijoji station is very popular.  There seems to be always a long queue at this stall.  
 Harmonica Yokocho (alley) is a series of small alleyways with small stalls located just across Kichijoji station.

Back to Kichijoji station.
 After our visit to Kichijoji, we headed back to Shinjuku where we had kushikatsu (fried skewers) buffet at a Kushiya Monogatari branch at ground floor of Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. 

Both of us love fried food as well as buffet.  So we really enjoyed our time at Kushiya Monogatari (nope, this is not a paid advertorial.  hahaha)

Go back to Day 12: Visit Tokyo