Sunday, February 22, 2015

(Japan Jan 2015) Day 2: Tokyo to Nagoya. Visit Laguna-gamagori

Day 2 (24 Jan 2015): Tokyo to Nagoya. Visit Laguna-gamagori

0626-0634 Minami Senju to Ueno via JR Joban line 
Buy Ekiben from Ueno station's shops
0659-0704 Ueno to Tokyo via Shinkansen
0733-0917 Tokyo to Nagoya via Shinkansen 
Deposit luggage at Hotel (Eco Nagoya Hotel)
0956-1020 Nagoya to Toyohashi via Shinkansen
1029-1046 Toyohashi to Mikawa Otsuka via JR Tokaido Local line 
1057-1107 Mikawa Otsuka station to Laguna-gamagori themepark 
Visit Laguna-gamagori themepark (2150yen admission-only rate)
1638-1648 Laguna-gamagori to Mikawa Otsuka station via bus
1706-1717 Mikawa Otsuka to Toyohashi via JR Tokaido Local line
Made some train reservations from the JR office at Toyohashi station
1746-1815 Toyohashi to Nagoya via Shinkansen
Had dinner at Nagoya station
End of day 2

Woke up really early today since we had to catch an early Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Nagoya. Even though it was a Saturday morning, but I was initially pretty concerned whether the JR Joban line would be packed or not in the morning, since I've previously taken this train line from the same station (Minami-Senju station to Ueno station) on a weekday and it was CRAZILY CROWDED!!

Luckily, the train wasn't too crowded when we boarded at Minami Senju station. We were able to still bring our luggage and board the train comfortably even though all seats were already taken.  

Today also marks the start of our 14 days JR Railpass usage (46390yen). 

After a short 8mins train ride, we arrived at Ueno station. Even though it was only around 6:35am in the morning, but there were quite a number of shops selling ekiben (packed food boxes for long train journeys) that were already opened.
Shops inside Ueno station that sells ekiben.

My brother and I each bought 1 of the blue shinkansen ekibens. Costs 1300yen each.


 The convenience store at Ueno station (near Central gates) also sells quite a number of train souvenirs, as well as food and snacks.

 After a short 5mins Shinkansen train ride from Ueno, we arrived at Tokyo station. Yes, I know that we could have also taken the local trains (eg. JR Yamanote Loop line) for this same route (Ueno to Tokyo), but since we were carrying luggages and we had JR railpass coverage, so we chose to take Shinkansen for this short journey instead of possibly squeezing with morning crowds on local trains with our big luggages.

We didn't had much time at Tokyo station other than wandering around looking for a particular brand of drink from the vending machine (my fav drink: The Van Houten Cocoa drink) before we had to catch our long Shinkansen ride from Tokyo station to Nagoya.

Our Shinkansen departs Tokyo station at 07:33am and arrives at Nagoya station at 09:17am. Since it was a nearly 2 hours train ride, so we had ample time to eat our ekiben on the train.

Our ekiben (1300yen each)

Although most ekibens are served cold, but sometimes there are hot ekibens. My hubby had always wanted to try a hot one, so this time round he bought a hot ekiben. It was rice with beef. There is a little string at the base of the ekiben where once you pulled it, the ekiben will heat up on its own.

My hubby's hot ekiben 

Since my ekiben is a cold one, so we came up with this idea of stacking our onigiri and ekibens together so that my hubby's hot ekiben can also help to heat up our food. Didn't worked though. Hahaha.

 After arriving at Nagoya station, we quickly headed for our hotel (Eco Nagoya Hotel) to deposit our luggage so that we can go catch our train from Nagoya station to Toyohashi station.

This is a typical local train along JR Tokaido line which we took from Toyohashi to Mikawa Otsuka station. As you can see from the photo, there is a toilet onboard this train.
 We arrived at Mikawa Otsuka station at 10:46am where we then took a short bus ride to Laguna-gamagori themepark

Arrival at Mikawa Otsuka station

Boarding the bus just outside Mikawa Otsuka station for Laguna-gamagori

The names of the upcoming bus stops will be announced on the bus, so not to worry about missing your bus stop if you don't understand Japanese.

Alighted here for Laguna-gamagori. Just walk across this bridge to reach the themepark.
 Occasionally, they have certain anime theme promotional events going on at Laguna-gamagori themepark. This time round, it was One Piece :) 
This particular One Piece event lasted from 15/3/2014 to 1/3/2015. 

Admission-only tickets. They also have a more expensive but all-inclusive passport tickets too.

 There were a few One Piece themed game stalls.

Souvenir shop selling One Piece products.

Walking around inside the themepark. It's actually not a big themepark (unlike Disneyland or Huis Ten Bosch) where you will really need an entire day here. We only spent about half a day (5 hrs) at this place.

I bought a blue one :)

Around 16:30pm, we decided to leave the themepark and head back to Nagoya.

Sunset at Mikawa Otsuka station.
So after catching a short bus ride + short JR Tokaido line train ride + short Shinkansen ride, we finally arrived back at Nagoya station.

We were famished by then, so we walked around Nagoya station to look for a suitable place to have our dinner.  Came across this Tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) restaurant at 1 of the top levels of Takashimaya at Nagoya station. Not sure if it was because we were really hungry, but the food was really nice.

I had Katsu-don

The hubby had a mixed set of pork cutlet and large prawns. 
 After dinner, we took a slow stroll back to our hotel while browsing through some convenience stores and small shops at the train station since the departmental store was already closed by then.

This is why I LOVE the convenience stores in Japan.

Finally arrived at our hotel.

Our budget hotel (Eco Nagoya Hotel)

There is no elevator access from ground level to 2nd level. So we had to carry our luggage to 2nd floor where the reception counter and the elevator is located at.
Common sink area on our room's level. As you can see from the photo, the sinks are just outside our room. 
Since this is a budget hotel, so there are no ensuite bathrooms. The common toilets are available on every level, and the common shower rooms are located at the basement. Slight inconvenience, but room rates are really cheap, plus it is located really near the Shinkansen exit of Nagoya station. 

The Twin room which the hubby and I shared (4000yen for 1 room per night, which is 2000yen per pax)

The Single room which my brother stayed (2500yen for 1 night)

 Go to previous blog entry: Day 1 Singapore to Tokyo *Part 2*
/ Go to next blog entry: Day 3 Nagoya to Kyoto and Osaka