I have traveled to Japan 3 times before between 2000 to 2011, staying around mostly in Osaka/Kansai area between 3 weeks to 3 months and mostly on business trip. But since then I have already fell in love with this country so I said to myself that someday I will definitely come back here BUT for holidays alone and no work. So now after 12 years since I last set foot in Japan, I will be able to do my “homecoming” finally although shorter than my original plan but the excitement is still the same.
Day 1, Wednesday (30/10/2013) – Singapore to Tokyo to Kawaguchiko
Our plane took off from Changi Airport a little before 1:00 early in the morning and landed at Taoyuan Airport in Taipei after 4 and 1/2 hours for a brief stopover. An hour later, we are back on the plane heading for Tokyo. Finally we arrived at Narita Airport Terminal 2 after another 4 hours and proceed directly to JR East Travel Service Center at the basement to buy the Suica+N’EX Pass Package (will explain on another separate article why we decided to buy this package). The lady in the center try to sell us the JR Kanto Pass but I told her I’m buying the Suica+N’EX package because it is more economical for our route. When I told her what station we will alight to be able to maximize the N’EX ticket, she was quite surprise (and impressed I guess) so she said (in a way) that we made a good decision.
The Suica+N’EX (2 way worth 5,500Y) Package comes with a 2 way (separate) ticket to and from Narita Airport and a Card worth 2,000Y (500Y refundable deposit and 1,500Y usable) which you can use in all trains and subway.
From Narita Terminal T2, we took the 11:48am N’EX train and arrived at Tokyo Station exactly 12:44pm.
Note: You will have to transfer to another line/platform in Tokyo Station so be sure you include extra time (in walking/finding the correct platform) when you choose the train schedule for you Tokyo-Takao trip.
We left Tokyo Station at 12:52 via JR Chuo Special Rapid Service and arrived at Takao Station by 13:48 (Takao is the farthest station you can exit for “free” using the N’EX ticket, Tokyo to Takao ticket alone costs 890Y if bought separately).
When we arrived at Takao Station, we exited the station (to be able to scan our NEX ticket) and bought a separate train ticket for our Takao to Otsuki journey which costs 570Y (we learned later on when going back to Tokyo that we can also use our Suica Card for this journey). We left at 14:01 via JR Chuo Line and arrived at Otsuki Station at exactly 14:45pm.
Note: You don’t need to exit the Otsuki station to tranfer to Fujikyu Railway, inside you can walk directly to Fujikyu Railway gantry and can buy the ticket without exiting the station.
From Otsuki we bought another ticket for our Otsuki to Kawaguchiko trip (1,110 Y) and boarded the Fujikyu Railway at 14:51pm and arrived at Kawaguchiko Station (FINALLY!!!!!!) at 15:47pm.
We will be staying at Resort Inn Fujihashi for the next two nights and from the reviews that I read before we book the hotel, they said that it’s around 15 minutes walk from the station so with the map that I downloaded from the internet prior to our trip, we started to walk. According to the map, there will be two 711 stores that we will pass by before we reached the hotel but midway after passing the first 711, we started to worry ‘coz it seems the road ahead is quite a bit “out” of the center of the town already, but still we decided to proceed according to the map.
Finally, after 20 minutes of walking, we reached our home for the next two nights. The Resort Inn Fujihashi is quite rundown but it added to the “homey” atmosphere I believe.
Dinner time is approaching so we decided to check the 711 nearby for food. I was so excited to check how their 711 food will compare to the food we had from 711 stores in Taiwan(which I enjoy very much) but sadly I was disappointed for lack of choices. Good thing there is a local supermarket store nearby called Ogino and they sell quite a lot of bento from sushi to rice meals.
Our first Japanese meal bought from the supermarket, from top right/clockwise Tempura/Prawn Rice (500Y), Pork Gyoza (200Y), Veggie Gyoza (200Y, which taste like the Proky Gyoza too), Bean Curd Skin Rice (259Y) and Burger Steak Rice (399Y). Itadakimasu!
Tired from more than 8 hour of plane ride and 4 hours of journey by train, we ended our first day in Japan soaking on a hot tub inside the inn’s Japanese communal bath.