Magical Wonderland by the Mountain

Magical Wonderland by the Mountain

Still on our road trip through Japan, this final blog post is about a little less travelled place for most tourists to Japan. Starting on our journey from Tokyo to the central north of Honshu Island, we had stopped at Yamanouchi where the Snow Monkeys live, and made a westward turn towards Matsumoto, home of the Crow Castle. Heading south from Matsumoto, we were making our way back to Tokyo with a stop near Mt. Fuji.

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Matsumoto

Matsumoto

Continuing on about our first road trip in Japan, this blog post is about Matsumoto, the second largest city in Nagano Prefecture. It’s the second largest city but it does feel small if you compare it to Tokyo. Matsumoto is about 1.5 hours drive from Nagano city and is a noteworthy stop along the way. We drove from Yamanouchi where we had our first encounter with the Snow Monkeys.

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Hokkaido in Winter

Hokkaido in Winter

The northern most island in the Japanese island chain, Hokkaido is also the largest island and is largely undeveloped compared to the other islands. More well known for its beautiful scenery and ski resorts, as well as, the source of Sapporo beer, Hokkaido is still not as popular a destination as the rest of Japan for tourists. Well, I think that first of all it is not easily accessible. You can travel there by car, plane or train, but flying is the easiest and fastest. Secondly, the cost of travelling to Hokkaido itself is pretty expensive.

Update: As of March 2016, the Shinkansen or bullet train now goes to Hakodate from Tokyo in around 4 hours, making it more convenient to travel there. More information on the Shinkansen service can be found here. And for visitors to Japan, we can use the Japan Rail Pass for this ride, making it even more economical to travel. Continue reading “Hokkaido in Winter”

Narita

Narita

The city that Tokyo’s most well known airport is named after doesn’t really come across as a destination by itself. For most visitors, it is just a transiting point for another flight, or a getting off point to get into Tokyo. I had a chance to visit this city when I had to layover for a night during my visit to Hokkaido. I found that it is an interesting place to visit without the crowds and exuding its own small city charm. Continue reading “Narita”

Golfing in Japan – First Impressions

Golfing in Japan – First Impressions

I guess if playing golf in Japan is a dream for Singaporean golfers  (because it is expensive) then getting the chance to go on a fully paid golf trip in Japan is an epic fantasy.  This happened by chance in 2007 when our principal in Japan wanted to host a strategy meeting with all their agents. After the meeting there was to be a friendly golf competition and all attendees were invited to play. Since this was our first time dealing with a Japanese company and we didn’t want to offend them, we decided to accept the invitation although none of us were really good at golf. In fact, I was the only one who had ever played golf amongst my colleagues. Continue reading “Golfing in Japan – First Impressions”