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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Monday, 30 December 2013

Photo taken @ Lake Ashi & Mt Hakone

Review on Matsubaya Inn (Ryokan)

My family decided to give Ryokan a try so I booked Matsubaya Inn as per their review in Tripadvisor. When we stepped in, it is as per the photo shown in their website. The room is warmth and cozy as compared to hotel. I totally love sleeping on the thick futon. But be mindful not all places provided thick futon. The apartment I stayed in Tokyo provided thin futon which is not as comfortable. There is heater, free drinks & snacks. The toilet is small, as per Japan standard. But the worst is the room wall is rather thin. I can hear my siblings whom are resting at the next room. The journey from the Kyoto train station to the inn is around 15mins walk. We would shivering everytime we walked from the train station and back to the inn, Lucky there are vending machines around and we can buy hot drinks to warm us up.

Nearby the inn, there is a traditional japanese restaurant. You have to take off your shoes, hang your coats on the wall. People are drinking & smoking inside the restaurant. The mistress of the restaurant is very nice and friendly. Although her English is quite limited, we still enjoy ordering food from her. We are not frustrated at all. Food is nice, and price is reasonable.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Osaka castle

Today our plan for Osaka is to visit the Osaka Castle. Actually my plan is to go Nara from Kyoto. But my cousin insists in going to Osaka because Osaka Castle is a must. After walking 15mins from the train station, we have reached the outskirts of Osaka Castle. We would quite surprise even during cold weather (around few degrees) people would pinic at the park. There are even joggers wearing quite thin material as clothing.
This is the entrance to the Osaka Castle. It looks quite small, more like a side entrance. But it is the main entrance. I guess this is the strategy of the castle who once never failed to protect its owner until one fateful war who torn it down. 
Just in front of the Osaka Castle, there are vendors selling hot steaming snacks. I want to buy some, but I'm afraid that I can't eat in the castle. So end up, I didn't buy any. But there are several Japanese buying the snacks and sitting on the bench. Surprisely, most of the people are locals instead of foreigners. I guess it is a norm that people staying nearby would come to walk their dogs or just mingle with their friends in the park.
Once we enter the castle, we are lead to the lift queue. The security guard explains that the max level we can go up using the lift is 5th floor. Remaining of the floor we have to climb by stairs. We cannot take photos in most of the areas. So you really have to go down personally to look at what is in store for you. You definitely won't regret if you love Japanese culture and history.
In summary, Osaka Castle is built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was born as peasant. After several "careers" changed, he finally worked under Oda Nobunaga. This castle helps him won lotsa of wars and he gains fame & power over the years. He adopted several children and did not have any children until age of 50plus. Unfortunately during his early 60s, he suspected that his wives & adopted children is planning for rebellion, he killed them all. (That's pretty sad) At his death bed, he asked his minister to take care of his 6yrs old son.
This is one of the story I remember quite clearly because I find is quite a tragic. There are also other stories about his wars and how he lead his life.
How to get to Osaka Castle 
The recommended approach to Osaka Castle is through Otemon Gate at the park's southwestern corner. The closest station is Tanimachi 4-chrome Station along the Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line

The closest JR station to Osaka Castle is Osakajokoen Station on the JR Loop Line, a 10 minute, 160 yen ride from JR Osaka Station.

Mount fuji

Mt Fuji is a MUST visit if you go to Tokyo. Although we miss our meeting time due to some misunderstanding. The tour agency re-book our tour for next day. I guess it is blessing in disguise, because the next day is a wonderful clear day.
According to the tour guide, it is only 10% chance that we are able to see mt fuji clearly due to the clouds & fog. Hence she keeps on saying we are very lucky.
Below is the photos that I took on the way to the mount fuji information centre. This is very near to the amusement park which I also want to go. Hopefully my bf would accompany me because he doesn't really like rides.

When we reach the information centre, we only have 15mins rest time before our bus head to the mount fuji 5th station. My family and I quickly took some photos and head to the restrooms.
When we reached the 5th station, everywhere is covered with ice. The funny part is ice cream at the ice cream palor is out of stock! We only have 30mins to take photo and look at the beautiful scenery. I hope we have more time so that I can try the food at the restaurant and browse the souvenir store. I told my bf my regrets, and he said that he will definitely come here with me. I love my bf so much!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

REVIEW: Fullhouse Signature Singapore @ Clarke Quay

I saw a post @ OYHZ blog that she has visited Fullhouse Signature and there is a 1 for 1 promotion, so I decided to give it a try.
At first I have difficulty locating the restaurant because it is at the second floor of the shophouse. When you first enter you can see a family happily posing wall feature, which is kinda cute. The restaurant also beautifully decorate.

My bf had make a reservation for a romantic seat. Hence we are lead to the "bed" seating. I must admit it is kinda romantic. But the seating isn't comfortable. I guess they should provide more comfortable cushions on the bench.
We have ordered lavender peppermint tea which is very nice! I totally love the tea, tea pot & tea cup. Shortly the mussels also arrived. But the taste is just average. We have also ordered mushroom soup, but it isn't really nice. Next is the steak and chicken chop.
My bf find that chicken chop is quite nice and he has finished it. As for me, I have requested medium for my steak. But was given well done. So I didn't finish it because the meat is rather tough for me. The manager saw that my steak is only 1/4 eaten, and asked me what's wrong. I told her the situation, she apologised and said she would replace a new one for me. I told her it's ok because I'm already fulled. Being very friendly, she told me I can change to other dishes too. But since I'm really fulled, I told her is really ok.
Fullhouse Signature @ Clarke Quay
3A, Clarke Quay, River Valley Road,
#02-04, Singapore 179020
(Located above Tomo Japanese Restaurant)
Opening Hours: 11:30am - 01:00am daily
Tel: (+65) 6338 0885 Fax: (+65) 6338 8280