Friday, August 22, 2014

Gold Coast Australia, recalling old memories





https://picasaweb.google.com/101873323702791267856/2231Aug14GoldCoast#


























+ 2 hours 9am M'sia, 11am Gold Coast
  • 22.8.14 Fri   21:25 D7206 KUL 
  • 23.8.14 Sat  07:25 OOL 
  • 31.8.14 Sun 08:40 D7207 OOL 
  • 31.8.14 Sun 15:10 KUL 

  1. To bring binoculars, sunblock
  2. end of Winter 22/11C windy *wind breaker
  3. get maps and car (Malaysia driving license accepted)
  4. *travelling on toll roads, to pay within 3 days http://queenslandtollroads.com.au/maps/
Mercure *north up
  • Glow Worms Caves 40 mins
  • SeaWorld 24 mins
  • Broadwater Parklands 21 mins
  • Carrara Markets 4 mins east
  • Pacific Fair 9 mins east
Mercure *south down
  • Greenmount Beach Resort 33 mins
  • Airport 25 mins
  • Springbrook 24 mins, glow worms 39 mins
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 23 mins
  • Putt Putt Golf 12 mins
  • Robina 11 mins
Greenmount Beach Resort 
  • Airport 8 mins
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 14 mins
Airport 
  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary 8 mins
  • Putt Putt Golf 25 mins
Parking:
parking at theme parks is free of charge (and there are MANY lots available). The major shopping centres such as Pacific Fair and Robina also have free parking. The only place where parking might be an issue would be Surfer's Paradise (including the shopping centres) and the central area of Broadbeach (near to The Oasis). If you are driving to Surfer's, you may want to consider parking at Bruce Bishop carpark. Free parking for the first two hours.

23 Aug 14 - Mercure Gold Coast
Check-in 2pm Check-out 11am (2 connecting rooms), sofa bed set up @ 10AUD


Putt Putt Golf Mermaid Beach Attraction Voucher - (2014.08.18.1189972.5266742)

http://m.puttputtgolf.com.au/prices 14-DAY UNLIMITED PASS 14 consecutive days of unlimited entry to Waterways, Fun Run & Jungle Trail. 2 Adults & up to 4 Children$99 buy online @ $89.10 *Bookings not required 
  • Open Every Day and Night 9am – 10pm, including all public holidays
  • Upon completion of purchase, please print the voucher or present on your mobile device on the day.
  • Open in all weather conditions with 18 Holes covered with waterproof sails.

Address:
2492 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach 
Gold Coast, Queensland 4218

FROM SURFERS PARADISE:

  1. Head south on the Gold Coast Highway passing Pacific Fair Shopping Centre
  2. Turn right onto Crescent Avenue at KFC traffic lights

FROM COOLANGATTA:

  1. Head north on the Gold Coast Highway
  2. Look out for our giant golf ball on the left hand side
  3. Enter our driveway at the Putt Putt Parking sign
Broadwater Parklands - Southport which offers picnic and barbecue spaces, a rooftop terrace, fishing off the pier, swimming, and lunchtime sports on the Great Lawn. It also has The Rockpools water playground, wide open spaces for all kinds of sports, scooter tracks and a BMX circuit plus a playground and jumping pillow (like bouncy castle). It's located off Marine Parade in Southport and is open 9am to 5pm everyday (Dec-March open 7am-7pm) but closed Tuesday mornings. 

There is also a huge shopping centre, Australia Fair, located across the Gold Coast Highway, which houses many fast food and takeaway outlets within the food court. There is a huge carpark within the Broadwater parklands which would hold approximately 200 cars. This is located centrally to the rockpools. There is also numerous car parks along the side of the road along the Gold Coast Highway. The parking is not free though, and has a 2hr parking limit. The cost for parking is $1.50 per hour.
http://www.goldcoastkids.com.au/things-to-do/parks-playgrounds/picnic-spots-and-playgrounds/the-rockpools-water-playground-broadwater-parklands.html

Directions:
1.Head south on Mercure Pl towards Ballah Cres 71 m
2.Continue straight onto Ballah Cres 81 m
3.Turn left onto Marriott Way 0.1 km
4.Turn right onto Kincaid Drive 1.1 km
5.Turn left onto Explorers Way 0.5 km
6.At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Alexander Drive 1.2 km
7.Turn left onto Hinkler Drive 0.2 km
8.Turn right onto the M1/Pacific Motorway N slip road to Brisbane 0.4 km
9.Merge onto Pacific Motorway/M1 5.4 km
10.Take exit 66-Smith Street Motorway towards Smith Street Motorway/State Route 10/Southport 1.7 km
11.Turn right onto Smith St 0.6 km
12.Slight right to stay on Smith St 1.0 km
13.Take the slip road onto Smith Street Motorway 4.6 km
14.Continue onto Smith St 1.1 km
15.Continue onto North St 0.8 km


Sea World + Whale Watching Cruise family (AUD $325 + AUD $88 =$413.00 ) http://www.seaworldwhalewatch.com.au/pricing_and_packages.php

Whale Watch 10am - 12.30pm on 25 Aug 14 Monday
PLUS Sea World (Sea World entry can be used same day as your whale tour or day following, 26 Aug 14 Tuesday) Sea World Whale Watch is located at the Sea World Cruise Terminal in the carpark outside Sea World on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast – a one hour drive from Brisbane, Queensland. Entry to Sea World is not required.

Arriving by Car
From Surfers Paradise, drive along the Gold Coast Highway north and follow the signs.
From Southport, cross the Southport Bridge, turn left and follow the signs.
From the Pacific Motorway, take the Smith Street exit and follow the signs.
*There are plenty of free car parking spaces available at Sea World’s front entrance.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (free wifi @ cafe) 28 TOMEWIN STREET CURRUMBIN QUEENSLAND 4223 TEL: 1300 886 511
  • Bonus: $5 voucher per person to use in any of the parks retail outlets
  • Bonus: $5 voucher per person to use in any of the parks food and beverage outlets
  • Bonus: Buy one get one free ice cream cone at Sanctuary Cafe
  • 4 people Deal ID:  718677936 Security Code:  BBB453864E Voucher Code:  0020083TFN
  • 1 person Deal ID:  718677934 Security Code:14FC35A785 Voucher Code: 00501513C2

8:00am Lorikeet Feeding & Photo Opportunity
8:30am Crocodile Photo Opportunity
9:30am Pelican & Eel Feeding
10:00am Dr. Doo-Lots & the Creature Teachers Show & Possum Photo Opportunity
10:40am Air Asia Free Flight Bird Show & Bird of Prey Photo Opportunity
11:15am Australiana Sheep Shearing Show & Snake Photo Opportunity
1:00pm Crocodile Behaviours Show & Crocodile Photo Opportunity
2:00pm Air Asia Free Flight Bird Show & Bird of Prey Photo Opportunity
2:40pm Australiana Sheep Shearing Show & Snake Photo Opportunity
3:30pm Aboriginal Dance Show & Photo Opportunity with Dancers
4:00pm Lorikeet Feeding & Photo Opportunity
4:15pm Snake Photo Opportunity

• No booking required • Present smartphone or printed voucher on arrival • Valid hours:Mon-Sun: 8am-5pm

From the south:
Travel along the Pacific Highway onto the Gold Coast Highway at Coolangatta. From there, follow the highway to Currumbin and take a right turn at the Currumbin Hill lights into Tomewin Street.

From the north:
Follow the Gold Coast Highway to Currumbin. Follow the highway over the Currumbin Bridge and onto Currumbin Hill. At the bottom of the hill turn left at the lights into Tomewin Street.

From the M1 Motorway:
Follow the M1 Motorway and take exit 95 to Stewart Road. If coming from the south, turn right over and drive over the highway. If coming from the north, keep left when exiting. At the lights at Tugun where Stewart Road joins the Gold Coast Highway, turn left at the lights, follow the Gold Coast Hwy to the Currumbin Hill lights and turn right into Tomewin Street.
*Parking is available directly opposite the entrance to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. - See more at: http://www.cws.org.au/park-map-information-brochure/#sthash.V0mlAgLk.dpuf

Mt. Tamborine - http://www.tamborinemtncc.org.au/ picnic / glow worm / cheese factory / winery / skywalk
You could have a picnic at one of the many scenic spots over looking the Valley below… Also there are Antique Shops to browse through (subject to opening days) along the way. Gallery Walk – Clothing Boutiques, Café’s, Restaurants, Sweet shops, Wineries, Cheese factory, and National Parks with waterfalls to fill in your day.



Robina http://www.robinatowncentre.com.au/ free shuttle wed, thurs & fri,  free jet in reward card
From Coolangatta northbound follow the signs to the Pacific Highway/M1 and take exit 82 and follow the signs to Robina Town Centre.
From the Gold Coast Highway Exit the Gold Coast Highway at either Markeri Street at Mermaid Beach, Christine Avenue at Miami or Hooker Boulevard at Broadbeach. Follow the signs to Robina and Robina Town Centre is located just off the Robina Parkway.
* Please note, access into the Centre is closed approximately one hour after trade. If you require assistance for access back to your car, please ring Security on 5575 0494.


Pacific Fairhttp://www.pacificfair.com.au/home HOOKER BOULEVARD BROADBEACH, 4218 QLD  get VIP visitors pack from c/s
Exit the Gold Coast Highway at Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach. Follow the signs to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre located on Hooker Boulevard with best access in to the Centre opposite Draculas.
If you’re travelling from Coolangatta northbound follow the signs to the Pacific Highway/M1 and take exit  and follow the signs to Broadbeach which will then take you to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre.
When entering your car park of choice please refer to the signage for parking conditions including the maximum time limit for each car park.


Gold Coast Beaches 
BBQ, kite

30 Aug 14 - Greenmount Beach Resort  free limited parking
Wed-Sat from 5.30pm $10 per dish @ fagans level 3
$10 per person for a Hearty Sunday Night Roast Dinner from 5:30pm. Bookings Essential.Phone: (07) 5536 1222 sales@greenmountresort.com.au

  • Drive south along the Pacific Highway towards Coolangatta and we are located just on the end of Marine Parade close to the border.
  • 11am Meet Casey n family/friends at the beach across the resort for BBQ lunch.
Optionals:-

Natural Bridge & Glow Worm Caves, Springbrook National Park http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/
Winery http://ilnam.com.au/gallery.htm 23 mins from GC airport
Gold Coast Show 29-31/8/14 Family (2 Adults & 3 Children) $45.00 Also parking is available at $10 a vehicle.

*Best Cheap Eats, Restaurants & Buffets on the Gold Coast

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Japan Trip - Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, Kobe



https://plus.google.com/photos/101873323702791267856/albums/6005730704601951121?banner=pwa































Most of the info were copied and pasted from other sources...meant for my personal references only.

3D Tokyo 17/11C - 2D Hakone - 4D Osaka 19/9C - 1D Kobe

100yen = RM3.15
+ 1 hour 9am M'sia, 10am Japan
14.4.14 Mon 1430 D7522 KUL  
14.4.14 Mon 2230 Tokyo, Haneda (HND) 
23.4.14 Wed1100 D7533 Osaka, Kansai (KIX) 
23.4.14 Wed 1645 KUL

*go flexible, forget about day passes! There's a lot of travel involved, so a ¥2000 Suica or PASMO fare card (available at any train station) will let you zip around the city easily without needing to queue up for tickets at every stop. You will need to pay an additional 500 yen deposit when you first get the card. It does not matter if you get PASMO or Suica, they are interchangeable on all lines in the Tokyo, Chiba and Yokohama area. All private and JR lines take PASMO and Suica cards.

2D2N TOKYO
On arrival at the Haneda International Airport Terminal  (羽田空港 Haneda Kūkō)  :
take the exit for "Group Bus", not "Route Bus" for free shuttle (last bus @ 12.12am or taxi @ 1430 yen), 10 mins to hotel http://www.toyoko-inn.com/hotel/00042/shuttlebus.html

14 Apr 14 Toyoko Inn Haneda Airport 2 
東横INN羽田空港2 144-0043 東京都大田区羽田1-1-7  TEL03-5735-1045

twin room (110cm x 2) @ 9480yen RM300 (15/4 @ 9780yen RM310) REV: 5798820/21/25/26
  • one child 12 or below is allowed to sleep-share in a double room and two children are allowed to sleep-share in a twin room
  • Cancellation charge applies from 16:00 on the date of arrival , if no prior notice.
  • A child in elementary school or younger may sleep with his or her parent/parents without charge.
  • free wifi, free breakfast 6-9.30 ( free water, ice, microwave oven at lobby),choose kuko 1 japanese style or kuko 2 western style
  • Hotel #1 had a basket of pre-wrapped bread at the front desk for early departees
  • Next to  (大鳥居駅, Ōtorii-eki) Otorii Station, Keikyu Line subway (京急本線 Keikyū-honsen) East Gate exit (Turn right on exiting)
  • check in 1600, check out 1000
  • request bar soap, shower cap, ladies set and shaver at front desk, check for eco-plan
  • book room as non-member, apply club membership to get discounted rates.Senior @ 1000yen applying for a membership card
  • Bring your laptop computer, LAN card, and LAN cable
  • Convenience store just across the road, lots of bars and hole-in-the-wall restaurants nearby,  McD's nearby also some basic Japanese fast food joints (pack some food for DisneySea)
  • there's a fantastic restaurant right on top of the station exit right next to the hotel

15 Apr 14, DisneySea (9am-10pm) Rev No: 38152911
Buy bus ticket to Disney Sea  (東京ディズニーシー Tōkyō Dizunīshī) at level 2F (refer printed map)
*Check last return bus, around 7pm?
*Ask for boarding location at terminal 1 and 2

7.15 Breakfast (or pack bread for kids)
7.45 Shuttle to Terminal 1 reach @ 8.05
8.00 Shuttle to Terminal 1 reach @ 8.20
DisneySea 6200yen RM193-A 5500yen RM171-S 4100yen RM128-C

Direct highway buses (Keikyu Limousine) operate frequently between Haneda Airport and Tokyo Disney Resort. Buses stop at the Airport Terminal 1, Airport Terminal 2, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea and the resort hotels. Haneda Airport's international terminal is served less frequently. The journey takes about 30 minutes and costs 810 yen RM25, child at 410yen RM13 one way. http://hnd-bus.com/route/tokyodisneyresort.html *buy tickets at Haneda Airport International Terminal 2F http://hnd-bus.com/route/terminal.html
**timetable/reservation/where to board, http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/platform_searches/index/4/79

Alternative: Keikyu - Shinagawa - 11 mins - Tokyo Station (Jr Musashino 武蔵野線 Musashino-sen or Jr Keiyo 京葉線 Keiyō-sen) - 15 mins, 210yen - Maihama  (舞浜駅 Maihama-eki) - Disney Resort Monorail - 10 mins, 250yen - Disney Sea Station

*Hotel is Next to  (大鳥居駅, Ōtorii-eki) Otorii Station, Keikyu Line subway (京急本線 Keikyū-honsen) East Gate exit (Turn right on exiting)
  • To get to Tokyo DisneySea (from Maihama Station), it is about a fifteen minute walk in the opposite direction. Simply walk along the wide tree-lined footpath in front of Ikspiari, then turn right and follow the monorail line after you pass under it, and enter via the pedestrian entrance to the bus dropoff area.
The Disney Resort Cruiser is a free bus service.
  • From Bayside Station on the Disney Resort Line, service is to the each of the six Tokyo Disney Resort Official Hotels.
  • From Disney Ambassador Hotel, service is to both theme parks.

checkout the free lottery seats for shows 
http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tds/entm/index.html

recommended rides and queue for fast past:
1. Toy Story Mania
2. Journey To Center Of The Earth,
3. 20k league, Indiana Jones (one of the best rides!!),
4. StormRider,
5. Raging Spirit 
  • single rider applies to the "Indiana Jones" and "Raging Spirits" attractions, bypassing the queues (might be faster than fast pass)
  • Night show, The 'fantasmic' was great, and the best location to view it was in front of the Disney Sea 'Mira Costa' hotel. If you like music,you will love the Big Band Beat.
  • * The restaurants can be crowded between 11am – 2pm.   Instead of waiting for lunch, eat earlier and later and use lunch time to enjoy the rides.  Better yet, bring your own food (something the kids are guaranteed to like) and buy a popcorn bucket at the beginning and refill along the way.  The bucket is costly at ¥2000 but refills are just ¥500, it comes with a lid for the rides, and there are lots of popcorn flavors to try… soy sauce, curry, honey, chocolate, caramel…
  • Use your Fast Pass.  Fast passes are free and can be obtained one at a time.  Use it to get on your favorite ride at the beginning of the day.
  • Strategy for getting on specific rides when it is crowded can be found here:http://www15.plala.or.jp/gcap/disney/kouryaku.htm. Run through google translator.
  • Many of the best rides are two-seater and require an adult ride with a child under age seven.  To be able to ride everything you want be sure to have an adult with you for each child under age seven.
  • set out your tarp for the fabulous water show after dark.  Leave one adult on the tarp while everyone else enjoys the park.  Standing room only for the Disney parade and DisneySea water show becomes very crowded and it will be hard for little kids to see unless they are on your shoulders.
  • Is it raining or cold the day you go?  Try heading over to Ariel’s Grotto at DisneySea because much of it is indoors.
  • http://www15.plala.or.jp/gcap/disney/  24999 15-18 April 14

16 Apr 14 2D1N Hakone  (箱根町 Hakone-machi
route guide from haneda airport to Shinjuku on weekdays

Keikyu Line Airport Limited Express
Fare = 400 yen
05:26 Haneda Airport
05:45 Keikyu Shinagawa  (京急)  (品川駅 Shinagawa-eki)

JR Yamanote Line (
山手線 Yamanote-sen ) Outer Track
Fare = 190 yen
06:02 Shinagawa 品川 (JR Yamanote Line)
06:21 Shinjuku 新宿TOTAL: RM19 (400+190yen) 
* At Shinagawa, you can use a lift.


from the Tokyo area, the Odakyu Hakone Free Pass (two-day version) can be bought to cover a trip from Shinjuku for 5,000yen RM156 (adults) and 1,500yen RM47 for kids, Total: RM765, 
or top up 870yen RM28 for romancecar (85 mins)  book seats on the right hand side, for a view of Mt Fuji 富士山 Fujisan (if the sky is clear). go to Shinjuku and buy it from Odakyu (小田急電鉄株式会社 Odakyū Dentetsu Kabushiki-gaisha) , they all speak fluent English  (the pass and reservations can also be purchased at Odakyu vending machines). You can email them to book a seat from overseas
For inquiries, please contact us at welcome@odakyu-dentetsu.co.jp.Please reserve and purchase "Romancecar" (ロマンスカー Romansukā) Limited Express tickets at the "e-Romancecar" website. You can buy tickets of up to 8 persons at e-Romancecar.The panorama of Katase-Enoshima (片瀬江ノ島 Katase-Enoshima) is that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, the seasonally changing countryside and mountains, and on clear days, the majestic Mt. Fuji. If you really want an even more memorable journey, then reserve an observation deck seat in the front or back car of the Type 50000 or 7000 Romancecar and enjoy the very best view of the countryside.
Free Area:
1)
Unlimited usage of the Hakone Tozan Railway (Odawara-Gora), the Souzan Cablecar and Hakone Ropeway between Gora to Togendai, the Hakone Sightseeing Boats on Lake Ashi, Hakone Tozan Buses within the free area and Numazu Tozan Tokai Buses between Mishima and Moto-Hakone.
  
Other Conditions:
1)
Discounted admission to selected attractions in the Hakone area.
Senkei Plaza Inn 仙景プラザイン@ RM394 X 3 Twin Rm w/o B/F, Agoda Confirmation for Booking ID # 42541937250-0311, 神奈川県足柄下郡箱根湯本592, 箱根湯本駅より徒歩10, TEL : 0460-85-5500(代)
592 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0311, Japan (Hakoneyumoto Onsen) Check In / 3:00 PM (15:00) Check Out / 10:00 AM.
  • The hotel is about an 800 m walk (10 mins with lovely views) from the railway station, direction: passed all the shops and on the incline there is a green sign in Kanji. The road on the left leads to a tudor style hotel over a bridge, and then after a Bull Coffee sign, there is another bridge followed by a small tunnel where the hotel is about 300m further. (The hotel offers a shuttle bus every hour). 
  • OR For easy access, go to the bus station opposite of Hakone-Yumoto train station (you can see a coin locker shop and other convenience store opposite the train station - that's where the bus station is). Take A route bus (more like a coaster actually). You have to pay 100 yen per person.
  • free wifi in the hotel lobby
  • a little bakery upstairs at the train station serves great coffee and fresh bread.
  • 7-11 nearby
  • buy a few sets of japanese yukata (浴衣) at the lobby (cheapest yukata with pretty good quality in Japan)
  • buy all the unique snacks and buy Japanese beers/sake to try
  • there are also two good restaurants on the way there
  • The hotel offered two onsen baths one indoor (open all day) with separate men's and women's baths and an outdoor onsen which., open in the morning and in the afternoon (alternate between genders). The outdoor onsen is definitely the highlight with nice views over the valley.
  • catch the train up to Gora (強羅駅 Gōra-eki)  for the cable car and rope way to view Mt Fuji (if lucky enough to get a clear day).
  • Hakone shop closing very early in the evening - eat early or miss out completely!
  • visit the Hakone Gyoza Centre, you will not be disappointed - be sure to arrive hungry and stuff yourself with their delicious gyoza!
  • good Japanese steak house, a 5 minute walk from the hotel


箱根小涌園ユネッサン (Hakone Kowakien Yunessun)

Yunessun (swim suit zone) @ 2800yen/adult, 1500yen/child *Senior (60 and over) discounts provided. Parking @ 1000yen RM31/day (1 hr free).  *MUST VISIT 400 yen off for showing our Hakone Free Pass witht free towels (usually 100 yen to rent).
Admission & Tickets
*get your hands on the online coupon (just print it) via  http://www.yunessun.com/ticket/ Its in Japanese, but you can just paste the link on Google and have it translated to English. 

2D1N Tokyo
17 Apr 14 1N #2/68 Citadines Shinjuku 1-28-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160 0022, シタディーン新宿 東京都新宿区新宿1-28-13 TEL0353797208
Reservation Number 71964877/4878 (card: OM-1571805) 3 persons Studio X 2 @ 15206yen RM481
  • coffee/tea sachets at reception. Provides coin-operated laundry facilities and bicycle rental.
  • flat pillows, request for extra pillows from reception
  • 7-eleven just next door
  • Take bus no. 61 from hotel door step (station: HANAZONO-CHO 花園町),(day time: every 10 mins evening: every 1 hr), 6 mins rides to Shinjuku (新宿区 Shinjuku-ku) central @ ¥200. 
  • on return, bus 61 is parked on the west side of Shinjuku Station, parking number ( 3 ) 61 練馬車庫前 nerima shako (mae) or Meguro eki/station. Citadines is at the 4th stop.
  • Shinjuku is actually M8. Get off at M10,  'Shinjuku Gyoemmae' (新宿御苑前駅 Shinjuku-gyoenmae-eki)
  • 3 mins walk with Marunouchi line (東京地下鉄丸ノ内線 Tōkyō Chikatetsu Marunouchi-sen) , stop at Shinjuku-Gyoenmae Subway Station, leave from Exit 2 (which involves rather a long walk and 2 or 3 flights of stairs from the platform) . Turn left as you come out of the stationand immediately turn left down the first street you encounter. Continue straight for 300 metres until you come to a larger road (called Yasukuni-Dori), and you will see 7-11 on the right. Turn right and continue for 50 metres. The hotel will be on your right.
  • 15-20minute walk to the JR Shinjuku train station 
  • convenient access to all attractions within the city via the Marunouchi line.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen Park  (新宿御苑 Shinjuku Gyoen)  @ 400 yen 9am-4.30pm (closed on Mondays) and Isetan Department Store  (伊勢丹 Isetan) are a 10-minute walk from the hotel, and lively Kabukicho  歌舞伎町 (Golden Gai) is a 15-minute walk.  Near Hanazono Jinja Shrine (花園神社 Hanazono Jinja) . 
Shinjuku Gyoen is home to a large number of cherry trees of more than a dozen different varieties. From late March to early April, more than 400 somei yoshino trees blossom around the English garden turning the lawns into one of Tokyo's most popular and pleasant hanami spots. In addition, the park has numerous early and late blooming cherry trees which provide an extended cherry blossom viewing season (mid March to late April) for those who miss the main season. 

1. Tsukiji Fish Market (築地市場 Tsukiji shijō)
5-minute walk from Tsukiji Station (築地駅 Tsukiji-eki) on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line(東京地下鉄日比谷線 Tōkyō Chikatetsu Hibiya-sen)  or from Tsukiji Shijo Station (築地市場駅 tsukiji shijō eki)  on the Toei Oedo Line (都営地下鉄大江戸線 Toei Chikatetsu Ōedo-sen)  . 
You'll need a very early start here, but if you've just flown in from the other side of the globe, you'll be suffering from jet lag anyway, so you should be wide awake by 5am. Head to Japan's largest wholesale fish market for an action-packed morning. After boats unload their catches from around the world in the wee hours of the morning, seafood auctions are held for wholesalers (only a small area of the tuna auctions is open to the public, 5-6:15am). Wholesalers then set up stalls, hawking about 450 different kinds of seafood; it's a great education simply walking through the aisles. The market is closed Sundays, holidays, and some Wednesdays.
2. Sushi Dai  (寿司大)#2/4867 or Daiwa Sushi (大和寿司)
For the freshest sushi breakfast you'll ever have, head to this tiny sushi bar (tel. 03/3547-6797) on the market grounds.
Take a taxi from Tsukiji Fish Market to Hama Rikyu Garden, or walk for 12 minutes.
3. Hama Rikyu Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園 Hama-rikyū Onshi Teien)
There are better, more famous gardens elsewhere in Japan, but Hama Rikyu Garden is convenient for a quick tour. Created more than 300 years ago, today it features a traditional Japanese garden complete with moon-viewing pavilions, teahouses, and other vestiges of its Edo-era origins, as well as a bird refuge. The garden opens at 9am daily.
4. Sumida River  (隅田川 Sumida-gawa) Boat Cruise ボートクルーズ

Inside Hama Rikyu Garden is a pier (
桟橋 Sanbashi) , where you can board a sightseeing boat for a 40-minute cruise up the Sumida River to Asakusa (浅草). In the days of old Edo (present-day Tokyo), taking a boat was the most popular way to reach Asakusa and its famous temple, and though the scenery has changed, it's still the most relaxing and interesting way to reach this destination. Boats depart Hama Rikyu at 10:35 and 11:15am, with subsequent departures every half-hour or hour.
5. Nakamise Dori (仲見世通り)
Asakusa is one of Tokyo's oldest neighborhoods, filled with narrow lanes, traditional Japanese homes, and shops selling handmade crafts and souvenirs. At the heart of Asakusa is Nakamise Dori, a narrow pedestrian lane lined on both sides with booths selling a wide variety of Japanese souvenirs -- a good place to stock up on inexpensive gifts for the folks back home. On side streets radiating from Nakamise Dori are also shops offering traditional crafts.
6. Sensoji Temple Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺 Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji)
Nakamise Dori leads straight to Tokyo's oldest and most popular temple, founded in A.D. 628 to house the Buddhist goddess of mercy and happiness. Destroyed during World War II and lovingly rebuilt with donations from the Japanese people, it attracts 20 million worshippers a year, giving it a festive atmosphere virtually every day.
7. Waentei-Kikko
This traditional house offers reasonably priced obento box lunches. Try to time your visit to coincide with a free performance of the shamisen 三味線 or other Japanese musical instrument, given daily at 12:15 and 1:30pm. Located at 2-2-13 Asakusa (tel. 03/5828-8833).
Take the Tokyo Shitamachi bus from Kaminarimon Dori (in front of Nakamise Dori) two stops to Ueno; or take the Ginza subway line three stops to Ueno.
8. Tokyo National Museum (東京国立博物館 Tōkyō Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan)
This is the most important museum to see in Tokyo, if not all of Japan. It houses the country's largest collection of historic treasures, including swords, samurai gear, lacquerware, ceramics, Buddhist sculptures, calligraphy, woodblock prints, and much, much more. Its most priceless treasures are Buddhist statues, masks, and other religious works of art from Horyuji Temple in Nara, founded in 607. Closed Monday.
Take the Ginza Line from Ueno Station to Ginza Station.
9. The Ginza 銀座
The Ginza is Japan's most fashionable -- and expensive -- shopping address, home to international designer boutiques, art galleries, and huge department stores. My favorite department store is Matsuya on Chuo Dori, with everything from Japanese folk crafts to designer togs for sale, plus an art gallery, restaurants, and a huge food emporium in its basement.
10. Kihachi 喜八
There are many different kinds of restaurants in the Ginza in all price ranges, but for a contemporary take on fusion Japanese-French cuisine you can't go wrong here. Located at 2-2-6 Ginza. (tel. 03/3567-6281).
take Toei Oedo Line (都営地下鉄大江戸線 Toei Chikatetsu Ōedo-sen)  and stop at Tochomae Station (都庁前駅 Tochōmae-eki)  - 1 min walk to Shinjuku Sumitomo Building(新宿住友ビルディング Shinjuku Sumitomo Birudingu) which is right opposite Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building (東京都庁舎 Tōkyō-to Chōsha)
or, Marunouchi line (東京地下鉄丸ノ内線 Tōkyō Chikatetsu Marunouchi-sen)  and stop at Nishi Shinjuku Station(西新宿駅 -eki)   - 10 mins walk to Sumitomo Building
or 10-15 mins walk from Shinjuku Station(新宿駅 Shinjuku-eki), map: http://willerexpress.com/st/3/en/pc/map/tokyo/willer_terminal_fuji.php

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office 2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture 160-0023, Japan
The tallest building in Shinjuku, TMG No. 1 offers sweeping views of Tokyo--all the way to Mt. Fuji on a clear day--from the 45th floor observatory. 
  • The South observatory is only open until 5.30pm and is closed for the first and third Tuesday of every month. The North observatory is open until 11pm and is closed for the second and fourth Monday of every month. Whenever the North observatory is closed, the South opens until 11pm. There are cafes in both observatories and a bar in the North at night.
  • At ground level, across the road, there is an amazing Assembly area which is reminiscent of ancient Greece and is worth a stroll through, or simply sit down and enjoy your lunch on one of the many bench seats.
  • awesome 360 view of Tokyo.
  • The meals are reasonably priced ($12- $25).  You have to call and reserve a table next to the windows
Tokyo useful links and infos:
Roppongi 六本木:  Toei Subway : Oedo Line – Roppongi Station
Tokyo Tower (東京タワー Tōkyō tawā): Toei Subway :  Oedo Line - Akabanebashi Station(赤羽橋駅 Akabanebashi eki). Exit Akabanebashi Gate.
Odaiba お台場 is unique with beautiful night views of Rainbow Bridge (レインボーブリッジ Reinbō burijji)

Willer Express (Night Bus)
18 Apr 14 1N Relax New Rev: 2261664 @ 34660 (5 pax) 11.15pm Shinjuku, 8.20am Umeda
check-in up to two luggage. Please mark your own luggage with name tags or arresting items
Facilities: Canopy, Foot rest, Leg rest, Blanket, Adjustable small pillow, SoftBank Wi-fi.
For1 luggage: within total size of 155cm= Height + Width + Length
For 2 luggage/s: within total size of 240cm= Height + Width + Length
Carry-on luggage should weigh less than 10 kilograms in total, and should be no more than 1 meter in length and 0.027 m3 in capacity.

S133 toilet ( トイレToire) stops:
1.around 1:00am at Ebina (海老名市 Ebina-shi) in Kanagawa prefecture
2.around 3:40am at Hamamatsu (浜松市 Hamamatsu-shiin) Shizuoka prefecture
3.around 6:20am at Kusatsu(草津市 Kusatsu-shi) in Shiga prefecture

Each stop is about15 minutes. Please check departure time when you go to toilet, and please come
back in time.

In the case, if someone feels desire to use toilet during the travel, he/she should let bus driver about it and he will stop.
(Please understand that we can not stop the bus on the highway. So, driver will try to stop at next parking area.)

5 Days Osaka大阪
19-22 Apr 14 4N Zebra House RM480/n 7 pax https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1904393?checkin=04%2F21%2F2014&checkout=04%2F24%2F2014&guests=2 (10,000yen / 100usd deposit)

(all the subway stations seem to have lockers where you can leave your luggage).

Floating Garden Observatory
10:00 to 22:30
This attraction is included in the Osaka Unlimited Day Pass, If you want to visit a facility before your first ride, please write the date on the back of the card by yourself in black pen.

12mins walk from Umeda Sky Building Tower East 1F) (梅田スカイビル Umeda Sukai Biru) to Osaka Station (大阪駅 Ōsaka-eki) (directions: https://willerexpress.com/x/bus/dynamic/3/en/html/map/osaka/willer_terminal.html)

Umeda Sky Building Tower - 12mins walk -  Osaka ST (Hankyu Kobe Line) / Umeda ST - 10 mins train - Tsukaguchi St  (塚口駅 Tsukaguchi-eki)  - 10mins walk - Zebra House. 
or
Umeda Sky Building Tower - 10mins walk -  Nakatsu ST (中津駅 Nakatsu-eki)(Hankyu Kobe Line) - 10 mins train - Tsukaguchi St - 10mins walk - Zebra House. 

**SMS/call Ian/Betty to pick us at Tsukaguchi St and rent pocket wifi @ 500yen

10 mins walk from Hankyu Tsukaguchi ST/Osaka ST : in 10mins by Hankyu Kobe line/Kobe: in 20 mins by Hankyu Kobe line/Kansai Airport: About 50 mins by Limousine bus

19 April 14 (Sat) 
Hankyu Tourist Pass 1D A@700yen plus 1300yen Kansai Airport Limo http://www.kansai360.net/en/ticket/http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Hankyu_map.svg  **Kids buy normal ticket
  • Address: 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda(池田市 Ikeda-shi), Osaka, Osaka, Phone: 072-752-3484
  • Exhibits are free of charge. 
  • The chicken ramen class costs JPY300 for primary school students / JPY500 for junior high school students and above. The fee for the My Cup (ップKappu) Noodle Factory is JPY300.Hours open to visitors: 9:30-16:00 (entrance is up to 15:30)
  • Closed: Tuesday (on the following day if Tuesday falls on a national holiday) 
  • The chicken ramen cooking class is not offered on Mon. & Tue.
  • Approx. 5 min. walk from the Masumi-cho (真澄町 Masumi-machi) exit in the Ikeda Sta(池田駅 Ikeda-eki). of the Hankyu Takarazuka Line  (阪急宝塚本線 Hankyū Takarazuka Honsen)
Betty called on 10/4, ramen making session (500 yen) fully booked. Try to book on the spot before proceeding to queue at the cup noodle (300yen) making line. They'll give you a cup noodle to personalize your cup and you can choose 4 ingredients as toppings. Chose their cutesy speciality - dried chicken fish sausage! You will be given an air cushioned bag for the cup noodle. Do release the airbag (with a straw) before Customs check in. 90 mins fresh ramen making process of kneading, seasoning, steaming, frying and packing. They will give you your ramen and a chicken mascot bandana after the session. 

Note: During the weekends, be prepared to wait in line. There are a lot of local Japanese tourists there. You can get a FREE audio guide with a 2000 yen deposit at the information booth. It doesn't say that much, but I think it gives more than enough info. 

Asahi 
アサヒビール株式会社 Beer Suita Factory (or 22/4 Tuesday or just skip)

Kids Plaza キッズプラザKizzupuraza(or 22/4 Tuesday)
near Museum of Housing and Living (right outside of Hankyu & subway Lines at Tenjimbashisuji 6-chome Station exit #3)
#14/200 (9-5pm, weekend till 7pm, closed on Monday) 2-1-7 Ogimachi, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0025, Japan
  • Exit the Ogimachi station  (扇町駅 Ōgimachi-eki, K12)at exit 2a. That will take you to the back of the modern steel and glass building that houses the place. Follow the signs thereafter. It is also accessible from Tenjinbashi-suji-6-chome station (天神橋 - スジ-6丁目駅Tenjinbashi - suji - 6-chōme eki), and Tenma station(天満駅 Tenma-eki) .
  • Join ahead to the workshop n classes on level 3 before playing your heart out at level 4 & 5.
  • out side food allowed. There is good place to eat inside but there is no food to buy and only drinks from vending machines
  • large park and play area behind the building. 
  • cross the road and behind the row of shop houses, you will reach Tenjinbashi Suji .,a long stretch of sheltered shopping belt with various restaurants too. 
Optional: Osaka Tenmangu Shrine (大阪天満宮, Ōsaka Tenmangū) 2-1-8 Tenjinbashi, Kitaku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0041, Japan

20 April 14 (Sun) directions/opening days hours: http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/img/download.pdf

 

Osaka 2-Day Unlimited Amazing Pass @ 3000yen, sales location: http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/buy/buy.html
Natural Hot Spring Naniwa天然温泉なにわ Ten'nen onsen Naniwa ( a-800yen, c-400yen) 
  • 8th floor of a big building with the words Pachinko & Slots on it
  • hours: weekdays 10:00-1:00 the following day (last admission at midnight)  weekend 8:00-1:00
  • directions: exit 4 at Tenjimbashisuji 6-chrome Station(天神橋 - スジ-6丁目駅Tenjinbashi - suji - 6-chōme eki) of the Subway Tanimachi Line (谷町線 Tanimachi-sen) and walk straight then turn right onto Tenjimbashisuji No. 6 street which is a street filled with frosted street lamps and lined with stores. The street lamps are different from the ordinary street lamps and there is a great many number of them going down the street. Keep walking straight till you reach a big intersection at Tenjimbashisuji No. 8 and then turn right. You'll continue walking straight till you go beneath an overpass. In the distance you should see a tall building with gigantic letters that spell out Pachinko & Slots on it - head towards it. The entrance to the elevator to reach the hot spring is after the entrance that goes into the pachinko hall. Take the elevator up to the 8th floor and remember to take your shoes off before climbing up the step. 
  • note: 2 lockers for your shoes and clothes will require a 100 yen deposit each which will be returned to you, also bring your own towel and hairbrush (shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hair dryers are provided)
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (住宅や生活の大阪ミュージアム Jūtaku ya seikatsu no Ōsaka myūjiamu) #11/201 (closed: 21/4, 22/4 Tuesday and 3rd Monday!, a-600yen 12 below foc)
Mint Osaka (独立行政法人 造幣局 Dokuritsu Gyōsei Hōjin Zōheikyoku)
  • (near Osaka Temple) 530-0043, 1-1-79 Temma, Kita-ku, Osaka City, free admission
  • Sakura: Mid-to late April, Access: 10mins walk from subway Tenmabashi Station (天満橋駅 Temmabashi-eki). The sakura corridor in Osaka Mint opens only for about a week in April. This year it was from Apr 16-22, http://www.mint.go.jp/enjoy/toorinuke/sakura-osaka.html#tori1
  • A famous place for cherry blossoms with approx. 130 species, 352 trees in bloom. To call it the best place in Osaka may not be an exaggeration. Some have just tens of petals, others may have 100-200. You can enjoy gorgeous cherry blossoms. “This year’s cherry blossom” is selected and introduced for people to familiarize themselves with rare cherry blossoms.
Osaka Castle Museum(大阪城博物館 Ōsakajō hakubutsukan)#16/201 3hrs (adult @ 600yen below 15 foc)
  • hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last admission at 4:30 pm)  closed: December 28- Jan
  • directions: 15-20 minute walk from exit 1B, 9, Tanimachi 4-chrome Station (谷町4クロムステーションTanimachi 4 kuromusutēshonor) exit 3 from Temmabashi Station of Subway Tanimachi Line  (谷町線 Tanimachi-sen
  • you'll exit out into the Osaka Castle Park and will walk through an area with a huge fountain in the middle walk towards the path on the left hand side to head to the castle and head up a huge flight of stairs
Osaka Castle (大阪城, Ōsaka-jō)  #9/201 Nishinomaru Garden (closed: Monday, adult @ 350yen below 15 foc)
Osaka Museum of History (大阪歴史博物館Ōsaka rekishi hakubutsukan) #28/201 (closed Tuesday, adult @ 600yen below 15 foc)
Tombori Cruise (a-700yen, c-300yen)
  • Tombori River Cruise (tomboriのリバークルーズTombori no ribākurūzu) *to ride on evening! 5mis walk from Namba St(難波駅, なんば駅 Nanba-eki), Weekdays13:00- 21:00 Every hour and 30 minutes past ※No service on 17:00 and 17:30, Weekends and holidays, busy days 11:00-21:00 Every hour and 30 minutes past
Hep Five Ferris Wheel (5観覧車をHEP5 Kanran-sha o) HEP#31/201 (closed the 3rd Thu of every month 6 above 500yen)
directions: at the JR
 North Central Exit ( 
中央北口Chūō kitaguchi) of the Umeda Station walk left alongside the building towards the malls and the ferris wheel in the distance; there is English signs pointing to HEP FIVE inside the train stations


21 April 14 (Mon) 
or Hep Five Ferris Wheel
Osaka Shitennoji Temple 四天王寺 #23/201 (8.30-4.30pm adult @ 300yen) (10am)
Tsutenkaku Tower 通天閣 ( a-600yen, c-400yen)
  • hours: 10:00-18:00 (closes at 18:30)
  • directions: take exit 3 from Ebisucho Station (恵美須町駅 Ebisuchō-eki? of Subway Sakaisuji Line (堺筋線 Sakaisuji-sen) and just walk straight, you'll see the tower in the distance
  • note: take the elevator up to the 2nd floor for the ticket office and entrance to the top of the observatory
Aquarium Kaiyukan 海遊館 #3/201 , a-2300, s-2000, c-1200) (avoid weekend)  http://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/info/
Santa Maria cruise ship (サンタ·マリア·クルーズ Santa· Maria· kurūzu) (11-5pm a-1600yen, c-700yen)

Walk around Tempozan Marketplace (天保山マーケットプレースTenpōzan mākettopurēsu)., with wonderful street performers- juggling, tricks, magic

Tempozan Ferris Wheel (天保山の観覧車Tenpōzan no kanran-sha) #18/201(closed till 204/14, 10-10pm above 3yo 700yen)


22 April 14 Kobe http://wikitravel.org/en/Kobe 
*You may only purchase the limousine bus ticket at Hankyu Tourist Center (阪急ツーリストセンターHankyū tsūrisutosentā) ,OSAKA-UMEDA, if you have already purchased a Hankyu Tourist Pass (阪急観光パスHankyū kankō pasu).  The pass must be presented at the time of purchase.
Booked 12.30pm lunch at Royal Mouriya (ロイヤルモーリヤRoiyarumōriya) (private room, all seats able to watch chef cook)
  • There are actually THREE Mouriya restaurants on the same stretch of road. The Mouriya Honten Restaurant is on the corner of the road. Two of the Mouriya restaurants are in the same building along the road, with the Mouriya Sannomiya Restaurant on the third floor and the Royal Mouriya Restaurant on the second floor. They are all super near the Hankyu Sannomiya station
  • children below six years of age are not allowed into the Royal Mouriya Restaurant. http://www.mouriya.co.jp/en/index.html 
  • Lunch Course (ランチコースRanchikōsu) at Royal Mouriya http://www.mouriya.co.jp/pop/royal_l.html
  • direction: http://www.mouriya.co.jp/en/royal/access.html (1min walk with Hankyu, 4mins walk with Hanshin)
  • Hankyu Sannomiya station  (三宮駅 Hankyū Sannomiya-eki), 2-1-17 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0011, Japan +81 78-391-4603
Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum(白鶴ビジネスビール博物館Shiro tsuru bijinesubīru hakubutsukan) (Hanshin Sumiyoshi 住吉駅 Sumiyoshi-eki 150yen from Sannomiya) http://www.hakutsuru-sake.com/content/08.html(walking distance from Hankyu Mikage station 御影駅 or Sumiyoshi station 住吉駅), 078-822-8907. Open daily 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, closed Mon. Hakutsuru is a nationally-known sake brand and this museum is located inside a former brewery, and features traditional tools, dioramas and English-language videos to explain the sake-making processes. At the end, you can sample some sake, which is non-pasteurized, presumably because it doesn't have to travel far from the factory. Write your name on a piece of paper provided by the guard and return that at the end. Free entry, free sake.

Optional:
  • Ijinkan #18/127 (異人館) (walking distance from either Sannomiya or Shin-Kobe stations) Kōbe's number-one attraction is the Ijinkan or Foreign Houses. These are 19th-century residences of Kobe's foreign traders, clustered in the Kitano area
  • Sushidai ( 鮨大 / すし大),  650-0004 Kobe-shi Chuo-Ku Nakayamate-dori 1-9-2 Mozan-Biru 1F ( 1st Floor, Mozan-Biru Building ), ☎ 078-599-5509. Located at the centre of Sannomiya,Sushidai definitely is the best place to enjoy the most famous Japanese dish in town! Their specialty here, is without a doubt, sushi. With a cozy atmosphere, Japanese-style music and design, Sushidai will make you feel comfortable and of course, fill your hungry stomach with oh-so-fresh seafood, sashimi and sushi by Chef Nakanishi ShinsukeBlack-hair beef here is worth a try, too. The service is friendly and the kitchen is delightfully quick. Good drinks menu ( Recommend: Ginger ale, Asahi beer, wine ). Price ( as of May, 2012 ): 7,000 - 9,000 yen per person. Open from 6 PM to 5 AM.
  • Sky Buffet (スカイビュッフェSukai byuffe) . It’s a little bit hard to find (several blocks south of Sannomiya Station, but it’s the tallest building one street over on your left), but at 24 floors up, the view is quite impressive especially at night and definitely worth the troubles of finding it. The food’s a reasonably good mix of cultures and well priced.
  • City Hall Observation Deck (市役所展望台 Shiyakusho tenbō-dai near the Kyu-kyoryuchi) area; see a tourist map for location, walking distance from Sannoyima Stn. Could be a good alternative to Kobe Tower for people who are on a budget. Offers nice bayside and mountainside views of Kobe. Closes at 9:00pm. No charge.
  • Sorakuen Garden (相楽園の庭 Sagara-en no niwa), (10 minute walk from Motomachi Stn(元町駅 Motomachi-eki) ; 15-20 minutes from Sannomiya Stn), ☎ (078)351-4680, [10]. 9:30-16:30. A nice Japanese-style garden in the middle of the city. Very good value and a great attraction to see after going through the Ijinkan area. 300 yen; 260 yen with discount coupon available from tourist information booths
*Japan made kit kats キットKATSKitto KATS
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