l'isle joyeuse

Posts Tagged ‘travel

i’ve been putting this off for way too long hahah! it’s difficult trying to narrow down the amount of photos to use in my blog =w= but here you go, the first day in kyoto! we took the night bus from shinjuku and arrived in kyoto the next morning. it was actually snowing the night we left so it was a good thing i decided not to bring along the suitcase or it would have been soaked >w<

breakfast at the only place open at 7 in the morning – starbucks! a donut and hot soy latte for me =w=

we dropped off our luggage at the hotel and because we could only check-in at 3pm, we decided to explore first, even though it was drizzling… it was colder than tokyo!!

🙂 my passport is useful

first stop : 金閣寺 kinkakuji, the golden pavillion

next stop : 二条城 nijo castle. it’s pricey 😦 600円 per entry… but the inside was really pretty *O* the paintings on the walls, ceilings and sliding doors are breathtaking! i want to live there and spend my day sitting around in luxurious silk kimono

it stopped raining for a bit when we were here

i was glad the sun came out because i could finally take this photo!

it’s been a while since i’ve seen blue skies! all my kyoto photos were really gloomy… overcast skies and dark clouds!

we made full use of the town busses! i think it was probably the most i’ve ever been on a bus in a single day :p

contrasts. outsiders and locals. and dark skies hahah!

katsudon for lunch

third stop : 清水寺 kiyomizu-dera. coming to all these places reminds me of my beloved nehs!

more dark skies. but at least it stopped raining.

10 points to anyone who knew the real reason why i took this photo! >w<

yes i do!

we went to 祇園 gion after checking in… it was REALLY cold by then!!!

fourth stop : 八坂神社 yasaka jinja.

the lanterns were all lit up, with all the geisha and maiko‘s names painted on them >w<

the gion crest/emblem on the lanterns in gion advertising the annual 祇園をどり gion odori – three circles connected on a vertical line!

being a wednesday night, gion was really quiet!

i want to live in kyoto!

our awesome dinner!!! we found this place by chance after receiving a flyer on the streets >w< kyoto vegetables in my sukiyaki!!! it came with rice as well – extra helpings are free of charge 🙂

on the way back to the hotel. i fell down the stairs trying to take a photo of the posters hahah!!! so embarassing…

the next day, we went to 伏見稲荷大社 fushimi inari shrine! i wanted to go all the way up because i was expecting something up there…

took the train there after leaving out bags in a coin locker at the train station

^o^ i can’t get enough of this place!

at the purification fountain. for foreigners who might take it as a drinking fountain :O

the view from halfway up the mountain 🙂

the top! you can see all the moss >w<

i was so disappointed when we reached the top T_T

the only thing up there is another shrine not unlike all the other shrines on the way up…

so we went back down again hahah!

at least it was warm! i was sweating! it was good exercise but was really tough =w=;; shows how unfit i am!

i thought it would be cold so i brought two parkas, but my fears were unfounded -_-;; it was really hot!!!

>w< hi!

and from here, allow me to fangirl XD i couldn't help it!!! it was right in front of my face so i couldn't ignore it :p

this one was really unexpected >w<

it’s a bit sad that i couldn’t complete the whole set ;w;

we wanted to go to arashiyama as well initially but there wasn’t much time left so we left kyoto after leaving fushimi inari.

next stop : osaka!!!


i’ll be heading to kansai tonight for a short trip with azrie by bus tonight! oh kyoto, how i miss you so!!! 😀

and of course, osaka, which is probably my home away from home here in japan!! ♥

i can foresee plenty of fun in the coming 3 days (my only worry would be the rain :() the only downside would be missing out on my weekly dose of vs arashi and himitsu no arashi-chan but i have complete faith in fandom 8D knowing my fandom… they should probably be uploaded within 24 hours after it airs on tv.

i love my fandom ♥

edit :// i went out for dinner and was super surprised to see that it was snowing like crazy!! i finally made my amnos snowmen! too bad i won’t be around in the morning to take a clearer photo of it!!

i finally made my way outdoors yesterday after almost 2 weeks of hibernation! the weather was really horrid lately and it kept raining and snowing randomly so i couldn’t actually go anywhere. that, and my sleep cycle became a mess hahah >w< i made my way to 戸越公園 togoshikoen, the main backdrop for the drama stand up!! was filmed, as well as where the pv for 言葉より大切なもの kotoba yori taisetsu na mono was filmed!!!

nishiwaseda –> [fukutoshin line] –> shibuya –> [toyoko line] –> jiyuugaoka –> [omachi line] –> togoshikoen

there is a funny story behind this photo. i was in the train on the way to jiyuugaoka to change trains to go togoshikoen, and i was actually nodding off while listening to music. when the train stopped at one of the smaller stations on the way, i did a double take and ran off the train. to take a photo of this crazy huge ohchan poster *O* after that, i waited another 5 minutes for the next train =w= (i tried to take a photo of myself with the poster but it wouldn’t fit, that’s how big it was)

changing trains at jiyuugaoka. i’ll come back to explore some other day. this was where tomoe, the school featured in totto-chan was located at!

on the train >w<

arrival at togoshikoen! this shot was in the opening sequence of the stand up!! drama *o*

>w< yay! one of the shops included in the pv. i couldn't very well take a photo of myself in front of the shop so hiro came in handy hahah

i found the police box on the street corner so cuuuute >w<

i quite like how this turned out!

an important place for the characters in the drama. to clap or not to clap?

shou-chan‘s home ^^ nino‘s character, shouhei, belongs to a family that runs a pharmacy. it’s not a pharmacy anymore, but everything else was left the way it was!

including the narrow alley where shou-chan tried to escape from home in search of his “adventure” hahah!

window to his room hahah

random photo on the entrance of a (closed) restaurant

another shop featured in the pv. i spent money here hahah 😀 bought some kimono stuff

happy meals in japan comes with cute yatterman toys

meat shop where ohchan was singing lol

i took this when i was walking across the railroad

another funny story hahah! i was looking around everytime the train stopped to see if there was a solo one of aiba-chan since there was one of ohchan on the way, but to no avail. so i took the rapid train on the way back, which would be faster than the local train, but… then i saw this and jumped off the train at naka-meguro (nino’s old place! hahah i am such a stalker), took this photo, and then waited for the next local train back to shibuya… obssessed? no, i just have a lot of time on my hands. trips here in japan always take shorter time compared to what i would expect, why is that? is it because the trains are all so awesome?

hiro with the (in)famous moyai statue in shibuya =w=

one of the busiest – if not the most – starbucks in the world, overlooking the famous shibuya scramble crossing

hiro with hachiko! i wish i could remove that ugly band around him >o< it's spoiling my photo!

i should have double-checked the pv before going there =w= oh well. i'll go back again in summer with bec so we can take retarded photos in front of each shop hahah!!! plus i forgot to take photos of the barber shop and the soba place so… and it would be summer so at least our clothes would fit the scenario >w<

kotoba yori taisetsu na mono pv [arashi]

went to 横浜 yokohama with angel on saturday!!! ♥♥♥

yokohama、the capital city of kanagawa prefecture. japan‘s largest incorporated city, with a total foreign population of nearly 75,000 people.

tokujou kabachi!

only in japan can you find the most mind-boggling things : wasabi, cheesecake and soysauce flavoured kit kat!!!

on the way to the ramen museum

hi there =D

we’ve finally arrived at the yokohama ramen museum!!!

the basement area, which is practically ramen heaven!

i was really looking forward to this!

this uncle was super awesome! he has a reaaaaaally loud voice >w< we got free chocolate from him, and when i told him i'm an arashi fan, he went “ARASHI!!” then he asked me who i like best, to which i replied “nino…” and he immediately screamed “NINOMIYA!!” at me XD

he recommended us to this shop, which was really popular and had the longest queue among all the other shops! we got a free snack with a limited edition flavour that tastes like the ramen of that particular shop’s :3


i got the nice uncle to write a message for me! “please come to eat ramen again. i’ll be waiting!”

after that, we went to the yokohama doll museum, which was a few minutes’ walk from the chuukagai station! we got in for free because only the first floor was open to visitors >w<

probably the most important doll in the museum, and my favourite doll in the museum ♥ this doll was made according to the “red shoes” legend of yokohama.

the first floor exhibit

it’s now genetically programmed in my brain. i can’t help it anymore!

another doll i really like! *O* a lot of people find dolls like these creepy but i really like them!

rika-chan, japan‘s answer to barbie. i prefer her to barbie! she looks super cute!

clamshell art! japanese bunnies painted in exquisite detail

chinatown! ♥

hiro at chinatown!

chinatown looks and smells like home! all the food, the red and gold lanterns, the hustle and bustle.

we went for an all-you-can-eat at a random chinese restaurant! ♥ *O*

after eating, we took the train back to minatomirai! this looks somewhat creepy to me…

recently i’ve been running out of poses and have since resorted to the aiba-chan pose… but i can never make it look as cute as him =w=

my first time seeing this! a map for the visually-impaired!!!

a close-up. the all-important “you are here.”

yokohama at night is pretty!

^o^ it was nice and cold too~♥

self-timer shot! we had to do it 3 times before we got this hahah!

as we walked closer, we could see the river too

whee! it’s 5:54pm but it’s pitch black!

we went on the roller-coaster as well, which was expensive for a really short ride. the wind felt really good though!

the queue was too long so we’re gonna go again some other day

one more photo before we leave!!!

and! an unexpected find in yokohama! i found this gem in the souvenir shop at the doll museum >w< yokohama limited edition slyvanian families set!!! ♥

another long, image-heavy entry!

on the 23rd of december i went to 木更津 kisarazu, a small, sleepy town in chiba prefecture with one of the girls in my dorm, abby!

waseda –> [tozai line] –> nishifunabashi –> [sobu line] –> chiba –> kisarazu

it was expensive 😦 about 1220円 one way, and it takes approximately 2 hours to get there.

the setting for the insanely popular drama 木更津キャッツアイ kisarazu cat’s eye starring 櫻井翔 sakurai sho! everywhere in the city you can see the drama’s posters and signs. i got a drama tour map from the information centre with all the shooting spots in the city.

mimachi street, where the main shooting spots are. the barber shop, photo studio and kimono shop are all here >w< lately i've been doing the aiba-chan pose a lot in photos hahah!

one of the benches along the street

barber tabuchi, or at least what used to be :3 there are lots of drama items and goods on display, as well as the signboard

i want this ;_;

the ozzy statue minus the mini bussan

野剣八幡神社 yatsuruhachiman shrine, another drama location

sasaki photo studio, ani‘s family business. i find it amusing that they use bussan‘s photos to advertise their passport photo printing services hahah!

the racoon statue outside the photo studio, with bussan‘s photo and name

the kimono shop that was set as bambi‘s house ♥

obligatory self-portrait

>w< ♥ the city was really quiet and oddly empty, because it was the emperor's birthday, so i guess everyone went out to celebrate the public holiday. i'm happy though, because it means i can take photos in the middle of the road like this!

after that, we went to look for the bridge that leads to the nightclub featured in the series

and we found it without much difficulty!

quiet streets on a public holiday

racoons are the symbol of this city

quite a few clubs here in kisarazu, i was a bit surprised hahah

kisarazu is famous for seafood, due to its port ^^ clams are the most well-known, along with crabs and fish

we were wondering what to do because we wanted to visit the red bridge during sunset, and on the way there we were lured to this restaurant by the really great smell! i was a bit hesitant to enter though because i’m not that big of a seafood fan, but in the end we went in because it looks like a good place, plus i’ve never been in this kind of restaurant before.

you get assigned to a table, then after that you choose your own ingredients to cook over the grill, or you can order a set meal or a seafood ricebowl.

more food you can choose

sashimi ♥♥♥

the shop has a really good atmosphere!

i ordered maguro-don. since we’re close to the port i figured it should be really good… IT WAS!!! really fresh and they gave more maguro compared with other places like ootoya.

yummy!!! and fun!!! i want to come here again with angel and the rest… it’s more fun if we eat with a lot of people!

shiitake mushroom >w<

abby‘s scallop… i think (i don’t eat shellfish so i don’t know what it is lol)

my yakionigiri (grilled riceball), which has sesame seeds all over

after eating, we traced our footsteps backwards and visited the other shrine, and aqua city, which is by far the most mundane shopping mall i’ve ever been to, before heading back towards the port to go the the red bridge.

^o^ the sun was just starting to set… nice timing!

中ノ島大橋 nakanoshime oohashi, also known as the legendary red bridge of kisarazu. it was often featured in the drama series ♥

according to a local legend, if a guy carries a girl on his back across the bridge, they will be together forever. in the drama, bambi carried mohko across despite her reluctance

it was really lovely! the wind felt really good, the sun was setting and i could smell the sea in the air! there was nobody else on the bridge so i proceeded to lie down to take photos!

i want to come here with teddy, the nehs and my orangutan buddies!

children looking at the sea

after that i laid down on my back and just stared at the blue, blue sky. my shoes against the cloudless horizon!

the sun starting to set. so beautiful!!!

more people came when the sun started to go down… like this couple.

and this one

and groups of teenagers not unlike the boys in the drama

it was really relaxing

the world is wide

hiro love sunsets ♥

going down…

the factories and… stuff… in the background look kind of magical to me, it reminds me a bit of the bathhouses in spirited away

one last view of the sea

goodbye kisarazu!

on the way back, we met a cute japanese boy on the subway who can’t stop talking to us after finding out that we were not japanese. he tried speaking in english to us, because right now he’s living and studying in thailand with his mum. he was really outspoken, and he told us that he thinks the japanese are “冷たい” (cold), and that he prefers south-east asians because they are warmer hahah! “americans are noisy! germans are not too noisy… russians are quiet!” when i asked him what he likes the most about japan, his answer was “the sweets!” before we got off the train i asked him :

(following conversation was in english)
me : how old are you?
him : 100 years old!
me : … what?
him : no, just kidding. i am ten!
me : what is your name?
him : tom cruise!
me : hahah! no way!
him : okay i lie. my name is micheal jackson.
me : he died!
him : yes. so i’m micheal jackson.

japanese kids are interesting HAHAHAHAHA!!!

i went to 日光 nikko on sunday with angel! ♥ we bought a world heritage pass that’s only available to foreign tourists (3600円 each) ^^ it includes a round trip from asakusa to nikko, the entrance fees to the 5 shrines/temples, and unlimited bus rides! a really good investment if you’re planning to go for the world heritage sites trail!

we left dorm at 06:30 *O* it costs 190円 from waseda to asakusa! we actually talked too much on the train and missed our stop at nihombashi by about 6 stops!!! thank goodness i noticed or we would have ended up in chiba!

waseda –> [tozai line] –> nihombashi –> [ginza line] –> asakusa –> [tobu line] –> tobu nikko

off we go!

we’ve entered tochigi prefecture!

hiro enjoying autumn

arrival at nikko after more than 2 hours

nikko is a quiet, serene city nestled in the mountains

and as you can see it’s 543m above sea level

while waiting for the bus

getting off at the first stop! i like this photo a lot

we exchanged our coupon for this set of entrance tickets worth 1000円

first temple : 輪王寺 rinnoji temple‘s main hall, 三仏堂 sanbutsudou

spotted this cute mini post office box on the way up to toshogu lol 😀

second stop : 東照宮 toshogu shrine, dedicated to the shogun tokugawa ieyasu. my dad visited this shrine 14 years ago

inside the shrine

the famous 3 monkeys! hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil

the torii are all carved with the tokugawa family crest, the hollycock (aoi in japanese)

nikko is a city rich in nature and there’s an abundence of trees that are dated more than 2000 years back


wonders of nature

i really like this photo, it has an autumnish aura to it! i almost sprained my back trying to get on top of the ledge, and then almost broke my leg trying to come down hahah

a mini forest growing from the moss

i love this shot too!

in front of 二荒山神社 futaransan shrine, popular among couples for its enmusubi

the eerie 大猷院霊廟 taiyuin reibyou, the maosoleum where tokugawa iemitsu was enshrined

mysterious stones stacked up

where the gods above look down at the human world

the view from heaven?

elaborate, intricate gold patterns

this place was too eerie for us to make cute poses so we took solemn photos

finally, time to eat!!!

a reaaaaaaaally late lunch

steaming hot oyako-don on a cold day!

i spotted this and couldn’t resist!

one of nikko‘s local specialties, モッフル moffle! if you’re curious, the name comes from a combination of mochi and waffle. i chose chocolate with whipped cream ^^ ♥

only in japan can you find oden, ramen and pasta in a can

we walked around town after we were done with the world heritage trail

the most beautiful cabbage i’ve ever seen

the 神橋 shinkyo, also known as the sacred bridge. it’s so difficult to get a good photo of in the dark!!! but it certainly does look mystical

5pm in nikko

one of the few remaining shops that were still open for business… steaming hot buns!

japan gets dark really early. i’m not lying, look at the clock

we collected maple leaves as souvenirs

we took the last train back to asakusa, which leaves at 6pm

a mini pamphlet of the icebucks, tochigi prefecture’s ice hockey team ^^ so cute!!! ♥

it was a great day! it’s so awesome that even deep in the mountains we still can manage to buy kimonos XD;; i can’t wait to go back again! we’re planning to rent bikes the next time and go around the lake and waterfalls ♥

on the first of april, all of us from malaysia were separated into different groups for our orientation. all of us had multiple tasks that were basically the same but we were sent to different places around 大阪 osaka. each group consists of 6 members ^▽^ it was all very exciting because it was our first time travelling by ourselves in a foreign place, and having been in japan for only 2 days prior to this outing, it was nerve-wracking and fun at the same time!

i woke up at 6am to a gloomy sky 😦 the weather forecast in japan is always right.

we all took the free shuttle bus from the center to the train station. our journey was as such : りんくうタウンrinku town –> 天下茶屋 tengachaya –> 恵美須町 ebisucho.

a familiar sight 🙂 the rinku town station, situated right next to a shopping mall called seacle.

here we go! i miss japanese trains 😦

we were unsure about which train to board at tengachaya and tried asking this schoolboy, but he was too scared of us and ran away (not literally) after mumbling “i’m not sure, i’m not from around here…”

we got off at ebisucho station and walked outside to be greeted by an awesome gust of spring wind =w= it was so cold and strong, it almost knocked us off our feet (no, not an exaggeration).

🙂 this area is called 新世界 shinsekai, meaning “new world” in japanese. although this area was considered to be one of the more “dangerous” and “seedier” places in osaka, it is actually not as dangerous as most people think it is (to me anyway).

first stop, 通天閣 tsutenkaku tower!

we were too early though, so we walked around for a bit and while waiting for the the opening time to enter the tower, we met up with another group and hung out for some time while eating osaka’s famous takoyaki! it was delicious 😀 cheap and steaming hot, fresh off the grill!

the takoyaki actually belongs to saga :p he treated me to one of his. i didn’t want to buy any because i wouldn’t be able to finish them, they were so big!

after that, we lined up to enter the tower 😀 we had a discount coupon from the booklet that was given together with our train pass so we entered for free hahah! normal visitors would have to pay from about 500円 to 600円 per person (junior high school students and senior citizens are given a discount).

unobstructed view of osaka city from the top of the tower 😀 the weather was quite cloudy so this is the best picture i could take.

inside the tower 😀 there is an observation deck on the 5th floor…

an amusing signboard written in osaka-ben.

after leaving the tower, we proceeded to have lunch at a restaurant located next to the tower 😀 at that time we didn’t really know it, but it’s a really famous store! we only went in because it began to rain, it was the nearest restaurant we could find and there were lots of people lining up outside 🙂 upon asking the lady who was lining up in front of us, it turns out that the store is very famous for a local specialty called 串かつ kushi katsu!

as you can see from all the people lining up in the rain… the store is a famous kushi katsu chain store called だるま daruma ^▽^ as you can see on the right side of the signboard, there are 3 stores in the same area alone O_O

cabbage is served as an appetizer and you can dip it in the box of soysauce on the table 😀 after eating, you put the sticks into the round wooden container so that they can count them and you will be charged accordingly.

this is how kushi katsu looks like. the cheapest kushi katsu starts from 105円 per stick and there are many types to choose from, ranging from chicken and pork to mochi and cheese. i miss this too T_T

after that we proceeded to look for the next place on our task list! we took the train to 日本橋 nipponbashi and met a very kind and helpful salaryman! we were staring at the huge map in the train station because we didn’t know which exit to take, and this plump salaryman who was dashing by saw our faces and asked in english, “do you guys need help?” we were absolutely STUNNED 😀 he was not young but the way he phrased his question was SO american hahah! we proceeded to assure him that we can speak japanese and then he look much more relieved, and after looking at the maps in our hands, he proceeded to lead us out of the station and towards the right direction. thank you so much, nice mr. salaryman!

the famous puffer fish of osaka 😀 there are many restaurants in osaka ❤ haha food paradise ftw!

the cutest takoyaki store whose mascot is that red little demon.

a cute paper lantern outside a japanese restaurant in the many alleys of osaka

osaka’s manhole lol 😀 i try my best to take a picture of every type of manhole i see in japan. this design is of the osaka castle surrounded by cherry blossoms. as you can see from the picture, it was raining… my jeans were soaked 😦

cute puffer fish lanterns >w<

our first stop was 法善寺 houzen-ji, a small temple in one of the alleys. since the area was like a maze, it took us quite some time to find this temple >o< it's a small, quiet temple that is famous for moss-covered jizo statues.

the aforementioned moss-covered statues.

おみくじ omikuji, or paper fortunes. the word literally means “sacred lottery” 😀 you can get one from the temple and if it’s not very good, you can tie it at the temple so that your luck will change for the better. if you get a good one (which is rare), you can keep it with you ^^

purify yourself before entering the shrine is considered a must 🙂

lanterns in perspective make a good photo

our next stop was directly opposite to the temple, an ukiyo-e museum called 髪形浮世絵館 kamigata ukiyo-e museum.

in front of the museum. i love the cat ❤ and i've just realized after taking the photo that my hands were clenched like a cat's paws… you can't blame me, it was freezing cold. no pictures were allowed inside the museum though… not really interesting unless you like ukiyo-e paintings, but at the top floor there is a gorgeous uchikake (wedding kimono) display, and downstairs there is a zakka (japanese handcraft) shop worth looking at, though the goods are pretty pricey! you can enter the shop by a side entrance without paying for the entrance fee to the museum. we had a coupon so it was free.

lastly, here’s a picture of me scratching biliken‘s sole for good luck 😀 biliken is everywhere in osaka! and i especially like this one because he’s wearing the hanshin tigers’ jersey ^▽^

we also visited osaka castle but i’ll write about that in another entry because it is so awesome it deserves an entry of its own 😀


slice-of-life entries of my life in japan as an exchange student :) feel free to comment... they're my daily pieces of happiness!

to read my travel posts, please click on "voyages"

thank you for dropping by, and have a nice day ♥

i ♥ nino

Powered by ジャニトモ

i ♥ ohchan

Powered by ジャニトモ