Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Itinerary

Travel Date: Nov 14-17, 2015
Temperature: Minimum at 11.6 Celsius, Maximum at 17.4 Celsius; Rained for 3 out of 4 days stay in the city.

Bearable cold temperature (coming from a tropical country).  No need for fleece yet, you can have double shirt and leather for layering.

If you have ICOCA for Greater Osaka (Kansai) and SUICA for Greater Tokyo (Kanto), make sure to bring it in Nagoya.

I know this fact, but still failed to bring my 2 cards.  So I looked for either TOICA or MANACA. 

Hotel Trusty in Sakae

Arrival at Chūbu Centrair Int'l Airport
Scan shopping / price check at Don Quijote

Korankei at Toyota
Sanshu Asuke Yashiki
Tokugawa Garden
Nunoike Catholic Church
Mall Hopping at Otsu Dori 

Obara Fureai Park
Semmi Shikizakura no Sato
Osu Shopping Center
Mall Hopping at Otsu Dori

Nagoya Boston Museum of Fine Arts - Open 10:00 - 19:00 (Optional, if time permits)
Toyota Museum - with English Tour as 14:00, 15:15 (Optional, if time permits)
Noritake Museum
Departure for Manila (in time for APEC 2015)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Noritake Garden

Destination: Noritake Garden, Nagoya, Aichi
Travel Date: November 16, 2015
Noritake, a known brand of tableware.

In 1876, Ichizaemon Morimura VI and his brother Toyo founded Morimura Gumi with the intent of establishing overseas trading by a Japanese company. By 1878, Toyo had established a business in New York selling Japanese antiques and other goods, including pottery. The company was renamed Morimura Brothers in 1881. 

In 1904, key members of this trading company created the Nippon Toki Kaisha, Ltd. ("the Company that makes Japan's Finest China") in Japan.[4] A new factory was built in Noritake, near Nagoya (now Noritake-shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi). In 1914 the company succeeded in creating their first Western style dinner set, called "Sedan", to compete with European porcelain companies. This forerunner of the modern Noritake Company was founded in the village of Noritake, a small suburb near Nagoya, Japan. Today, many collectors agree that the best examples of “Nippon-era” (1891–1921) hand painted porcelain carry a back stamp used by "Noritake" during the Nippon era. [Reference]

Turn left (eastward) immediately after coming out of Exit 2. Go under the elevated Shinkansen tracks, then take a left turn at the second traffic signal of Wanouchi-cho. The visitor’s entrance is located about 50 meters ahead on the left (East Gate).

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Tokugawa Garden

Destination: Tokugawa Garden (1001 Tokugawa-cho, Higashi-Ku, Nagoya, Aichi 461-0023)
Travel Date: November 15, 2015
Open: 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Last entrance at 5:00 p.m.) *closed on Mondays
Garden Entrance: 300 yen for adults
Access: Morishita Station on Seto line or Ozone Station on Meijo subway line.

"Tokugawa-en", a Japanese garden in the middle of Nagoya.  One of the suggested sites on where to chase koyo during November.

In the early Edo period (1603-1867), Tokugawa Mitsutomo (1625-1700), second lord of the Owari branch of the Tokugawa clan, established a vast residence called the Ōzone Shimoyashiki. After his death, the property was passed on to the families of his three retainers Naruse, Ishiko and Watanabe, until the Meiji Restoration of 1867, when ownership was returned to the Owari Tokugawa.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Aichi: Toyota: Obara

Destination: Obaracho, Toyota, Aichi Prefecture 470-0531, Japan
Travel Date: November 16, 2015

Thanks to roparat for the full details on how to get to Obara/Kamnigi Stop.

My course was: 
  • Drop-off at Obaraokusa Stop -to visit Obara Fureai Koen
  • Walked 4km (roughly 100 minutes)
  • Visited Semmi Shikizakua no Sato (jumped in at Kaminigi Stop, headed to Toyota station)

For my personal take, Obara Fureai Koen has maple, sakura and more ginko in place. The market is livelier in the afternoon.  An off decision when you choose this as your departure point heading back to Toyota, is you need to have the strength to stand for the  next hour, since the bus is already full when it departed at Kaminigi.

Jugatsuzakura (Autumn Cherry)
The Jugatsuzakura (literally "October Cherry") is one of the varieties that bloom in the autumn and winter. The flowers are small and sparse, but provide a surprising sight in combination with fall colors or snow. [Reference]

Saturday, December 5, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Toyota: Asuke: 4 things to expect in Korankei

A visit on mid-November in Nagoya City is still too early for autumn.  Where most of the leaves are still in shinning green.  So heading to an off-track destination of Korankei in Toyota City is a good decision.  It's almost an hour train and another hour bus away from Nagoya, but arriving there will give you magical autumn experience.

Most of the review will say that getting there is difficult since you have to change trains and buses.  Traffic is terrible and the place is crowded.  Well, they are all true, so you have to wake up early to catch the earliest transportation and avoid traffic.

There are 3 options to go to Korankaei, Asuke, Toyota City, Japan:
  • HigashiOkazaki Station to Kourankei via bus Meitetu Okazaki.Asuke Line (Earliest: 6:36, 8:30 Arrival 7:41, 9:36) - 55mins
  • Toyota City Station to Kourankei via bus Meitetu Yanami Line (Earliest: 7:18, 9:35 Arrival: 8:00, 10:17) - 42mins
  • Jyousui Station to Kourankei via Toyota Oiden Bus Sanage.Asuke Line (Earliest 7:26, 8:26 Arrival: 8:23, 9:23) - 57mins

4 things to expect in Korankei, Asuke:

1. Taigetsukyo Bridge (red bridge) with autumn backdrop - has been a promising scenic spot and loved by photographers especially for those chasing the koyo leaves. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Hotel Trusty Sakae

Hotel Trusty Nagoya Sakae,
Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Date Stayed: Nov 13-17, 2015

Price: Discounted - Thanks to, I got another Insider Deal of almost 60% discount, plus reduction on price by using Rewards Points.  Comparing to, I got a cheaper deal in for less than 25%.

It is still better to prepare hotel booking by comparing prices on the official site and other 3rd party booking sites as an early bird, to have more choices. 

Check-in: It is a late check-in, so less people are on the lobby. I was accommodated quickly, the staff can speak clear English.  There is no deposit needed.  Choice of breakfast is already being asked (night before) since it is not buffet type.

Room: (Single Deluxe, 15sqm) Room size in Japan is normally small, it's my fourth visit in Japan - so I already expected that it has good facilities and service - with coffee/tea maker, slippers and toiletries.  Nice to know that they even offer LAN cable, that’s so helpful on my online meeting.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

2015 June: Australia: Blue Mountains: Jenolan Caves

It's a decision between to do or not to do it because of the price and the schedule.  A week before our flight we have decided to do it since there is nothing much to do in the city.

An addition to my cave adventure (after Sumaguing in Sagada, Callao in Cagayan, Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises) in Halong Bay, Manjanggul Cave (lava tunnel) in Jeju) glad we made it!

Realizations for our decisions:

  • The Trolley Tours works with Jenolan Office to reserve the tickets and guided tour for the cave.  We got a 2.00 aud discount booked from Metropole Hotel and they were able to reserved us in both Trolley return ride and Cave tour.
  • The Chifley Cave is a good choice and gives you enough time (to do the cave, quick lunch, self-guided tour in Nettle Cave, visit at blue lake, quick visit in souvenir shop and a 30 minute rest before the bus leaves at 3:30pm). Personal choice of good cave is the Diamond Cave but can be visited if you stay there overnight in Jenolan Hotel or if you have private car to be there by 9:00am.
  • If you don't mind being the reason for the delay of the bus departure in the afternoon, you may take both Chifley and Lucas. There is also Oriental Cave (check the schedule).  Be mindful of the negative reviews about of Trolley Tours (read more in Trip Advisor).

We left Trolley Shoppe/bus from Carlton Stop at 10:30am.  It is a long almost 1-1.5 hours bus ride heading to the caves. 

Going there stay on the left side of the bus to experience the cliff adventure.

Chifley Cave guided tour started at exactly 12:30nn.

2015 June: Australia: Katoomba: Scenic World

In Central Station, head to platform 7. Take note that 1st and last coach is a quiet coach, meaning you should minimize the tone of your voice, phone on mute and be mindful of your movement/noise. Better stay in the middle coach. It will be around 2 hours, so don't miss Katoomba stop, otherwise you'll reach Mount Victoria.

Scenic World
From the internet not much says about the quickest access to Scenic World - mostly website suggests to take the Blue Mountains HOHO and the Troley Tours.  Please be aware that there is Bus #686 run by the government which accepts Opal Card.

2015 June: Australia: Katoomba: Metropole

Why stay in Katoomba?  Because we can't have Scenic World and Jenolan Caves at the same day.

Metropole Katoomba
Location: Corner Gang Gang and Lurlline Streets, Katoomba, NSW 2780, Blue Mountains, Australia
Just across Katoomba Station!

You can see Katoomba Station from the fire place/3rd Floor

Saturday, July 4, 2015

2015 June: Sydney: Bondi Beach

Australia, famous for it's best beaches!  But since it is too cold for us to be playing on the water, the closest and easiest to visit for a short time will be Bondi Beach.  

With shops that offer affordable ROX items to be most loved graffiti walls expressing emotions and warm relationship among others.  One that touched my heart is the wall that remembers the Bali bombing which hurt Sydney tourists at that time. (since we saw the site in Bali as well)

2015 June: Sydney: Ultimo, Haymarket, Town Hall

After my visit, I can say it is not for all.  It will be mostly appreciated by those who love applied science or students coming from intensive science subjects in their lower years. 

Powerhouse Museum
Location: 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia

Located in the old Ultimo Power Station building adjacent to Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is the flagship venue of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). Its unique and diverse collection spans science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health and medicine, fashion and contemporary culture.

Seems to small from the outside but has a lot to offer on their underground levels which stores the permanent exhibition. 

On Text: Railways were a powerful symbol of industrial progress, transformed the landscape and the way people viewed the world.

2015 June: Sydney: Central

You can reach Central area by taking buses (412, 413, 436, 438, 439, 440, 461, 480, 483) passing along Broadway and Parramatta Road.  First stop is the university area.

The University of Sydney
Location: New South Wales 2006, Australia

There were few students on our visit on a Sunday morning. Also, can't get a full photo of the Great Hall since there are a few maintenance vans parked in front of the building.  But still it was a nice spent morning for people watching on a sunny chilly weather.

Great Hall

Nicholson Museum

Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Australia: Sydney: Itinerary & Tips

How's the weather?
Are you wondering what will the weather be on your travel? How's the range of temperature, will it rain? Are you gearing up for the hot or cold weather?

Visit the historical temperature and precipitation record on:

Confused on what card to use during your stay in Sydney?

It's a fight between MyMultiPass and Opal card.

MyMultiPass-1-2-3-Day has different area coverage on unlimited travel on bus, train, railway and ferry. Read:

For a 7 day stay, it is recommended to get MyMulti3 for $65 aud.

But, what I did is to purchase Opal Card, I'm not using the ferry anyway. I had a total top-up of $40 aud for a week stay.  Know the benefits of Opal:

-Travel all day on Sunday with Opal for no more than $2.50.
-Enjoy travel all day for no more than $15 per day for Adult
-Take 8 paid journeys from Monday-Sunday with an Opal card and enjoy free travel for the rest of the week
-A 30% off-peak discount on full price Opal fares applies to all train journeys

Read more on:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 Australia: Sydney: The Rocks

Inspired by Running Man's episode when they visited Victoria Library in Melbourne.  We have decided to visit State Library of NSW.

State Library of New South Wales
Location: Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Free Tour Schedule: Monday to Fridays at 10.30am

Sunday, June 21, 2015

2015 June: Sydney: Churches

There are a lot of churches in the city. It's not only the catholic churches that have intricate designs, there were Anglican and others as well.  On the Pitts, you can also see the Scientology Church (Read). 

We're able to attend the Sunday mass in St. Peter Julian's Church.

St. Peter Julian Haymarket
Location: 641 George Street, Sydney   NSW
Sunday  Mass  Times:  9.30  am,  11.00  am  (Chinese),12.30  pm,  3.30  pm  &  5.00pm  (Korean)

Gospel MK 14:12-16, 22-26 - June 07, 2015
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."

Reflection on the Gospel:
That we can't be alone (no man is an island) and we need companion.
Companion - you need to have a companion to share your bread (pan) with.

Origin: Middle English: from Old French compaignon, literally 'one who breaks bread with another', based on Latin com- 'together with' + panis 'bread'. [Reference