Monday, May 23, 2016

2016 May: Japan: Fukuoka: Uminonakamichi


If you are looking for an easier route to bed of flowers than Nokonoshima Island, choose Uminonakamichi which is accessible by subway.  But if you are  not a plant or flower lover, you can skip this since this has less seating and shaded area.  To hot to visit in the  middle of a summer day.   






Sunday, May 22, 2016

2016 May: Japan: Kyushu: Fukuoka Tower

Fukuoka Tower (福岡タワー Fukuoka Tawā) is the tallest seaside tower in Japan. Fukuoka Tower was finished in 1989, designed by Nikken Sekkei. It was built on reclaimed land out of Hakata Bay (Momochihama area of Fukuoka).

The tower is designed to withstand magnitude 7 earthquakes and winds of a speed up to 65 m/s. [Reference]


2016 May: Japan: Saga: Yutoku Inari Shrine

Yutoku Inari Shrine (祐徳稲荷神社)
849-1321 Saga-ken, Kashima-shi, Furueda, 1855
https://www.yutokusan.jp/about/access/

A shrine located in Kashima City, Saga Prefecture.


Dedicated to Inari, the wild fox kami, it is the third largest of its kind in Japan. It was constructed in 1688 as the family shrine of the Nabeshima clan who ruled what would become the Saga area (called Hizen at that time) during the Edo period. [Reference]


Getting there : 
  • From Hakata Station, go to JR Hizen-Kashima Station (肥前鹿島駅 Hizenkashima-eki).  This station has very nice restroom area as well.  
  • Exit and cross the road for the Kashima Bus Center, (don’t worry, there are signs upon exit). 
  • You'll be welcomed by an old man trying to give you RT tickets for 320 jpy each, take this as IC cards are not accepted by this bus line.  There is also Information Center, if you have doubts.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

2016 May: Japan: Flavors of Kyushu - Itadakimasu! Kumpai!

Tasting the Fukuoka and Kyushu cuisine!

Ippudo Tao
Food: chashu (simmered/braised pork) ramen with tamago and vegetables
Value: Average (1128 jpy)
Location: Yubinbango810-0001 Fukuoka Tenjin, Chuo-ku, 1-13-13 (5 mins walk from Tenjin station)
Website: http://www.ippudo.com/store/tao_fukuoka/
Personal Preference: 9 out of 10

2016 May: Japan: Hotel Ascent Fukuoka

Hotel Ascent Fukuoka
ホテルアセント福岡
3-3-14 Tenjin Chuo-ku, Chuo, Fukuoka, Japan 810-0001
中央区天神3-3-14, 中央区, 福岡, 日本 810-0001
Phone:+81 92-711-1300
Dates Stayed: May 15 - 19, 2016

Price: Got the room with 45% discount on insider deal and had another discount applied by using my points.  Thanks to Agoda for this deal.


Panic Button On: I was not able to find the Exit# from Google Maps, so I assumed my way out and got lost.  Until I saw Daimyo Church, thanks God! It was actually in my itinerary to visit the place, but not at this early to be coming straight from the airport!  From there I already my way to my accommodation.
  
Location: Hotel is in Tenjin, at the further end of the Underground Shopping district.  Accessible by same subway line from the Airport Station.

Upon arrival and departure on the city (if with luggage), take the elevator on Exit 5, B2 going 1F (courtesy of Parco).  On a daily scene, I prefer Exit 4, as this is the closer gate (but without Underground Shopping) to the hotel. Turn right on the next street.  Cross the Showa Dori, it will be behind Media Popeye. 

2016 May: Japan: Fukuoka International Airport

Arrival:
Fukuoka International Terminal is not directly connected to the Subway.


2016 May: NAIA Terminal 3

Upgrades in NAIA:  

Now there is a map beside the flight status in Terminal 3.

Also, traditional patterns were painted in boring white walls of the arrival area.  Hopefully they improve this to picturesque views of Philippine nature, places, and festivals.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2016 Jan: Humble Abode - #xyAxis

It’s been a while since I have updated this blog!  We passed several the holiday seasons, I had my last trip in Coron last February, I left a 10 year job before heading for a short rest in Fukuoka.  Enough with these excuses!  Below will be a one long work in progress entry about my humble abode!

It’s been a long time dream to have a place of my own.  But people around previously do not support this decision, instead I have build my portfolio with property companies to buy my own when the time comes.  Inspired by a friend last February, I finalized my reservation a day after my birthday in year 2015.  After 9 months of paying my dues, finally was able to moved in early this year (2016).  

The Search for the Place 
It will definitely be in Pioneer, Mandaluyong for the convenience then.  Strategically located to be accessible from business districts of Makati, Ortigas and Bonifacio Global City.
In short period, I weigh in between Pines Peak, Sheridan, Sunshine and Woodlands; Light and Flair were not in my short list.  With some constructive feedback from friends and internet among others, I finally decided to choose Axis.  Thanks to Faye who has been very helpful, always concern and has been a patient property consultant to me. 

The Payment
Thanks to my major sponsors ate and mama, with the help of my long time savings and time deposits and dedicated 9 month salary – we were able to pull it through.  Thanks to my minor sponsors – Tito Lito (ACN), (DD, JFC), (BDO, SMPH, SM), (AC), (TEL), (DMC), lastly the (CEB, JGS), that's why I have chosen a unit from RLC, need to say more?!

Multi-purpose Furniture

Single Sofa-bed (Furniture Republic, Php12,595, 24JAN2016)  I would consider this as a good buy due to its price with its functions (sofa, bed, reclines, swivels).



Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 Nov: Japan: Nagoya: Itinerary

Weather
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.
http://en.tutiempo.net/climate/11-2015/ws-476360.html

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

Transportation
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. 
Reference: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2359_003.html

Accommodation
Hotel Trusty in Sakae

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

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

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

Tuesday
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]


Access: 
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.
Website: http://www.tokugawaen.city.nagoya.jp/english/01_direction/index.html 

"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
http://www.trusty.jp/nagoyasakae/
Date Stayed: Nov 13-17, 2015

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