25 November 2014, It’s all excitement when you are about to board a plane for vacation! i couldn’t hide such excitement as i was so committed to complete my office works real fast (and forget all about it) ! the highlight today was layover at Changi Airport, Narita Express, Bus trip to Kawaguchiko, and Fujiyama Onsen. Unlike past trip when i lost my passport, this one went pretty well
Coming early at Soekarno Hatta Airport (CGK), my flight got bumped to an hour-earlier SQ flight, which gave me lengthy 2 hours layover at Changi (the acclaimed best airport in the world). SQ is having promotion for passenger transiting at Changi Airport, they can redeem $20 + $20 Changi Voucher which is good for retailers, restaurants and souvenir shops at Changi Airport. Simply queue at iShop Changi counter and present the boarding pass to the ever-grumpy Singaporean Staff.
Then i headed to Shower Facilities at Terminal 3, which is located at the Ambassador Lounge on level 2. The shower-only facilities cost me bloody $16! later on my return trip, i figured that the the Shower Facilities at T3 is recently renovated and hence is more expensive than the old one at T2 which cost only $8. Bath Towel, Liquid Soap, Shampoo, Toothbrush are provided. Hairdryer, Basin and Toilet is in the common area. I heard that Singapore are kind of strict of the use of natural resources and they charge hefty for that, so i gave myself liberty to spend my $16 on that torrents of warm shower water for a good ten minutes while singing bohemian rhapsody twice (ha!).
While waiting for the next flight, i walked around and tested out my new Wide Lens adapter. The Changi Airport is already on Christmas Season with its snow and xmas decoration.
My Singapore – Tokyo flight departed on 23:55 (what’s with 5-minute-to-new-date timing anyway?). Flying on an airplane makes me happy at the very least! but an overnight flight? its never been my favourite, simply because i have sleeping problem on an awkward airplane seat. just like a knight carrying sword and shield to a battlefield, i have loaded my iPad with movies and TV series, iPod with soothing classical music that i’m actually very bored with and eventually it’ll help make me sleep. But i was so shocked to when i saw that my Klipsch s4i earphone is losing one of its eartip! :(. My destiny was stuck with crappy airplane headset..
but the airplane headset ain’t that bad.. i mean the colours.. it’s yellow and blue! it’s probably the kid version. I
stole brought this home (Sorry SQ!)
As always, SQ in-flight entertainment is one of the best at providing latest movies and music. I watched Doraemon: Standby Me which wouldn’t be released at Indonesia for the next 2 months. Then i watched Gotham Series recommended by a friend, which turn out to be one of my fav TV series now.
The plane landed at Narita Airport 7:40 am, the landing was so smooth that i stood, clapped and shouted ‘bravo’ the moment it landed… (no, i didn’t do it). The weather wasn’t too friendly with light rain and lots of haze.
Anyway, i was reunited with my family at the airport! they took different flight, Cathay Pacific, because my SQ flight was
ridiculously expensive fully booked. we headed to the NEX (Narita Express) ticket counter. Presenting our passport give us 50% discounted fare, from 3,000 yen to 1,5000 yen. Narita Express is the fastest to get into the city center since it only transit at main station such as shibuya, shinjuku, tokyo and ikebukuro. We dropped off at Shibuya and i took the local JR train to Shinjuku. My fam, staying at different hotel, continued to Ikebukuro
My hotel, JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Shinjuku, located about 5 min walk from Shinjuku Station south gate. Cross the intersection, locate McDonalds and the hotel is in the same block. The Hotel is just recently opened in August 2014, so its very new, clean and modernly decorated. I left my luggage at the hotel and headed to the Shinjuku West Bus Station where most of the bus connecting between cities will depart from. My bus, going to Kawaguchiko, departed at 12:10. as i have previously made a reservation online, i just need to pay to get my actual ticket.
The bus is fully occupied, a middle-aged Japanese guy sit next to me. The seat itself felt a bit cramped with narrow leg room, and me wearing my thick winter jacket makes it worse. The trip itself took about 1 hour 40 minutes, the bus went through some highway, bridges and hills. It also took some stops at small station. I guess the views can be a lot better if it was one clear day, but the thick haze and light rain was blocking the view most of the time. Anyway, the bus dropped me at my hotel, The Highland Resort Hotel and Spa.
Upon checking in, the staff gave me (free) entrance ticket to Fujiyama Onsen, Fuji Museum and FujiQ Highland, as the perks of staying at the hotel. He also granted my request to have a room with Mt Fuji view (which i should have paid extra if i booked such room at agoda.com). And my room is.. SUPER SPACIOUS! it smells a bit old but everything looks clean and very accommodating. Too bad the haze is covering Mt Fuji which otherwise, would be nice to see through the huge window in the room. read my thorough review of the hotel here at tripadvisor
after inspecting all parts of the room, i did what i have to do.. unlocking the mighty internet! so i have previously ordered a mobile wifi online here , 450 yen per day, cheapest vs other similar services and it delivered to my hotel. the setup is easy and the speed is just okay, i got about 5-6mbps top, not exactly what i expected from a country that’s well known for its blazing broadband speed.
then i took a walk around the hotel, the back side which is connected with Fuji Q Highland. It was lightly raining, cold, very quiet, not many people around, sometimes even no people at all, everything feels gloomy. The rain got heavier and i quickly went back to my room.
when the rain is over, the sun was almost set. i headed out to the nearest convenience store.. which was.. not very near at all. The closest 7-11 is about 600m walks.. i bought my dinner, nissin cup curry noodles and some snacks and drinks. later i found out that there is very small unbranded convenience store where the highway bus dropped me earlier.
Then i decided to go to the Onsen (Open Hot Spring Bath), Fujiyama Onsen. The hotel has very convenient underground passage that connect directly to Fujiyama Onsen building which is next to the hotel. Fujiyama Onsen is the largest Onsen in Fuji Five Lakes area, and actually is the biggest in Japan.
The large public baths feature seven types of hot springs. Saunas, stone saunas, exfoliation, and other services like massage are also available. There weren’t many people unlike my previous onsen visit at Oedo Onsen Monogotari in Tokyo, so i felt a bit easy to try all types of hot springs, the high and low temperature, the one with jet-pressured water, the outdoor onsen (the combination of chilly wind and warm water is purrrfect), and the super-sweating-catalyst sauna. i soaked for about 45 minutes before my hungry stomach starts to not cooperating, i returned to the hotel, feeling fresh, rejuvenated and.. hungry..
The Nissin Cup Curry noodle was excellente.. served my dinner well.. for both its portion and strong curry taste. highly recommended.
11.10 PM and that’s it for the day. I slept early so i can rise early for sunrise of MtFuji tomorrow morning!