Japan – The land of rising Sun

This was the third time i was traveling to Japan within a span of two years. The 2016 was the year when i traveled first time to Japan for almost 4mths in 2 visits in quick succession. As previous visits, this time also it was a business trip of one month. The Japan has always excited me as the land of rising Sun (though its not technically), because of its beautiful cities and Shinkansen(Bullet train).  Similar to my previous trip this time also i was traveling to Japan in the month of March which is a festive season because of start of Sakura celebrations(Cherry blossom). I was also a bit sad as my wife was not along with me due to her busy Banking job in the month of March which is a financial year end in India.

Yokohama was my destination of stay as office of my organisation is located there, so through out this article i will be talking with respect to Yokohama as my reference point.

Yokohama, is the second largest city of Japan after Tokyo and is just 40Kms from Tokyo. My journey started on 10th March at 10:30AM from Pune to Mumbai by Taxi, then I took AirIndia flight from Mumbai to Delhi and from Delhi another flight at 9:15PM all the way to Tokyo. It was a long journey of around 20hrs since leaving from my home in Pune. However the flight was quiet comfortable and equipped with Bollywood and Hollywood movies so it didn’t felt boring and much tiring. I reached to Narita airport Tokyo by 8AM and after fresh-up,  immigration and baggage collection i took a limousine bus from Airport to Yokohama City Air Terminal(YCAT). Next day by 11:30AM Japan time i was in beautiful Yokohama city.

During my last two visits i stayed in rental apartments provided by Yokohama weekly mansion – Kannai-2, however this time apartment was not available in Kannai-2 so i requested for an apartment in Kannai-1 builiding which was exactly opposite to Kannai-2 across the road. I prefer these apartments as the  Yokohama Subway Blue line train station “Isezaki Chojamachi” is at a walkable distance of around 200mtrs and is also near to my office and have plenty of shops and malls nearby. If you have any plans to travel to Yokohama then you can check the apartment availability with them from their site “http://www.yokohama-apartment.com/en”. As the check-in time was 2PM so i stayed at my colleagues apartment in Kannai-2 for a couple of hours. As a kind gesture he prepared meal for me too and after a tasteful meal I collected keys for my apartment and checked in into my room and rested for couple of hours. After rest we went out for a short walk in the evening.

Yokohama is a beautiful city and i found Yokohama more beautiful than Tokyo. Tokyo has its own charm but the evening view of Yokohama from Osanbashi pier is magnificent. If you have any plan to visit Japan then Yokohama must be in your itinerary. The Minato-Mirai area 21 is an awesome place to spend a day. With 270mtr tall Landmark tower, Queens tower A,B,C and Yokohama Cosmo museum in the vicinity this place is amazing. If you are traveling by train then Sakuragi cho station and Minato Mirai stations makes it easily accessible from Tokyo. You can also reach to Yokohama from Tokyo aiports(Narita/Haneda) by Narita express or YCAT bus, the ticket price for both is almost same.

It was a great journey of one month in Japan along with office work in week days and beautiful destinations planned on weekends. First time ever in life i enjoyed the Snowfall unexpectedly. Visited to Lake Kawaguchiko to experience the breath taking view of Mount Fuji. Visited Open air folk museum in Kawasaki to observe the preserved old architecture of Japanese villages. Had to Ueno market in  Tokyo. This time i didn’t visit those places which i had already visited 2yrs back. If you are planning a visit to Japan then following questions may be in your mind and hopefully i can answer some of your questions.

Q1. Which is the best season to travel to Japan ?

I recommend you to travel from mid of March to mid of May, as the winter is towards end and its the start of Sakura(Spring season). The weather is quiet cool and clear to travel. You can see a lot of beautiful flower blooming around the city.

Q2. How to arrange Japanese currency ?

If you have Master or Visa debit/Credit card then you are good to go. You can withdraw up to JPY 50000(~$465) through ATM at once in Japan. Or you can also use Debit/Credit card to pay your bills. You must collect the information of currency conversion charges and transaction charges from your bank. You can also keep a small amount of cash handy with you converted through your local Forex exchange.

Q3. What are the modes of transport available in Japan ?

The best and cheapest way to travel in Japan are the Subway, JR train line or public buses. The taxi is quiet expensive in Japan. You can get a Passmo card from the train station and it can be utilized for train tickets, bus and at shops like Family mart and Seven Eleven. The Passmo can be used as a monthly pass between two fixed stations and on top of it you can charge it for some additional amount to pay train, bus tickets on different routes and also can be use to pay for your purchases at shops.

You can also try Seabass to travel from one port to another in Yokohama or can take a ride in Akai-kutsu hop on- hop off bus to see the city.

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Ticket wending machines at stations.

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The best way to find your route is through “http://www.hyperdia.com/” website. You can search for connecting trains between destination.

Hperdia

Q4. What are the places of interest in Yokohama and Tokyo ?

There are plenty of sightseeing options, fun parks and shopping malls in both the cities. If you are in Yokohama then first destination should be Minato-Mirai area21.

Hakkeijima Seaparadise is a must place to visit. It is a beautiful place with aquariums, adventures rides and amazing Dolphin show. You can get a day pass here and can enjoy multiple options. You will have a full day of fun here.

The next place is Osanbashi international pier, the evening view of Yokohama Minato-Mirai is awesome. You can spend here an hour or two in the evening and morning to experience the cool breeze and the mesmerizing view of Yokohama with Sunset and Sun rise. Sunsets behind the Minato-Mirai area and Sunrises from the bay area.

If you like to have a glimpse of old homes of Japan then must give a visit to Nihon Minkaen Open air folk museum near Kawasaki or give a visit to Sankein garden in Yokohama.

A village like museum in Kawasaki.

Old houses beautifully preserved in Sankein garden.

For a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji and to have a close view of snow cap, the visit to Lake Kawaguchiko is must. You can get a bus from Kawaguchiko town to Fuji 5th station. However please check the weather information to ensure the visibility of Fuji san.

Kamakura and Enoshima is the next best place near Yokohama to experience the beautiful Budhist shrines and to view beautiful seascape and cityscape from Enoshima sea candle.

Tokyo sky tree, Asakusa temple, Ueno market and Odaiba are other good and must see places in Tokyo. The list is never ending.

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Odaiba Rainbow bridge

Night view of Tokyo city.

Asakusa Temple
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Ueno market

Q5. Where to dine out in Yokohama ?
If you are a food lover then Minato Mirai area is a great option for you. There are lot of Japanese and foreign restaurant in Queen’s tower, Landmark tower and Mark-is.  You can check the floor map to identify the right choice for you.

Q6. Which are good Indian restaurants in Yokohama ?
There are many Indian restaurant in Yokohama and Tokyo as well. If your are visiting Minato-Mirai then there are two options available for your – Mumbai Curry and Khazana. Both are quiet descent options. Near Yokohama station there is Mantra restaurant in Sky building. One more good and cheap option we found was Yokohama Asian Dining and Bar. It is a very good place to have Indian food. The taste was very good at a very low price compared to other above mentioned options.
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I found the food at Yokohama Asian Dining very tasty and had a discussion with the worker their and also met with the chef to have a photo for my memories.

So this was my journey, i visited many places and tried to put most of the information here, however i may have missed out on some information. But if you need some additional information then feel free to write me at deepeshdongre@gmail.com.

Leaving you with the video of my Japan travel –

4 thoughts on “Japan – The land of rising Sun

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