Activities - Sleep

My Japanese ryokan hopping adventure 2018-2019 – 7 Ryokans in 3 months

It's been a whirlwind 2019 and I do apologise to my readers for the long radio silence. It's been a mad year of renovating and moving house which can be terribly intense. I am back in action again! Many of my fans often ask me what I look for or where to go when picking Ryokans. Given I hit my all time high list of visiting 7 Japanese ryokans in a mere 3 months during the season of Fall Winter 2018-2019, I thought it would be most apt to share with you snippets of my travels to these mostly new areas and ryokans and my own rating reviews of them based on 1 to 5 (5 being the best). I often look at the ryokan first...

Best way to experience Karuizawa

Karuizawa is a beautiful upmarket mountain resort located in the Nagano Prefecture. It's definitely not a cheap place compared to some other countryside areas, and has developed as a popular place for many Japanese to visit especially during Summer, with many affluent ones owning a second home here. I aptly call it the Hamptons of Japan. The great part of Karuizawa is its accessibility to Tokyo via the Hokoriku Shinkansen in slightly over an hour, making it even possible as a day trip. And some fun facts if you didn't know, this was John Lennon and Yoko Ono's favourite place to spend their summers with their son John back in the 1970s. I would caution anyone coming here not to just spend a day here, it's nice...

Best of Kusatsu Onsen

For my summer getaway this year, I did almost the unthinkable of visiting Japan in July! Unthinkable because it's the summer season then, and all I could say was my furry paws and body was just sweating profusely in the hot humid weather years ago when I went to my favourite country during the hot summer months. Nevertheless, GS my travel buddy convinced Y and I that we could escape to the nearby highlands like Karuizawa which had a cooler climate during summer. We've always wanted to visit this area, and I figured it must be a sign when I was watching the latest season of Terrace House on Netflix, also set in Karuizawa (Yes, guys, watch this series, it can get terribly addictive) ! One of...

Kayotei Ryokan and exploring Yamanaka onsen

Recharged from our first night in Kanazawa staying at the lovely Asadaya Ryokan, I made my way with Y and her best gal pals to our next stop to Kayotei Ryokan, an hour's drive away. Located in the small hotsprings area of Yamanaka, Kayotei is a traditional ryokan, family-owned inn of only 10 rooms. I booked it through my favourite website - Ryokan Collection months ahead of time just to be safe! (1 Chome-ホ20 Yamanakaonsen Higashimachi, Kaga-shi, Ishikawa-ken 922-0114, Japan, Tel: +81 761-78-1410) Getting here You could take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kanazawa and then take a car down, or also fly into Komatsu Airport (from Tokyo or nearby other Japan cities), which is about a 30 minutes car ride from Kayotei Ryokan....

Kanazawa Travel in 24 hours

In celebration of Y's big 40 last year, we went for a nice girlie getaway with some of her best gal pals to Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. This post describes the first part of the trip where we stayed in Asadaya Ryokan in Kanazawa for the first night, before moving on to the Kaga area to stay in Kayotei for the next 2 nights. It was definitely too short a trip, as there was so much to do and see, but what makes Kanazawa so convenient is also its proximity to Tokyo, which means I could come back here again in the near future! Getting to Kanazawa The best way to get to Kanazawa is via the Hokuriku Shinkansen, it's about a 1 hour and 35 minutes ride...

Hakuba Ski

Hakuba, in Nagano, most well-known for being the first ski resort in Japan to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1998. A lot of friends ask me, why Hakuba as compared to Niseko - a popular ski destination for many tourists from SE Asia and China? I have summarised in a few points below: It's at the heart of the beautiful scenic Japanese Alps, which means the alpine views that one gets here is not just of one mountain but many, which you notice very well when you are on the slopes and even when driving to the different slopes and town areas. In Niseko as one skis down the slopes, you tend to just see one Mount Yotei. Close proximity to Tokyo. I am not...

Lyngen Lodge in Norway

After covering Stockholm in 3 nights, Y and I made our way to another new city - Tromso with gal pals AL and GS in a bid to hopefully catch some Aurora - Northern Lights! We were also sucked into all that talk that it will be harder to see the Aurora in the Northern Hemisphere from 2017 onwards, so we decided to go see it before it's too late. In planning our Nordic Trip, Y and I decided to try out Exsus Travel, a London-based bespoke travel agency. Given we only had around 10 days for Iceland and a second place for viewing Northern Lights,  we had some discussions with many friends that had seen them, and it seemed that Abisko, Sweden and Tromso, Norway had...

A lovely stay at Onyado Chikurintei Ryokan

For my annual ryokan trip this year, it was with good ol' pal LY whom we haven't travelled with to Japan since our Izu girlie trip in 2013. Talk about how time flies! Given it's been 3 years on since our last ryokan trip, we felt we deserved to pamper ourselves with a more luxurious one. Efficient me who loves researching on ryokans found some lovely ones, and in the end, it was a unanimous vote to stay at this modern chic ryokan called Onyado Chikurintei in the island of Kyushu in Takeo city, located in the Saga Prefecture. Takeo Onsen is also well known as a hot spring destination stemming back to 1300 years, which made it all the more compelling to come here. Onyado Chikurintei was...

Milan weekend escape to Lake Garda

From a tiny Lake Iseo, we ventured next to a giant Lake Garda on our weekend escape near Milan. Lake Garda is the largest lake of Italy and sits halfway between Brescia and Verona, which of course made it the perfect location to explore after we had driven to Brescia earlier on. So many of Y's friends that have been here, have told us it's beautiful, amazing, and I was really hoping to see that same beautiful charm that I had seen in Lake Como back in 2013. Lake Garda is clearly a lot larger, with many different towns - from roman ruins in Sirmione to a dead poet's home in Gardone Riveria, to a bustling town and pebbly beaches in Bardolino. Plus Italy's popular ski resort...

Milan weekend escape to Brescia

After Florence and Pisa, Y and I continued our wonderful springtime travels to Milan, where we met R at the Milan Centrale to do a nice 4 day weekend escape to Brescia region and the Lakes. After picking up our car from EuropCar, we made our way to the Brescia region, where our plan was to stay 2 nights in the spa retreat L'Alberetta, check out some of the nearby sights around such as Brescia town, Lake Iseo and of course not forgetting some amazing restaurants like Da Vittoria and Miramonti L'Altro. The exterior of the italian villa - Hotel L'Albereta STAY  Hotel L'Albereta Via Vittorio Emanuele, 23, 25030 Erbusco BS, Italy, Tel: +39 030 776 0550, Classic Room cost Euro 443,71 for 2 nights, taxes included This well known spa...
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