Monday, 4 June 2018

A Short Trip to Osaka In September 2017

We had a very short trip to Osaka in September last year. It wasn't planned but Hubby saw bargain airticket with Air Asia X and asked me whether I want to celebrate our wedding anniversary and birthday in Osaka.

Of course I said YES!

It was pretty much a budget trip.

We spent RM681.00 per pax for our return ticket on Air Asia.
We stayed in a mix of hotel from this tatami room at 2,200 yen per room per night (with shared bathroom) to a 8,000 yen business hotel per room per night.
We visited Wakayama, rode on the Medetai train to Kada.

We visited Koyasan.
I went on a lone hike to Minoo Park as Hubby wasn't feeling well.

I went on a daily jog around Osaka and even managed to do a run around Osaka Castle Park.

It was a rather relaxed, leisurely holiday.
Being in Osaka, of course we also ate a lot of good food. 

We'll be visiting Hokkaido this year and again, we got a good bargain on airfares. We paid RM690.00 per pax for a return trip from Kuala Lumpur to Shin Chitose Airport. That's a good deal, right?

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Nikko In December 2017

Oh my! It's been more than a year since I last updated this blog!

And between that time, we visited Japan twice. In September 2017 and we went to Osaka for a short trip and in December 2017, we visited Nikko and Tokyo.

We bought the Nikko All Area Free Pass at Tobu Asakusa Station and it allowed us travel for a return trip from Asakusa to Shimo-Imaichi station and trains and buses around Nikko for 4 days.

The blog post of it here:
On our second day in Nikko, we hiked along the Lake Yunoko and Lake Chuzenji course and pass through Senjogahara Marshland.

We also got to see the three magnificent waterfalls in Nikko - Yudaki, Ryuzu and Kego.

The blog post of our hike:
We stayed at Yumoto Onsen for two nights while visiting Nikko.

The blog post of our stay:
We also spent a night at Kinugawa Onsen and we were lucky to get to see this Steam Locomotive Taiju in action, travelling from Shimo-Imaichi station to Kinugawa Onsen.

The blog post of the stay:
The rest of our trip were spent in Tokyo as I joined Itabashi Half Marathon and later, we visited the Imperial Palace's Inui Street which was opened to public for a week from Dec 2nd to Dec 10th, 2017.

p.s. I'm using photos I published in my other more frequently update blog : Life, In My Own Backyard.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Fancy Running In Tango Ultramarathon In Kyoto?

I did the Tango Ultramarathon to celebrate my 40th birthday in 2015 and the ultramarathon continues to have a special spot in my heart.
Registration is made easier now for foreign participants to join, with Runsociety/Spacebib.com being onboard as their registration portal. 

Tango Ultramarathon is held in the city of Kyotango, Kyoto Japan and will be held on September 17th, 2017 and is rated as Top 100 Best Races by Runnet Global. Tango Ultramarathon is also a Bronze Label race certified by IAU (International Association of Ultrarunners).

My race recap of the 2015 edition that I did, here.
Spacebib registration link here.
R-Wellness webite here.

Anyhoo, rather than talk at length about the race info itself which we all can find through the registration portal and the run's website; I'm sharing what we did during our 7-day trip in 2015.
It was a short trip so we focused on just the Kansai region and got ourselves JR-West Kansai Wide Area Pass, which allows us to take unlimited rides on the shinkansen (including Nozomi and Mizuho between Shin-Osaka and Okayama), Limited Express and local trains (including Rapid and Special Rapid service); on non-reserved seats, Kyoto Tango Railway, Wakayama Electric Railway and West JR bus.

A 5-day pass is priced at 9,000 yen for adults and 4.500 yen for children and if you reserve it online, you can get additional discount.

With this pass, you pretty much get the trip to the starting line of Tango Ultramarathon covered.

Stuff we did before/after the ultramarathon:
Visit Osaka.
Stop by Universal Studio.
Head to Kyoto.

Enjoyed the sights in Arashiyama and see the Hozu Boat Tour drifts by.
And of course the famous Bamboo Groves.
Visited Fushimi Inari Shrine at night, instead of during the day.
The shrine felt more mystical at night and there were less tourists too.

Climbing up the stairs felt like we were climbing towards a different world, through the vermillion torii gates.
We walked on the pine covered sandbar of Amanohashidate, which is 3km long and span the mouth of Miyazu Bay.

It is one of Japan's three most scenic view; apart from Miyajima (which we visited in 2008) and Matshushima (which we visited in 2010). 
And witnessed the rotating bridge of Amanohashidate in operation, to let a ferry sail by.
Travelling from our hotel in Toyooka to REPC site in Amity Tango and Amanohashidate; we used this cute train. There are three trains, the Ao-Matsu, Kuro-Matsu and Aka-Matsu.

The blue one is the Ao-Matsu and we also managed to board the black Kuro-Matsu.
More info about the train line here.
What do you do after running in an ultramarathon?

For us, we visited an onsen town.
We bought day passes that allows us to enter all 7 public bath houses (sotoyu) in Kinosaki Onsen which is a top onsen destination in the Kansai region.
 We visited Onsenji.
And also enjoyed making onsen tamago.
While doing our sotoyu hopping, we also enjoyed the lovely scenery of Kinosaki Onsen.
The next day, we traveled to Kii-Katsuura Station to do part of the Kumano Kodo trail. A nice recovery hike after all the running that I did.
We started our hike from Nachi Station and our aim was to hike to Nachi no Otaki, a 133m waterfall.
 The route.

 The Daimon-Zaka, 267 steps of 600m long cobblestone staircase.
For us to finally reach the Nachi no Otaki.

Of course, one can simply opt to take a bus straight to the waterfall (and the nearby Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji) but where's the fun in that?
We later enjoyed a footbath that overlooks the port and sea while waiting for our train back to Osaka.

And the Tango Ultramarathon itself?

The route is super nice with lovely scenery and plenty of good eats at the water stations.
So if you're looking for a warm, September run (I hate running in cold weather), Tango Ultramarathon is highly recommended.

Registration is open now. Have fun and good luck!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

JIBTV's Discover & Explore Chiba With Chiba Aqualine Marathon

I haven't been updating much here and much less about our Chiba trip in October 2016 when we visited Chiba for me to run in Chiba Aqualine Marathon.

But, I found this excellent documentary on JIBTV.com about Chiba Aqualine Marathon and Chiba.
Truthfully, I entered Chiba Aqualine Marathon last year because of these few reasons:
1. Running on the bridge section of Aqualine Expressway
2. The Marathon is held bi-annually
3. Limited slots for foreign participants (always a draw for me)

Here's the documentary about Chiba Aqualine Marathon and Chiba, for those planning to visit Chiba and also for those researching about the Chiba Aqualine Marathon. The next marathon will be in 2018. 
Hubby & I didn't explore Chiba much during our trip because of time constraints so we do need to make a return visit someday. 

Maybe we can spend a day or two there this year, when we visit Kanagawa Prefecture (I plan to run a race in Dec) ^^

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