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Trip Report Always a Kei ...always a Konbini - HK , Japan.

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Donzah, Feb 13, 2020 at 8:09 PM.

  1. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    So finally i'll get around to writing one of these .

    Length- 21 days. 4 in HK on way there.

    HK .

    Flew out on a shiny newish A350 airbus.
    Much recommend.
    IFE with an incredible amount of options + live cricket on telly. Win.
    [​IMG]

    Beer was ok as well. Had their own "craft" style offering . About as good as i've had flying.
    [​IMG]

    Landed to a typically chaotic and efficient Asian airport. Once we got our octopus cards and sims sorted ($6.25 for 5 days ), we loaded up our luggage trolleys (Did I mention we had gear for 4?.. Poppy wanted to snowboard and ski this trip).
    Destination was Discovery bay. Simply put its a expat community with lots of room, lots of au pairs and no cars. Its incredibly affluent . Yet slightly odd.

    Yet it proved perfect for our needs . We had a two bedroom Villa via airbnb for $150 aud a night. Much needed when having a teenager in tow and a tonne of gear.
    Easy transfer and we're here.

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention it was warm? Brisbane in April like. 26 degrees at 6pm . Sitting in a resort setting. Not really a typical HK setting.

    After a bloody good sleep . Wandered down to the wharf to take the Ferry into Central.
    It was quite the wild trip for HK.
    [​IMG]

    First stop was Tim Ho wan on central station for some Yum Cha. Great intro for my daughter into sitting with strangers... food was decent as well . Michelin starred dumplings they say.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Then wandered around Central doing the usual stuff. Grunge vs $$$ . The contrast of HK hasn't changed that much. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Few drinks from 7/11 topped off a decent as day. Watch broke the 20,000 step count by 3pm . Much tired.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Repeat programming the next day.
    Oh look. Its 3 million bucks of Golf carts in DB (they sell for 400K-600K usd due to only a limited amount of licences -cars are banned)
    [​IMG]

    DB waterfront
    [​IMG]

    Market shopping- #catlyfe - ladies market Mong Kok
    [​IMG]

    Good food in Jordan .
    [​IMG]

    Bye HK . Nothing says leaving like a $110 breakfast

    [​IMG]

    Overall . HK was fun. Its chaotic and controlled. Contrast and culture.
    Would go back. With less luggage.
    All the "its going to be so expensive, the riots are out of control " stuff we heard was far from the truth. From the surface of a tourist.
     
  2. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    So next off. Osaka.

    Uneventful dreamboat flight on a magic carpet to Osaka.
    Welcome to Kansai airport.
    Straight up. KIX is mint. It just works. We really enjoy travelling through here. Its our fourth time doing so when heading to Japan.

    Oh Hello welcome friend. How i've missed ye.

    [​IMG]

    Typical Japanese immigration and luggage pickup (OS bags neatly stacked to the side ). In and out in 25 mins ......
    Off to the Haruka train to head into the city.
    There is just something so right about Japanese PT . Especially from the airport.
    Comfortable. Not crowded and quick . 40 mins later we were in our destination . Tennoji.
    Tennoji is in many ways what Ueno is to Tokyo. A mix of parks, grungy back streets and Hi rise and low rise buildings.
    A cute little 2 bedroom Airbnb for $160 a night awaits. (stock phots attached)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Great little neighbourhood down near Abeno station. Fantastic 7/11 Konbini around 20 metres away. Much comfort. Much win.

    The aim of this trip was to spend around $150-$170 average per night for accomodation. Which we did easily.
    We also tried to self cater as much as possible. Sometimes you honestly can't be bothered getting suited up for a dinner out. Konbini food made up at least 50% of our dinners while away. @Ramenman will be the expert..However I found the variety and quality of salads, vegetables and european meals had increased .
    Breakfast of Chanpion: Eggs, Maple injected Pancakes and salads.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I had a 7-11 salad today - was good. Something I do otherwise miss here.
     
  4. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    We feel the same. The Bam Bam chicken salad with a hard boiled egg was a go to when mixed with pickled cucumber with chilli .
    I also enjoyed the roast chicken sandwich with pickles.
     
  5. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Osaka wanderings.

    Abeno Qs mall.Tennoji park. Abeno Harukas sky scraper (more on that later) Train to Nanba. Dotombori.

    Beware ghosts in the subway. Patrick Swayze knew.
    [​IMG]

    Much food . Many people (it was a Sunday before a Public Holiday).
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Craft beer pop-up in a shopping mall.
    [​IMG]

    Osaka. Japan's kitchen.

    There's a lot to like about Osaka. Its a bit more low key, less formal and more random than Tokyo.
    The food is so so varied its quite incredible.
    Its hard to describe. Its a more welcoming vibe than Tokyo. Grungy, old and new.... a bit odd ball?
     
  6. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    I quite literally snorted beer out of my nose. Bravo @Donzah Bravo.
     
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  7. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Osaka - USJ.

    So. This day has been at least 9 months in the planning . A trip to Universal Studios for Harry Potter World.

    Its a big deal. In the eyes of a 13 yr old obsessed with HP. Its a really big deal.

    So Via Klook.com (do recommend we used them for heaps of purchases this trip , sims, tickets, train tickets all discounted) we paid $148 aud for a early entry to USJ -plus a ticket for Abeno Harukas sky scraper. On picking up your USJ -Harukas ticket you got a QR code with URL code for instructions and a code to use . Along with wrist bands for entry to USJ.
    Basically. Get to USJ at 8.15am and we'll let you in early. 9am is opening time.
    Footnote. USJ is popular. Like incredibly. Add a public holiday and I was expecting a bit of mayhem.

    When you walk inside the park...and there is 1000's of people on the other side of the gates.
    [​IMG]

    Then you walk ...and its like a ghost town
    [​IMG]

    A very excited girl at HP
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Hit up the "money ride " at HPW ... walk on to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (usual line 2 hrs plus) ... Yeah that was intense .
    Moving on.

    First in line at Olivanders
    [​IMG]

    Money shot of castle.
    [​IMG]

    Ushered into a room to have her wand picked for her at Olivanders.. Miss P was a wee bit stoked.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Emerge to . A three hour line for the same ride we just walked on to.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next few hours was spent navigating the park using the live crowd app.
    [​IMG]

    We ended up riding the majority of rides we wanted to hit. Saw a couple of shows.
    Just by using the app.
    It was a awesome day. Helped by pre-planning and research.
     
  8. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst, cup ramen devotee Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kani Doraku, literally my favourite thing in Japan :love:
     
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  9. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Its pretty good .
    Obviously hard to eat standing up
    Worse when your daughter discovers she likes it...then you have to line up again.
     
  10. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice! For the new post updates.
     
  11. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh look . I bought a cup of ice !


    Yeah its a thing... and I get it.
    Drinking on the street. Buy some Konbini ice. Buy Whiskey or Sho chu ....
    Top up both as you chill
    [​IMG]

    It just makes sense.
     
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  12. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst, cup ramen devotee Ski Pass: Gold

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    The 10ish course crab feast is the bomb. Grilled grab, crab sushi, crab sashimi, crab hot pot, crab tempura, crab pudding etc so tasty!
     
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  13. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nara then Takayama.

    Moving on.
    After a nice dinner post USJ at Torikizoku (32 metres from our accomodation ) add it to the list people.
    All dishes were 298 yen? Old menu stock pics
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Waking up to a brisk morning in Osaka... was time to wander off and pick up our steed for the next fortnight.
    Quite a nice choice of transport

    2018 Subaru LeVorg..
    Snowtyres - check
    9100 yen a day.
    It was a bit of a extravaganza above and beyond what we ususally hire.
    Yet doing the maths as a mode of transport. It made sense.
    [​IMG]

    Nara was the next destination and oh dear... Wildlife everywhere ...
    We really enjoyed it here. Even though it as a bit touristy. It was fun .
    I'll just post the pics
    (footnote... if you piss deer off, and you are a 10 year old rude chinese kid. They will try to bite you on the penis)
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  14. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wow. Looks amazing! On my list for next visit. Nice TR and pics, @Donzah
     
  15. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'll give you all the tips and tricks !
     
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  16. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Did Poppy bow to them? And did they bow back? Pesky creatures just tried to grab my backpack!
     
  17. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah Bow and Bow back. Quite a few did..

    Yeah they liked her bag...

    I think the key is a deliberate dispersal of the crackers.
    Too many people got scared and turned their backs.
     
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  18. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Yes, quality of Konbini salads got even better last year because they introduced new top sealing machines for their salads. Thanks to it, they can keep the vegetables more fresh for longer hours and I can feel the difference of the texture between now and before. It was actually on TV.
    [​IMG]

    Before
    [​IMG]

    Now
    [​IMG]


    By the way, no wonder Japanese people told you Donzah-san looks like George ClooneyLOL. George Clooney was / is often on Japanese tv commercials and he is widely well known in Japan. If Japanese people pick one Holly Wood star who look like Donzah-san, yes, it's George Clooney(but Donzah-san looks younger and even more "Ikemen" than George Clooney;)).
     
  19. fukuro-no-mori

    fukuro-no-mori Hard Yards

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    Good deal on the car!

    By the way, the cup of ice is an ice coffee. You are supposed to fill it yourself with coffee out of the (hot serve) machine. In some shops, the staff will do it for you.
     
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  20. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ha. The ice coffee idea is rad.....

    Though it was being used extensively in Osaka for street boozing at night.
     
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  21. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    So Takayama.

    After leaving Nara it was time to settle in for the 4hr drive to Takayama.
    There is always a bit of a feeling out period for a new Hire car. Particulary in Japan.
    Getting my spotify to stream, the navi to work and the woman (left turn 300 metres) to shut up was a exercise in frustration.
    A few missed turns here and there ..... and I ended up retiring to a Konbini for a Ham and Lettuce sandwich.
    Needed a snickers.

    Once on the freeway it was great to sit back... set cruise control and eat up some kms.....
    *though being passed by a Porsche GT3 doing over 200kmph was a eye opener.
    Arrived Takayama to a minimum of fuss. I know they are expensive . However Japan's freeways are bloody awesome.
    Abode for the Night $98 aud Guest house Jinya
    [​IMG]

    Cute . Cosy and 2 extremely large queen beds with solid european pillows .
    Not to mention the 55 inch TV on the wall....
    *stock photos
    [​IMG]

    This airbnb was home to one of the strangest checking in procedures i've ever done in Japan.
    Passport photos were submitted a few weeks beforehand. Then at the entry to the property was a Ipad with face recognition software.
    Anways .
    A great dinner at Dining Bull across the road (Hida beef- yum , 350yen wine sides for 500 yen) bloody awesome. Recommend.
    Next morning. Markets and wanderings. Bitter day with a sullen sky. You'd think you were in London.
    Lunch and wanderings at Shirakawago (including a 12km freeway tunnel .... )
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Shirakawago pretending its Vancouver. Solid wet snow and that misty socked in forest.
    [​IMG]

    Its a bit sad how snowless it was . Underwhelming even.
    The amount of people with silly footwear was amazing. Tour groups from Malaysia, Thailand etc.
    Wet chuck taylors and sodden coats.
    This became a theme......
     
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  22. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Comprehensive TR ...
     
  23. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL and on the 13th day...
     
  24. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Lets go to Hakuba.

    Waking to a cold chilly sky and a dusting of ice .. Time to drive through the Alps to Matsumoto and on then to Hakuba.
    Initially when I planned this trip, we intended on riding some hills around Takayama and on our way to Hakuba.
    Even a 4 hour session would have been cool.
    Alas. It was low tide .
    Drive was sketchy AF once we got up and out of Takayama. Fresh snow that had fallen on wet ground. Snap frozen.
    Saw a Kei that had lost a argument with a house near the main road. Road patrol were on it . Buckets of salt thrown by hand!
    Coming down the other side into Matsumoto it as apparent how dry this side of the range was . Depressing.
    Quick stop at Sports depot for a great deal on a new board for Poppy (yeah ...more gear) and Hakuba!

    Bomb french Bakery in Takayama
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hirayu Onsen.
    [​IMG]

    Oh Hakuba
    [​IMG]
     
  25. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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    When we were in Osaka 13 months ago, my friend and her teens caught up with a Japanese exchange student who had stayed with them in Brisbane some years ago and with whom they had stayed in touch. Her family treated them to lavish lunch/dinner/gifts, then Dad bundled Miss T’s 14 yo boy into his Porsche while Mum took the ladies in a BMW on the freeway ... at over 200kmh. Apparently Dad works for a Porsche dealership ;)
     
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