After almost close to 9 months of International Border closure, we are finally seeing some form of tiny light at the end of the tunnel.
Yes, yes, yes….. the Singapore & Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) will see its inaugural flight commencing from 22 November 2020 onwards. With the recent hype and ATB announcement, travellers have been fast snapping up flight tickets and hotel reservation sites have seen a tremendous increasing traffic as well. 😲
Hmm…after all this fanfare, what does it mean to me? 🤔
As much as I wanted (desperately) to take a breather out of the country for leisure travelling (I am pretty certain most of us are in this same plight too), things might not be seen as rosy as it is going to be.
No doubt the most critical part of the quarantine pain is taken care of but there are still underlying factors for consideration too.
First and foremost, the flight tickets are going to cost you a bomb. Ticket prices can shoot as high as up to $1,000 for a return ticket which normally costs less than $300 during pre-Covid days. Thanks to reduce dedicated flight capacity in view of safe management measures. 🤣Haiz…..
Secondly, you need to pay for your own Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before the scheduled departure time. This test may set you back by close to $200.
Thirdly, upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, you are required to do another Covid-19 test and you need to remain in the airport during this time until you receive a negative test result before you can officially start your planned travel. This test will set you back by another $87.
Importantly, do note that you are to bear for the full cost of any medical treatment, subject to the prevailing medical and healthcare policies should you (unfortunately) be tested positive for Covid-19 while you are in Hong Kong or Singapore.
**Latest news update as of 21 Nov 2020 (a day before the inaugural flight), both countries have decided to postpone and delay the launch of the ATB from the public health standpoint in view of the spike in the number of Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong. The ATB launch will be further reviewed in the next 2 weeks given the evolving situation in Hong Kong.
**On 26 Apr 2021, news on the resumption of the ATB was announced once again by Singapore and Hong Kong to commence the inaugural flight on 26 May 2021. As usual and expected, flight tickets were snapped up in a matter of hours (despite the ridiculously high price) after the ATB news broke out. 🤣🤣
**Latest update on 17 May 2021, news on the deferment of the Singapore and Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble has once again been announced in view of the rising local community cases in Singapore. Travelers’ hopes are once again dashed and will have no choice but to await for the next resumption in time to come. 🤣🤣
Well, after all these inconveniences, are you still excited about leaving for your leisure travel? Is it worth the hassle and pain?
**Latest update as of 20 Aug 2021, hopes on the long-delayed Hong Kong and Singapore Air Travel Bubble is now dashed as it will no longer happen due to the different approach in treating the current Covid-19 handling taken by the respective country. Hong Kong is going for zero cases whereas Singapore is gearing towards the endemic pathway. 🤣
For me, (being a cost conscious and rational thinking animal) guess I will probably hold my reins for now until all the ATB dust has settled before starting to plan for my next trip. What about you?
Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all caught in this helpless situation where all borders are closed for leisure travelling. Gone were the days where we can easily go for a quick weekend getaway vacation whenever we feel like it.
For those who are more adventurous, we can even go for a quick turnaround day trip by taking an early flight out and catching the last flight back. This pandemic is truly unprecedented and has certainly disrupted & upsetted leisure travelling landscape drastically.
For now, we can only pray hard 🙏 for this crisis to blow over soon and slowly regain back sanity.
Well (for me), I can only reminisce by flashing back my past Japan travel memories to keep stock of where I am, what I have done and what is due to do when leisure travel restrictions are lifted once again.
Each region has its own dialect, customs, and unique traditional culture. For example, the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo, and the Kansai region, which includes Osaka, offer striking contrasts in everything from the taste of food to the style of traditional performing arts, and people have fun comparing them.
Japan has a population of 127.29 million. Mountainous areas account for more than 70% of Japan’s land, so major cities are concentrated in the plains that account for less than 30% of the land. Cities with a population exceeding one million are Sapporo in Hokkaido; Sendai in the Tohoku region; Kawasaki, Saitama, Tokyo, and Yokohama in the Kanto region; Nagoya in the Chubu region; Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe in the Kinki region; Hiroshima in the Chugoku region; and Fukuoka in Kyushu.
The capital city Tokyo, needless to say, is the hub of Japan. Other major cities fulfill roles as the political, economic, and cultural hubs of their respective regions.
While reminiscing my past Japan trips in the wake of Covid-19, I come across a newly released promotional video by Japan National Tourism Organization highlighting the beauty of Japan’s 47 Prefectures.
Hope this will give all Japan lover a ray of hope for a split second to visit each prefecture and see its most famous attractions & activities once again. Enjoy the moments and have fun!
With Covid-19, it has changed the global travelling landscape completely. We have seen in recent months how the Covid-19 has changed our lives which most of us probably used to take for granted in the past.
Personally, I am one of the many travellers out there badly affected by this pandemic outbreak. It was painful to have to cancel my pre-planned April, May and June 2020 trip which was planned 9 to 12 months ago. Highly likely my August 2020 will be affected as well (given the current situation) and I am keeping my fingers real crossed 🤞 for my December 2020 trip to go ahead as planned.
Well, there is a Chinese saying that goes “计划赶不上变化” and this is extremely apt in this instance which translates literally to “however well planned your plans are in advance, you will still not be able to catch up with unforeseeable changes”.
Well for me, I always hold the belief that life is short and we should live life without regret. This pandemic outbreak really holds true to my belief. Even if you have the means to travel now, you will not be able to do so as you wish. 😔
Living life without regret is really important, so I want to urge you all, if you have something that you have always wanted to do or on your bucket list, make it a point NOW to make it happen while you can and do not procastinate further to live with regret later in your life.
This is truly and indeed a good wake-up call for all of us. For me, I will definitely not hesitate to travel for up to 2 months at one go (wherever possible) to make up for my loss time when the travel restriction is lifted. What about you?
My long anticipated Shikoku (四国) trip is finally here. Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s major islands and comprises of 4 Prefectures; Kagawa (香川), Ehime (爱媛), Kochi (高知) & Tokushima (德岛).
This trip will focus mainly on Shikoku Region and we will also cover 2 other Prefectures in Chugoku Region; Okayama (岡山) & Tottori (烏取).
This time round, I will be flying in to Chubu Centrair International Airport in Nagoya on a red-eyed flight via Thai Airways with a brief transit stopover at Bangkok. Landing in Aichi Prefecture is the next most ideal for getting to Shikoku Region unless you are on domestic flight or if you were to fly in direct to Hiroshima.
From Nagoya, it will take about 5 hours to drive into Kagawa with approximately 382 km. You bet, I am definitely excited and looking forward to this upcoming trip.
For now, time to relax and warm up at the Thai Royal Orchid Lounge prior to boarding.
Starting my first leg transit to Bangkok.
Enjoying my reunion dinner on board… 😋
Final leg from Bangkok to Nagoya.
Breakfast on board before landing in Nagoya.
Arrived into Nagoya as scheduled. Upon custom clearance and baggage collection. Headed over to Toyota Rent A Car to pick up my car for the next 12 days road trip.
One thing to note, it is always advisable to check with the car rental company for advice on expressway toll passes as their toll charges can really set you back.
With this in mind, I took up the 14 days expressway toll pass valued at ¥34,600 instead. Just to be safe than sorry. 🤣
This time round, I was issued with a Toyota Fielder though I reserved for a Corolla Axio.
As usual, did a quick check on the car condition before starting my adventure.
First pit stop at Konan rest area after the first 120km drive. Stop over for nature call, stretch & kohii break.
Refuelling at Awaji Rest Stop next. Enjoying a nice bowl of Shoyu Pork Ramen and a freshly served piping hot Beef Croquette.
The shoyu ramen & beef croquette are tastily power.
There is also another shop right beside selling confectionery and onion related products from Awaji. After sampling their potage, couldn’t help but to grab a few of the local onion products. 😂
Continuing with my journey down to Takamatsu (高松), capital of Kagawa and Japan’s smallest prefecture thereafter.
Visited a couple of attractions in Takamatsu city prior to hotel check-in.
First being Yashima-ji Temple. This is a Shingon temple in Yashima, a lava plateau to the northeast of Takamatsu and an important cultural property.
It is also the eighty-fourth temple on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage.
Scenic views from Yashima old battle field.
Next up, paid a visit to Takamatsu Castle and Tamano Park.
Takamatsu Castle also known as Tamano Castle. It was built in 1590 adjacent to the Seto Inland Sea. It is one of the few Japanese castles built along a waterfront and features saltwater moats that draw directly from the sea.
Some of the viewpoints which you get to see in the park.
Sayabashi Bridge – this is the only bridge that connects to Honmaru, the core of the castle and Ninomaru.
Asahibashi Bridge / Asahimon Gate – Otemon Gate was once south of Sakuranobaba on the south side of the castle. Asahibashi Bridge spans on the eastern side grounds and people cross it to go through Asahimon Gate.
Water Gate – the moat of this castle is connected to the sea. This water gate is located so as to regulate the water level with the coming and going of the tide.
Hiunkaku – the former Hiunkaku which was a vast structure (about twice its present size) was a present to the Matsudaira Clan period. It was used as a government office and the residence of the master of the Clan before it was demolished in 1872. Now, it is inherited by Takamatsu city and has since been popular among the citizens for the tea ceremony and flower exhibitions being held there.
Hiunkaku Garden – this garden was made in 1917 at the same time Hiunkaku was reconstructed and uses a traditional Japanese rock garden style.
Tsukimiyagura Turret – it is said that the Tsumkimiya turret was completed in 1676. It serves as a watch tower to monitor the comings and goings of boats. Ushitora Yagura (Watch Tower) – this three-storyed Iriomoyazukuri style turret was located at a very important position in the northeast of the place. The roof is tiled with Hongawara tile and was being designated as an important cutural asset in 1950.
Thereafter, proceeded to check-in at JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu for the next 2 days.
This hotel is conveniently located across JR Takamatsu Station. I love this kawaii smiling station. 🥰🥰🥰
Room size is decent and spacious with its 20 sqm of floor space.
Takamatsu Symbol Tower, the highest building in Shikoku standing at a height of 151.3m with 30 floors and houses offices, event halls, commercial facilities and showrooms, etc. Probably nothing really special other than you can see the whole area from the observatory deck.
I was told that Takamatsu is known for their sanuki udon. The udon texture is super chewy because of the flour used here.
Without further ado, headed straight to have a go at their sanuki udon right opposite JR Takamatsu Station.
Oh mine, the noodle texture is chewily delicious. You need to experience it for yourself when you happen to be in Takamatsu.
After a satisfying meal, went over to Ritsurin Garden for the artistic display by teamLab on their Digitalized Ritsurin Garden. This show is being showcase during winter and this year it was scheduled to start from 25 Jan 2020 to 8 Mar 2020.
I am extremely lucky to be able to catch this spectacular artistic display during this visit of mine in Takamatsu and best part, I was able to catch it on the launch day on 25 Jan 2020. 👍
Ritsurin Garden is a seasonal Japanese garden created in the early Edo Period (17th century) and designated as a special place of scenic beauty. It comprises of pine trees since the beginning and these bonsai-like pine trees have been maintained for approximately 300 years.
TeamLab’s art project Digitalized Nature explores how nature can become art. The entire garden will tranform the beautiful Ritsurin Park which is said to vary in scenery with every step into the interactive art space which changes due to the presence of people.
Isn’t this beautiful?
Hope you enjoy the live moments and feel the atmosphere as if you were here!
Well, today has certainly been an eventful and tiring day (for me especially) with the long driving hours after touching down.
Day 2, rise and shine with an awesome view of the Takamatsu Port right from my room.
We will continue to explore some great sight-seeing attractions in Kagawa Prefecture.
Powering up with a champion breakfast at Kona’s Coffee (Hawaiian Pancafe Café).
I love the feel of their interior decoration. So Hawaiian… makes one feel so relax and cozy as though you were lazing by the beach.
Their beef patty is so tender and moist that leaves you juicing with each bite. Pancakes are equally tasty too. Simple yet flavorful.
1st stop of the day, visited Kotohiki Park.
This park has been designated as one of Japan’s national scenic spots and is particularly famous for the Zenigata Sunae (sand art in the shape of the coin) that can be seen from the viewing platform on Kotohiki Hill.
Here is the magnificent view of the Zenigata Sand Coin. Isn’t it amazing?
It has been said that if anyone who views the Zenigata will live a long, healthy life and will not be troubled by money worries moving forward.
Wow, this is definitely a good start for me in 2020. 财源滚滚. 不愁吃,不愁穿, 又有享不尽的荣华富贵.👍👍👍
2nd stop, visited Chichibugahaha Beach.
This beach in Mitoyo, Kagawa is known to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in Japan. Certainly a great place to capture stunning photos and instagram worthy for sure.
Enjoying the scenic views of the beach front.
Since I am not able to wait till sunset for the once in a lifetime stunning photo shot, nevertheless, I can still have a good one for now. 😉😀
3rd stop, headed over to Mount Shiudeyama.
This mountain is located in Kagawa Prefecture and stands at a height of 352m situated in Shonai peninsula on the Seto Inland Sea. Mount Shiude is often describes as the best cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan because of its spectacular scenery.
You will need to climb up steep slope to get to the observatory deck for the spectacular view.
Panoramic view of Seto Inland Sea from the observatory.
Believe me, it is worth the effort when you get to see this…..
Why Mount Shiude is called the purple cloud rising mountain (紫雲出山)?
The Legend of Urashima says it all. 😉
Enjoying dessert at the café (near observatory) overlooking Seto Inland Sea also known as Setouchi.
This is what life should be all about! 😊
Their desserts can really blow you off! It’s just so good. Simply beyond description…..😯
Final stop for the day, Ichinomiya Park.
While enroute, pulled over at 501 Udon for a nice hot bowl of udon soup for tummy warming.
Ichinomiya Park is next to Ichinomiya Seaside. This park is great for families’ activities with nice big area for kids to let their hairs down. You get to play soccer, kite flying, short picnic, walking your dogs, etc.
This park is also popular for sunset viewing. Unfortunately, the sun seems shy today and have decided to hide in the cloud. Thought I could have catch a glimpse of it for some nice picturesque. Well, these are those days that things don’t work in your favour. 🤷♂️🤦♂️
Fret not, on a positive note, I still had fun enjoying in the park. Hmmm..I am pretty sure that I will be back again in time to come. 🤔
Chanced upon Youme, a big departmental store in Takamatsu city.
Adjourned over for some shopping and settled for dinner at the same time before retiring for the night.
Food is great as always and will not go wrong. 😀
Day 3, greeted with a cold and rainy morning. Today, I will be leaving Kagawa for Ehime.
It will be a long drive (about 160km) to reach Matsuyama (松山), the largest city on Shikoku and the capital city of Ehime Prefecture.
Kick start the morning with a simple and healthy breakfast at Sukiya, an all time favorite breakfast joint.
After a satisfying meal, headed off to the 1st attraction for today, Matsuyama Castle.
How to go to Matsuyama Castle?
There are a couple of options; walk up from Matsuyama Ropeway Station which will take approximately 30 mins,
take a chair lift or cable car followed by a 10 mins walk to the castle.
Matsuyama Castle is one of Japan’s twelve “original castles”, i.e. castles which have survived the post-feudal era.
It is also one of the most complex and interesting castles in the country and is located on Mount Katsuyama, a steep hill in the city centre that provides visitors with a bird’s eye view of Matsuyama and the Seto Inland Sea.
There are about 200 cherry trees on the castle ground and thus making this a lovely cherry blossom spot.
Touring the interior of the castle keep and learn about the history.
You may read up on the detailed description of the various places in the castle ground for your knowledge reference.
Hope you have a better knowledge of Matsuyama Castle after reading and wish it will spur you for a visit sometime soon.
Experiencing a freshly squeeze orange juice direct from the faucet at the food and souvenir shop.
Another round of Mochi Azuki Bean (Zenzai) dessert. Sweet tooth lovers shouldn’t miss out on this! 😉
Spotted this eatery outlet 黑船 Soba that caught my attention while on the way back. It was specially mentioned that it is a must try dish when you are in Matsuyama.
So here I am, trying out their unique dry soba with chargrilled chicken. You are supposed to dip the soba into the hot sauce provided before eating. Damn…..The noodle texture is really chewy. Highly recommended to try if you have a chance to do so.
Next, made a visit to Dogo Onsen.
Dogo Onsen is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous hot springs. This place is popular with tourists for its beautiful bath house.
However, in January 2019, renovation works (Dogo Reborn) started on the Dogo Onsen Honkan during which the bath house will be closed partially for a period of 7 years.
There is a Dogo covered shopping arcade right opposite Dogo Onsen entrance where you can shop for their local mikan related products.
Couldn’t help but to snap a picture of this….. 😀
Well, time to check in for my next 2 nights accommodation at Daiwa Roynet Hotel Matsuyama.
This is one of my favorite hotel chain in Japan as room size is pretty decent between 16 to 20 sqm.
I am always very intrigue by the high rise parking in Japan given the space constraint.
Amazingly interesting right?
After check-in, took a leisure stroll to Okaido, Matsuyama’s biggest shopping arcade which is right opposite the hotel.
Decided to have a light dinner at one of the Izakaya outlet for a yakitori meal.
Caught hold of Coco Ichibanya and found what I am suppose to find. Yes yes yes, soup curry!!!
I last had it when I was in Coco Ichibanya at Wakayama. When I see the same menu being offered here, I had to step in and get my cravings fix without much hesitation.
The soup curry still taste as good. 👍👍👍
Definitely a happy meal to end a great night.
Day 4, waking to a cold and wet morning. We will be covering the western part of Shikoku for today.
Enjoying a nice breakfast at Komeda’s Coffee before starting the road trip.
Mini Kome Basket – a pleasing assortment allowing you to taste the popular mixed sandwich and Komeda chicken
Fried Fish Burger – an unbelievable match between tartar sauce and cheese
Golden Iced Coffee – a freshly created premium taste without a single shortcoming using high quality arabica beans coupled with their traditional toast bread with hard boiled egg
They are extremely generous with their food servings. The portion that they served is really big and truly valued for money coupled with the high food quality.
Commencing my 1st attraction visit, Taga Shrine.
This shrine is situated north of Uwajima’s city centre. Most people came here to pray at the shrine for longevity, good health and in particular, fertility.
So, for those who yearn to have kids, this is your chance to head over to Taga Shrine to pray for fertility. 😉
Unfortunately, due to sudden strong winds last night, it uprooted some of the trees and cause some damages to the shrine. Next to the shrine hall stands a sex museum that showcases the shrine’s collection of international and domestic pornographic materials. Entrance fees costs ¥800 and no photography is allowed inside the museum. If you would like photography, there will be additional charge of ¥20,000. 😯 As I have done my dues, so I gave the visit a rain check. 😀
Saw this particular lady farmer harvesting cabbages that caught my attention. It was an interesting sight seeing her in action. Love her positive vibes.
In Ehime, one of the recommended must try dish is their Taimeishi (sea bream with rice).
The recommended chain restaurant to have a solid Taimeishi meal will be Wabisuke in Ehime.
How to enjoy Taimeishi?
For those who understand Japanese, else you should be able to figure out based on the illustration. The steps are pretty similar to eating Ochazuke.
Freshly prepared Tai Sashimi. Oishi 😋
Taimeshi set meal
Itadakimasu !! 👏👏👏
An awesome meal indeed (you should be here kind of feeling). 👍👍👍
Next attraction will be Uwajima Castle.
Unfortunately, the entrance to the castle was closed as the sudden strong winds have also uprooted trees and blocked the foot path flight up the castle. As such, I will have to give this visit a miss. ☹
Look at the fallen trees….. natural disaster is something beyond anybody’s control.
From there, I headed off to the final attraction visit, Sadamisaki Lighthouse.
Cape Sada Lighthouse is the westernmost point of Shikoku, standing on Sadamisaki Peninsula, the narrowest peninsula in Japan.
From the parking area, you will need to hike through steep narrow path to get to the observatory to catch a view of the Sadamisaki Lighthouse.
Can you spot the lighthouse?
A zoom in shot at best.
Due to the long driving distance (120km away), I have to head back down to Matsuyama city before the sky turns dark.
Spotted a couple of interesting stuff along the route.
Lots of orange trees growing on the roadside.
Look at the size of the oranges!
Finally, I have the chance to get up close and personal with a wind turbine. 🤭🙆♂️
My long awaited dinner at Cuomo Salvatore being my final night in Matsuyama.
This restaurant is located on the 1st floor of the hotel. It is a must to dine in this restaurant whenever I am in Japan and have the opportunity to do so. Strictly no compromise on this.
Warming up with a great appetiser starter, Roast Beef with “Yuge Salt”.
Gamberetti E Funghi – shrimp, shimeiji, eringi, mushroom, spinach, black pepper, garlic, cream, italian cheese, mozarella, grana padano. Their pizza dough is one of those better ones that I have had. So thin as though you were just eating the ingredients.
Linguine with Seafood, Homard Lobster and Tomato Sauce. The freshness of the tomato puree paste really whets your appetite for more.
An awesome meal to end an awesome night. How apt it can be. 😊
Day 5, a bright and sunny morning awaits. We will be departing Ehime for Kochi this morning.
Had a simple and delicious breakfast at Pronto before driving off.
We will stop over at Imabari to visit Ichihiro Towel Museum of Art while enroute to Kochi.
This is the world’s first towel museum dedicated to the art of towel manufacturing.
Exhibition on the towel-making process.
This unique museum has much to offer including displays of intricate traditional towels, works of art made from towels.
You can spend some time exploring the museum exhibits.
Interestingly, they are running a special Hello Kitty exhibit which will end on 2 Feb 2020.
So lucky that I am able to catch this special exhibit on this visit.
Have fun with the exhibit.
There is also a garden area rich with seasonal beauty for you to spend a relaxing moment.
Afterwhich, you may shop to your hearts’ content at the museum shop with their range of original goods and local products to bring back home souvenirs for fond memories.
There are a couple of dining options available at the museum should you need to have a meal or tea break.
After looking at the dining options, decided to settle for a great set lunch at the Museum Café.
Oh mine, the steaks, salad, soup, bread and desserts are amazingly delicious! Certainly a great choice. 🥰🥰
You can easily spend up to half a day at the towel museum. Definitely worth visiting on your next trip! Highly recommended! 👍👍👍
Time to drive down to Kochi after spending a good time at the towel museum.
Kochi is the capital of Kochi Prefecture on the southern coast of Shikoku. The city is small and friendly with a casual atmosphere and a dose of southern flair.
Arriving into Kochi city and I will be staying over at Comfort Hotel Kochi for the next 2 nights.
Room is spacious considering a size of 15 sqm and is conveniently located within 5 mins walking distance to JR Kochi Station.
After settling down, took a leisure walk to Harimayabashi Bridge.
This is a reconstructed vermilion-painted 20 metre long bridge made famous by the 19th century love story of a local priest, Junshin and his paramour, the young maid, Ouma. It was to symbolize love because of an ill-fated affair. This bridge has since been considered as one of Kochi’s most popular sightseeing spots.
Thereafter, went over to visit Kochi’s Obiyamachi Shopping Arcade for a fun-filled retail therapy.
Spotted my all time favourite joint, Doutor Café at Obiyamachi.
As they are having new promotional items, it leaves me no choice but to step in to check it out. As usual, the food and coffee never fails me.
Continue to stroll to the end of the shopping arcade and you will see Hirome Market.
Hirome Ichiba is an indoor market with around 60 stores including grocers selling everything from fish and meat to fruit, liqour and eateries.
Similar to our food court where you find a seat and purchase food from the food vendors and enjoy your meal.
Kochi is famous for their seared bonito (skipjack tuna) and it is a must to savour this dish when you are here.
Since I am here, I will have to do what the Romans do (入乡随俗). 😀
Oh mine, the seared bonito is really champion and importantly value for money. You can’t get any fresher than this. 👍
Day 6, waking up to a great morning as forecasted.
Enjoying complimentary breakfast courtesy of the hotel.
Spread is simple and decent.
Took a slow stroll to JR Kochi Station to catch sight of the 3 men statues of Kochi who is the local heros of Kochi. They are the esteemed samurai instrumental in bringing about Japan’s modernization.
We will be covering attractions in Kochi Prefecture for today. Starting my 1st visit to Kochi castle.
Kochi castle is one of the twelve Japanese castles to have survived the fires, wars and other catastrophes of the post feudal age.
A unique feature of Kochi’s castle is that its main tower was not only used for military purposes, but also as a residence.
Interesting valuable history lessons for your knowledge build up.
Love the beautiful and magnificient look of Kochi castle.
2nd visit will be to Chikurin Temple. Along the way, you will drive past Godaisan Park.
There is a viewpoint near the peak of Mount Godai located in the eastern area of Kochi with an elevation of 146m.
Panoramic view of Urado Bay, Kochi Port and downtown Kochi from the rooftop observatory deck at Godaisan Park.
There is also the Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden nearby as well. If you enjoy admiring plants and gardens, this is one place not to be missed.
Chikurin Temple (竹林寺) is the number 31 in the 88-temple pilgrimage of Shikoku.
The temple houses a number of important structures and its late Edo-period gardens are a Natural Monument.
Typically, people came here to pray for well beings and good health.
There is a five storey pagoda of Sensoji which is a popular sightseeing spot for tourists from abroad.
Following up with 3rd visit to Katsurahama Beach (桂滨).
Katsurahama is one of the most scenic spots in all of Kochi Prefecture.
Look at the peaceful and calm beach.
Here, you will find the statue of the local samurai hero, Sakamoto Ryoma gazes out over the Pacific Ocean.
There are other sculptures along the beach front that are worth checkingout too.
More scenic views from Ryuoh Point.
There is also a small aquarium located on the shore of Katsurahama Park.
Final visit for the day, Nakatsu Gorge.
Catching a late lunch at Restaurant Kochi while on my way to Nakatsu Gorge. This restaurant is an unexpected rare find.
Entrance leading to the restaurant.
I like the cozy and relaxed feel of the interior decoration.
Ordered their ramen and fried rice set
Steamed sushi and tempura set
The food is really champion and power and gives one the homely feel.
Nakatsu Gorge is a 2.3 km long paths that runs along the river, weaving between boulders and crossing the river several times over stepping stones.
It is found along the Niyoda River and is a beautiful representation of the natural wonders of Shikoku.
The whole experience will leave you feeling as if you have been transported to some mystical world.
Isn’t this amazingly beautiful?
Time to head back to Kochi city after having fond memories of this scenic spot.
I am lucky to be back on time for the last time slot for the Gram Premium Pancake at 18:00.
For those who are familiar with the reservation process, you need to place order 1 hour earlier before the scheduled time and wait in the restaurant for the pancake to be served.
Finally, I am able to have a chance to try the Gram Premium Pancake in Japan!
Taste so good with a glass of iced cold Caramel Latte.
In addition, I managed to catch hold of the clock show right across Harimaya Bridge. The clock will chime hourly with music that lasts about 6 mins.
Hope you enjoy what you see and hear. 😉
Decided to have a good local Tosa (土佐) meal at Ryoma Izakaya inside Obiyamachi.
A sumptous all fish meal to mark my final night in Kochi.
Day 7, almost mid way through my trip. 😯.
This morning we will be departing Kochi for Tokushima, last Prefecture in Shikoku.
Prior to hotel check-out, had a light breakfast before bidding farewell to Kochi.
Made our first stop to Oboke Gorge.
Oboke Gorge (大歩危) and neighbouring Koboke Gorge (小歩危) a little downstream which are narrower and steep sided gorges near the entrance to the Iya Valley.
On 18 March 2014, Oboke is designated as a National Nature Treasure and subsequently on 7 October 2015, it is designated as a National Scenic Spot.
One of the best way to enjoy the Oboke Gorge is to go for a sightseeing boat cruise.
Purchase my ticket at the Oboke Sightseeing Boat Cruise. Ticket cost ¥1,200 for adult.
Thereafter, you will be asked to affix a color sticker next to your nationality. Contributed my share for nation representation. 😉
From there, you just need to follow the directional signage to board the boat.
Fun cruising down the Yoshino River. On both sides of the river, you can see rows of huge rocks. This type of rock is called crystalline schist. These rocks are designated as a National Treasure of Tokushima Prefecture and part of Mount Tsurugi National Park.
Enjoying moments of tranquility and the beauty scenery created by the wonderful nature.
A nice photo souvenir to bring back fond memories of the visit.
Afterwhich, drive over to Iya Valley.
Iya Valley is a majestic, secluded, dramatic area in western Tokushima featuring lofty peaks towering above a serpentine river winding through the valley floor far below.
Certainly an amazing spot for a beautiful picturesqure.
If you continue driving upwards you will get to find the Statue of a Peeing Boy of Iya Valley located on a cliff-edge in a lush valley assessed by a narrow winding road.
There is an old tale that travelers and local children would relieve themselves thereby demonstrating their daring to anyone who cared to watch. At such a breathtaking height, only a cool headed and steady feet person would dare to do that.
Today, a precipice of the cliff is graced by a statue of a young boy peeing off into the dizzying remoteness below. It is rumoured to be built with the intention of deterring further “pee offs” by young local daredevils. Thus this statue has become a symbol of courage in local folklore.
Wrapping up with a final visit to IyaのKazurabashi (Vine Bridge).
In the past, suspension bridges made of mountain vines (kazurabashi) were one of the only ways to move people and goods easily across the river of Iya Valley.
From the parking area, it will be a 5 min walk to the bridge entrance.
Do note that entrance fees are payable when crossing the one directional 45m long bridge.
You can catch a glimpse of the bridge prior to the start.
Start of bridge crossing.
View of the bottom Iya Valley from the bridge.
End of bridge crossing.
View of the Kazurabashi Bridge from afar. Looks like a nice portrait painting on the wall.
From the bridge end point, there is a Biwa-no-taki which is 100m away. It is said that fugitives from the Heike clan used to play the Japanese lute (biwa) and sing nostalgically near this 50m high waterfall.
Stopping by Iya Bijin for a late lunch before heading over to Tokushima for my upcoming 2 nights abode.
Their soba is special and different from the usual soba that we are used to having. Texture is different and is super delicious. I also love their Dekowamashi (Tokushima local specialty).
Tokushima is located on the eastern side of the island of Shikoku and the capital city of Tokushima Prefecture.
I will be staying over at Daiwa Roynet Hotel Tokushima Ekimae which is literally steps away from JR Tokushima Station.
I have quite a few stays in Daiwa Roynet for this trip. The room size is decent as always.
Spending time at a local Tokushima Izakaya enjoying local favourite foods before calling it a night.
Day 8, greeted with a freezing cold morning at 4 degrees.
Had an unusual breakfast at Italian Café Pizza Royalhat on the 2nd floor of Clement Plaza beside JR Tokushima Station.
Isn’t this a unique breakfast menu? Trust me, the food is really power! You really got to try it for yourself. 👍👍👍
Trying is believing!!!
With a satisfying meal, proceeded to Naruto Whirlpool.
The Naruto Whirlpools occur along the Shikoku coast of the Naruto Strait and are created by the large volumes of water moving between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean between high and low tide.
According to the change of tides, the whirlpool occur roughly every six hours and can typically be seen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for an hour or two. Under ideal condition, whirlpools of up to 20m in diameters can be observed.
There are a couple of ways to watch it. You can view it from the sightseeing cruises or from Uzu no Michi, an enclosed walkway that extends under the Onaruto Bridge and overlooks the whirlpools.
I decided to view it from Uzu no Michi walkway where you can have the best view of the whirlpools through the glass floor, 45m above the sea!