• Japan 2023 Trip Itinerary (still updating)
  • Nov 1 – Arrival at Nagoya, around Nagano Station, Stay : Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nagano-Zenkojiguchi
  • Nov 2 – Bus trip to visit the famous Snow Monkey Park, Nagano, Stay : Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nagano-Zenkojiguchi
  • Nov 3 – Easy trek at Togakushi 5-shrines, Nagano, Stay : Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nagano-Zenkojiguchi
  • Nov 4 – Drive rented car to Hakuba and hiked to Hakuba Happo Pond, Stay : Hotel Hakuba
  • Nov 5 – Morning walk to Zenkoji Temple, relaxed at Hakuba Mountain Harbour and Oide Park, Stay : Hotel Hakuba
  • Nov 6 – Drive from Myoko to Joetsu, Ben-ten Iwa rock and crab feast, Stay : APA Hotel & Resort Joetsu Myoko
  • Nov 7 – Drive to Kiyotsu Gorge and Naena Falls, Stay : APA Hotel & Resort Joetsu Myoko
  • Nov 8 – Drive around Lake Nojiri, train ride to Lake Suwa and Tateishi Park, Stay : Beni-ya Hotel
  • Nov 9 – Train ride to Shizuoka and Nihondaira Terrace sunset, Stay : Nippondaira Hotel
  • Nov 10 – Walk around Shizuoka Station, Stay : Nippondaira Hotel
  • Nov 11 – Train ride to Fuji City, walk around Atami City, Stay : Super Hotel JR Fujiekimae Kinenkan
  • Nov 12 – Shy Mount Fuji, cheap seafood at Co-op and Numazu City festival, Stay : Super Hotel JR Fujiekimae Kinenkan
  • Nov 13 – Mount Fuji, Shira-Ito Falls, Fujisan Sengan Shrine, Mount Fuji World Heritage Center, Stay : Super Hotel JR Fujiekimae Kinenkan
  • Nov 14 – Mount Fuji, Hamamatsu Station and bus to hotel nearby airport, Stay : Hotel Route-Inn Tokoname Ekimae

It’s our first trip back to Japan since 2019, and we were incredibly excited for this long-awaited journey. As always, we opted for the ever-reliable Singapore Airlines to travel from Penang to Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair Airport via a short layover at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Since I can’t sleep on airplanes, I figured I might as well enjoy myself while awake and ended up laughing the whole night with Japanese comedy, ‘Yudo: Way of the Bath.’ Recommended movie and before we knew it, we’ve arrived at Chubu Centrair Airport.

Nagoya Chubu Centrair Airport
Nagoya Chubu Centrair Airport
Nagoya Chubu Centrair Airport passageway, looking from train station

Upon collecting our only luggage, we noticed that one zipper and the lock were missing, and the other zipper was still there but ripped. It must have snagged on something during transit. We sought assistance from the ever-present airport staff, and she promptly, always with a smile, helped us fill out a baggage damage report to claim insurance. So, please remember to buy travel insurance! P.S. We managed to recover a portion through the travel insurance.

Our luggage bag with the main zipper destroyed
Our luggage bag with the main zipper destroyed

After the warming my writing hand with the paperwork, the next item on our agenda was collecting our WiFi router from the Ninja WiFi counter, conveniently located just a few steps from the train ticketing machines. We just showed them our reservation number with passport and we have WiFi for the next 2 weeks.

Collected our NinjaWiFi portable router at GlobalWifi booth (2nd from right)

Our goal for the day was to reach Nagano City, the travel plan is as follows :

Centrair Airport — train –> Nagoya City — train –> Nagano City

There were a few options to reach Nagoya City, but we opted for the fastest and most convenient train option, considering our luggage. We purchased tickets at the manned ticketing counter (easier for non-Japanese speaker) for the Meitetsu μSKY Limited Express train with reserved seating (1,230 yen) at Track 3 (blue color train), which took about 30 minutes to reach Nagoya City.

We didn’t bother with the button pushing. :P
Destination, Date, Car Number and Seat Number (for reserved seating)
Our “missing a zipper” holding up for now. Our luggage is not that big which actually can be placed on

Upon reaching Nagoya City, we proceeded to buy our JR Shinano Limited Express Train tickets with reserved seating (7,460 yen) to Nagano, again at the manned counter to avoid the diffculty of pushing buttons at the kiosk. While waiting for the train, we bought our lunch from the Bellmart Kiosk, a convenient store (konbini). The ‘Wide View Shinano’ train was not as smooth a ride compared to other Japanese trains as I got a bit ‘sea-sick.’ Halfway through the ride, we had to stop twice due to a ‘track collision’ on a connected line. Thankfully, it was only a half-hour stoppage. A quick nap later, we reached Nagano Station.

Date, Car 2 and Seat Number
Wide-view JR Shinano Limited Express Train arriving on Platform
Should’ve taken Car No.1 as it has the wide view of the driver
We had to stop at this small station, waiting for track clearance after an accident occured
Don’t be fooled by the cover, at most, will only have a few pages of the ladies in swimsuits.

Nagano Station is a beautiful three-floor building with large wooden columns lining up an impressively sleek facade. Only 50 meters away is our hotel for three nights, the mouthful Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nagano-Zenkojiguchi. The check-in process was smooth and fast, as always with Japanese business hotels. After a quick rest and freshening up, we headed out excitedly to explore what this city has to offer. We randomly went in a shop just to fill our hungry belly and so happens to be a chinese restaurant, Chukashokudo ichibankan Nagano 中華食堂 一番館 長野駅前店, which offers affordable eats and plenty of variety too. After indulging in delicious noodles, we settled for Starbucks at Nagano Station to cap off a very hectic travel day.

Nagano Station – simple and yet so elegant
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nagano-Zenkojiguchi. Our hotel for a few nights. Highly recommended
Backstreets of Nagano city is very quiet
Might be a weekday coz quite a number of shops have close or stuttered
Chukashokudo ichibankan Nagano 中華食堂 一番館 長野駅前店
I don’t remember what noodle I ate honestly but it was good

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