I have been thinking about writing this review for long time because there are so many people written about Japan already.
However, with my willingness to share experiences, I decide to give it a try.
Just in case it would be somehow useful or provide clearer picture for those who want to go.
This review is modified from what I recently write in a blog by adding more details regarding transportation.
Wish it would be useful for someone.
In the past before any trip abroad, Noolek and Piyai must gather information heavily.
Then we will decide where we are going.
Anyway, in a time that plane ticket is extremely cheap adding with daily promotion.
Our worldwide trips accordingly change.
It turns out we let the flight determine destination in each time.
No matter where the luck take us. We are willing to travel at particular country in specified time.
Same as this trip. Since relationship of Thailand and Japan is recently very good or super good,
promotion tickets to Japan from each airline are greatly on discount. We can't resist .
More importantly we are big fans of AirAsia. Not that we love them. Please don't get it wrong
But we focus on modest price. We have never disappointed from all promotions.
We grab ticket at 11.00PM of every promotion night. So, we always have new trip all the time.
And when AirAsia X has promotion of direct flight to Japan which we have flown before,
We don't hesitate at all. Finally we proudly get the ticket to Japan again.
After booking the ticket, we make payment with satisfaction of conquering cheap ticket at 11.00PM.
Next morning we start to have headache. What else if not that the period we think it's cool is actually
a period that travel guru strongly warn.
It is the best to avoid this duration since it is Japan Golden Week.
So called Japan's long weekends consisting of many important days
where the whole country take off for traveling.
It means we will be competing for food and travel with locals.
If you can't imagine, try visualize of Songkarn period.
Tourists attractions will be crowded. Long queue at restaurants. Only thinking makes us tired already.
However, the show must go on. This one-year ahead trip must happen.
The fortune has determined. Let's do it...
Many say don't go because lodging will be expensive, fully booked, hard to find and .... so on.
Both of us get nervous.
The trip is on April but we study since January.
Because we are afraid of everything. We prepare earlier than submit for visa.
Anyway, after hard work, my thought about Golden Week starts to change.
Multiple reasons support that it is a real golden time to travel in Japan.
We are so lucky to go at this period. Wondering why? Let's find out.
Since there are 4 of us,
renting a car is still the best method we choose, same as every trip.
Although traveling by train in Japan is prompt and convenient,
visiting small cities along the way is our most favorite activity.
Also, after comparing transportation cost between train for 4 people and renting a car, the car is much more worth.
Renting a car is therefore our final answer or honestly the only answer since beginning.
I read from somewhere says
“If you want to be a tourist, do what others do. But if you want to be a traveler, go in your way."
Car service we use this time is Nippon Rent A Car
Since Piyai's friend who lives in Japan recommend to avoid passing through Tokyo,
we may get headache before passing it and itinerary may slip
Okay, we believe.
Noolek is allergic to big cities anyway. Everytime I drive in the city, I always get lost. Even though I have GPS.
From our research, Nippon Rent A Car's office is located near Kawaguchiko station.
And the proposed price for 8 days is also acceptable.
Apart from that, we plan to definitely visit "Fuji-San", a symbol of Japan
since several attempts were fail due to unclear weather blocking vision.
And more importantly Shibazakura just opens for 1 week.
First of all, let's be clear that our trip mainly focus on economy of every travel.
We pay only what we have to. So, getting on train, bus or driving emphasize on low cost.
Shinkansen, JR Pass or express way is not our type.
Our unwilling trip during Golden Week starts in one night in the end of April.
Arrive at airport on time at 8.00AM.
Clear sky at Narita airport.
Noolek designs the most economy transportation with least transition.
It is a unique method. Feel free to copy.
Our condition is going to Shinjuku station for getting on a bus. Since we have luggage, there shouldn't be too many transitions.
And the main point is the lowest transportation cost.
Accordingly, Noolek chooses Keisei Main Line but not get off at terminal station, rather Ueno station.
Because it will be more complicated to transit 2 more lines.
Inside Keisei train, ordinary type.
Get off at Motoyawata station (KS16).
From Motoyawata, follow the boards.
We can conveniently walk to Toei Shinjuku Line.
Pathway inside Yawata station.
Inside Toei Shinjuku Line.
It is the beginning station. So, we can sit comfortably and lift luggage easily.
We are heading to final station which is Shinjuku station.
Total fare is only JPY1200 with around an hour. Not too slow.
The train is empty because it is the first station towards Shinjuku.
When arrive at Shinjuku station, use West Exit to Keio Highway Bus which will bring us to Kawaguchiko.
Walking to West Exit.
Keio Highway Bus
You can book the ticket online in advance
and show printed booking confirmation. Staff will inform the price,
provide ticket and bus number.
Apart from Kawaguchiko, they also have other destinations.
Every bus parks here.
Various type of drink machines available for you to buy some drinks before departure.
Once it's time to go, they will announce. All passengers have their own seats.
Staff will check seat number before getting on the bus and keep your luggage.
You only need to sit properly. To avoid mistake, Noolek uses companion's name to book for 3 times.
In case we have any problems and miss the first bus, we still have the second and third one.
Upon departure, staff informs passengers to put on seat belt for their own safety.
The conveniences of highway bus are
area to rest your feet and tiny table in front facilitating you to have meal easily.
The journey takes approximately 1.45 hours.
They also provide personal plug allowing you to charge your mobile or tablet.
Inside highway bus.
There is toilet at the back. You can notice whether or not it's occupied from the front.
If someone is using, you will see red light. If not, it will show green light.
TV on the bus shows next stop.
Unfortunately, it is totally in Japanese. So, it's not quite useful for us. We have to listen from guide.
The bus gradually escapes from traffic jam in Tokyo to express way towards upcountry.
The bus can go faster. From city view along the way changes to plentiful nature.
Livelihood of locals still mainly focus on agriculture.
Outside the window.
I enjoy watching landscape
while other passengers eventually fall asleep during long journey including Piyai too.
Finally Piyai is waken up by me,
because in front of us is a giant mountain called "Fuji". At the moment, it is beautifully covered with snow.
However, the weather is unfortunately unclear. So, Fuji is shaded with fog giving quite lonely feelings.
The route from this point allows us to see Fuji along the way to Kawaguchiko station.
Here we are at Kawaguchiko station.
For today, we book rooms at Kawaguchiko Station Inn which is located opposite train station for ease of transportation tomorrow.
Nice view from Kawaguchiko Station Inn.
There are 15 minutes left before we can check-in at Kawaguchiko Station Inn.
So, we give it a try. Just in case we can check-in now.
So, we can take some rest after a long journey. Luckily the room is ready to check-in.
We keep luggage in the room.
First night we stay in Ryokan room type.
Prior to unpacking luggage, Piyai pops up an idea that
instead of our original plan, joining Shibazakura festival tomorrow, we should change to today.
Because we still got time. Also, tomorrow we have to pick up the car at 9.00AM and our destination is quite far.
If we keep strolling, we wouldn't be able to make time.
In conclusion, we leave all stuffs behind and move on.
Traveling at Kawaguchiko during end of April to end of May
allows you to see what Thais call "Ground Zakura".
Actually Shibazakura is not related to Zakura at all.
It's English name is Moss Pink originated in Northeast America.
It has multiple species including pink and white color. ฺBlossom blooms on the ground.
In Japan, it is mostly planted along fences or on slope area looking alike huge carpet.
It helps protecting earth and well endures with heat, and dry weather.
In spring, blooming flowers look like Zakura.
In other seasons, you will see green leaves similar to grass. It is so-called Shibazakuka.
Shiba means grass. So, it is grass Zakura.
Should you inquire further details regarding Shibazakura, please visit http://www.shibazakura.jp/thai/.
There is shuttle bus to the festival (Shibazakura Liner). Schedule is clearly attached on board.
Or you can check from official website. Entrance fee is JPY520 per person. Actually we arrive just in time
because we get on bus around 3.00PM while festival closes at 5.00PM.
Everyone knows Japanese people strictly concern about being punctual. So, we have limited time to appreciate with Shibazakura.
Fortunately the train station is near Lake Motosu where festival is held. It takes only 30 minutes.
We therefore don't waste too much time.
Observe for this Japanese flag and you will see shuttle bus station.
The bus takes us to the festival.
Beautiful flowers beside the road.
When walk into the park, first scene makes us stunned.
Honestly visiting at this time is also nice. There are few tourists since the festival is about to close.
Also, there is light wind and not too sunny. We can relaxedly walk around. Only that photos might be less beautiful.
For me and my friends who want to take photos as memory, it doesn't matter.
The park has huge space covered with Pink Moss switching between pink, purple and white color.
Looks like pattern. Pink is probably the brightest color. So, it is more outstanding and attractive for taking photos.
Noolek visits during the beginning of the festival as it just opened 2 weeks ago.
Moss Pink at some area hasn't bloomed yet.
It looks strangely spotted. But blooming area is breath taking.
There is mock up "Fuji" covered with Moss Pink inside. Unfortunately it doesn't fully bloom yet.
So, it is soiled Fuji.
There is lifted porch nearby allowing you to see top view of the park.
Endless view of the festival.
Bird's eye view from viewpoint which doesn't cover all area yet.
Look at the flowers closely. They are so tiny and lovely.
On side is food area where sells food, snack and souvenir.
If you are tired or bored of photographing, stop here to buy some snacks or ice-cream before moving on.
Freshly made chestnut.
Snack contained Shibazakura as ingredient.
There are also ice-cream and hot coffee.
This flower is planted beside pathway.
Let's walk to the other side of the park.
The weather today is unclear. So, we can see Fuji faintly. So sad.
There is Zakura as well.
I guess this is Apple Blossom.
After fully spend time in the park. We leave when it nearly closes and wait for the bus at same point.
The bus we are getting on is the last trip.
Wait for a while. The bus go back with the same route.
Here we are at Kawaguchiko station.
Train station is also decorated with Shibazakura to welcome the festival.
All of us are quite tired today since we have passed long journey from Bangkok to Japan.
And instead of resting, we go to other town to continue traveling.
At Kawaguchiko Station Inn we have to lay mattress by ourselves.
They provide mattress but no service. However, it's not hard to do.
Tonight's sleeping place is ready.
After dinner, we go to bed early.
So, tomorrow we will wake up with freshness and ready for long journey which we don't know what's waiting ahead.
Please continue reading Japan Golden Week. There are so many interesting things.
Say hi and have a chat at
I'm glad to share information.