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Thursday, July 24, 2008

ニッポン 13 - NAGANO

13Sept08 Sat
Day 13 - Karuizawa, Nagano


Karuizawa is an upmarket mountain resort at the foot of the active volcano Mount Asama in Nagano Prefecture.

Karuizawa hosted equestrian events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. The town also hosted curling in the 1998 Winter Olympics. To date, it is the only city in the world having hosted both Summer and Winter Olympic events.

Kiki and I bought our 7-day JR Pass at 28,300yen each, and since "activation" of pass, today was the last day we can use the pass to travel ANYWHERE in Japan.

So we decided somewhere far, and that is Karuizawa, NAGANO 長野.
We were attracted by the 200+ factory oulets at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza =D

We set off late..(around 11plus?)


Bento shops, available at all Shinkansen stations.
People often have their meals on board.

1 hour plus north of Tokyo by Shinkansen
From Tokyo station to Karuizawa station by Nagano Shinkansen.

This train shop magazine has sooo many amazing inventions that I took a copy back(I'm allowed to!). My dad loves such weird inventions..

This is a diagram of how this umbrella can be folded into a walking stick.. amazing right?

23 degrees in Karuizawa!
We didn't know it would be so cooling up north Tokyo and wore little..


Relaxing feel... compared to Tokyo..

Dad+Daughter+Minnie= Triple PiggyBack

Actually at this point I didn't know where we wanted to go because we did little research.
But at least the weather was worth it.. =)

I wanted to look for the former Mikasa Hotel but the place is really big, walking is not really possible... and we have already passed the busstop.. bicycles were available but we aren't that good at it. maybe if they have rollerblades, or even swimming.. i'm better at those.. haha =p

so we just walked and walked.. according to this vague map...

and we reached Kyu Karuizawa~



Lots of tourists.. It was a Saturday..

Apparently this place is popular for Jams.. some interesting flavours are Camembert Cheese... er and lots more that I can't remember.. but I thought they were normal tasting, nothing special..


Mr Strong and healthy Ojisan promoting his honey...
Really nice! (had samples)

So cute!!

Ojisan took a bee and smashed it in his head =\

Sometimes it's good when you do not have too much info about a place because you may find something surprising...

Kiki and I accidentally found the Kyu Karuizawa Trick Art Gallery!
Admission 1500yen, but it was worth it! Loads of fun..


What's so tricky about this museum?
All of the pictures below are works of paintings, but they looked so real!!

Mona Lisa's Scream

Kiki the monkey

2D, not 3D!

Panda says, "it's ok, i'm sure your 1500yen is worth it"

To this point we were still not sure how to play with the wall paintings to make it look more real.. and was getting a little frustrated..


It's a painting...! I can't emphasise more..

Kiki the monkey climbs the tree..

getting thirsty?

Some sea creatures are cute....

...while some are not!

Kiki's version.

Kiki tore a painting..

 What kind of expression is that? Haha

Oops... hehe

Eh, Whos' that?

Let me see what she is doing..

I swear it's 2D!!
I didn't do anything to the painting!
I'm not Mr Bean and his Mother Theresa painting... haha...

Additional props provided by the museum for visionary purposes

One of my favourites

Pardon Kiki, she was thirsty...

We had a hard time posing for these pictures so that they would look real.. Kiki is actually sitting on a painted ground..



Yes it's a painting behind!

and a painting by the wall!
another of my favourite~

how many limbs and bodies are there?

How many bodies?

Skull or man proposing to gf?

See a giant lying horizontally? one of my favs..

this one too..

Bird catches man

trees, water, man on boat

distorted painting on the table that looks perfectly alright when reflected on the metal bottle.

it's actually through special lenses and tilted ground that I managed to be larger than life for the first time..



Kiki flies up the ceiling..
just like what happened to QF72.. hahaha..


...marks the end of the Gallery fun.

pleasant surprise isn't it? especially when you didn't plan for it..

stayed too long in the gallery so we walked fast to the shopping plaza..

realised Kiki and I didn't eat for the whole day? No time to eat cos too much to cover..

Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza surroundings

Salespeople in this shop are super super nice.. and they are surprisingly mostly guys..
who says guys can't provide good customer service?

there were really many factory outlets, but nothing really came to our fancy.
bought 2 pairs of Puma shoes though..

wooden adidas factory outlet.

Shinkansen back. It was already 8pm.

Weather at night was superb. Loved the breeze.
They had bird chirping sounds to boost the atmosphere of a mountain resort feel too. Haha

just pretty amazed by this person's heels.

last time on Shinkansen :(

Kiki was being crazy on the train back home

Hahaha funny advertisement

probably the first time I've seen fans in trains. maybe it gets stuffy when too many people are inside..

Kiki and I were so hungry but it was around 10pm already so we went to the convenience store to get some things to eat...
and guess who we met? Shiozaki-san~~ Haha our saviour..

He said he reached home and couldn't find us, so came down to the store to get some stuff...

Hahaha.... "no dinner", "dinner at convenience store", "dinner at sushi bar"!!

Introducing Japan's Kaiten Sushi Bar 回転寿司

It's slightly different from Singapore. Of course, there are variations in Japan too, but this is one I've never seen before..

you order from the screen.
100yen(S$1.30 only!!!!!!! no tax!!!) per plate.

u can see Kiki is really hungry.

food comes in red bowls marked ご注文品
others may order too, but take what is yours..

we already took the plates from the bowls so they are empty~

Asari Miso soup.... OISHII!!!

slot the plates into the space provided..
every 4/5 plates you slot entitles you to a chance to play a game!

win the game and you get a prize!

prize comes rolling down from here.
ours didn't, so we told the service staff..
and we got to choose from a box...

Was shocked by the promptness. Service staff didn't even doubt us.
Imagine if it's Singapore. People will be trying to get prizes they didn't win.
Integrity-wise, Japanese wins hands-down.

More expensive, you take 2 plates, or there is only 1 sushi instead of 2 on a plate.

"Please take 2 plates for the 200yen sushi"

100yen only, but really delicious!
plus the thrill of winning the prize (miserable spinning top though hahaha)
Since I'm back in Singapore I crave for this Kaiten sushi every night..


when can I get to eat this again..


Oh btw Shiozaki-san said normally Japaneses won't travel that far to Nagano from Tokyo if they set off as late as 11am(which we did).. Haha... well....

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