From Nomadic Yatri To Cookie Vagabond

Cookie Vagabond Cherry Blossom Tokyo

Cookie Vagabond Cherry Blossom Tokyo

Hey there, the companions of “Nomadic Yatri” 🙂 we have changed our blog name from “Nomadic Yatri ” to “Cookie Vagabond”. You must be thinking why suddenly this change, so the reason is,  the new name Cookie resemble the name of my travel crime partner, as her nickname is “Kuki” and  “Vagabond” is like “Jamesbond” and I like both of them.So I thought of introducing “Cookie Vagabond” .

The change in name is to distinct us from the crowd of other nomads and I personally like Vagabond and I hope you also like same. Now you can proudly say I am the follower of Vagabond “Cookie Vagabond” 😛

Please check our facebook and twitter page. Here is the details.

Facebook Page:  Facebook  Cookie Vagabond

Twitter Page:  TwitterCookie Vagabond

Visa For Land Of The Rising Sun

Visa Stamp

Visa Stamp

Land of rising sun is always dream destination for most of the travellers. If you are thinking to visit Japan, then here I am giving you a complete information about visa before you are check-in into gateway of Japan.Many countries have visa weaver in Japan and you can check the list of countries here visa exempt list.You require following documents before moving to embassy or to authorize travel agent.

Coming as independent (Self arranged)

1-  Copy of passport with first and last page having bio data.

2- A completely filled visa application form.

3- Covering letter which will explain your purpose to visit as well as itinerary.

4- Photograph (2×2 inch but confirm with embassy)

5- Travel booking(arranged tour if there), Hotel and air ticket with itinerary.

6- Latest income tax return or Bank statement for 6 months (original one with passbook)

Also read: Japan Society As Amusing As It Can Be

Coming through guarantor (Visiting friends or family)

Documents from applicant-

Documents from applicants are same as I have explained above. You just need to cross verify with documents checklist in embassy homepage before submitting form.

Also read: Tosa Dog Fight In Kochi, Shikoku Japan

Documents from guarantor-

1- Invitation letter original.

2- List of visa applicants.

3- Letter of guarantee if inviter is paying your expense.

4- Copy of tax return/ certificate of deposit balance/certificate of income.

5- Copy of passport first and last page.

6- Residence card stating you visa type and expiry date.

Also read: Mount Fuji With Daring Hikers 🙂

Special Note : Japanese embassy in Delhi is no more accepting direct application, you  have to submit visa application through travel agents while Chennai , Mumbai, Bangalore and other parts of India you can submit visa application directly to consultant as earlier.

Authorize travel agent: Currently in India there are only two travel agents.

1- Cox & Kings Global Services

2- Vfs Global

Embassy  URL (India) –  Japan Embassy

Visa Fee – 440 INR charged by embassy and service charge from travel agent is 600~650 INR.

Note: All the description presented here are based on Indian passport holder who visited Japan for 3 months. Visa rule changes time to time so keep looking on above websites for update.All the documents you can download from embassy website to avoid mismatch in format.

Also read: An evening worth spending in Tokyo

Enter the hell , feel like heaven

Jigoku Meguri (Roughly called hells of Beppu) of beppu are center attraction point in Oita and attracts domestic as well as international visitors, all year around. These are basically hot-springs for viewing rather than bathing in it. You can find many natural hot spring(Onsen) in the city.Basically 6 hells are located in the same place known as Kannawa district and remaining 2 are in Shibaseki district which are 20 minutes away(2 Miles in distance) from each other.I have been there from Matsuyama and entered in the city through ferry on Oita port. As compared to Matsuyama or Tokyo city is not having enough local train network to move around city, so we preferred to take rental car and did one trip around the city.

Transport Note: Local train network is not strong but public buses are quite good and frequent. If you do not have driving license then do not hesitate to go ahead with public transport. You can book tour too via  tourist information centre at Beppu station.

Types of hell

1-Sea Hell (海地獄 ⇔ Umi Jigoku): This one is my favourite and is completely blue like ocean which make its name sea hell. This is my personal recommendation, you must visit this among all hells. There is a big pond near by entrance and have many lotuses with are of specific type namely Victoria. Victoria leaves are big enough to hold weight of small kid(You can see picture board with kids sitting on leaf). Do not forget to have look around greenhouse which has multiple variety of lotuses and orchids.

Umi Jigoku

Umi Jigoku

2-Shaven Head Hell (鬼石坊主地獄 ⇔ Oniishibozu Jigoku):  This name originated from the grey mud bubbles in pond which looks like head of a monk. If you are tired and want to give an extra time to this hell you can sit around the place and enjoy footbath next to it.

Oniishibozu Jigoku

Oniishibozu Jigoku

3-Cooking Pot Hell (かまど地獄 ⇔ Kamado Jigoku):  This hell is easy to identify with red color demon mascot on top. There are several smaller boiling ponds scattered here and there and again if you have time then enjoy footbath with eating onsen tamago(boiled egg direct from onsen water).

Kamado Jigoku

Kamado Jigoku

4- Demon Mountain Hell(鬼山地獄 ⇔ Oniyama Jigoku:  Place is well known as crocodile hell.It is home of many crocodiles and alligators.What I heard from the instructor is that temperature of this hell (Normal hot water) is perfect for their breeding conditions.This hell is bit scary due to giant crocodiles.

Oniyama Jigoku

Oniyama Jigoku

5- Mountain Hell (山地獄 ⇔ Yama Jigoku):  This is situated in hill and you may pass this hell as I personally feel it is less attractive than others, but if you love animals this is the place for you to enjoy small Zoo next to hell.

Yama Jigoku

Yama Jigoku

6- White Pond Hell (白池地獄 ⇔  Shirake Jigoku): Its names symbolizes white but it’s a kind of pale blue(or somewhere milky too) water pond with rocks in the middle of it. You can enjoy a little garden which is along the hell pond.

Shiraike Jigoku

Shiraike Jigoku

7-Blood Pond Hell (血の池地獄 ⇔ Chinoike Jigoku”:  This hell is located 2 miles away from above hells. Its name resemble the color of water and its complete dark red. The way I recommended you “Sea hell”,  I will recommend this one too and it’s worth to take bus ride or do self driving(15 minutes). At the exist of hell there is one souvenir shop where you can enjoy shopping for your beloved ones and buy something to make remember this place.

Chinoike Jigoku

Chinoike Jigoku

8-. Waterspout Hell (龍巻地獄 ⇔ Tatsumaki Jigoku): The last hell of your visit and it’s next to “Blood pond” hell. This hell has a geyser which erupts in every 30 minutes to the height around 50 meters.There is a place where you can sit with other people and wait for it show in every 30 minutes, so mind timing to visit this hell(Show and wait timings are written at the entrance).

Tatsumaki Jigoku

Tatsumaki Jigoku

Transport from Tokyo: You can use LCC Jet Star to Oita airport or you can use shinkansen upto hakata followed by local train to JR Beppu.

Official website: For more detail information you can visit official website of Jigoku Meguri

Fee and business hours: Each hell you can enjoy with the amount of 400¥ and if you are willing to visit all the hells then you can buy full package around 2000¥. All the hells are operating throughout the week from 08:00 to 17:00.

I had wonderful time in Oita and hope others will have same experience too, city is very beautiful and surrounded by multiple attraction around the city.

 

Special Note: Do not forget to visit Beppu beach sand bath, Lake shidaka ko and Beppu ropeway to surumi mountain to have panoramic view of the city.

Japan Society As Amusing As It Can Be

Sakura tree

Sakura tree

When we hear the word japan there are certain things which run into our mind like gadgets, cars and shinkansen. There are many things which people living outside Japan may not know and they can be amused by knowing them. So here, I am listing few things which might surprise you but exist only in Japan.I have been here around 4~5 years and I am summarizing my experiences in this post. The points here might be good, bad or neutral, so feel free to comments your own experiences to provide me more output to judge expectation vs reality.So here you go 🙂

Safety: I personally feel that Japan care about the people who are living here.Girls, women are safe, laws are strict so crime rate is very low. Enjoying night life upto any time is good and moving here and there alone is also considerable at any time.

Schooling: Schooling in Japan is very different from other part of the world.For the first few years children are taught manners and before giving them actual subjects. Students are very hardworking, you can see kids wearing school uniform on Saturday and Sunday and doing extracurricular activities(sometime classes on Saturday).Students need to clean their washroom and classes by them self.I asked few of friends and they told me that, in Japan we teach students to live life in tough environment to make kids more stronger with time.

way to fuji

way to fuji

Public services: Public services are one of the best in the world and always on time as per schedule.Trains are bang on time and will give you a delay certificate(yes it’s true you get a certificate !! ) in case the train is late which is very rare.Public services including everything like bank , bus services, post services etc are very arranged and very helpful.Special mention to the toilets which are problem in many countries but here they are ultra clean even in the busiest train station.

Salaryman: New to Japan? then let me explain you, salaryman is the term used by Japanese to define full time working employee.The trademark of salaryman is that they love to wear suit and have drinking party occasionally.Now you might start to think that, what about woman, so woman pronounced as office lady(OL).Salary man is a status symbol, and everybody want to achieve it one time in their career.

Last train buddies: Every Friday and Saturday nights, late night trains are full packed and you can smell wine whiskey beer and all. Some are dwelling here and there and some are just just sitting on the floor.You will always find buddy to talk if you are drunken too.One thing I should appreciate that whether they are sleeping or drunken, they all will get off on correct station.

Jinglish: Japanese people have their own english accent called Jinglish. Some time foreigners too, try to speak Jinglish with locals because here people prefer Japanese for communication. For example God will become Godhoo, Piers will become piasu, love love will become rabu rabu and so on. I am sure that you will like the video shown below, just be sure see upto the end.

Golden week and silver week: This concept you will find only in Japan, that holidays are named as golden and silver.Welcome of cherry blossom with 2~5 days holidays in May is called golden week. In japan there is special period to remember all your ancestor called obon holiday and some time if there is consecutive 2-3 days holidays , it’s called silver week.This year 2016 if you took 2 days paid holidays , you got total 10 days holidays and that’s why  it was called mega golden week by travel services.

shimanami cycling

shimanami cycling

Cycling: If you are health conscious and you are living near by your company in the circle of 2~3 mile then the best way to commute is via riding bicycle. Roads are good and safe. The points you would like to remember while commuting are

 

-Japan has some strict bicycle rule like you can not drink and drive with cycle. 

-Bicycles are a bit inconvenient during winter and rainy days as winters are very cold here and it can rain upto long hours.

 

Everything is oishii: Everything oishii(delicious) even water.When you invite someone on dinner the first word you will hear about your food is oishii and your Japanese is jouzu(excellent). One thing is quite noticeable if you see Japanese TV show, and host who tastes your dish will start praising with oishii, oishii,oishii mecha oishii (tasty, amazing and super delicious).What I feel that they do these thing to motivate people for making good food and foreigner to speak better Japanese which is somehow good.

Food: First time to Japan, get ready to eat most of the dishes with chopsticks like noodles, daily lunch etc. In a Japanese lunch you will find a main course dish, salad and a soup bowl.There are many restaurants and cafes which provide you healthy food with calories written on the menu.If you are eating Chahan(Fried rice), get ready to eat with soup spoon.Parties are super crazy here and the craziest part is that after finishing party, people still want to eat more and they will specially move to ramen shops.

Matcha flavour: Japanese green tea is very famous around the world and here they have even particular days to celebrate tea ceremony with professionals tea presenters. Kyoto and other places can give you opportunity to take part in tea ceremony with the traditional way.You can see macha flavour coffee in Starbucks, biscuits, chocolates and other stuff which people buy for souvenir.

matsuyama castle

matsuyama castle

Social networking services(SNS) lover: Are you already friend with many Japanese on SNS, then you will notice that there are two types of people the first ones, who will never disclose their identity by their original display picture{DP}(always have cartoon character on their DP) and second who are ok with their DP but only on their corporate account.People love replying by emoji smilies in their chat conversation, cartoon characters or by GIF and sometime video describing their emotions.

Japanese Wedding: Thinking to join some Japanese wedding party? then be sure to pay at least 30,000¥~ while getting entry in wedding hall and you must confirm your attendance otherwise no entry.There is a kind of nijikai (second party) where you can join by paying only 10,000¥~ and enjoy the party till late night.

Tourism:  Tourism is one of the big industry in Japan revolving around Fuji, Sakura, Sumo and heritage sites.Fuji is always pride for Japanese people and everybody stop and click Fuji san’s (as it is called in Japan) photos, whether from sky or near by fuji five lakes.Cherry blossom is very beautiful in Japan and people do parties while drinking and talking under sakura tree.Coming to Sumo, the game originated from Japan and is being held round the year. Japan is always a place to see the mixture of rich culture, historical sites and even modernization.

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comments here  🙂skitour

Tosa Dog Fight In Kochi, Shikoku Japan

Have you heard about dog fight , I think most of us had heard about bullfight and cockfight but yes Katsurahama shikoku Japan is the place which organize dog fights events, few times in a month.Don’t you think it’s just a event it’s “THE EVENT”.There are special bread of the dog called “Tosa”. Tosa dog came from breeding of kochi prefecture local dog and bulldog and now a days it’s a cultural icon. The dog which I saw at the time of fight was 50~70 Kg , yes big and brave.Fight is arranged by Tosa token center inside the park and by the way Tosa is the old name of Kochi Prefecture.

kochi station

Kochi station

If you are thinking to have one day trip to Katsurahama park it’s worth. Katsurahama Park is a bit far from the city center.If you start early in the morning, it will be always plus point for you to reach early, people reach this place around 12:00 ~ and this is the peak time when there is long queue of cars and yes you have to wait, drive and stop for an hour without a single step ahead.if you are coming from your own car then take exit on Kochi IC and secure a bit cheap parking compare to city center. If you are coming by public transport then in Kochi station just look for My Yu Bus which take  30 minutes to park.

fighter_dog_tosa

fighter_dog_tosa

We were on road trip to Kochi and planned to visit dog fight as well as coastal line there.  There is sea aquarium and one beautiful shrine at the end of coastal route, which will give you panorama of the place and it claims to be most famous scenic spots in Kochi prefecture.

What I have seen that sea waves are strong here and swimming is not allowed in this beach so it avoids beach tourist but you can enjoy coastal walking road and near by attraction.

water_wheel

water_wheel

When you enter in stadium you can see fighting ring  at the center, organiser will explain about both the dogs which are going to take part in fighting. Then the first dog will come and his master will show dog’s features and his previous fighting record with ranking.Both dogs fight with some strict rules and always obey their master’s commands.Once they will give signal to start the fight, dogs will just get wild and start to bite each other.

PERSONAL DECLAIMER: I DON’T KNOW IF IT IS NECESSARY OR NOT,  BUT PERSONALLY I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS BRUTALITY .TOSA ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR SURVIVAL AND SOMEHOW WE SHOULD TAKE CARE OF THAT 😦

If you are weak heart person then better to avoid this place to visit.Firstly I was thinking the dog, which will make maximum bite will be considered as winner but what I saw from this fight, that they declare winner by fighting spirit of the dogs.If one dog will leave the ring or is about to leave,then that dog is declared the looser.Next to ring center there is Tosa museum too, where you can meet little puppies and history related to Tosa dogs.

Tips: If you are buying a ticket, then just buy a ticket for back seats.If you are sitting nearby the ring you can get some splash of blood during the fight and there are chances you will be scared by dogs expression.

Tosa token center website: http://www.tosa.or.jp
TEL: 050-3033-3166

kochi_dam

kochi_dam

Are you ready for insanity ?? #HappyHalloween

No Idea

No Idea

If it’s October then it means it’s halloween time in Japan and you can feel the vibes in every sign board , cafe menu, shopping mall’s interior decoration and other things all are based on halloween theme.I cross Shibuya crossing everyday (My office route) but it’s completely different during new year countdown and halloween with chill pill cool breeze and yes that fall around always 30th and 31st October. You can see many police vans where someone is announcing in Japanese followed by English using big loud speaker and somehow well known as Dj police among local youngster.

Trump

Trump

When you are thinking about this event then first thing come into mind is costume.You can choose either to buy or rent.For buying costume you can go for Don Quijote and its cheap and the costume is easily available of your choice.There are many weird dresses with different mask and sound, so scary even when you see someone just coming out from trial room next to you.For renting costume there are many places in Shibuya and Shinjuku where you can rent a costume for a day, party basis or hourly basis. If you are thinking to buy some items for household like decoration, you can visit nearby supermarket like Aeon or Ito YOKADO they have many items for home decoration like light items , pumpkin flower and other stuff for children. For small items I have seen DAISO is also filled with halloween garland, pumpkins and mask too. Specially a lot of variety for the kids.

audience

audience

What I heard from many of my friends that 3~5 years ago halloween was not in fashion in Tokyo, it was just a part of clubbing and limited to only few foreigners who love theme parties but now it is growing like big event in Shibuya.Peak time for halloween is around 10:30 ~ 12:00 and the party is still on.Of Course Party is always well behaved as it is in Japan.

Many startup companies started to celebrate halloween party due to international collaboration and offices in overseas. Usually depend on size of company, people book one restaurant or pub based on halloween theme and hold party in salary man style like 19:00 to 22:00 with drinking cracking jokes and some competitions.

Gang of girls

Gang of girls

Insanity is accepted, and mind it more you are insane more you are accepted in halloween. If you love to dress up and cosplay then this festival is for you and if you just want to see come and be a part of mob while clicking pics.

I personally feel that if you really want to enjoy halloween in Japan then just leave the house midnight today(30 Oct) and move to Roppongi. There are many halloween party going on around specially Shibuya and Roppongi  are the main and I am dam sure that you will not get disappoint for the same.

I have been a part of Shibuya halloween mob last year stretching from Shibuya crossing to Dogenzaka, and then bending toward main street. Evening of Shibuya is crowded and you can see people clicking photos with different groups who are just in visit to Tokyo and don’t like get involve in wearing costume. First thing I noticed that many people moving in the crowd are in small groups.People in different groups are with some theme costume or with character costumes like mac Donald staff, skeletons or pirates of Caribbeans. There were some party going on in red and orange bus followed by some neon light motorbikes in Omotesando which was like hell people shouting and whistling and passing comments to each other for there costume.

scary-night

scary-night

If you are thinking to join some club activities in Roppongi or Shibuya to participate in costume competition just check out the events, and then you need to register or buy the ticket in advance as it’s difficult to get ticket on the same day and most of the time out stock. Most of the clubs in Roppongi organize dress competition, live singing and provide best halloween costume prize for the day. Each club has there own halloween day so just follow their line group, twitter account or FB page as they keep posting updates there.People do bar hopping in Roppongi and slowly move to Shibuya in the evening.

If you are thinking to avoid joining a party with big mob, then just attend party in the mid of October. Go to some dance club street parade in Shinjuku, Omotesando, kawasaki and Ikebukuro.Among these kawasaki is oldest name in halloween.Above described places hold halloween party in third weekend of October and it is less crowded than end of the month party.Here is the news for disney fans the Disney-sea  also arrange halloween party throughout October. There are several events and night parade in halloween mood just try to avoid weekend as weekend is really crowded for each attraction and no space to see parade from near by place or might have to wait for 1 hour ~

Regarding to halloween craze in kids, I just remember the October 2015 when I had been a part of volunteering team in english camp. When I asked few kids about halloween most of them knew about that. One thing was so common that everybody was curious to have photo shoot with best costume player and even photo with their favorite character.Overall kids like halloween but not the part of Shibuya and surrounding.

english-camp

english-camp

Yes halloween is growing in Japan and as a foreigner I am quite happy be a part of it where insanity is on peak and work is on rest and now I can say somehow halloween has become fashion here.