Hotel Review: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa

For our holiday in Tokyo last year December, we booked Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. The hotel is located near Shinagawa station, one of the busiest train station in Tokyo.

We booked this hotel because of its location (at Shinagawa area) and the room size. Our daughter love this hotel because there is beautiful Japanese garden inside the hotel.

The room is clean and spacious and the staff is also very helpful. The hotel also have shuttle bus to Shinagawa station. Access to or from airports is also very convenient because there is direct airport limousine bus from/to the hotel.

For food matters, although the food price in the hotel is very expensive, visitors can find easily food outlets outside the hotel. Convenience store 7-11 is also located at the basement of the hotel.


-Good location at Shinagawa area especially if you use Shinkansen train a lot.

-Nice Japanese garden inside the hotel.

-Room is spacious for twin room, clean and modern interior.

-Hotel lobby is very nice.

-Hotel staff is quite fluent in English, attentive and helpful.

-7-11 convenience store located at hotel basement.

-Free shuttle bus from/to Shinagawa station.

-Direct airport limousine bus from/to Narita or Haneda airports.

-Balcony in each room.


-No coin laundry.

-Expensive breakfast at hotel.

-Steep slope from Shinagawa station. Do not recommend walking with luggage.

-Room price is quite expensive.

We are satisfied with our choice to stay at Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. We definitely will come back to this hotel if we visit Tokyo in the future.


Hotel review: Ibis Styles Sapporo Hotel

During our winter holiday in Hokkaido, we decided to use Sapporo as our base and we chose Ibis Styles Sapporo for our stay.

Although Ibis Styles Sapporo is far from Sapporo city, we chose this hotel because of the room size and the good review in trip advisor.

We booked twin room in Ibis Styles Sapporo and we got 30 square meter room size. It is very spacious for us. The hotel staff is also friendly and their English capability is not so bad. They also let us checked in early and gave us non smoking room at top floor (16th floor).

Ibis Styles Sapporo also provides breakfast for their visitors which is very rare for hotel in Japan. The breakfast spread is adequate and also exceed our expectation.


-Big room space with modern interior.

-Breakfast spread is adequate and variative.

-Hotel staff is friendly and helpful to give information.

-Coin laundry at the hotel

-Quiet surrounding and a lot of nearby restaurant (within 10 mins walking distance).

-Nearby bus stop (3 mins walking distance) to catch airport limousine bus.


-Lobby size quite small.

-Far from Sapporo city but near Nakajima-koen subway station (5 mins walking distance). By taxi, Ibis Sapporo can be reached within 10 minutes and the taxi fare is about 1,000 yen.

-Could be very crowded especially when a lot of group tourist stay in this hotel.

View from our room’s window

Thick snow nearby hotel.

We will definitely come back to Ibis Styles Sapporo if we visit Sapporo again in the future. We are really satisfied with Ibis Styles Sapporo.

Japan Day 14: Doraemon Waku Waku Park & Chitose Airport

We woke up early on 2 Jan because we wanted to take airport limousine bus to go to New Chitose Airport. The bus fare is 1,000 yen for adults and 500 yen for kids. The bus stop is an open space area which located only within 3 minutes walk from Ibis Sapporo hotel. 

Once we arrived at Chitose airport, we quickly went to ANA counter and we checked in for our 2.05 pm flight to Tokyo and connecting flight to Singapore at 4pm.

We went to Chitose airport early in the morning because we wanted to visit Doraemon Waku Waku park inside Chitose airport. Website:

Doraemon Waku Waku park is quite disappointing for us because the park is really small and there are quite limited actvities on this park. In our opinion, visitors only need 20-30 minutes to finish all activities. 

Nearby Doraemon Waku Waku park, there is an activity center where children can do activities like drawing, painting etc. At this place, our kids did Doraemon and Doremi figurine painting. The kids had one hour to finish the figurine painting and they can brought back the figurine to home country. Cost per figure was 1,030 yen.

We had delay with our flight from Chitose airport and we only reached Narita airport at 4pm. We supposed to have 1 hour stopover at Narita airport. At the end, since our flight from Chitose airport was delayed, we had no stop over at Narita airport and we straight away go inside the plane bound to Singapore. 

We finally arrived at Changi airport at 11.30pm. We really enjoyed our 2 weeks winter holiday in Tokyo and Hokkaido. We definitely will come back again to Japan during winter and we will visit another place in Japan for our next winter holiday.

Japan Day 13: Skiing and sledding time at New Year

Yeay!!! Day 13 was New Year day. Since it was the first day in 2017, we wanted to enjoy the day by playing sledding and skiing together with our kids.

After finished our breakfast at Ibis Styles Sapporo hotel, we walked slowly to Nakajima-koen subway station which located nearby the hotel. We used our 1 day free subway ride and took the train to Makomanai train station. To reach Takino Suzuran Park, we used bus 106 from Makomanai Subway station. The journey takes about 40 minutes. Bus fare is 440 yen for adult and 220 yen for kids. Free for kids under 6 year olds.Website:

Takino Suzuran Park is a Japanese Government national park located in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The park area spreads over 395.7 hectares of hilly country and ranges in altitude between 160 and 320 m above sea level. During the winter season, the park operates as the “Takino Snow World”, providing visitors with a wide variety of winter outdoor activities.

The colorful hills turn white and draw many visitors for winter sports. The 250-meters-long and 7° slope is perfect for first time skiers including kids. There are also 1 and 5km cross country skiing trails for beginners, 3 and 6km trails for moderate skiers, and 10 and 16km trails for advanced skiers. Lift tickets for the family slope are ¥150 for adults and ¥100 for junior high school students and younger children. Ski equipment can be rented (¥2,570 for adults, ¥1,540 for junior high school students and younger children; ¥820 and ¥510 respectively for cross country skis).

We started our activities with snow sledding using big rubber tube. The track is very long (about 200 m) and it makes the sledding very exciting for the kids. The tube is free to rent and also the rope-towing facility that pull us to the top. We did it a few times and the girls really loved it and keep asking for more.

We stopped one hour for lunch at nearby cafeteria inside Takino Suzuran Park. 

Skiing was our next activity and we rented the ski equipment for one hour. This time round, only me and my eldest daughter tried ski while my hubby took pictures of us. Surprisingly, my girl handle the ski very well and she can straight away move without any difficulty.

When the clock was almost at 3pm, we quickly took bus 106 to bring us back to Makomanai station. We straight away took the train back to Susukino subway station and visited Sapporo Ferries Wheel located on top of Norbesa Shopping mall, near Susukino subway station.

The fee is 600yen per person or 2,000 yen per 4 persons. Website:

The ferris wheel is quite small, very small if we compare with Singapore Ferries Whell. Although the ferries wheel was quite small, but we enjoyed it because we can ride it as one family in a new year day. 

Our last stop was the famous Matsuya chain for dinner. Matsuya has a lot of stores and they are spread accross Japan including Hokkaido island. Since I ate a lot of Japanese food on this holiday, I wanted to eat spicy food this time and I chose Doenjang jjigae (Korean spicy food) with Japanese grilled beef set meal. My hubby ordered this set meal as well and he was very happy to eat Korean food (after two weeks eating Japanese food).

We went back to Ibis Sapporo hotel to pack all our stuff. Today was our last day in Hokkaido and we will go back to Singapore tomorrow.

Japan Day 12: Beautiful Otaru Canal & Delicious LeTao Cheesecake

We visited Otaru on day 12 and it was New Year Eve. Hokkaido at New Year Eve was very quiet (including Otaru) and most of the shops were closed. We bought Sapporo-Otaru welcome pass for this trip because we got two tickets:

1. The first ticket can be used for unlimited rides between Sapporo and Otaru.

2. The second ticket can be used for unlimited rides on Sapporo subway. 

These two tickets can be used on separate days, no need to use them consecutively. The price for Sapporo-Otaru welcome pass is 1,700 yen (include seat reservation). Although it only takes 30 minutes from Sapporo to Otaru, it’s still better to book a seat especially if you bring kids.

You can click the following link for detail info on Sapporo-Otaru welcome pass:

For children, you just need to buy the normal Sapporo-Otaru return trip ticket.

After reached Otaru JR station, we visited famous Le Tao cheesecake shop which located across Otaru JR station. The shop is quite small and most people buy the chesse cake for take-away. Website:

We tried the famous two-layered Double Fromage cake. The cheese cake is very soft and it’s made from 3 different cheese: Italian mascarpone, Camembert and cream cheese. All the cheeses used here are produced in Hokkaido from a local dairy. The upper layer is a creamy and smooth no-bake cheesecake and the lower layer is rich and tasty baked cheesecake. It’s really good stuff! Very recommended to try LeTao cheese cake if you happen to visit Otaru. We also bought LeTao ice cream cheese cone. Although it’s not that bad, but it’s not up to the standard yet. 

Next, we went on foot to the beautiful Otaru Canal. You need to be extra careful for walking on the snow  because it is quite slippery eventough we already used snow shoes. Along the road, you can find something like newsletter box contains sand or seashell crush. It is provided for free and you can spread it on top of snow to prevent slippery.

No words can describe how beautiful the canal during Winter. It’s pretty amazing for the photo shoot. If you take a look at the picture, it’s like we are not in Japan and more like in Western country. We took a lot of pictures on the Otaru Canal. Since we also want to experience Otaru Canal at night, we registered the Otaru Canal boat cruise at 6pm.

We visited nearby seafood restaurant for our late lunch and we ordered salmon sashimi, grilled salmon and grilled scallop. Although the food is quite simple but we really enjoyed our lunch since the seafood is very fresh.

We had Otaru Canal cruise for 1 hour and Otaru canal is also beautiful at night. The canal together with red brickhouse, thick snow around the canal and the light makes the place so romantic at night. The cruise itself is okay, but not extra ordinary.

Around 7pm, we went back to Sapporo by train. Unfortunately, all the restaurant closed early and we had difficulty to find food on that day. At the end, we had our dinner at Mister Donut which located at Sapporo JR station. 

Unfortunately, there is no New Year counting down celebration and firework at Sapporo. After arriving at our hotel, we went sleep straight away and tomorrow will be the New Year for us. 

Japan Day 11: Hoshino Ski Resort Tomamu

Today will be the play day for the kids since we visited Hoshino Ski Resort Tomamu. We will play the whole day at this ski resort. We departed from Sapporo at 7.45 am and we reached Tomamu 2 hrs later. 

Tomamu station is open space train station and this train station is very quiet and nobody seen on the train station. Shuttle bus from Hoshino Resort Tomamu was already on standby when visitors arrived by train. 

After alighting out from the train, we quickly went into the shuttle bus and we arrived at the ski resort 10 minutes later. 

Hoshino resort is a big ski resort in Tomamu which offer not only accomodation and ski facilities, but also various other activities within their premises. Official website of Hoshino Resort Tomamu can be found here:

Hoshino Resort Tomamu also welcomes day trip visitors. However, certain activities like Ice Village and Mina Mina beach can be accesses for free only for in-house guest. 

Since we were day trip visitors, we decided to do outdoor activities in Hoshino Resort Tomamu. They allocated special area for snow outdoor activities name as GAO outdoor centre. There are a lof ot outdoor activities offered by GAO outdoor centre like snow mobile ride, banana boat, snow rafting, sledding, snow shoe tour, cross country etc. I must admit that the price of the activities are quite expensive.

For the first actvity, we decided to do Banana boat. The price is 1,800 yen for adults and 900 yen for kids. The ride itself was fun since this is our first time having banana boat on snow. Moreover, the view on this outdoor area was superb and extraordinary. We were like in the white dessert area and all are covered with white snow. 

The banana boat were also skidded several times which makes it very fun for the kids. The officer was also made a few stops and allow us to take pictures.

After completed banana boat play, we went for lunch at Green Kitchen near GAO Outdoor Center. Website:

Green kitchen mostly serve Western cuisine. Although the price is a bit steep, the food taste is very good and nice. 

After lunch, it’s time to play again. The kids chose to do snow sledding. The kids can play snow sledding until 4pm and the cost per children is 1,100 yen. The kids really enjoyed the sledding and there are various sled they can choose. When they bored with the sled, they can exhange with other sled. 

It was very cold (around -13 degree Celcius) but the cold weather could not stop the kids for playing sled. Since their face turned to red, we asked them to stop for a while and we went back to Green Kitchen again. 

We ordered French Toast and Hot chocolate this time to make our body warm. It was a good short break to escape from the cold weather. 

After the break, the kids played sledding again until 4pm and they need to return back the sled.

Our next stop was Ice Village. However, in order to protect the kids, my hubby suggested for us to go for dinner first. We definitely need hot food so we decided to have Japanese ramen at Noodles Miyabi at Foresta Mall. Website:

The ice village appears at Tomamu in winter only. Fantastic scenery expands in front of you, which is possible only in the environment of Tomamu where the temperature reaches -20°C. Website:

When you visit Hoshino Resort Tomamu, please visit to Tomamu’s illuminated Ice Village, a collection of domes constructed entirely of snow and ice. The domes house a restaurant, bar, shop, a wedding chapel and a workshop where you can learn about snow and ice. A small cafe and free activities such as ice skating and a snow slide are also found around the village.

At around 8pm, we took the shuttle bus again back to Tomamu JR station to catch our train back to Sapporo. Our train was at 8.20 pm will reach Sapporo around 10.20pm.

At Sapporo, we visited again Kinotoya Bake at Stellar Place and we bought again their freshly baked cheese tart. The cheese tart price is 183 yen per pc or 1080 yen per box (6 pcs).

The Kinotoya bake store located inside JR Stellar Place Sapporo, nearby Sapporo JR station.

The kids were very happy plus exhausted today because they played almost whole day in ski resort. They slept straight away once we reached Ibis Sapporo hotel.

Japan Day 10: Asahiyama Zoo

On Day 10, we visited Asahiyama zoo. Asahiyama zoo located at Asahikawa, 2 hours from Sapporo by rapid train. At Asahikawa JR station, we boarded bus 40/41 to Asahiyama zoo which took about 40 minutes. 

The bus fare is 440 yen for adults and 220 yen for kids 6 years and older. Free for kids below 6 years old.
More info on Asahiyama zoo can be seen on this website:

Please be prepared to queue for the feeder bus because a lot of tourist visited Asahiyama zoo. While waiting for the feeder bus, the snow fallen heavily and the kids straight away playing with the snow. Althought it was freezing cold, the kids did not really care and they kept playing with the snow. 

After 40 minutes travelling by bus, we finally arrived at Asahiyama zoo.  Below shows the map of Asahiyama zoo

The area is quite big and visitors can see a lot of animals inside the zoo. The main star for the zoo is the cute penguin parade. The parade was done twice a day (11am and 2.30pm). The penguins are cute and adorable!

Inside the zoo, there is also Children’s farm section specially fpr the kids. They can touch rabbit in this area. The rabbits are cute and my daughters really love to touch and cuddle them.

We took a lot of pictures in this zoo especially when the snow fall heavily at that time.

For lunch, we visited Asahiyama zoo food court. We had Asahiyama ramen with their cute seaweed, curry rice, chicken karaage and Hokkaido croquette. 

Around 3pm, we departed from Asahiyama zoo and took the bus again back to Asahikawa JR station. Before we went back to Sapporo, we visited Aeon shopping mall which located nearby Asahikawa JR station. 

We had our dinner at MOS burger and we bought Starbuck Special Christmas release: Chocolate Banana Choco Frappucino (648 yen).

We took the rapid train back to Sapporo city and upon arriving, we straight away went to Stellar place which connected to Sapporo JR station.

We bought the famous cheese tart from Kinotoya bake. The cheese tart freshly bake and it taste very nice. The cream is so cheesy and the sweetness of the tart matched perfectly with the cream cheeese. I am totally satisfied with the cheese tart from Kinotoya bake.

We took the subway back to the Ibis hotel and that’s the end of day 10