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Thursday, January 03, 2019

[Amaya Travels] Tsumago-Magome Nakasendo Trail, Japan (Nov 18)

The highlight of this November trip was to catch the autumn foilage, and my friend recommended going on this hiking trail in the Gifu Prefecture. 

The Nakasendo or 'Road through the Central Mountains' was part of feudal Japan's network of highways. Basically, it was the old road that travellers would take to travel between Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo period. 

The Tsumago-Magome section of the Nakasendo is about 8 km long, and it took us a grand total of 6 hours to complete it xDDDD We were not prepared for the ups and downs of this trail. 

We took a local train to Nakatsuagawa station, and waited for the bus that would take us to Tsumago. It is really easier to complete it starting from the Tsumago end. We got breakfast at a small shop near the tourist centre! 

Western: Pancakes
Eastern: Hot amazuke!

Little trinkets for sale in one of the souvenir shops

The leaves were also pretty in the town!

There are a lot of small shops and houses in the beginning, but the forest area takes over pretty quickly. We were not disappointed - there was so much to see and admire!

Lots of signs available to guide your way through the Nakasendo. Some parts have been interrupted by the highway, so at some point you will be travelling alongside fast cars. There were not many tourists on the day we went, so it was relatively quiet both on the trail and on the road. Surprisingly, there were a few Singaporean tourists on the same trail XD

The redness of the foliage was quite different depending on which spot we were on the trail, and the lighting changed a lot too because we spent 6-7 hours on it XD 

We were SO GLAD to see this sign.

Apparently there are two types of persimmons in season - the round ones and the pointy ones. The pointy ones are usually dried to concentrate the flavour before eating, while the round ones are sweet enough to be eaten as is. Many households were hanging these outside their houses!

Ending off this post with a cute cat in Magome! 

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*Emoticons courtesy of JapanLover.me.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

[Amaya Travels] Nakatsugawa // Sakashita, Japan (Nov 18)

Look at this autumn colour!

I am super thankful for the chance to travel to Japan twice within this year! Though I do not have paid leave left after using them all for about three trips this year XD

This time I travelled with the same friend for the entire week. She was the one who suggested the places to visit while I planned out the details, like how to get from place to place. 

I finished editing the photos before November ended, but got distracted with other commitments (what is new lol). I will be posting a series of posts based on location visited. 

First off, we flew to Nagoya airport and took a train to our airbnb in Sakashita. Fewer local trains go to Sakashita, so we could spend time in a bigger station called Nakatsugawa. Nakatsugawa is also the station where you can board the buses to Tsumago or Magome for the Nakasendo. 

Nakatsugawa Station
View outside the train station~
All excited to begin the trip!

Decor inside the train station
Morning view outside our airbnb

Our airbnb room!

The shelves were decorated with pretty postcards!
I highly recommend our lovely host, Misaki and her family. She was super prompt in replying our messages, and even gave us a little souvenir on our last day~ You may check out her airbnb listing here! We were lucky to have been the only guests staying there at the time.

The townsfolk were also super friendly to us while we were roaming around town for food XD The thing about small towns is that they do not have much going on at night - most places are closed. In the off peak hours, you also will not be able to find lunch - all we found at 3pm was cake and tea/coffee XD

Cafe Viento
2514-1 Sakashita, Nakatsugawa
Gifu Prefecture 509-9232, Japan

Tel: +81 50-3303-9124

This place was a pretty easy walk from our airbnb! The lady was really nice to introduce us to nearby shrines. She also took effort to use Google translate to speak to us XD

IzumoFukutoku Shrine
638-4 Sakashita, Nakatsugawa-shi
Gifu-ken 509-9232, Japan

This is a really quiet shrine. Legend has it that if you rub the bellies of the deities there, you will have good luck! Cafe Viento's host shared with us that she won a small sum of money after rubbing their bellies XD

Random photo of a directional sign to a hair salon x)
Also ate at an Izakaya owned by a sweet old lady who kept feeding us food. She also seemed to price her food on the spot as her menu had no prices. 

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*Emoticons courtesy of JapanLover.me.


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Skincare update! [November, 2018]

From right to left:

♡  the Saem Natural Skin-fit Mask (Tomato) ♡

What it is: A really thin mask containing tomato. Not much is available on the masks, but a search shows that tomatoes are good for brightening skin and keeping skin moisturized.

Price: Got them at $1.30 each from this Qoo10 shop! There is a $5 shipping rate that is applied after.

Key ingredients: Water, Glycereth-26, Dipropylene Glycol, Propanediol, Alcohol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract (1,000ppm), Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyluronate, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract

My thoughts: It is good that the tomato and the boswellia are in the top half of the ingredients list (contents are usually listed from highest to lowest concentration), but I am a little concerned about the alcohol content. I did not feel any skin tightening effects, so perhaps the amounts are not that high...

♡  the Saem Natural Skin-fit Mask (Green Grape) ♡

What it is: A sheet mask that is rich in antioxidants from the various berry extracts, the fast-acting mask makes skin brighter, clearer, and naturally radiant.

Key ingredients: Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Methylpropanediol, Alcohol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract (2500ppm), Arginine

My thoughts: The fragrance is very strong but delightful! It reminded me of the Qoo drinks.black grapes are high in antioxidants which carry anti-inflammatory properties that can heal and protect against sun damage, dark spots, and inflammation. Containing a substantial amount of vitamins C and E, this fruit is a natural at combating aging and acne. The combination of vitamins C and E can also lighten scars and work together to increase blood circulation to the scalp and skin.

♡   the Saem Natural Skin-fit Mask (Grapefruit) ♡

What it is: A sheet mask that is rich in antioxidants from grapefruit, which fight the free radicals that cause wrinkles, discoloration and dull complexion.

Key ingredients: Water, Glycereth-26, Dipropylene Glycol, Propandiol, Alcohol, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract

My thoughts: I used this mask just as I got back from Japan, where my skin got darker because I did not bring sunscreen (whoops). This mask definitely helped in brightening up the skin and evening out the skin. 

♡   Leaders Mediu Amino AC-free Mask ♡

What it is: A thin sheet mask containing a complex composed of 17 amino acid supplements combined with moisturising factors AHA and BHA. These active ingredients, together with Snail Secretion Filtrate, exfoliate and protect the skin while providing soothing comfort.

Price: $2.90 (I think) on Qoo10. The prices for each mask was different.

Key ingredients: There is no ingredients list in English ):

My thoughts: This mask is recommended for oily skin types (which was not made known to me in the Qoo10 description. The essence was light on the mask, but it would still leave a slightly sticky residue on the face (presumably from the snail extract). It did help to reduce some redness on my face, but I think it is too thick to be used daily.

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*Emoticons courtesy of JapanLover.me.