Melissa C. Koh

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Japan with ANA


Do you remember the time when I was posting endless amounts of winter-wonderland, frosty, narnia-like scenes on my instagram? I was working on a then-secret project with ANA to star in their videos.
Maybe you might have already seen a snippet of it on facebook or on their website, but there’s a part 2 that will be upcoming in May/June! Keep a look out for it!

Aside to the beautiful footages captured on film, I thought I wanted to share with you guys a travelogue of my trip, from my very own lens.
We took a red-eye flight via All Nippon Airways (ANA) and landed in Haneda Airport early the next morning. Checked into the airport hotel to freshen up and grab a bite for breakfast before making our way via a very luxrious limousine to Kamakura.
The team realised my “kimono dreams” in a local shop in Kamakura as they arranged for me to get changed into a kimono set before heading to the Hokoku-ji Temple- a magical place with really tall bamboo trees.

After which, we went on a rick shaw ride the city. It was a perfect way to catch a glimpse of Kamakura in a day.

We retreated for the night in Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu, where I enjoyed a spectacular birds eye view of Yokohama from my room. It was a pity that we only had a night in Yokohama as we departed early the next morning for Yamagata.

We took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Yamagata. I literally woke up from my nap to find snow falling outside my train window. It was so surreal. Lunch was extremely memorable. We had really delicious Pork Katsu at the train station from this restaurant called Hirata Firm. I highly recommend this!

Post-lunch, we went straight up the mountains to the ski area for snow related activities. I spent the night in Zao Ski resort, enjoying the Onsen in the snow. This was an experience to remember for a lifetime! I usually stick to indoor whenever I am at the onsen but sitting outside for just a while to soak in the whole atmosphere felt really amazing.

The next morning, we headed up to Zao Ice Monster. It was so windy and so cold, I could barely open my eyes. I think the best view I had of the Ice Monster was when I was traveling up via the ropeway. It gave the best 360 degrees panoramic view.
I am not sure how I even managed to snap a few photos because my hands were so numb and painful but I’m so glad I did– to share with you guys and for my own memory sake.

Later in the day, we visited Zao Ginzan Onsen and this was definitely my favourite place of all. The semi-frozen waterfalls, quiet rivers, the lights and falling snow made me feel as though I strayed off into a movie scene from a Japanese period adventure film. It was pure magic!

We checked into Tendo for the night and I was given a suite room with my own private outdoor onsen. My room was huge with its own private living space, dining space and Tatami bed. I had honestly wish I were staying there for a couple more nights.

Day 4 was the last day of our trip. We checked out early and headed to Sendai City.
Sendai felt like summer after coming down from the mountains. I might have adapted to the cold but I started stripping off my layers. We visited some historical monuments, shopped in the city and enjoyed a hearty lunch before heading to the airport for our flight back via Tokyo Narita.

We had a few hours to spare during transit so I took some time in the lounge to clear my emails and sort my photos. My flight back was another epic adventure on its own with a story to tell– I had such a good meal, played a couple of SUDOKU games in my private little pod, and finally treated myself to a bowl of Ramen from Ippudo while catching a movie before turning into sweet slumber.

Woke up in Singapore feeling so fresh and recharged!

It was a good 4 days in one of my favourite cities- Japan. Even though jam packed with activities & filming obligations, it was an experience of a lifetime.

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