Japan 2019 – Tottori (Day 1)

Date:  Dec 15, 2019

Finally, it is our turn to go to vacation.

We will spent 3 days in Tottori, 3 days in Osaka and 2 days in Kyoto.

The following few blog entries will summarise our trip and itinerary.

This is the first time I get to test out my AirFly too.  A bluetooth device that will pair with your new AirPods 2.0 with noise cancellation feature.  For full review of this AirFly, search on my blog for the keyword “AirFly”.


We took the red-eye flight.  So, when the sun just come out, the moon is about to go down.


Zoom in.  I can’t see the moon.


This photo is taken at the Kansai Airport terminal when we touched down.

A security guard quickly walked towards us and demand me to “Delete” the photos that I just taken few secs ago.

Without arguing, I did so.

Few minutes later, Jay said: “Daddy, you know you can recover the photos from the Recent Deleted folders, right?”

I pretend I knew and actually I forgot totally about it.

So, I did so, recover the following photos.  Yeah, we arrived at Kansai Airport.


There is a small Pokemon shop at the Kansai Airport.  Don’t miss it.


We are taking this Airport Train to Shin-Osaka JR station.


After I changed my JR Pass (Kansai Wide 5-days Area Pass) which I bought it from Klook.  Very convenient.  You can walk to the JR office and change the pass.  They even print out the travel itinerary for you.


I didn’t even bother to take the reserved seats as I knew it will be quite empty the train.  Cart 1 and 2 are the free seatings.


And from there, we took the JR train to Tottori (鸟取).  Why tottori?  Well, I found out that tottori and surrounding is famous for it’s Sand Dunes and Starry night sky.  That is why I allocated 2 days to try my luck during winter time to see if I can capture the Starry nigh sky.


And off we go.


Took a we-fie before we board the train.


Got to take all these happy big smile photos.


OK, one thing in Japan is … the bento set meal are very popular.  Make sure you get a few of these from Shin-Osaka station before you board the train.

We have the Sukiyaki Bento of Omi beef, one of the three best beef in Japan.


It sure looks delicious.


I am having this.


Also very nice.  Got a “fake egg” too.


Happy face!


Very tasty meals.  But the one we took is cold meal.  Some meal have the heat pack underneath to heat it up.  Will introduce a few days later.


Lim ah….


Wow, along the way, Jay was shooting time lapse using his iPhone.

See what we found.  A “San Francisco Golden Bridge” look alike.

Frankly, I have not researched where we want to visit before booking the trip. I only know I want to see the Sand Dunes and the Starry sky.

So, mind as well take this time to serve the Internet on the things to see in Tottori.

Look what I found…

One of the largest Astro Observatory has a very big telescope lens.

Too bad, we not visiting there.  Not enough time.  Next trip perhaps.


Judging from the amount of clouds in the sky, I think my chance taking the photos of the starry sky is very very slim.


This is how many stop we pass thru to get to Tottori station.


Actually there are quite a number of places to visit in Tottori.  But because I only allocated two nights here with the first day being the traveling day, so, we won’t cover all these places.


And the Tottori state is really big.  From here to our hotel is 1 hour drive.

My mistake.  I thought it is very near, from the map, that is why I booked that hotel.

It is the most nicest hotel of the whole trip.  🙂


I have arranged a rented car from Nippon Rent-A-car.  The office is just about 700 meter away from the Tottori station.  So, we will be walking there with our luggages.

Along the way, we saw some flowers.  Or rather, cabbages.  hahah


It looks so pretty.  I already like this place after seeing these flowers on the street.




And don’t forget that you need to have a International Driving License so to drive in Japan.  I didn’t get a chance to do mine, so, I will just use my wife one.  Means, my wife is the only driver for the journey.

You can rent a car any where, and it is good choice because you can see more things when you drive.  Instead of take buses, or trains and walk.


The only thing is we are lucky enough to fit those two big luggages into the car boot.  So, all these factors needed to be considered before you drive in Japan.


Rent a Prius is a good choice as it is hybrid.  For 3 days, we only uses 1000 yen of fuels.  Our hotel is 1 hour away and all point of interests is 30 min and 1 hour away.


We found AEON and of course, let the kids play the Pokemon arcade machine.  For 30 minutes.

Kids are good at gaming.  Even every thing is in Japanese, the kids some how will learn and know what to do in playing it.  Cool.

They played this 1-2 years ago and they remembered to bring their Pokemon cards along too.

Haiz.  Look at the sky.  Not much chance to see Starry Sky tonight.


Here we go.  The serious looking driver wife, and 3 happy boys.  Hahahaha


Oh ya, there is this App I strongly recommend.  But only will work on iPhone XR, XS, 11 and 11 Pro (i.e small and Max).

This app will take videos and photo using the front and rear camera at the same time.  Very cool.

Screenshot 2019-12-25 at 3.40.14 PM.png

Using Dualgram, I can make comment, see my own face and show you what I see in front of me at the same time.  Very cool.

Actually this program was written by one of my business partner during my Mediaring days.  And I found it a great idea and I have been using it ever since.

Passing by White Rabbit beach.

An hour drive to hotel and the view of sun setting is nice.


We driving on the coastal road.  So, being able to see the sea is very nice.

Look at the waves.  I bet you there must be people surfing the wave here.  And my hunch was correct.  See tomorrow blog journal to see the surfers.

The sunset is spectacular.


Sunset.  Without using the Dualgram.  Not so nice ya.  Better use Dualgram again later, so that I can see my own face and expressions.

Almost reaching hotel.  Driving on small roads now.

And we finally reach our hotel.  望湖楼 (See Lake building).  i.e. Hawai Onsen Hotel Bokoku.

It’s 5pm plus we reached the hotel.

Look what Kay Kay found.  A crab hat.


And this is our room.  Japanese style room.  And there is a window to look at the lake.  So, it is Lake view room.


There is a lake in front, so, we suppose to see stars.  But just too much clouds in the sky.


Hey, onsen is there.  The male and female onsen.  On the lake itself.

Since the weather is quite cold, I decided not to bring the kids out to that onsen.  We stay inside the hotel onsen.  Only mommy go to the outdoor onsen.


This is what I can see from the hotel.

And I can either open the windows to take photo or I can close the window to take photos.  Later I tell you how.


The scenes and the Japanese room.  And Jay is counting the ducks on the lake.

OK, getting darker.


Without delay.   Let’s go do Onsen.

Kay said the onsen is very nice as 1) it does not have very strong metallic taste and smell, 2) the temperature some how is around 37-38 degrees.  Not so hot.


Here comes mommy joining us.  She went outdoor to do the outdoor onsen.  There are 4x onsens in this hotel.  2x indoor and 2x outdoor.


As we ordered two nights of Kaiseki Dinner.  Better go to the restaurant on time.

And the dinner room has already been waiting for our arrival.


Let’s eat.


This is the menu.  Prepared by the master chef of the hotel.




Everything simply looks delicious.


Some fusions.


This is the Tottori beef.  We going to grill it.


Another type of beef awaits for steaming.


The sashimi.


Chawanmushi.  So smooth.


The side dish.


Ordered this Sake.  Very nice.


Happy face.


We all wearing our onsen sleep wear and kan-bai!!!  Cheers.


Ya, Young Kai Kai also wants to cheer with me.


More food on the way.


This is the correct way.  Put the flowers into the soya sauce.


Here comes the tempura.  Very nice.


Start to grill my Tottori beef.


A bit over cook.  85% cooked.  But still taste nice.


Will not let that happen to my sukiyaki.


Wow, the beef onion soup.  That’s french.


Very nice.


The oden.  Not so fancy about it.


I guess we all are hungry.


Got jello too.


I guess we are thirsty too.  Ordered the second bottle.


After a full meal, let’s take a stroll.  Actually, I did that before the dinner with the kids, now, walk with my wife.


Sky is cloudy.  Could not see a star.


That’s our hotel.  Night view.


Before go to sleep, hang around at the lobby area, reading the magazine.  Wow, it seems like we going to miss all these point of interest.

So, we pretty much have in mind what we going to do tomorrow next day.


3PM in the morning

Somehow, my instinct woke me up at 3pm.  I move my lazy body and open the curtains.  Wow, there are some stars.

So, in the dark, I slowly bring out all my gears.

As it is cold, so, I intended to take the photos inside the room.

See that big huge rubber thingy?

That is the ULH.  Ultimate Lens Hood.  by Josh Smith.


What does it do?  See for yourself.


Yeap, I am taking photos from inside the room, using the ULH.


See how big it is?  It reduces the reflection to almost zero reflection.


No joke.  The sky is full of stars.


Mis-calculated my shuttle speed.

500 rules.  I am using the 9mm lens on Fujifilm X-H1 with crop factor of 1.5.  So, the maximum time I can expose my photo is 500/(9×1.5) = 38.46 seconds.

Why did I have an impression I can shoot for almost 60 seconds.  See, my stars are trailing inside the photos.


Our well, let’s process it anyway.  hahaha  This is the best photo I taken that has these stars.

So, imagine, if the clouds are not there?  What will you see, a sky full of stars.


This is another photos I take which is nice.


About to sun rise.


Playing with the settings.  Lights become stars.


That concludes our first day.

2nd day coming up soon.


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