Our family holiday commenced on a Thursday night. We took the red eye flight by ANA. As we usually departed from Terminal 3, it was surprising to see the chill and calmness at Terminal 2. Z & X had their fill playing at the playground.
Once onboard, Z was pleasantly surprised by personal inflight entertainment. His impression of ANA was stuck with the domestic plane which had zilch entertainment. It was also a pleasure surprise for me too. It was my second time taking ANA and the previous time was nearly 10 years’ ago. It was the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner so I thought the experience was almost on par with taking SQ. The service level was less stellar than SQ but acceptable.
Given that we needed the transit to Hokkaido, the only way to secure the domestic flight earlier than 60 days’ prior to departure and not paying a bomb was to bundle with an ANA international flight.
Upon arrival at 830am, the immigration was very empty too. After breezing through and having breakfast, we waited nearly 20min to collect our rental car from Toyota. We had rented a Toyota Corolla Fielder at 27k yen for 3 days.
Similar to our experience in Okinawa, the best way to use the GPS was to input the destination’s phone number.
We had wanted to go Yokohama’s Mirai Minato for a stopover. However, the jam through Tokyo city meant that we rerouted onto an expensive but scenic route.
There was a pretty nice stopover called Umihotaru on this route, it was shaped like a ship at the end of the bridge because the rest of the route to Yokohama was via an underwater tunnel.
After lunch, we continued driving towards Gotemba. The effects of lunch and post red-eye flight meant that the drivers got really sleepy so we took another rest stop.
It was 4pm when we got to Gotemba Premium Outlet. The kids zoomed in on Pokémon outlet store. I did not find the prices cheap. In fact, I thought it was higher than Bic Camera but the selection was extensive. Only days later when we went to other Pokémon Centers (shops) did I realize that only the outlet store carried the older generations of Pokémons such as Dragonite. The rest of the Pokémon centers carried the latest pokemons, all of which I could not recognize since I only knew the Gen 1 Pokemons.
I had tried to make a reservation online for Za Watami but it was not recognized because I was unable to provide a Japanese phone number for them to call and confirm. Needless to say, we did not get a table but luckily, we found food refuge at a nearby restaurant.
After dinner, we drove to our hotel called Toki No Sumika. It was almost 11pm when we checked in.
Cute room – 48,900yen for 2 nights with breakfast