August 2016 - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Getting you the Best Hotel Rates: Agoda Insider Deals

9:06:00 PM

The online travel agency Agoda’s Insider Deals are special hotel deals displayed only for travellers who have logged into an account at Agoda’s site. The deals are provided by hotels who have agreed to give customers a 5-30% discount on their regular prices with the majority of the hotels offering more than 10% discount.

How it works:
Most of online travel agents (OTAs) operate with a “best price guarantee”  where the OTA and their listed hotels promise to provide their best available price to the customers. Because of this rule the hotels are careful about giving one particular OTA a better price than the others, as the price difference can easily be found on meta search sites (TripAdvisor, Trivago, Kayak etc) that compare hotel prices for the customer. Agoda Insider Deal is a product that only gets displayed after you log in with your email, and does thus not show up on search engines. This private sale gives the hotels the ability to list lower prices than they would if the prices were displayed openly on the web. 

How to get the discounted deals:
From Agoda’s top page you can either log in or sign up through the menu in the upper right corner. All you need to do in order to sign up is to fill in your full name and email address. 

Step one: Go to Agoda's Top Page and find the "Sign in" button in the upper right corner.

Step two: Sign into your account or click the "No account yet? Sign Up" button

Step three: Fill in first name, last name, email and password and you're done!

Once you’ve logged in you can find the participating hotels listed with an “Insider Deal” icon. Below you can see an example of how the search page looks like before and after log-in. Note that the prices also have changed.



Things to be aware of:
Some hotels have stricter cancel policies on their Insider Deals to make up for the discount they provide their customers, and some of the deals are non-refundable. Make sure to check the cancellation policy before finalising the booking!

And that's all! From the "Deals" menu you can choose to have the hotels in the area you are searching for listed by all Insider Deals at the top. Please feel free to check it out! 

This page contains affiliate links, and if you follow a link and make a hotel reservation through these links you help support this blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you so much for the kind support!

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sightseeing in Saitama: The Hundred Caves of Yoshimi (吉見百穴)

10:04:00 PM
Saitama is one of the surrounding prefectures of Tokyo, and the area has a rich history with many remarkable places ideal for sightseeing. Right north of the more well-known town Kawagoe (known as "little Edo") you find an interesting historical site literarily called the "hundred holes of Yoshimi".
The hundred holes or caves of Yoshimi, "Yoshimi-Hyakuana" or "Yoshimi-Hyakketsu" in Japanese, is a cluster of none less than 219 graves which are thought to be dating back to around the 6th/7th century. After having been rediscovered in 1887 the Yoshimi caves were designated as a National Historic Site in 1923, and the Cappadocia-like landscape continues to attract both tourists and researchers from near and far.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ask a Teacher - New Norwegianclass101 Language Episodes

9:46:00 PM
When I was studying Japanese at university I used to listen to the language podcasts of a site called With a 40-minute commute to school every day those podcasts were of great help for me to improve my Japanese both in terms of listening skills, vocabulary and grammar. From very beginner level to advanced 四字熟語 I remember their podcasts had it all for me to advance my Japanese and I owe them a big thanks for enabling me to get to my current fluency level.

Japanesepod101 is actually just one of many sites under the umbrella of the company called Innovative Language, and among the many languages they offer there is also a Norwegian language site called
A little while back I was contacted by a representative from Innovative Language and asked if I wanted to assist them with their new Norwegian language series called "Ask A Teacher" that is scheduled to be published on YouTube this upcoming spring (2017). Thinking about how much I used their Japanese site when I was a university student it was really an honor for me to be asked for this role. Over the last few weeks we've been doing some recordings in their studio and prepared a total of 25 episodes about both the Norwegian language and culture.
Recording in the studio
It was fun working with the Innovative Language team here in Tokyo, and I'm very excited to see how the result will be! I will share the videos on my blog once the episodes are published so stay tuned for updates :)

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama - Pikachu Tairyou Hassei-Chu 2016 (ピカチュウ大量発生チュウ)

7:13:00 PM
This week the annual Pikachu event "Pikachu Tairyou Hassei-Chu" has been held in Yokohama, and with the recent popularity of Pokemon Go it's quite unsurprising that a huge number of Pikachu fans have flocked to Yokohama to see the yellow thunder-mice. During the one week long event there are over 1,000 Pikachus to be seen in the harbour area of Yokohama, with all the main event spots located around the Minato Mirai harbour area. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Second Hand Fashion Shopping in Tokyo: Mode Off in Ueno

10:47:00 PM
Mode Off in Ueno
Japan is steadily becoming acknowledged around the world for its street fashion, and Tokyo is already a top destination for people in search of the latest style trends. However, these days the yen is getting more and more expensive, and you might want to opt out for a cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative when it comes to the shopping.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sightseeing in Izu: Kanto's best snorkeling spot Hirizo Beach

5:00:00 PM
Izu (伊豆半島) is a peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture known for among other things its marvellous coastlines, and has for many years been a top destination for Japanese tourists seeking to enjoy water activities such as snorkling. One of the beautiful places in Izu that yet are to be discovered by tourists, or at least by foreigners, is the Hirizo Beach (known as Hirizohama / ヒリゾ浜 in Japanese) at the very tip of the Izu peninsula. This beach is out of reach from the road, and you have to take a boat to get there. The trip by boat takes only a couple of minutes, and there is a ferry boat operating constantly during the summer.
Above: The Hirizo beach seen from the Aiai cape
If you have access to a car this would definitely be the easiest way to get to the boat terminal. There is a parking lot right by the terminal where you can park your car, but the closest parking spots usually starts to get filled up already in the wee hours if you visit during the weekend so you'd have to be early if you want to snatch one of those parking spots. In our case we started the weekend by driving from Tokyo on Friday evening and reached the ferry terminal around 4 hours later. In that way we could both get a parking spot right at the terminal and also ensure a good spot in the queue for the ferry. Here's a short movie that shows how it was like:

The Hirizo Beach is extremely popular, and in the morning the queue to the boat can be particularly long. My group could get on the first boat thanks to our early arrival, but a couple of friends who arrived later apparently had to line up and wait for around 30 minutes before they could get on the ferry boat.
Another good thing about arriving early at the Hirizo Beach is that you'll have the chance to pick your preferred spot for your beach tent. It can get extremely hot at the beach and there's no other options to get some shade so bringing a beach tent is a must. The beach will get extremely crowded during peak season, and a tent can ensure that you get your own little private space as well. Around an hour after we arrived at the beach the whole area was covered by beach tents.
People putting up their tents
The Hirizo Beach is very rocky, so if you are looking for a place to go sunbathing in Izu you might want to visit one of the peninsula's white sandy beaches such as Yumigahama (弓ヶ浜) instead.
One of the reasons Hirizo Beach is so popular is not the beach in itself; rather it is the tropical sea life and all the pretty things to see once you dive into the ocean. Hirizo Beach is known as one of the Kantō region's best snorkeling spots, and in the clear water you can see many types of exotic sea creatures lurking around the corals. Here are some of the photos we took during our day at Hirizohama:
After you've been on the beach for a while you might want to get some food, but here's the deal: There are no places to get food once you reach the beach. Fortunately the 1,500 yen ticket to the boat (500 yen for kids) can be used as many times as you'd like during the day of purchase so most people leave most of their belongings on the beach (another great thing about having a beach tent where you can leave stuff) and take the trip back to the boat terminal to grab lunch at one of the local restaurants there. It can get pretty crowded during lunch hours so my recommendation would be to beat the crowds by taking an early lunch and come back when the other visitors go to the mainland for food.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below

Basic information

Name of Beach Hirizo Beach (ヒリゾ浜)
Address 〒415-0311 Shizuoka-ken, Kamo-gun, Minamiizu-chō, Iruma 南伊豆町中木

Access ①By car (recommended)
② 2 hours & 45 minutes by train from Tokyo to Shimoda Station, then 45 min by local bus from Shimoda Station (下田駅) to Nakagi Station (中木駅) in the direction Izukyu Shimoda Station (伊豆急下田駅)
Boat Departure Hours 8:30 - 16:00 (Departing every 5 minutes during peak season)
Parking 260 cars(Be aware that the parking lots at the terminal get filled up early in the morning)Here's a map of the parking area:
Homepage (Japanese only)

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Recommended Hotels in Izu

ABBA Resorts Zagyosoh
ABBA Resorts Zagyosoh
Nishiizu Koyoi Onsen
Nishiizu Koyoi Onsen
Arcana Izu
Arcana Izu
Hotel Izukyu
Hotel Izukyu

This page contains affiliate links, and if you follow a link and make a hotel reservation through these links you help support this blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your kind support!

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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