My 24th birthday in Japan

I was not expecting nothing from my birthday, I just thought it to be a normal day but that did not happen.

In the morning of my birthday my girlfriend was telling me that she wants to go to the Hirosaki center to do some shopping and she was insisting that I bring my camera, I had no idea why but I brought it with me.

When we arrived to Hirosaki we went around the shops a bit and ate in Mcdonnalds because I was a bit hungry and Hirosaki center does not have that huge restaurant selection. After we finished eating my girlfriend was watching the time and saying we have to go to the mall at the JR station to see something and I was not suspicious at all what would happen next.

When we arrived to the station we took the train to Aomori city but she told me in the begin that she wants to visit a some place near hirosaki in a train so I had no idea we were going to Aomori city until we arrived there.

Hirosaki to Aomori city is about 50 minutes in the train.

When we arrived to Aomori city we made a quick visit to the Aomori city fish market but we left from there in a hurry too because this was just a pit stop on her plan. We went back to the station and jumped to another local train to a small town called Asamushi that is about 30 minutes from Aomori city and I still had no idea what was going on.

When we arrived to Asamushi and we walked to place she was taking I knew what was going on. She reserved a room for a us in a beautiful old Japanese ryokan that had like 6 different Onsen (Japanese hot spring) and a traditional tatami room of course.

Surprises did not end here…

I was in shock of course and since I did not have anything else on me then my camera bag and wallet. I tolled her that and she took a plastic bag and in there was everything I needed, she packed things for me in secret the previous night.

One problem that I had was that my nikon battery was almost out and my Sony also was pretty much empty but some how I managed those two days and took amazing photos. Since everything was such a surprise I had no idea to recharge my camera batteries.

ps. now that I’m writing this it’s 6 in the morning and my girls’ cat called chibi just came to sit next to me and do that sound that cats do. She is so cute !

After we got settled to our room we went on a walk around the area to see if we could find a combine like family mart or something to get some snacks but in that town there was only and it was pretty far away but it did had this small store in which we could get beers and such.

When we arrived back to the ryokan it was almost the time for the dinner which was breathtaking! I could say that it was the most delicious meat I have ever eaten in my life… Famous Japanese steak which is not cheap and uffff it is soooo goooood.

Dinner ended and she gave me my other present which was a Zippo with a very cool dragon (only in Japan), I love dragons and my horoscope is a dragon.

We noticed that it was almost 8pm and her reservation to our private onsen was almost about, I quickly put on my Yukata and we went to have a private relaxing onsen.

I do LOVE onsen, it is my favorite place in this planet.
Going back to our room our beds have been made and everything else cleaned. ( I love the service in Japan)

And after 20 minutes of the first onsen we went to the next one that was an outside onsen facing the beach. Outside onsen is great because it was a bit cold so when you went in side the onsen you felt like you were in heaven!

The Private onsen was 500 yen for 50 minutes and all other onsen were free of course including the outside one that you could go in and lock the door so technically it was a private onsen but free 😀


Morning went well with a traditional Japanese breakfast, a beautiful walk in the beach and visit to the Asamushi aquarium.

That was the story of my 24th birthday and how amazing my girl is planning things !

but enough talk ! it’s time for photos am I right !!! 😀 Let’s start with the morning of my birthday.

Mcdonnalds in Japan is pretty much the same as any mcdonnalds in the world, as for price wise to me Mcdonnalds is cheap here but many people I have met from the states tolled me that mcdonnalds is very expensive.
Mcdonnalds food in Japan

We stayed 40 minutes in Aomori, mostly just near the station since it was my girls plan to just change trains there.
Aomori JR station
Aomori JR stationAomori JR station

the Next train we took from Aomori to Asamushi was like every other normal train in Japan.
Aomori JR stationIn a train at AomoriJapanese train

Soon as I step out from the train station in Asamushi I noticed that there was this very nice free foot onsen like 10 meters from the gate. 浅虫の足湯 JR駅
-100yen for a small towel if you needed one
浅虫の足湯 JR駅 Foot onsen

This was our Ryokan for the time we stayed there. It was normal traditional Japanese place, the way I like it!
Out side that place was a free foot onsen as well. Onsen town.
Traditional Japanese Onsen 温泉 ゆ浅虫の足湯Japanese ryokan in Asamushi 浅虫

After check-in one of the staff members takes you to your room and brings tea.
Japanese tea

She was intorducing us to all the onsen they had in the building and we talked about what time we want to have dinner and when should they make our beds and so on.
This is the list of the onsen they had in the building.
From up to down
– Wooden outside onsen on the top floor. It was free with a beautiful view of the Asamushi harbor and you could lock the door if you wanted some privacy and there was no time limit.
– Private inside onsen you could reserve for 525 yen 50minutes. We actually did book this as well and I took couple of photos for you to see.
– Private inside onsen you could reserve for 525 yen 50minutes
– This one is not an onsen per say but it is like a very hot stone floor where you lay down to and relax.
– The last one is the foot onsen on the side of the building which is free of course.
+ the place of course had the men and female separated free onsens as well.
Ryokan onsen list

Our nice traditional Japanese tatami room.
Traditional Tatami room in JapanTraditional Tatami room in JapanTraditional Tatami room in Japan

just needed one thing! First thing I did was to set up our wifi and all was good 😀
Traditional Tatami room in Japan

It was fairly big room, my girl is searching for our yukatas.
Traditional Tatami room in Japan

We also had a shower room but who uses those in a onsen place 😀
Traditional Tatami room in JapanTraditional Tatami room in Japan

I love Japanese maps ! like look at this, this is the map of Asamushi.
Map of asamushi 浅虫Map of asamushi 浅虫

There was no Combini (like family mart,sunkus or 7/11) in Asamushi center, the only thing they had was this small Mall thingy but we did get everything we needed.
Mall in Asamushi 浅虫Mall in Asamushi 浅虫

There is nothing like cold beer after a hot onsen.
Asahi Super dry

Dinner time !!! We had Very delicious dinner of tradtional Japanese food, show these photos to a Japanese person and I can assure you that he/she would get hungry 😀
This was my tray:
Traditional Japanese dinner
and my girls:
Traditional Japanese dinner

Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

Japanese meat is very expensive but with that high price you get the most delicious meat you ever eaten. This is what my fiance had and I was so jealous. Grill them and put some salt & wasabi on top URGHHHHHHH it was soo good !
Traditional Japanese dinner 焼き肉
There was so much different kinds of food that I went nuts 😀
Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

First put little bit butter on it and start “grilling”.
Traditional Japanese dinner
Nam nam nam nam nam nam nam nam nam nam
Traditional Japanese dinner

At this point I was a bit jealous because she had all that delicious meat and I didn’t have any meat, only fish and others.
Traditional Japanese dinner
Traditional Japanese dinner
But then I noticed that I had a fork & knive next to my chopsticks which is not normal so I thought hmm ok must be because I am a foreigner so they put them there just in case I would not know how to use chopsticks.
After a little wait it came !!
My SUper uber delicious Japanese steak !! NAM
Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

Some extra photos of the dinner.
Traditional Japanese dinner 焼き肉Traditional Japanese dinner
A big bucket of rice .. of course 😀
Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

Surprises did not end here! After that delicious dinner the staff came to collect the dishes away from our room and brought us the desert which surprised me all together.
Japanese desert
My girl had made a special order for a birthday cake !
誕生日ケーキ My birthday cake誕生日ケーキ My birthday cake誕生日ケーキ My birthday cake
I could not eat more than one piece and the rest I ate after the onsen at night.
This moment I thought nothing could be better and then my girl handed me this:
Limited edition Japanese zippoLimited edition Japanese zippoLimited edition Japanese zippo
Way too much surprises for one day !!!

After everything we relaxed a bit because we were both full and then we changed in to our yukatas and left to the private onsen we had reserved.
Ari Helminen in Yukata

浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen

I have nothing to say about this next photo ! So don’t even bother to ask 😀
浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen

Gotta love how small the slippers are at these places always! I can hardly fit my foot in to it.
Japanese slippersJapanese slippers

After we came back from the onsen our beds were made ready in our room.
Japanese tatami roomJapanese tatami room

Later that evening we went to the private free onsen on the top floor. I loved it because it was so cold and the water was so hot.
浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen

This was the view from our room
Asamushi coast

Next morning we had our breakfast in a different room and damn it was good.
Traditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはん

When we came back from breakfast our beds were taken away
Japanese Tatami room

That morning we did some sightseeing around asamushi.
Asamushi harbor 浅虫Asamushi harbor 浅虫Asamushi harbor 浅虫

The view from the Asamushi harbor was beautiful with the Iwaki mountain on the background and Aomori city.
Aomori with Iwaki mountain
Love love love Photo
Happy happy

It was so hot outside so we needed some very nice icecream thingy 😀
flavored ice in Japanflavored ice in Japan

We went to the Asamushi aquarium and few others place from where you will see photos later since I took them with my Nikon.
At the Asamushi station starting our way back to Hirosaki via Aomori city.
Asamushi trian station 浅虫駅

When we arrived to Aomori city we went to this shop that sold a lot of things from foreign countries to do some shopping.
Had to buy some pringles 😀
Pringles in Japan

We still had time until our train to Hirosaki was leaving so we went to eat some italian food.
Italian restaurant in JapanItalian restaurant in JapanItalian restaurant in JapanItalian restaurant in Japan
things that I can’t life about.
Italian restaurant in Japan

Cub is a big super market chain in north Japan that we usually went in to.
NAM NAM NAM Green tea Pinno
Green tea Pinno
Rice pads and the sunset with the iwaki mountain in the background.
Sunset over the rice pads

What did you think about my birthday ? 🙂

does this look tasty to you ?
Traditional Japanese dinner 焼き肉Traditional Japanese dinner Yakiniku 焼き肉

tokyo to Hirosaki


Hellooooo my dear readers !

I arrived to Hirosaki about 2 weeks ago but I haven’t yet updated photos of the journey here!
This trip went well like most of my night buss travels.

Morning started nicely, drinking cold strawberry yugurt drink with my girl and talking to a cool Japanese guy who had this very cute doggy with him.
breakfast with a cute dog

As an early lunch we went to eat ramen to a very nice place that is in Asakusa main street near the ginza station.
My friend Sam was with us who never eaten “real” ramen other then cup ramen.

this is how you open the chopsticks 😀

His first ramen ever.
First real ramen in his life

My girlfriend had this tasty dish
Delicious Ramen
and I had my normal Curry ramen.
Curry ramen in Asakusa

If you are in Japan now you notice that these Dragon Ball cans are in most vending machines. they used to be just 100yen and you could only get that can that is in the photo but it changed couple of days ago that when you buy one you can get one of 7 different dragon ball cans but because of this the price went up 10yen (now it is 110yen).
Dragon ball juice

Watermelon & Sky tree ice cream
Summer icecream

You know how I have been telling you about the best Japanese fried chicken place (karaage) in Asakusa, well we went there again before our buss in the evening.
Japanese fried chickenJapanese fried chicken

This is us before starting our trip to the north.
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

Ginza line 🙂
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki
We were in a super hurry so we had to change for JR to get to Tokyo station more faster.
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki
My luggage! This time I don’t have that much to carry.
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

Night buss is the best way to travel in Japan, this buss cost me 3000 ish yen one way to Hirosaki.
Night buss from Tokyo to AomoriNight buss from Tokyo to Aomori

Highway stops are awesome, full of products from the area it is in and a lot of vending machines!
Highway stop

When we arrived to Hirosaki station at 8am we were both hungry so we stopped at Doutor.
JR Hirosaki statonBreakfast at Doutor

Sucks that I can’t use my Suica at the station tho 😦 but at least I can use them at the combini (family mart,sunkus etc.)
Can't use my Suica :(
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

The train was very small that we took from the Hirosaki station to the station that is near my girls home.
Trip from Tokyo to HirosakiTrip from Tokyo to HirosakiTrip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

Gotta love the station 😀 (nothing there)
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

We took a taxi from the station to my girls place.
Japanese TaxiTrip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

That was our trip to the north where I still am. I have taken a lot of photos here that you will see soon!

Today we will have a Japanese style barbeque.

Ari & Eri Engaged

Since many of you been wondering are we engaged or not, I decided to make a post of us here to clear everything 😀

To start with yes her name is really Eri and I of course am Ari. People keep asking about our names always how similar they sound 😀

I have known my girl for over year and half now, first we started sending messages back and forward in the site called Japan-guide and from there we moved on to emails and twitter. When I came to Japan in the begin of March 2011 we met in the first week when I arrived there.

First time we met we went together to Tokyo tower since I never been there, in there we ate icecream together in baskin robins. From Tokyo tower we walked a long way to Odaiba aqua city (which is a long walk through rainbow bridge and so on). There we ate in the first izakaya I ever been in and that was a mind blowing experience for me.

Since then we met each other pretty much every weekend and went to party and drink in different izakayas around Tokyo. We also went to onsen together and we became a couple in April.

We have  traveled together in Japan in many fascinating places like Kyoto, Osaka, Nikko, Yokohama, Odawara and Aomori.

Here are some photos of us together.
Ari & Eri happily together
Ari & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily together
Ari & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily togetherAri & Eri happily together

and here we are now. Yes I know I am a bit fat-ish looking but I did not have enough time and money to go to the gym. I’m now getting myself in to a good 8-pack ? hehe I can try.
Ari & Eri happily together

Purikura is a thing you have to do.
Ari & Eri happily together

If you are in love with someone like I am or you like my website, Check out my facebook pagePhotographer Ari Helminen” and click Like