Flight 81) Taipei – Macau

Kicking off 2017 with the 81st flight of the World Tour I was travelling from the Taiwan capital Taipei to the Vegas of the East, Macau! This would allow for some mild gambling and views of spectacular buildings. I was quite looking forward to this destination as I would also get to fly through the FlyTampa Hong Kong scenery once again.

I looked at the flight route using Google Maps and saw that the Macau Runway was actually surrounded by water which always makes it easier for me to spot from the air although I was unsure as to how many of the iconic buildings would be modelled within the FSX software. I plotted a route that took me South along the main length of Taiwan before turning West towards Hong Kong and Macau.

Upon opening FSX itself and loading my aircraft I instantly saw the improvement to the ground buildings and vehicals all around me. Already I felt like the purchase of Orbx Airports HD was a good investment. The weather was pretty grey and over cast and I wondered if the low cloud would spoil any views I would get along the way, as I was keen to see Taipei 101 tower from the sky. By 10:32 I had already started the engines and allowed them to warm up breifly although I was not receiving any radio messages so I had to watch for landing and departing aircraft to determine the active runway. This issue was strange but short lived. Once my radio seemed to be working correctly once again I confirmed my taxi clearence and made my way to Runway 10 with another Beechcraft Baron following behind me.

Once my wheels had left the runway I circled the city trying to spot the buildings I had become familiar with. Of course the iconic Taipei 101 tower stood out, rising above any other buildings in the city although I was also able to see the Royal  Hotel and the Shek Memorial.

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With the sun trying its best to break through the clouds I headed South towards the mountains and climbed so that they would not be of any danger. This forced me into dense cloud however and I did not feel safe with minimal visibility, knowing that the hills below were getting progressively higher. I thought that maybe staying lower and sticking to the valleys would be safer in this situation so I decended enough to maintain a clear view.

After an hour in the air, with the thick cloud finally behind me the scenery was rather spectacular with a lovely clear blue sky above me and pockets of smaller clouds trapped in the valleys below. At 11:36 my only concern became a reality when I reached the end of a valley and had to climb quickly to hop over a rather tall peak. This would have put the heart into the mouth of any pilot doing this flight for real and it was a close enough call even in a simulator. On the other side though was a magnificent drop to an amazing view where I couldn’t resist taking a handful of photos. Once I had all the images I wanted to get, I glanced at the fuel gauge and realised that I did not refuel at Taipei airport. I would need to land again in order to refuel before crossing the stretch of sea back to China. Luckily it was only 5 minutes until I caught the first sight of the sea and was able to request a landing at Makung Airport situated on a small island not far from the mainland. Initally I saw some cloud gathered over the island although this cleared nicely in time for my landing as if to welcome me to this very short stop off.

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30 minutes later and I was full of fuel and back in the open air without cloud to spoil the view.I climbed slowly to a suitable crusing altitude which I was to maintain for the next hour and a half until I reached my next waypoint close to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong seemed misty once more as I also got buffetted around by some turbulence although it was great to see the familiar buildings and detail of this wonderful city once again. I flew straight past the old Kai Tak airport and continued past HK international. Whilst flying over HK International I was surprised by a very large jet on its final approach which over took my much slower Baron. I was even able to watch it land below me.

The weather seemed a lot brighter over Macau as I lined up for Runway 16. I touched down without a bump and was happy to park up next to a cessna 172 where my plane would stay until the next leg of the tour.

Whilst checking out Macua I was surprised to see how the city felt like Lisbon due to the architecture and styling. Of course this was due to the Portuguese colonies which helped establish Macau as a large city. The distinctive tiled flooring was the most noticable aspect for me although even the name of the largest casino hotel is called “The Grand Lisboa Hotel.” Strange how you can travel half way around the world and see the same design features repeated.

 

A319 landing at Macau airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e4LQ2ulXwE
Macau Airport – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbWesmtAIhg

Unique Macau – travelguru.tv – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gq_YAd3HpQ
Macau Travel Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcHpih87Aec
Macau One Day Trip 2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAKozVKA9bw
Things to do in Macau Travel Guide & Macanese Street Food – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad5-enfZqcs
Beautiful places in MACAU china -2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxgEa8DZo7g&t=337s
Night of the City – Macau – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAFWci1Cvi8
A Night In Macau  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI2kO4qTi80#t=208.329242
The Grand Lisboa Casino In Macau China 2016 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCsnKT8wXEw

New Year, New Goodies…

2016 was a pretty good year for the Home Pilot Adventures blog as it received a lot more traffic than I had previously expected. I was also lucky enough to be provided with some fantastic scenery of Hong Kong by the wonderful people at FlyTampa. – Thanks again.

Whilst 2016 saw the Home Pilot Adventure blog reach more people than ever, I did not get to complete nearly as many flights as I had wanted. Having spent a number of years virtually touring the world already, the current pace would require many more years before I finish the tour. It is about time I pick up a gear and try to complete more flights and see more about each destination. Hopefully I will be able to publish one a week so stay tuned for more updates.

Upon reaching a new year as well as achieving the miles stone of the 80th flight around the world, I figured I deserved a small treat and would add to my flight sim set up. I saw an advert through a flight sim Facebook group from somebody wanting to sell a Track IR set. Track IR is a device which allows you to “put your head in the game,” so to speak.

A small device which looks similar to a web cam sits on top of the computer screen and tracks your head movements in real time. This signal is then translated on screen by the virtual camera allowing you to turn your own head and look around in game. This adds a massive step to immersiveness when flying and I had wanted to get one primarily for the combat flight sim, DCS. Now that the Track IR is set up correctly, I will be enjoying the view from my Beech Baron cockpit to a deeper degree than before.

I also purchased the Orbx Airport HD Texture pack, just to make each of the default airports and landing strips that little better. With another 122 airports to land at before I finish the tour at least, I knew this would be worth having.

I have also been looking for a model of the Beechcraft Baron G58 although have been surprisingly unlucky. Through all of the searching I have only found a single company offering such models. This would be a hand crafted, carved mahogony construction and will cost upwards of £200 with shipping. I’ll be looking for cheaper alternative options through out the year though. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

For now, it is time to start up the engines once again and continue on my around the world tour. Over the next few months I shall be travelling through Tawan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia on my way to Australia! Please stay tuned for the rest of this virtual ride and drop me a message along the way.

The 80th Flight!

Flight number 80 would be the final flight of the original “Around the world in 80 flights” tour so this should be somewhat of a great achievement. However, due to the number of diversions and additional flights I have added to my own tour, despite reaching the 80th flight, I have not even reached my half way point.

Since leaving Edinburgh in the UK 3 years ago I have racked up over 54,000 Kilometres which works out at over 33,500 Miles! I have passed through 37 different countries whilst I have covered Europe and the length of Africa, all the way too Cape Town before continuing to The UAE and Middle East. I then covered the entire length of India or order to reach the Maldives Islands before returning North to the Himalayas and Mt. Everest. From the Himalayas I continued to Asia and across to Japan where I have now begun to double back on myself a little. This is simply so that I can loop further South as I make my way through the Pacific Islands and eventually reach Australia.

From my home in the UK, Australia will make my geographical half way point around the world. I feel that this should be celebrated more than the acknowledgement of my 80th flight. After all, I still have many more miles to go with many more countries to visit. Having significantly amended the original route I shall be completing a total of 203 flights before my wheels finally touch down in Edinburgh UK once more.

Whilst not mathematically nor geographically “half way,” I shall be considering my virtual arrival to the island of Hawaii to be the half way point of my Around The World Tour.
Hawaii to San Francisco is by far the longest flight I will have to negotiate during the tour and will need to heavily modify my tiny Beechcraft Baron 58 in order to make the huge distance but this is still some way off for flight number 120.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire time I have been completing this tour although I would love to hear from people who live in any of the places I have already, or am yet to visit. See below for the offical route map and for the full list of destinations I shall be visiting (virtually.)

OFFICIAL ROUTE MAP

Blue Pins = Offical 80 Flights Route
Red Pins = Addional Destinations Added By Me
Yellow Pins = Points Of Interest I Shall Not Land At.

Please continue to follow my virtual adventures around the world and leave comments to help me to make it that little bit more realistic.

Flight 80!) Nagasaki – Taipei

The 80th flight would be another long haul over a large expanse of sea so I was expecting the journey to be rather uneventful. This was not to be the exciting ending to the world tour that I could have had on the 80th flight had I stuck to the original route.

Beginning this leg of the tour at 09:00 I loaded up the flight simulator FSX and opened the flight plan I had prepared earlier. In order to make the distance over the sea I was eager to ensure that I have enough fuel so requested a fuel truck from Nagasaki airport. Being third in line meant that I didn’t have to wait too long before my tanks were full and I was ready to depart. I followed another jet all the way from my parking spot to the runway.

There were rather strong side winds coming down from the surrounding mountains and heading out to the sea which set my plane at a strange angle during take off. This didn’t cause any problems though. I left Japan behind me as I crossed over many smaller islands although each of them had their own substantial mountains or high hills which I had to contend with. It was a shame to be leaving behind this amazing country and very different culture to my own. I will certainly be making a real life visit to Japan to see its wonders first hand.

After flying South for roughly 25 minutes I took more of a Westerly heading to fly towards Taiwan. It seemed strange to be heading West as I have been travelling East all the way from the UK other than the occasional Northern or Southern detours. I climbed to 10,000 feet to get better fuel economy from my plane and saw a heard a few rumbles of thunder. The weather outside appeared to be pleasent so I was a little unsure as to where the sound of thunder was coming from. There must have been a mixture of cold and warm air though as I soon passed through a very bumpy patch of sky which dropped me down to 7,500 feet.

The stretch of sea seemed to last for ages although eventually the shores of Taiwan come into view maked by a large mountain. Lingering clouds blocked much of the view to the ground below so I decided to circle the city to get my bairings. The airport I had originally considered was Songshan airport which is located right in the heart of Taipei itself although the larger Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was more appealing as a place to land. By 13:50 I had touched down on Runway 6 and safely taxied to my parking spot.

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I didn’t really have any prior knowledge of expectations of Taiwan. I can only say that I know of the large production output as in the UK we do have many electronic goods which are manufactured within this country. It would be interesting to find out more about this place.

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Taipei Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XeDkwAfako
Why Taipei Is the Best City (Exploring Taiwan)  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDM3oj83zMY
The Taipei Budget Travel Guide  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on3NyVwxgoM
Best Things to do in Taipei – Overnight City Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_nCj1X_Hhw
What to Eat and Do in Taipei, Taiwan (NOC Travel Guide!) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XzlkgI-j50
3 Days in Taipei | Jenny Zhou  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEd_5pwZrgY
Taipei 101 Travel Guide  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt83a5azuY4
14 BEST THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI TAIWAN | Top Taipei Attractions  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iXCN4UVAfI#t=343.519119

Taiwan Vacation Travel Video Guide – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkx5sqexl84

Flight 79) Hiroshima – Nagasaki

Hiroshima was a rather harrowing place to visit. The city itself had developed in to a lively urban center although any information regarding this city would include reference to the atomic bomb dropped here in 6th August 1945. This fact was unfortunately unavoidable.

I wanted to see more of Japan from the air in daylight as my previous flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima was taken at night. The 1 hour flight time meant that I would not need to refuel for this relatively short flight. After fighting some very strong cross winds I knew that the take off would be a little challenging although the Boeing 737 ahead of me on it’s way to Naha Air Force Base did not have any difficulties.

I took off at 13:55 into a sky dusted with a handful of clouds. Just enough clouds to keep the sky interesting without making it difficult to fly. At 180 knots I was flying pretty fast in my small twin propellor plane. The rivers of Hiroshima were very clear below and I could easily get my bearings from above. I could even spot the infamous “Atomic Dome” building still standing from the nuclear bomb which detonated 600 meters above. 2016-8-10_14-8-6-552.jpg

The surrounding islands scattered through the bay looked very pretty indeed and it felt a great shame that this area would only be known for the atom bomb as this beauty would easily be overlooked. There were no clouds further out over the water and it felt good to get the miles passing by quickly below. The only other visible weather seemed to collect over the mountains ahead.

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I saw a strange building as I passed over Oita city and upon referring to Google Maps, I discovered this was the ‘Kyushu Oil Dome’ – a football (Soccer) stadium. The many roads around the city were very well mapped and it was fun to see the tiny cars below. As i flew past Mount Aso, the scale of the cars on the road was even more dramatic.

I took a low fly-by of Kumamoto Airport and it was not long before Nagasaki came in to view from the West, nestled between two mountains. Mount Tara and Mount Unzen. With the mountains protecting Nagasaki and the turquoise coastline, Nagasaki seemed to be another beautiful city forever destined to be known for tragedy. Runway 14 which I was directed to land at was a single strip surrounded by water. A small bridge connected it to another runway built on the mainland.

I thought that Nagasaki would be much like Hiroshima in the way that all information would include reference to the second atomic bomb attack on Japan. Whilst not as infamous as the Hiroshima bombing it was still evident to see what an effect it also had on the people of Japan.

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Nagasaki Tourism Promotional Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4dI1PsyTF0
A Day in Nagasaki – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnBOnermVnE
HD – EXPLORE NAGASAKI / JAPAN –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aPt9NQIQAU

Battleship Island in Nagasaki, Japan! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9w8APSmaRg

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki – BBC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncq_Wye43TM

Flight 78) Tokyo – Hiroshima

Tokyo was a fantastic city to learn about and is certainly on my list of destinations to visit first hand. The culture and technology seems so different from ours within the UK that every aspect of Tokyo life fills me with intrigue. I will be looking to travel to Tokyo for a short visit hopefully within the next couple of years but for now it is time to continue with this around the world tour. Having left Edinburgh and the UK 3 years ago on this virtual tour I have been travelling further and further East around the world. Now that I have quite literally reached the “Far East” I shall be back tracking slightly as I work my way South towards Australia and New Zealand before taking on the huge Pacific Ocean on my way to the USA.

This flight would always have been a sombre one as I would be flying over the city of Hiroshima. It would be impossible not to consider the same flight which took place 71 years ago by the Enola Gay air crew which dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. I was keen to approach this destination in a positive light however as I wanted to know more about this city other than its infamous history.

Previously flying over Japan on my way to Tokyo from Seoul, I was very impressed with the level of detail within the simulator depicting the winding roads which snaked their way through mountains and hugged the shorelines around the island. I thought at the time that this would look extremely pretty at night time as the street lights would string across the landscape so I decided to take the flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima at night.

Sitting virtually in my Beechcraft Baron 58 at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport at 22:20 I listened to the light rain landing on the cockpit windows whilst I switched on the various components and set up my navigation for the flight. I actually felt rather cosy with the rain and the dashboard lighting although that may also be due to the fact that I was warm at home in front of my computer. I let the engines warm up for a few minutes before beginning my taxi route at 22:30.

The landing lights of multiple aircraft could be seen in the distance as they made their way ever closer to the runway before eventually landing. I actually had to wait in line for another 3 aircraft to take off infront of me before I took my turn on the runway. When I was given the take off clearence, I had to move pretty sharpish as there was already another plane on its final descent.

Tokyo was VERY bright below me as I flew over the city and I also passed many other planes in the sky. These were easy to spot due to the night time sky and lighting on the aircraft. There was a scattering of clouds sitting at roughly 7,000 feet which allowed me to see the snow covered peak of Mount Fuji in the distance. I took note of this as I did not want to fly too close in the darkness. Even so, I took the opportunity to fly a loop around the huge volcano before leaving this destination behind me.

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Further from Mount Fuji I passed many more smaller mountains with their own snow covered caps before flying over another large city “Nagoya.” This would be the last I got to see of the night lights of Japan for a while as by 00:23 the clouds had formed a thick blanket at 5,000 feet preventing me from seeing much of the ground at all. The darkness and blanket cloud made the next hour pass increadably slowly but I eventually made it to Hiroshima Airport for 01:21.

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I wanted to take a sight seeing flight over the city of Hiroshima during the day so decided to do this a couple of days later. There were several landmarks included in the software although the most recognisible had to be that of the Atomic Dome. One of the very few buildings which remained standing after the bomb had dropped. The reason that this building specifically remained standing was due to the fact that the bomb detonated directly above, marking the epicenter of the explosion.

Whilst it was re-assuring to see that Hiroshima is once again a thriving city it really was impossible to forget the horrific event which made this city so famous. I watched several documentaries about the fateful day and have to admit that my mind boggles as to how the threat of any country ever using a nuclear bomb could even be a possibility in todays society. I’m certainly a supporter of scrapping the UK’s Trident program and strongly believe that stockpiling of such weaponry is not only a waste of money and resources but also an unnecessary danger for future generations. If only mankind would learn from our own history.

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Hiroshima Today

Welcome to Hiroshima – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_1_ZQiGhcA
Hiroshima City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_3awSTnoqs
WELCOME TO HIROSHIMA! Hiroshima Tour Pt. 1  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgpCQQVmbvc
Hiroshima today, Japan tours 2016 (HD 1080p) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsD5IQb_Ruk
Japan Vlog – Hiroshima – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6A2HU-tw9o

Dome & Peace Garden
Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome 4K – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V-tugvjUYQ
Hiroshima Memorial Museum and Peace Park | Virtual Tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx3RdOyRfL0

Atomic Bombing
Hiroshima – 70 Years after the Bomb  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlMh-uMf3go#t=294.372
The Day They Dropped The Bomb | War Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp9cgm4Dkzg
1946 film shows how the atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2rEhYS46EA
Hiroshima: Why the Bomb was Dropped (1995) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-WnLNLe3sk

Flight 77) Seoul – Tokyo

Upon my arrival at Incheon Airport, just outside of Seoul, I took the opportunity to fill my fuel tanks. This saved some time this morning as I entered a fully fueled waiting Beech Baron on a rather chilly 14 degree day. A Large “Orbit” jet taxied away from me during my initial checks and set up. Orbital are a fictional airline that enhabit the FSX simulator.

I was due to set off for Tokyo at 09:00 and with a flight time of 3 hours 26 minutes I was expected to arrive in time for lunch. I would be very interested in visiting Toyko first hand to sample the variety of foods on offer. The Baron 58’s twin engines were started at 08:52 and shortly after received my clearence for taxi and eventually take off. I had to wait for 2 larger boeing jets to land before me and I could already see further planes queuing in the sky behind them. In the middle of a lot of radio traffic I heard my take off clearence come through at 09:15. A little delay wasn’t too much to worry about.

The first 30 minutes of the flight was full of consistant radio traffic and I was swapping from channel to channel very quickly all whilst climbing to my designated altitude of 10,000 ft. I felt that this was rather too high although I was keen to keep the rate of fuel down as much as possible.

The first view of the ocean came at 10:10 as I approached Pohang. By 10:16 I was flying over the water although I could not see any sign of Japanese land on the horizon. The sky over the water soon developed clouds which prevented me from seeing the horizon at all. Still, the GPS advised of 32 minutes until I reached the following shore.

By 10:45 I though I had seen glimpses of land ahead and at 11:00 I made radio contact with Tokyo Center. I was beginning to get more excited about this destination as I would consider this to be a bucket list travel destination in real life. I decided to drop altitude to get a better look at Japan’s terrain although the odd cloud did it’s best to spoil the view.

Flying over Japan I was impressed at the quality of the mapping in this part of the world. The roads seemed to have much more detail to them than the majorty of the world I have already covered. Europe, Africa, India, and the most part of Asia so far had not been as detailed as Japan. I though the lighting from the roads would be great to see at night.

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The detailed landscape below peaked my interest so I opened the Maps application on my phone and followed my route as I went. I covered many interesting sites such as Koyamaike Park, Tottari City and Tasima Airport near Toyooka. I flew over some very cozy coastlines and wanted to see more of these small towns. Yosono and Miyazu certainly looked pretty.

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Toyooka Bay

By mid-day I had crossed another time zone so had to recalibrate my clocks all the while still flying over “Obama City” and a large lake call Biwa with Mt. Ibuki

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Mount Ibuki

 As impressive as this 1,377 meter tall mountain was, I was still looking forward to seeing Mount Fuji. I could see the hills getting higher and turning into more and more mountain capturing clouds inbetween their peaks. The taller summits were covered in snow although Mt. Fuji was by far the largest.

Mt Fuji stands at 3,776 meters which works out to be 12,388 feet. This was almost as high as my aircraft so I decided to climb just enough to be able to see the distinctive creator at the very top of the volcano. I passed by the south side of the volcano and was tempted to do a full loop although being pressed for time I decided to continue to Tokyo and I knew I will be passing back this way in a few days time.

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Mount Fuji

Mt Fuji – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPBbccjw1rQ
24 Hours on Mt. Fuji – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1uqNsj2Ubw#t=757.853812
Climbing Mount Fuji | 8 Hours of Hell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtt583ruGAI
Mt. Fuji Japan – GoPro HD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qttyhOSPOJM

I finally reached solid ground at 14:16 (13:16 when allowing for the time zone difference.) having waited for 12 other aircraft to land and depart. Tokyo is obviously a VERY busy airport. Just what I had expected to find in this amazing city.

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Tokyo – Japan 2016 4K – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aANLWsATis8
Tokyo Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS-hFKC_RKI
Tokyo Travel Guide 2016  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxfoIb26NQs
Tokyo night drive 4K SONY 2016  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l4MyDUi8Rc
Tokyo’s Best Cherry Blossom Spot: Meguro River – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAVmCUmCuR8
Tokyo Capsule Hotel Experience ★ ONLY in JAPAN #26 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0-oNv51j9o
Japan / Tokyo (WOW Amazing!!!) Part 1  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvZod-Zr8jE
Japan Travel Guide 2016 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lnyda3ei4o
Beautiful Kyoto: The Most Amazing Autumn Momiji Leaves in Kyoto  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV_YXad978k