Go Japan ♥♥♥♥♥♥ Tokyo

(My apologies for not updating this for almost a year, gone hibernating… i guess)

DAy 6 & DAy 7

We took the Shinkansen  to go back to Tokyo.

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We bought Bento Box  for lunch and Mochi for dessert!   I just love love love these! ♥

When we arrived in Tokyo, we just spent this day to rest and take in the view from our hotel.

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Day 7

This is my first try doing a time lapse.  I called it good morning Tokyo 🙂 .

 

We ate our breakfast at Girandole. Yum Yum.  It was good  and  it comes with a view!

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Bagel, smoked salmon, Wasabi cream

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Eggs Benedict,  Smoked Salmon, Hollandaise Sauce

 

 

 

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View from Girandole

 

Then later that night we went to Shibuya.

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Hachiko

To see the statue of Hachiko, alight at the shibuya station and take the Hachiko Exit.

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Shibuya Crossing

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Since we are the  Shibuya area,  we went to eat dinner at  Ichiran Ramen

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Ichiran Ramen

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How to order:

  1. Select and purchase your ramen from the vending machine.
  2. The staff will pass you a piece of paper to customize your ramen.  You can select the noodles texture, strength of flavor, onions etc.
  3. Wait to be seated.
  4. Once you are in your booth. The staff will serve your order

 

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5. Enjoy your ramen. Itadakimasu 🙂

Ichiran Ramen– Shibuya : Open 24 hrs.

Address in Japanese:  Japan, 〒150-0041 Tokyo, 渋谷区Jinnan, 1−22−7

1-22-7 Jinnan | Iwamoto Bldg. B1F, Shibuya 150-0041, Tokyo
(3 min walk from JR Shibuya Station Hachiko Exit)                                                                    Phone number :  +81 3-3463-3667

Go Japan ♥♥♥♥ Kyoto

Day 4

     We woke up early this day or should I say tried to haahah.  I wanted to see the sunrise in the Kiyomizudera temple.  From our hotel, we took bus no. 80 or if you are coming from Kyoto Station take bus number 100 or 206.

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tourist

Happy Tourists taking a pose

 

 

 

Koyasu Pagoda

Koyasu Pagoda viewed from Kiyomizudera Temple

 

Kiyomizudera Temple

Kiyomizudera Temple

 

Kiyomizudera Temple

Kiyomizudera Temple

 

Wooden board or they call it Ema. People write down their prayer and wishes on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       After visiting the  Kiyomizudera Temple, we decided to forgo the Ninen-zaka Path and Sannen-zaka Path.  It is still early and  the shops are still closed.  We planned to go back again later.

 

Thought this one is a statue :)

Thought this one is a statue 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went  to Kyoto Station to eat breakfast.  The station has a unique architectural beauty in it.

                   

From Kyoto station, we went to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.  We took the the JR Sagano Line and alight at Arashiyama Station.  It is easy to travel by train here in Kyoto not as complicated as Tokyo.  You can  see the  Kyoto metro map here.   When we arrived at the  Saga Arashiyama station .  We head out for the Bamboo Grove Path.  It was around 11:00 am and it was very crowded.  We figured out that the best time to go there is very early morning to avoid the  crowd and enjoy the scenery.

Bamboo Grove Path

 

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Kyoto Rickshaw

Some girls stroll around wearing their yukata.

Some girls stroll around wearing their yukata.

He sells dragonflies made out of bamboo

 

We also  visited the Tenryu-ji Temple.   It has a very beautiful landscape garden.  You could rest there and enjoy the view.  Have a moment of zen ♥

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenryuji Temple

Garden view

people who are resting and enjoying a moment of zen

people who are resting and enjoying a moment of zen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After resting for awhile, we left the  temple and  looked for a place to eat lunch.  Most restaurants near the  temple are full.  We stumble upon this small store on the way to the train station.

 

yummmy Takoyaki!

yummmy Takoyaki!

     We bought the 12 pcs special takoyaki.  It has green onion, mayonnaise & sauce.  It cost us 1000 JPY .  My friend and I shared the Takoyaki.  Then we ordered Yakisoba for each of us ,  costs 500 JPY.  The takoyaki and yakisoba they have is very flavourful.  Best one I’ve had so far ♥ 😀

Yummyyy Yakiisoba

Yummyyy Yakiisoba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     After eating lunch, we headed out to TOEI Kyoto Studio Park.  We went back to Saga Arashiyama station and  took the train going back to Kyoto.   We alight at Uzamasa Station, the studio is a 5 minute walk .  There are directions you can see along the way and it is easy to find.

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  It is a different kind of theme park.  It is an actual studio for TOEI movies.  It depicts the street of Edo period.  Entrance Fee is  2,200 JPY for Adults. You can view a copy of the studio map here. Some attractions inside the studio park has an additional charge.  We’ve watched the ninja show (entrance is free).  The show is in japanese but I still enjoyed it.  The action stunts are well coordinated.  The lead actor reminds me of the anime Naruto.

Ninja Show

Ninja Show

Ninja Mystery House

Ninja Mystery House

One Piece - inside the Toei Anime Museum

One Piece – inside the Toei Anime Museum

Mazinger Z

Mazinger Z

ninja!

ninja!

      You can also rent costumes and walk around the  studio. You can also have your make up and hair done for an additional fee.  When you visit this studio allot about 5 hrs to fully enjoy the park.  In my case,  I just rented the  costume because not enough time to do  my hair and make up . But still,  I enjoyed the experience 😀

I just can't resist to ask this guy to take picture with me :P

I just can’t resist to ask this guy to take a picture with me 😛

Deity of Good Fortune

Deity of Good Fortune

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyoto Tower

After the Toei Studio Park, we decided to go to the Sannen-zaka Path. We took the train and head back to Kyoto station.Unfortunately, most of the shops are closed already.  Saw them close twice this day!  hahaha. Forgot to check what time they usually open and close :P.  We took a cab back to our hotel.  The restaurant we want to go to was just beside our hotel.  Sobanomi Yoshimura is the name of the place.  They make their own buckwheat noodles.  We wanted to try the  soba as I read on reviews it’s quite good.  The staff can  speak a little english and they have english menu. Dinner was good and it  was my first time eating buckwheat ice cream.  I like it 😀

They are making their own noodles

They are making their own noodles

Sobanomi Yoshimura

Sobanomi Yoshimura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

Cold Soba

 

 

 

 

 

 

buckwheat icecream

buckwheat icecream

Go Japan ♥♥ Tsukiji Market & Mt Fuji

Day 2  

     Woke up early,  drew the curtains and checked if it still raining.  Nice, the rain has stopped. We quickly prepared and  went to the Tsukiji Fish Market to eat our breakfast. We wanted to see if by any chance of luck Sushi Dai don’t have that long queue.  However the moment we walked towards the market, it started raining again. Arggh!  We wonder if one of us is jinxed :P.  There is an Information Counter in the Tsukiji Market.  You can ask them  if you are looking for a particular store, they speak good english and  will help you for directions. In our case we asked for directions for Sushi Dai, it is very famous (based from what I’ve read and those who went here already) for the tastiest and freshest sushi. We are directed to walk past the parking lot then turn right and the building number is 6.

                                             

 

Watch out where you are going or these may ran you over

 

 

 

 

 

 

     People are still queueing even if it was raining. I told myself “Nah I am not gonna do that”, in which a few days after,  I ate my words hahaha.

queue for Sushi Dai

Sushi Dai

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     We looked for other eating places beside the Sushi dai, there are quite a few choices and voila!  Saw this store that sell UNAGI!  My friend and  I got both excited as we like to order and  eat this whenever we go to a japanese restaurant back in SG. We ask if they have english menu, they don’t but they have yummy pictures displayed around the  store. We asked the  lady how much is the set in the pix , she pointed to us the price in the list that is in front of us.  JPY 2,600.  It was very tasty. We ask for the name of the store , the lady said it’s “Fukusen” . Best unagi I’ve had so far

price

 

     

     After we checked out of our hotel, we made our way to Shinjuku Station.  It was raining and we have luggages with us, we decided to take a cab.  It cost us about near 2k JPY.  We went to JR Ticket office to reserve our seats.  We will go to Lake Kawaguchiko. There is no direct JR railway to Kawaguchiko,  so we have to go from Shinjuku (JR) Station take the Ltd Express Kaiji (covered by JR pass) to Otsuki.

          

     They will issue you a green  card that bears the car and seat number . You just have to show it at the station and they will let you in. Just don’t forget to ask which platform number so it will be much easier .

Just look for this green symbol, it is for Green car – reserved seat.

         

Inside the Kaiji 109.

Inside the Kaiji 109.

they have food stores inside the train station and platform ♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are in a hurry to catch the train, you can grab a bento box and eat it inside the train while travelling. Very yummy :P.   It’s one of the things I like in Japan, you can eat and drink inside the train.

 

 

on the way to Ostuki

    Then from Otsuki Station we need to transfer to Fujikyu Railway for Kawaguchiko. Upon reaching the Otsuki station it is easy to transfer and there is no need to  go out of the station. You can also use Pasmo or Suica to pay for the fare or buy the ticket from there.

Go out from here

Just go straight ahead for the transfer exit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transfer/Exit gate to Fujikyu Railway

 

 

 

 

They have cute themed trains..

Thomas and Friends

 

 

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There are few stop overs before reaching Kawaguchiko station in which you can take pictures 🙂

      

 

Kawaguchiko Station

Kawaguchiko Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Upon reaching Kawaguchiko station we went  to the Fujikawaguchiko Tourist Information. They are friendly and speak good english. If you booked a hotel in Kawaguchiko area they can help to call the hotel once you arrived in the station and the hotel shuttle service can pick you up. After they have helped us call our hotel , just after 5 minutes the  shuttle service came to picked us up.

Fujikawaguchiko Tourist Information

Fujikawaguchiko Tourist Information . Hours open to visitors: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m

We have booked at the Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Hotel New Century.  They provide free hotel  shuttle service starting 8:30 am . They have an english speaking staff at the reception  until  6 Pm.  I chose  a Japanese style room facing Mt Fuji. I have requested for high floor and  non smoking room. The view from the  room was great. It  see was a clear late afternoon and we were very lucky to see  Mt Fuji  

view from our room

view from our room

 

Doraemon and Mt Fuji

Doraemon and Mt Fuji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Kawaguchiko & Mt Fuji

 

outside the hotel

 

Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji

 

Dinner

Dinner  from Hotel New Century

 

     After we ate dinner, when we came back to our room they have already prepared the futons for us. The hotel had their own onsen baths.  I decided I wanted to try the onsen.   At night the  ladies can use the  Bldg A – 7th Floor  View Big bath,  for men it is in Bldg B 1F.  When morning comes it will be reversed. Women will use the  B1F and men will use the 7th Floor.  It was a different experience for me.  As it was my first time and not used to seeing naked women , at first I felt kind of shy, however when I overcome my shyness, I started to enjoy the onsen.  Cameras are not allowed (thank goodness!) so no pix how it looks like inside :P.  The hot water helps to relax your tired muscles while looking the serene outside view.  It is a must try experience. 🙂

Onsen Schedule

Comfy Futons

Comfy Futons

 

Go Japan ♥

DAY 1  –

     We arrived at Haneda Airport around 4PM.  It was raining heavily in Tokyo.  We straightaway went to the JR Travel Service Center to exchange our JR pass.  It was easy, the staff can speak english and  they were very friendly.  You can choose and decide which day you want the  JR Pass to be activated, it will start counting the 7 day pass on the day you first used it .

Located near the Tokyo Monorail 2F Ticket Gate/Arrival lobby

Located near the Tokyo Monorail 2F Ticket Gate/Arrival lobby                       

  Then we bought a PASMO card, you  can  use it to ride trains and buses both in Tokyo and in Kyoto. It is easy to purchase and  top up the Pasmo card. The machine have an english option, so don’t fret 🙂

       Then we are all set to go out of the airport Yay!  We took the train to go to our hotel.  After a few stations the train is getting crowded.  After a few stops, I looked outside the train window.  It was still raining heavily  and then  I saw this river, the water is almost overflowing and running very fast.  That’s the time we realized we took the wrong train, oh noes! Instead of heading to Higashi-Ginza station, in which our hotel was located  we ended up in Yokohama! OMG! hahaha.  We decided to get off on the next station.  By this time, the train was so packed! Hello rush hour! How are you? In case you ask me I think we are lost! To top it off it is raining heavily and it’s getting dark!  Not a good timing to get lost. Hahaha.  We had a hard time getting off the next station. The door opened at the other side and we are on the opposite side. As we tried to say our “excuse us” and made our way to get off the train (either the  train  was so packed or they can’t understand us)  no one was moving to give way.  The people behind us who also wanted to get off, started pushing us. Then we have no choice but push/squeeze our way out!  I don’t know how many feet I have stepped on or if my luggage or my friend’s heavy luggage ran over any feet, as we struggle to get out while saying sorry.  Whew!  We were able to get off on time before the door closed. Both of us laugh after we realized what just happened.  We asked for directions on how to go to Higashi-Ginza Station from the train staff.

     Upon reaching the station, we decided to walk because  the rain seemed to stop… Not!  Just after we walk a block or two, it started to rain heavily again.  It was around 7 pm and it was dark already.  We asked for directions from a guy who is in front of a Pachinko establishment.  After getting directions, we thanked him and walk a few steps . We stopped for awhile and struggled to find our umbrellas that is inside somewhere in our luggage.  To our surprise, the same guy who gave us directions came to us and gave us two umbrellas to use. We didn’t expect this act of kindness from a stranger.  After thanking him, we kept on walking and looking for our hotel.  We seemed unable to find the hotel, so my friend asked again for directions,  this time, from two middle-aged ladies. To my surprise he was asking them  in Japanese (when I asked him later on he said he wanted to surprise me, he learned basic Japanese conversations).  Aside from giving us directions they even walked with us and took us near the hotel. On our first day we have experienced the kindness of the Japanese people.  Getting lost, walking under heavy rain and getting drenched didn’t seem to be a bad thing at all.  Instead we appreciate the experience and I felt admiration for the Japanese people :).

     We booked 1 night at the Tokyu Stay – Higashi-Ginza as I originally wanted to go to the tuna auction. It is ideal.  It is very near the Tsukiji Fish Market.  We decided not to go to the tuna auction.  We are travelling to Kawaguchiko the following day and for sure we are not able to wake up that early ;P.  The staff at the reception can  speak english. The room size is a bit small however it is clean and the  toilet is clean and spacious.

     We decided to go out and  eat dinner at Ippudo. While trying to locate the ramen shop , it started raining heavily  again.  It took us quite awhile to  find it. We thought it was on the main road, and it doesn’t have an  english sign. We just matched it to the picture we checked online. By the time we were able to find it, we were drenched again ;P.  Hot ramen  for a rainy night

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Ippudo (4-10-3 Ginza | 1F Central Bldg., Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo) Higashi-Ginza Station (Asakusa line), exit A8.

     When we went back to the hotel, we were still drenched.  It is very convenient that the hotel room itself has its own washer & dryer. We were able to  wash and dry our clothes at the comfort of our own room.  Next time,  I can travel light if I book accommodations like these :).  Needed to sleep early  as we planned to eat early breakfast at the Tsukiji market and leave for Kawaguchiko.

Go Japan ♥ Preparation

      Since I was young, I have always wanted to go to Japan. This year, I decided to go and celebrate my birthday there. My friends went with me to celebrate, aren’t they the sweetest? ♥

       We decided to go free and  easy for 10 Days :).  After several late nights of researching and planning, finally! I was able to draft my itinerary, how to’s, how much entrance , fares , budget etc.  Last thing I need is to be penniless in a foreign country right? ;).  Most websites I have checked recommended to use Hyperdia.com for checking of train routes and schedules.  The site is very useful. It helped me planned routes and estimate the train fares as well.  Yay!  I was able to build my confidence that  we won’t get lost (hopefully). When I saw the Tokyo Metro Subway Map, my nose almost bled and my confidence was smashed  :).

         I booked all our accommodations through agoda.com.   Here is the itinerary I planned:

  •  Arrival and 1 night stay at Ginza (1 night)
  •  Lake Kawaguchiko (wanted to see Chureito Pagoda and Mt. Fuji)(1 night)
  • Kyoto ( 3 nights)
  • Tokyo  ( 4 nights)

       I also went to the Japan National Tourism Organization(JNTO) here in SG.  I was able to get  copies of maps and travel guides for Kyoto & Tokyo  that will be very useful.

      I rented a pocket wifi and mobile phone from Pupuru, the service is good and hassle free.  They reply quickly if you email them for any enquiries  (Mon-Fri.).  I have requested it to be delivered to our hotel.  This video is from their youtube ad:

 

   We bought Japan Rail Pass from H.I.S.Singapore. There are two types : Green  and Ordinary. Green – need to be reserved and first class ; Ordinary – non reserved seats. You can choose from 7 days, 14 days and 21 days pass.  We have bought the  Green Car  7 days pass.

     Planning and Packing – This is the real challenge hehehe. I am  still learning the art of travelling light :P.  I decided to use my small luggage and  my friend will use a bigger luggage so I can also  stuff it with my things. Now let the adventure begin….

Brothers Ramen

Today, I tried this ramen  store near my office.  I like the concept.  The  Menu  is available outside the store and  inside as well.  Make sure you know what you want to order, as they only have a self service ordering counter 🙂

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Payment is by Cash and by NETs  and have to order through this

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Once you have placed your order, a receipt and order number will be given…..

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I find the design inside the shop very cute.  I was amused by the heart-shaped lighting

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 Their story is being told by these:

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the Noodle Room, It’s where the homemade noodles using their own recipe are being made

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Oishi!!! ♥ I ordered the Brothers Set, added an egg, vegetable (free) and oolong tea. The soup base is very tasty, and I find it just nice for my taste buds, Yum yum.  Will I come back and eat here again?  Definitely YES!  So if you craving for a feel good ramen, come and visit their shop. 

ramen

Brothers Ramen

International Plaza

10 Anson Road  #01-20

Singapore 079903

Price range : Around S$15 for Set meal.

Hours:

Mon-Sat  11:30 am – 8:30 pm

Contact info:

94377267  /947626

                         For more info you can visit their website or Facebook page

Happy Eating!

kopi and bageliscious

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            These past few days I was craving for bagels for breakfast, like the ones I used to have in the Philippines, something like this effect , heheh so the nearest thing I could have here in   SG is this bagel from Starbucks, they have cheese, cinnamon, plain and multigrain (i think), the barista ask me if I wanted to buy coffee as well I said no,  coz what I have in mind is the SG Kopi (kopi what?), I love the KOPI   here, no pun  intended to Starbucks I love their coffee as well but the SG kopi have a different taste in it, For me it is a must try for those who drink coffee,if you wanted a to go kopi just say” takeaway” and they will put in a styrofoam cup plus carrying handle (so innovative right? ) or they will put in a packet (in a plastic bag with straw ) . I have been living here for 5 years and still , I am at lost on how to order their coffee (Coz my fave is Kopi so i didn’t bother to learn the rest heheh).  Here is a guide on how to order:

  • kopi oh = hot black coffee (sweetened)
  • kopi oh peng = iced black coffee (sweetened)
  • kopi oh kosong = hot black coffee (unsweetened)
  • kopi oh kosong peng = iced black coffee (unsweetened)
  • kopi = Coffee with condensed milk (sweetened)
  • kopi peng – iced White coffee (sweetened)
  • kopi ‘c’ – hot coffee with evaporated milk (sweetened)
  • kopi ‘c’ kosong – hot coffee with evaporated milk (unsweetened)
  • kopi ‘c’ peng – iced coffee with evaporated milk (sweetened)
  • Explanation of kopitiam terms

    • kopi = coffee
    • o/ oh = black (coffee) / without milk (tea)
    • peng = iced
    • kosong = Malay for “zero”, meaning without sugar
    • ‘c’ = with evaporated milk ( origins from Hainanese which “Xi”/”C” sound means “fresh” (鲜) i.e. “Fresh” Evaporated milk , ‘Xi Gu-nin’ meaning fresh evaporated milk in Hainanese )
    • teh = tea
    • tiao hee or tiao her = Hokkien for ‘fishing’ Reference to dipping up and down of tea bag.
    • tut kiu = Hokkien for ‘kicking a ball’, as retro Milo tins often feature a soccer player kicking a ball on their labels.
    • ‘siew dai’ = Foo chow (Hock Chew) or Cantonese for ‘less sweet’ or ‘less base’, i.e. less sugar or sweet condensed milk (added to the bottom of the cup).
    • ‘ka dai’ = Foo chow (Hock Chew) for ‘add sweet’ or Cantonese for ‘add base’ i.e. a sweeter beverage, with more sugar or condensed milk added.

    These terms may be used in different configurations to suit one’s liking (source: wiki)