Japan Itinerary – Day 2 of 8

17 March – Day 2 [Akihabara]
Hotel: Citadines Central Shinjuku Tokyo
Recommended to me by my aesthetician – Dr Chiam Chiak Teng. Thanks Doc!
The cost: About $180 per night [ rates can fluctuate and sometimes go up to $225]

japan_citadines_central_shinjuku_tokyo_map

Tip: I used the UOB code “UOBEXPSG17” to get 10% off and of course my UOB card to pay for it.

Participating “Expedia Rate” hotels refer to hotels labelled “Expedia Rate” and are not on the exclusion list in www.expedia.com.sg/p/corporate/coupon-exclude-hotels, see Terms and Conditions below.

Voucher code: UOBEXPSG17

Booking Period : Now – 31 March 2019
Travel Period: Now – 30 June 2019
Minimum stay: 2 nights

There is apparently a mastercard 12% off promotion for expedia as well
How i’ll rate our stay: 4 out of 5 stars i guess.
Address: 1 Chome-2-9 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021, Japan
What I loved: They gave us a room of the 14 floor, and also some super delicious pecan chocolate and even folded us some swan towels to welcome us. They also offered free printing and hence we were able to get our disneysea tickets printed.

Not only that, the hotel also helped us to book our lunch at Ginza Ukai Tei which i requested before we even checked in. The washroom was spacious, and although the room was really tiny – typical of tokyo hotels, the toiletries, and amenities were lovely and towels were changed daily, I wore the bathrooms to sleep on most nights.

The toilet was also clean! And so was the room :) There wasn’t much of a view however from the windows. heh

What i didn’t like: The pillows weren’t fluffy, the bed pretty small. Oh and the housekeeping doesn’t wash the plate for you ie: if you’ve eaten snacks in the room etc. There was limited space hence we had to plonk our luggage in front of the door which made it hard to walk but there wasn’t an alternative. Also the hair dryer provided seem faulty, and even after requested for a replacement, the second one was faulty too – it sparks when i power it on after some time which made using it a scary thing!  citadines central shinjuku tokyo

citadines central shinjuku tokyo washroom


Activities:

We visited akibanavi.net/ and did a 1hr go-kart ride with a guide around Tokyo, making tops near the sky tree and Asakusa.

They open from 10am to 8pm, I booked us for 5pm initially but we were early and so I called the Akiba Kart dude who then managed to change our booking to 4pm for us :) The go-kart is suited for anyone 150cm to 185cm in height.

Costumes are free for use. And you literally drive on the roads, public roads, along with any one road users. You can just drive around yourself, or you can hire a guide to go along with you.

For tourist – an IDP is required. We applied for ours online for $24 bucks. http://www.aas.com.sg/our-services/international-driving-permit-idp.html

What to wear for go kart: well pants will be ideal as the site states to refrain from high heels, snow clothes, long skirts and other obstructive clothing.

akiba gokart akibakart akibanavitokyo skytree gokart

ok i feel damn sad my eyes are closed in this photo here nooooooootokyo maricart gokart

Why are my hands on my ears? Well i was actually putting my head gear on lololol.

After we were done with go-karting, we headed to the Akiba Fukurou owl cafe, they take reservations via website and confirm it only over email. There is no number to call apparently.

Please be mindful to book 1-2 weeks ahead of your visit, i checked the calendar today just for the heck of it and they were fully booked till 20th April?
Address: Japan, 〒101-0022 Tokyo, 千代田区Kanda Neribeicho, 67
Its actually really near our go-kart place that’s why we decided to go there.akiba owl 2

akiba fukurou owls2

akiba fukurou sweet potato owl

akiba fukurou owls

While the owls are all well kept and seemingly well rested as the shop as strict rules on how you should handle owls, they also rotate the owls such that each owl gets to sleep after its shift. But the thing with owls is that you can’t pet or stroke them very much and when you carry them they mostly keep really still, which is cute for maybe 10-15minutes and then it becomes a very zen experience which IMO isn’t for everyone lol. It isn’t something that is very interactive you can imagine. Some people bonded real well with the owls they handled, others had the owl shit on them. And me ? My owl decided to perch itself on my head  – clearly i was panic stricken by the fact that i am now at its mercy in case it decides to relief itself on my head LOLOLOLO.

Thankfully – it did not! AHHAHAHA

What it did do however was mess my hair lololl but this is as authentic as it gets.owl on head

The Akiba Fukurou site has very clear instructions on how to get to their cafe http://akiba2960.com/access

Isn’t the tiny owl cute?

The cafe for one thing handles and maintains the owls very well – the fact that they are strict

  • each guests can only handle 2owls in the 45 min
  • no stroking or petting the owls – only one tap as they said owls do not like being stroked
  • With this i am confident the owls lead a pretty good life there and that the shop is pretty ethical :)

What we really liked? Was that the shop took about 1-2 professional photos of us with their Canon Mark II which they then mailed to us, and also gave us a postcard each as a takeaway.

cute owls

akiba fukurou offical photo

[i think my owl wasn’t too happy to have his photo taken lol]

We ended off the day with dinner at Ichiran ramen at Shinjuku or was it shibuya where we queued for some 30minutes haha! Much to the displeasure of my husband but well didn’t complain when we were eating! Ichiran was nice, but I wouldn’t queue 30minutes for it again because we discovered better Ramen! Namely – Oreryu Shio Ramen which we the next day, The creamy shio ramen left us speechless. I didn’t take much photos of Oreryu so read this blog for a full write up on the ramen they serve up http://www.eataku.com/post/95492262471/oreryu-shio-ramen-kagurazaka-tokyo

ichiran red sauceichiran order forminside ichiran

p.s. The shinjuku east branch of Ichiran is a 24hour one!

Address: 3 Chome-34-11 Shinjuku, 新宿区 Tokyo 160-0022, Japan

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g1066456-d3751876-Reviews-Oreryu_Shio_ramen_Shibuya_Main_Shop-Shibuya_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

Read about our Day 1 here

Japan travels

Earlier in March – I made my maiden trip to Japan and to say the least! Cherry blossoms are now my favorite tree, it’s hard not to fall in love with the sight of it, however as with all beautiful things, such moments are fleeting and the blossoms last some 3 weeks I guess?

It’s really quite an unreal sight to behold  – a tree full of flowers with few or no leaves- wow . JUST WOW. Against the blue skies of spring ….. One_more_shot_of_the_Sakura_and_my_wild_wild_hair__nofilterneeded__FR100L__casiosg__exilimsg__activeSelfie__SelfieIsCasio

Photo taken by my CASIO FR100-L yay.

We were there from 17 – 24 March and were in for a treat with some early blooms in Ueon Park and Shinjuku Gyoen [Entry fee of 200yen per adult],

Frankly speaking – 8 days was barely enough but good time!! Most people I know would dedicate about 10 days at least, and it seems like everyone just keeps going back for more.

We took singapore airlines to Tokyo and these were promotional tickets which cost about $740 per pax. Flight time was about 7hours.

Our flight departed Changi airport at 23:55hr on 16 march and we landed at about 7:30am at Narita airport.

You can also pick from ANA or JAL which flies there daily and i heard at better rates and timings. They probably offer more luggage allowance too.

Our singapore airlines luggage allowance was a good 30KG per person of which between us we used about 45-49kgs only.

Some tips on traveling to Tokyo:

  • Get the changiwifi -the promo price was $5 a day for japan. Book before hand and then pIck up and drop up upon arrival directly at the airport. It was convenient but hey prepare a powerbank as the battery of the wifi device doesn’t last the entire day!
  • Extra perk if you have a NTUCcard, use “NTUCJP” code for $4.65 rate per day – for all other countries check here but be sure to bring your NTUC card when you may payment. You’re welcome. We paid $46.20 for 7days ,breakdown will be $37.20 for 7days rental, and extra $10 for insurance, there’s a $1 off discount as well on top of the ntuc code.
  • I can’t emphasize how important it is to be punctual, and also to prebook most things in Japan. We made plans to ride the Akibacart, as well as visit Akiba Fukuro Owl Cafe and had to prebook to ensure availability. Especially during Mar/Apr months where its cherry blossom season and Tokyo is flooded with people.
  • Bring an extra bag! You’ll need it for shopping, or buy a cheap luggage at Donkihote if you don’t mind the crazy crowd there.
  • Buy all the things such as Tokyo Banana, Pocky, Hiyoko sweets and whatever biscuits and confectionery at the airport – once you are in the transit area, There’s soooo much shopping there and it is all tax free and you also won’t need to produce your passport for the tax free claim/documentation – saves your passport from being stapled here and there with documents.
  • Get a suica/pasmo for easy train transfers and basically it functions like an Ezlink -you  can even use it in 7-11 and family mart and many places to pay for food/purchases etc.
  • If you’re going to view Mount Fuji spend at least 2 days there to increase your chances of seeing Fuji-san – some days cloud cover is thick and your chances of seeing Mount fuji is alot lower. Consider going to Fuji-Q highlands as well to play!! Since i aint big on roller coasters lol , i choose to go to the craft park as well as music forest museum instead. But with just 24hrs that was barely enough!
  • Consider booking you disneysea tickets via klook for discounts, or better yet if you are a risk taker like i am, head to carousell where many tour vendors hawk cheap tickets, we scored 2 tickets to disney sea at $50 each! The same will cost $89 on klook. The only thing was that our uber cheap ticket was only emailed to us a day before our disneysea trip, and we had to get it printed at our hotel but thankfully the hotel offered free printing services!
  • Another tip on cheap tickets: if you’re already in tokyo, then check out the Daikokuya as some branches sell tickets to disneysea for cheap!
  • Oh don’t forget to check the disney crowd calendar http://tdrnavi.jp/forecast/disneysea?lang=en and you can download TDRnow This simple website application displays the wait times for both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in English, which you can check on your smartphone anytime you are in the Parks. Its immensely useful -Features include:
    • Current weather conditions
    • Park Hours
    • Fast passes indicator which tells you what fast passes you can get and what time they will be if you got hold of them now.
    • Wait times for both Parks
    • Quick switch (switch between parks quickly)
    • Refresh times
    • Favourites list [add the rides you want to conquer to this]

    2017-04-09 18.05.51

  • 2017-04-09 18.07.22

I saw my very first Cherry Blossoms at Lake Kawaguchiko :) Complete with Fuji-san in the background. It was a stunning sight. Unforgettable – did i mention it snowed the night before? Hence the snow capped trees in the background. <3This_view_was_worth_waking_up_at_445am_for_and_also_braving_the_-4_degree_weather___lakekawaguchiko__fujisan__fuji__japan__sunrise

This was us at the AkibaKart – you’ll need an international drivers license for this as you’re driving on the roads , along with cars and buses and can drive up to 60KM/H at top speed. Each cart has their own number plate heh, oh and costumes are provided for free – except their cleanliness is in question *Gasp*. gocart

We liked their facebook page and hence were entitled to discounts!  There was another gokarting company called Mari-cart that offered very precise routes as well as a similar service, they seem good too but prices were higher but their website is alot clearer and in english, compared to Akibakart :)

Extra note about Disney tickets, you can get them at Shibuya’s disney store, or like i mentioned at Daikokuya

Tips:

Phrase: Disneyland Passport please.

Japanese: ディズニーランドパスポートおください

Romanji: “Disneyland Passporto o kudasai”

Pronounced: “Disneyland Pass-poh-toh oh koo-da-sigh”

Phrase: Disney Sea Passport please.

Japanese: ディズニーシーパスポートおください

Romanji: “Disney Sea Pasporto o kudasai”

Pronounced: “Disney Sea Pass-poh-toh oh koo-da-sigh”

also here’s the hiragana for 2 day, 3 day and 4 day passports.

2デーパスポート

(2 day passport)

3デーマジックパスポート

(3 day passport)

4デーマジックパスポート

(4 day passport)

More details in my next post where i’ll be sharing our itinerary.

1/3 of our Snack haul from Tokyo

2017-03-25 20.05.02

Pocky Galore, some were from Lawsons supermart and the rest from the Narita airport! Most of the big boxes cost about 1200 Yen. The airport alone has a huge selection so i recommend buying it there to save time and money.

2017-03-27 12.31.10

Hokkaido potatoes roasted with sea salt from Lake Saroma, yummy but pricy. Its about 840yen per box of 8 packs

2017-03-27 12.25.17

These babychick cakes called “Hiyoko sweets” are one of my new favourite snack. It has a thin soft pastry shell that tastes like pancake and the insides are filled with sweet lima bean paste mixed with egg yolk <3

2017-03-27 12.25.01 2017-03-27 12.24.19 2017-03-27 12.24.09

Japanese are really smart when it comes to tamper proof packaging! love it.2017-03-27 12.26.57

Oh and these hi-chew looking candies are really yummy! soft and individually wrapped! We bought these at the Matsumoto kiyoshi drug stores !