Blog entries for Japan trip

I'm backdating the blog entries of my recent Japan trip, so please use this tag and go back to the earliest posts for my trip experiences. At the moment, I've finally completed the blog entry of day 1 of my trip.

Prepaid SIM in Japan

Choosing a prepaid SIM card in Japan is slightly tricky. If you need voice calls and SMS, I guess you don't have much choice except SoftBank. However, SoftBank does not have any data plan, so mobile internet usage can be quite expensive on a per-use basis.

Maps & Fave Places

I've made more of my Google custom maps public to share with everyone and you can check the maps link on the top or on the right side of this blog. I haven't made my Hong Kong custom maps available for public cos it's still kinda messy though. However, I've already made all my Japan maps available for public, but do note that not all the marked locations are places I've been to. Some of them are just results of researches over the web.

Finale of Japan Trip 2013 [12th to 13th June]

It has been a long trip but time sure flies past and my holiday in Japan is coming to an end. It feels as if there are still several more places I want to visit in Japan, e.g. Hokodate, Jozenkei, Furano, Noboribetsu, Himeji and more places in central Japan also. After packing my luggage, I went to the train station and looked for paid lockers to keep my luggage while I go shopping/eating. With 1 suitcase, 1 backpack, 1 more luggage bag and another cloth bag, it sure was a challenge to squeeze everything into the locker.

Day 17 [11th June]: Otaru

Today is my last full day in Hokkaido, but I keep having thoughts of visiting Otaru again instead of hanging around in Sapporo. After struggling through the decision for some time, I went to the train station and hopped on to the train heading for Otaru. When I reached Otaru, I went to Ajidokoro Takeda in Sankaku Fish Market again for my meal. This time round, I ordered chirashi don, which comprises of crab, scallop and prawn. I also ordered grilled scallop amd clam. The clam comes with sauce in it that tastes really sweet. A pair of scissors were also provided for me to handle the big juicy scallop. Eating seafood in Otaru is just such a delight as they are just so fresh, juicy and sweet.

Day 16 [10th June]: Otaru

Part of my itinerary in Hokkaido is to go to Otaru, so I took the train to Otaru at 10am+ hoping to grab my brunch in Otaru. After about 45 minutes of normal train ride and enjoying the nice scenic journey, I reached Otaru Station and collected some brochures at the train station before proceeding to search for food.

Day 15 [9th June]: Sapporo

I started my day by making my way to Nijo Market for my late breakfast. Along the way, I passed by the lovely Tokeidai (aka Sapporo Clock Tower) and also Sapporo TV Tower.


Day 14 [8th June]: Tokyo to Sapporo

My flight to Sapporo is at 3:25pm, so I checked out of the hotel at about 11am to make my way to Narita Airport. I took the inexpensive Keisei Limited Express to the airport and it costs ¥1,000. I reached the airport a little earlier than the check-in time, so I had to wait awhile before I could check-in. After checking in, I went to a restaurant to have my lunch.

Day 13 [7th June]: Tokyo

I left the hotel slightly later today to avoid the peak hour train crowd and went to Tsukiji Fish Market again for my breakfast. I decided to buy the 1-day pass for Tokyo metro and Toei subway at ¥1,000 since I figured I will be visiting many places today. When I reached Tsukiji Fish Market, I decided to try the egg omelete which costs ¥100 and the taste was just great! Along the way, I was thinking of trying one of the popular sushi restaurants but the queues still scare me off. So, I ended up trying a random restaurant that had a promotion of ¥2,000 for a sushi set. Unfortunately, they do not allow photo taking so I had to take photos very discretely and secretively using my phone. Compared to Yamazaki, the quality of food here seems very average only. The chef also didn't ask me if I wanted wasabi, so I didn't really enjoy my food as I disliked wasabi.

Day 12 [6th June]: Tokyo Disneysea

With my shocking train experience yesterday, I decided to start my day earlier and reached the train station before 8am. There was still quite a crowd but definitely more breathable space compared to yesterday. From Maihama Station, I had to switch to the monorail on the Disney Resort Line to go to Disneysea. When I reached Disneysea at about 9am, I realised that it was before the opening time of 9:30am and there was a queue outside.

Day 11 [5th June]: Tokyo Disneyland

As planned, I visited Tokyo Disneyland on this day and I bought the 2 day pass so that I can visit Disneysea the next day. I left my hotel at about 8am+ to take the train to Disney Resorts. At the train station, I was appalled and amazed how the Japanese manage to squeeze into a train that looks full and impossible to board. When I managed to squeeze into the second train, there was hardly any space to move around. Basically, I was just squeezed lik sardine with my face almost on the back of someone's head and my hands immovable by my side. As I was carrying my bag with both my hands in front of me, you can imagine where my hands were against.

Day 10 [4th June]: Tokyo

I woke up in the morning and birthday greetings were starting to come in via Whatsapp and also my Facebook timeline. For my first breakfast in Tokyo, I went with my plan to visit Tsukiji Fish Market and enjoy some fresh sushi. I bought the one-day Tokyo metro pass at ¥710 and took the subway to Tsukiji Station. I managed to find my way to the Outer Market with the help of a map just outside the subway station and Google Maps. Along the way, I visited Tsukiji Honganji, which has a design that is somewhat European influenced in my opinion.

Day 9 [3rd June]: Osaka to Tokyo

It's my last day in Osaka before I head to Tokyo for the next part of my long trip. I went to a nearby cafe for my breakfast before heading back to hotel to do my final packing and getting ready to check out. After checking out, I went to Osaka station and used the paid lockers to keep my luggage while I roam around before the scheduled train departure time. My departure time was 2:37pm, so I had time during noon to roam around, do some shopping and get lunch before taking the bullet train. For lunch, I tried a random restaurant called 一夜一夜 because their teriyaki chicken set seems quite reasonable at ¥1,080.

Day 8 [2nd June]: Osaka + Arima Onsen

For my last day in Osaka, I was toying with the idea of going to Arima Onsen in the afternoon. For the morning, I went to Kuromon Market in Osaka for a brunch at about 11am. Surprisingly, the market is not too crowded at this time.

3 weeks in Japan

I'm in Japan at the moment and it's already day 8 of 19. I'm feeling lazy to update this blog on a daily basis, so I guess I'll just do a back-log when I get back to Singapore. At the moment, I have selectively uploaded some photos from the past week to Facebook only. I will only upload everything to Picasa once I get back to Singapore.

Meanwhile, the weather's quite alright and the week has been pretty smooth flowing so far. I'm revising my hiragana/katakana occassionally and try my best to say some simple words/sentences in Japanese and attempt to order food in Japanese as well. It's been a good learning experience. Food's great and shopping's great as well. Good and cheap (cheaper and still better than Singapore) food & shopping do exist in an expensive country/city after all. I'm really loving the food and occassional shopping here in Japan. And I guess I just blew my budget for shopping in just the first week alone. Haha!

Day 7 [1st June]: Kyoto

As planned, I visited Kyoto on a Saturday so that I can hop on the sightseeing bus that only operates during the weekends. The bus ticket for 京都ひるバス costs ¥2,000 for unlimited rides on the bus for the whole day. The first bus starts at 8:40am and the last bus arrives back in Kyoto station at about 6pm. The tour guide on board takes about some of the places in Kyoto during the bus ride, but it is only in Japanese though. The duration of the complete route takes 1 hour and 38 minutes.