Japan Day 5 – Tsukiji Fish Market, Akihabara and Dinner in Shibuya

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On our 5th day we did a mix of places and our first stop was Tsukiji Fish market for some breakfast. We initially planned on camping the night before to catch the Tuna auction early in the morning but we scrapped that idea as we figured proper sleep was more important than seeing cold slabs of Tuna being sold off for millions in the cold EARLY morning. But hey if you’re up to it, then by all means go ahead. We were just too tired after walking around back to back on our 5th day so yeah sleep is our priority.

Getting there was fairly easy for us as we were staying in Shinjuku which literally connects you anywhere. So we hopped on the Oedo Subway Line from Shinjuku Station to Tsukijishijo Station. It takes about 20mins and costs 270 Yen one way. As soon as you reach the station, simply follow the signboard to Tsukiji Market. The building is actually just above the station.

There’s the outer part and inner part of the market. Since we just wanted to grab some breakfast, we wandered off at the outer market and found rows and rows of tuck shops serving fresh bowls of sushi! Continue reading

Japan Day 4 – Square Enix Artnia Cafe

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Since we had some time to spare in the evening after our trip to the Ghibli Museum, we decided to head back to our place in Shinjuku and drop our bags off at our AirBnB and head out again within the area to the cafe.

Getting there was a little tricky at first as we didn’t really do our research before hand on how to get there. But if you have a pocket wifi with you, it should be pretty easy to navigate your way there (I’ve included the address at the bottom of this post).

After asking around various shops, convenience stores and random passerbys, we found our first landmark which was the iconic Square Enix headquarters in Shinjuku. Gamers and Final Fantasy fans would be in awe when you see this building. It’s literally the place where all those famous games are created. Being a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise myself, this was a really cool experience. The cafe itself is right next to it and you will be able to easily identify it by the various sign boards and its’ unique egg design.

Inside there’s another room which is a gallery featuring a number of figurines of characters from their franchise. Continue reading

Japan – Day 4 Studio Ghibli Museum

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Next up was the famous Studio Ghibli. For those of you not familiar with the name, then perhaps Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro or Howl’s Moving Castle would ring a bell?…Still no? Well even if you’re not a fan, I would highly recommend this place! In fact my travel partner wasn’t too familiar with the Ghibli franchise, but still enjoyed this trip a whole lot. I booked our tickets online way in advance before our trip and I would advise you to do so as well as these tickets sell out very very VERY fast. Can’t emphasize this enough as many of my other friends had the disappointment of missing out on this as they couldn’t get any tickets. The tickets are 1000 Yen each for adults and are sold on a monthly basis. So if you’re thinking of buying tickets this march, then get ready and be on standby by 1st March to book your tickets for the month. You can buy online here.

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What you would get is an e-ticket which you would then get the physical ticket at the entrance on the day of your visit itself. The ticket itself is super cool as it is a film of actual scenes from their movies itself. Continue reading

Japan – Day 3 Tokyo DisneySea

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Tokyo Disney Resort is one of the busiest parks in the world and it would make a lot of sense to buy your tickets ahead of your visit. We bought ours online on their official website and printed out the e-ticket for a hassle-free entry to the park. As we have both been to other Disneylands’ in other parts of the world (which are all generally all the same), we decided to try something different and spent our whole day at Tokyo DisneySea instead (the only one in the world btw).

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The park opens at 8am and so we tried to reach there as soon as it was opened. The main reason to be there early is to grab the fastpasses. Unlike the usual fastpasses that you may be familiar with, these ones are only applicable for the following rides:

  • Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Indiana Jones
  • Raging Spirits
  • The Magic Lamp Theater
  • Mermaid Lagoon Theater
  • 20000 Leagues Under The Sea
  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth

You can obtain the fastpass ticket by going to each specific ride and finding the Fastpass Machines. You simply scan your entrance ticket and you will be given some kinda receipt indicating which times you can enter the ride using the fastpass lane. For example you may only be able to use the fastpass lane between 2-3pm or so. You can check the next timing from the fastpass machines itself. So plan your time accordingly and use your fastpass wisely. Continue reading

Japan – Day 2 Hakone

On our 2nd day in Japan we decided to venture out from Tokyo to Hakone where we hear we could see great views of Mount Fuji. We purchased our Romancecar train tickets (don’t ask me why it’s named that way haha. I have no idea) the day before. If you plan to take this train, do purchase earlier as it’s by reservation only. You can purchase the tickets at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center within Shinjuku Station. There’s some tourist brochures set up around the area and useful maps and guides you can pick up for free. We also purchased our Hakone Freepass there. It’s basically a ticket that allows you to travel on any mode of transport within Hakone and discounts to museums, restaurants and etc. They only have 2 days and 3 days passes. Although we were only going for one day, I think the 2 day pass was still worth it for the convenience. We paid 5140 Yen for the Hakone 2 day freepass + (890 Yen surcharge to travel there via Romancecar each way). So that’s a total of 6920 Yen all together.

From Shinjuku station it was about 1.5 hour train ride to Hakone-Yumoto station. From there we switched over to the Hakone Tozan Train which climbs further up the mountain. This train is pretty unique as it goes up in a zig-zag motion up the mountain. From one station it will go towards the left side. Then when it reaches the next station, it will switch direction to the opposite direction. Which is pretty smart because if it goes in one single direction, it would be far too steep to climb. 40mins later we reached Gora where we hopped over to the Hakone Tozan Cable Car to Sounzan which was a short 10 min ride up a rather steep incline. Continue reading

Japan – Day 1 Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku

My friend and I randomly decided to book a trip to Tokyo one fine day. Since we’re headed to Japan, we decided to take Japan Airlines (JAL). The service is top-notch and i love the bigger tv screens and night lights. We took a connecting flight via MAS from KL (KLIA) to Singapore (Changi Airport) then JAL from Changi to Tokyo (Haneda Airport). The return ticket costs about RM1300 and the journey was about 7 hours. Lucky for us we took the night flight so it didn’t feel too long.

We arrived Tokyo in the wee hours of the morning at around 5.50am and just in time to see the sunrise (how apt since we’re in the land of the rising sun).

Upon arriving Haneda Airport, we took the Limousine Bus to Shinjuku train station. It was about an hour ride and costs 1230 Yen. Reached there at around 7am and we navigated our way through the big station to find bag lockers as our checkin for the AirBnB was only at 3pm.

You can find a bunch of bag lockers at this station ranging from S-M-L sizes. We each took the L size locker for our bags (800 Yen per day). You can use either cash or SUICA/PASMO card (Reloadable travel card) to pay. For convenience sake, we simply used our SUICA. The locker is quite easy to operate and has english instructions as well so you don’t need to worry about that. But do take note that once you put your bag in, you can’t take out your bags in between as it is a one time use only. If you take it out, and put it back in, you will need to pay again. So make sure you grab all you need from your luggage before putting it in. Once you secure your bag in the locker you will be given a receipt which will also indicate which zone your locker is located at. We also took a picture of the surrounding area just to make sure we don’t forget where our bags are (Shinjuku station is pretty huge).

After leaving our bags, we were now free to explore! :D Here’s a view outside the station early in the morning. I believe this was taken before 8am (before any shops were open).

We then took our first train ride to Shibuya via the JR Yamanote Line. We exited through the Hachiko exit and sure enough we saw the famous Hachiko statue and Shibuya crossing. Continue reading

Business Travels: Park Regis Hotel Singapore

I checked in to Park Regis on Saturday afternoon. Original check in time is 3pm but the front desk was kind enough to check me in earlier and I managed to get my room almost immediately (kudos to them for the flexibility).

My room is on the 2nd floor which is also the same floor as the pool. The room itself is cozy with the soft lighting and I love the large window with the natural sunlight flowing into the room. It also makes a nice spot for reading a book or simply relaxing by the window. It has all the basic needs expected from a 4 star hotel. However an extra touch was the complimentary mobile phone with data. You can freely use it outside of the hotel. But of course you’re expected to take care of it well as there are charges for damaged/lost phone. They also have complimentary wifi in the room as well.

The queen size bed was super comfy and gave me a good night rest after a whole day of walking. One feature of the room that you would have noticed is the unique position of the wash basin and vanity area right there in the room itself. The actual shower and toilet are in separate cubicles behind frosted glass.

My room also included complimentary breakfast at the cafe situated on the 3rd floor. It has the basic toast, omelette station, yoghurt, juices and some mix of local (porridge, rice, etc) and international menu (sausages, baked beans, etc). The spread isn’t very big and could use a little more variety. But it was alright for a quick bite.

The hotel is situated in a strategic spot near the Central Business District (CBD) where my office is situated and also walking distance to the lively tourist spot of Clarke Quay. In fact the nearest MRT station is the Clarke Quay MRT station (purple line) which is just less than 5mins walk from the hotel. You can easily access the entrance to the station via overhead bridge right next to the hotel upon exiting the concierge area.

Through the MRT station underpass, you can also easily access The Central mall which is just directly above via escalator. You can find lots of good Japanese restaurants and other eateries here. There’s a food court downstairs where you can find food on the cheaper side. As you walk outside of the mall, you’ll see the riverside itself which is a great place for a relaxing stroll in the evening.

Overall it was an enjoyable stay here and being centrally located, it made a great spot to set as my base ground.