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.