TRAVEL DIARY: JAPAN
28 May 2015
Was playing around with my iMovie so here you go! A very quickly edited, amateur video but I thought I might as well just share! Visuals overload at the bottom as well so hope you enjoy! A number of you have been asking for my Japan itinerary but honestly, I did not follow any during my time when I was there so I am really in no position to share where you should go but I have put together a list of restaurants and places I went that I think you should totally visit!
Pearl beaded bag and lace up sandals from The Dancing Jewels!
Got my gem necklaces and bangles from The Dancing Jewel too. My current favourites that I can’t stop wearing! You can practically find anything and everything on TDJ, I swear! I was scrolling through their site and I wanted almost everything. But to be honest, I love their jewellery the most! Just for your info, they ships internationally and stocks new arrivals every Sunday 8PM! Also… I know many are keen on the necklaces and the star laceups sandals I featured above (which are so HOT right now), you can get them, or anything else with a 10% storewide discount when you quote “FRANSxTDJ”. http://www.thedancingjewels.com/ Just sharing!
So we were in Japan for a total of 9 day, which is actually very short because we went to Osaka, Kyoto then Tokyo. So my advice is that, if you are planning to travel around, go ahead, do yourself a favour and book your stay for at least 2 weeks! I’m going to share the list of places and restaurants that I know of and tried and the hotels I stayed at so hopefully this helps you in your planning! :)
1. Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel
PLACES TO GO:
1. Osaka Castle
Very crowded but worth it if you like historical stuffs. Some of the stuffs they exhibit are quite interesting but I personally think it’s ok to give it a miss. Maybe cause the crowd and the terribly long walk to the castle puts me off abit.
2. Namba – Dotonburi & Shinsabashi Shopping Arcade
It is a shopping and food haven. We spent both our nights there, eating, shopping and just chilling around.
3. Nara Deer Park
Again, it’s very crowded but rest assured that you’ll definitely get a chance to feed or photographs the deers! They are EVERYWHERE! And so are they faeces so becareful where you’re walking!
4. Tōda-ji Temple
It is at Nara as well, located behind the deer park so plan your itinerary for this! It was built in the mid-700s so there is a really strong history behind this Buddhist temple. It was majestic!
FOOD TO EAT:
3. Kani Doraku (An all crab kaiseki)
4. Kinryu Ramen (a.k.a Dragon Ramen)
5. Beef (Pretty sure beef is good everywhere in Japan but we ate at Gyu-Kaku during one of the nights. It was waaaay cheaper than in Singapore)
I lost the address of the ryokan I stayed in but just do a quick search on google and you’ll definitely be able to find a decent one! Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn where you sleep on tatami mats! Dinner is usually provided and I heard they are usually very good. Or at least the one I had was!
PLACES TO GO:
1. Nishiki Market
2. Fushimi Inari Shrine
3. Shijo Street
Where you will find Takashimaya and Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcade. Nishiki Market, a fresh food market is also nearby.
4. Kimono Rental Shops
They are everywhere, or just do a quick google search! They usually rent out for one full day and fret not, it is very common to see girls dressed in kimono in Kyoto!
FOOD TO EAT:
I only had one night stay so I had my kaiseki dinner in the ryokan! There is plenty of options along Shijo Street so you’ll definitely not be hungry!
AIRBNB!!! Get one with a kitchen if possible so you can buy fresh food from the supermarket and cook at home! We stayed at this airbnb and it was very clean, decent and convenient! Here’s S$34 credit for you to book an apartment if you’d like :)
PLACES TO GO:
1. Shopping at Shibuya 109, Omotesando Hills, Omotesando Street, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, Ura-Hara.
Just walk around Harajuku – Shibuya area, there are little boutiques everywhere! You can also find vintages shops, independent labels and street labels (e.g Chrome Hearts, Neighbourhood, Visvim, Emoda etc)
2. DisneySea & DisneyWorld
3. Yoyogi Park
4. Roppongi Hills
5. Tokyo Tower
6. Shibuya Crossing
It’s the largest town you can find electronic appliances and devices (at a cheaper price too I think), and there are also tons of otaku shops! Also a 7 storey sex shop which is pretty damn interesting so check that out too. Heh.
PLACES TO GO (AT NIGHT)
2. Golden Gai
It has 200 over bars all crammed in 6 alleys. The bars are all really tiny… I don’t think I have ever been to any bar tinier than the ones there. But it is such a good experience! Most bars require entry fee (because they don’t want you bar hopping around) but just walk along the alleys and find those that doesn’t charge cover! Order yourself a drink or two, talk to the bartender and locals and hop to the next bar if you like! We hopped about 3 bars when we were there and had ramen after. What’s special about this ramen store is that, they serve fish broth instead of the usual pork. I didn’t really enjoy the soup though because the broth was a bit too strong for my liking, but my boyfriend couldn’t stop raving about it. It is also very popular and should be easy to find since it is the only ramen store there! Just ask the bartender and they will help :)For more clubs you can try this link! Else, there are bars all around so just walk around and take your pick!
3. Love Hotels
Haha it is apparently very popular and there is this hill full of love hotels so if you’re up for something kinky for a night, you can give it a try :D
FOOD TO EAT:
1. Ichiran Ramen
2. Ikinari Standing Steak Bar
3. Kyubey Sushi
4. Tsukiji Market – Popular restaurants are Sushi Dai, Sushi Daiwa, Sushi Zanmai
Go early as possible as you can for this! We reached around 7am and there was a crazy long queue outside the popular restaurants already. You can also go for the fish auction which starts around 3am.
5. Maisen Tonkatsu
6. Katsukura Tonkatsu
7. Ippudo Ramen
8. Mentsu-Dan Udon
9. All sorts of matcha desserts!!!
10. Tamagoyaki (Can probably find this everywherea along Tsukiji Market)
Remember to also try Sukiyaki, Shabu-shabu, Teppanyaki, Yakitori, eat all the steak, pastries and coffee!
Another tip – If you can, I will highly recommend that you pop by their supermarket and buy some fresh food back to cook! With Japanese standard so high, you can expect really fresh sashimi, beef, seafood & ready-made bento boxes!
If you’re travelling around Japan, remember to get your JR pass because you can use it almost every where you go so it is very worth it. Also, because we all know how confusing the trains are in Japan, remember to get your pocket wifi ready and working (if you need one, read this), and have this website on your phone all day – www.hyperdia.com. Just key in your location and destination and it will show you what line/s you should take, when is the next train coming and how long the trip will take. Very, VERY handy and makes travelling so much easier! You can use this to plan how long you need to go to the airport too so you won’t be late for your flight/s.
So that’s all I can think off now! You can easily find the address to all that I’ve stated so do some homework!! Hope this makes your planning a lil easier, but don’t stress! I went without an itinerary but still had hella fun. Japan is amazing, people are kind and polite so if anything, just ask! And you’ll never be hungry in Japan because everything is so delicious there.
Have fun and good luck!
STAYING CONNECTED WITH VISONDATA POCKET WIFI
19 May 2015
Ok guys, I have to admit that I am on social media almost 24/7, any time when I am not doing anything, I will be definitely be caught using my phone, surfing the net, checking my emails, snapchatting and instagramming. In short, I don’t think I can survive without data in my phone. Sad I know, but what to do? Technology is taking over!
I remember during my last trip to Bali, I got myself a local SIM card and it was working seamlessly for like… A good 20 mins before it just died on me. Totally. So for the rest of the trip, I was so handicapped. I was dying to keep myself updated on Instagram, Snapchat and whatnot but I couldn’t. I even had a couple of scheduled posts to update on but because of the lack of data, I couldn’t. It was sucha bad experience… Something I vowed not to let it happen to me again when travelling.
So for my recent trip to Japan, I decided to get myself a pocket wifi device in Singapore first because I’ve heard how some of Japan’s local pocket wifi device are a lil wonky. So I did a little research and decided to give Visondata a try! So glad I did because it was all a very fuss-free process.
Basically, Visondata rents out portable wifi hotspot with a pre-installed local telco SIM card (of the overseas country) and all you need to do is to connect to the SSID and key in the password that they will provide and you’ll be surfing all day long! I got my 3G data the moment I landed in Narita International Airport. No need to queue to get my SIM card, no time wasted!
But what really impressed me is that Visondata gave me such terrific, stable data all day long, even when I am on the Shinkansen (bullet train). It was said that 3G will usually lag when you’re on it, and in fact, my other group of friends who were using the local pocket wifi device actually did experienced that and couldn’t get any data while on the bullet train for a good whole 2-3 hours. So I was really glad Visondata worked flawlessly!
It is also very handy, probably like 2/3 size of my Iphone 5s? Can be connected up to 6 phones and battery life will vary from 6-8 hours depending on the frequency of the usage. I only had 2 phones connected to it when I was in Japan, had it on no matter where I go (I mean how can one not use Google Maps and not get lost when in Japan?!) and the device actually lasted one full day!
I am sure not everyone needs wifi to survive but to be in a foreign country without any data in your phone is actually pretty dangerous I feel. You will never know when you will get lost or need to make that urgent call or if you need to check on the address of that 3-star Michelin restaurant…
So stay connected & start surfing with Visondata during your next trip!
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