Monday, November 9, 2015

Budget Your Japan Trip

Hey guys it's been awhile since you last see me! This blog post is dedicated to our 8days trip in Tokyo, Japan. (1/11/15 - 8/11/15)

We managed to hook up on cheap airfares because of Scoot's 5 million passengers celebration (50% off air tickets) 

Therefore our round trip flight cost :  SGD$412/pax (including insurance) 

It is highly recommended not to buy the insurance directly from Scoot SGD$39 because if you buy from NTUC or other insurance it will cost you about SGD$23 depending on their coverage. 

Before flying we purchased the SIMCARD , Docomo in Singapore it allows you to have data for 7 days but the speed is really slow and it cost SGD$35! Not worth it! 

Day 1

when we arrived at the Narita Airport (It is highly recommended for you to arrive at Haneda Airport because it's nearer to Tokyo, but because ours is budget so doesn't matter, just need to travel more) 

First thing when you reach the airport, go to the counter at level B1 (JR East Travel Service Center) to purchase your Suica Card (Ez-link Card), upon purchasing you will have to pay 500yen (SGD$5.88) deposit to the card and make a refund at the end of your Japan trip. 

What's so good about the Suica card? It allows you to tap in almost every train-line in Tokyo Japan. 

In Tokyo there's many train-lines, for Example the JR-Line which you can travel further out and the normal Tokyo Subway and Metro which are relatively cheaper. 

The Metro is relatively cheaper compared to the JR-Line, however Metro and Subway are limited to their destinations therefore it is necessary for you to travel with the JR-line. 

If you're only traveling within Tokyo, please do not purchase the 7-Day Travel Pass which cost SGD$360 because it is not worth it. 

The 7-Day Travel Pass allows you to take bullet trains out of Tokyo (traveling out of Tokyo will cost you a bomb if you buy a single ticket without the pass). However if you're only traveling within Tokyo then it is recommended for you to purchase the Suica pass as you can save about SGD$100. 

You can also purchase the 1-Day Tokyo Subway Pass for 800 yen (SGD$9.41) at the service center if you're planning to take the subway multiple times within the day itself as it will be cheaper if you plan correctly. 

The first thing we did was to travel to our apartment as we bought tickets for an attraction. 

We traveled from Narita Airport to our place. 

As this is our first time in Japan, we were very puzzled with the streets and routes and most of the signboards are written in Japanese we could only rely on asking people most of the times. 

Believe it or not we are all experts in hand signs now because Japanese aren't very well versed in English, but they are one of the most helpful people you can find on Earth! You can download the line app with the Japanese translation (works best if you translate with Chinese) or easier sake google translate! 

We met an old couple along the streets of our apartment, we couldn't find our place and they ran up and down to find for us. Communication barrier which slowed the process! They even offered us to put our luggage at their house and let us rest there while they find our apartment for us! They lend me a bicycle to cycle! Super nice!! 

Finally at about 4pm we found our apartment! We settled our accommodation with Airbnb. We stayed at Sezar Daini Nozawa (10mins walk from Komazawa Station, 3 stops away from Shibuya) an apartment with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 living room and a balcony accommodated to 6 which cost : 
SGD$270/pax for 7 Nights (SGD$38.50 per Night)

The apartment is relatively small. We wasn't expecting it to be that small as there were 3
Bedrooms (I actually thought that it would be about the size of a 5 room flat in Singapore) as a matter of fact it is about the size of a 3 room flat in Singapore! But for the price I guess it is definitely worth it! 

When we were at the apartment our parcel arrived! We bought tickets to Studio Ghibli! Studio Ghibli tickets are often sold out fast you should try your luck purchasing it one month before your travel time in Singapore. One ticket is SGD$20 when you purchase in Singapore! If you buy it in Japan it's SGD$11, but if you're buying it there on the spot chances are, it's going to be sold out. Tickets purchased must be sent to your Japan address! Get your landlord to sign the parcel for you! For our case we booked a timing for the tickets to arrive and the Postage companies there does wonders! It came at the perfect timing when we arrived! 

After collecting our tickets we headed to Shibuya for our first meal! We are Ramen at Ichiran Ramen! 

The ramen is DAMMMM NICE! The restaurant is really cool too! You purchase your food from a machine and you will need to use the ticket to exchange your food! 

The ramen is relatively cheap! I bought the pork ramen, with 2 eggs, extra slices of pork, extra noodles for 1400 yen (SGD$16.47) 

After eating the ramen, I realize that whatever ramen I've eaten before in Singapore are just rubbish. Really! The soup is damm good! Must eat! It's 5 out of 5! 

Waiting time is about 40mins but it's worth the wait! Also take note that all restaurants have a weird closing time and last order timings! Some opens in the morning close in the afternoon and opens again at night! So do remember to do your research before going there! 

After eating we decided to walk around Shibuya for a bit as it was already dark! Japan sun sets at 4.40pm and shops mostly close at 8pm or 9pm! 

We saw the famous Shibuya Crossing, basically it is just like people randomly walking across the streets! 

Also went to se the Hachiko Statue, Yes the famous dog that died while waiting for his dead owner to return at the station, therefore Japanese credit him as a Loyal dog and made a statue to remember him. (My friend Jiaren was dying to see it) 

Day 2 

We woke up early in the morning and rushed out for Studio Ghibli! There's a time slot for the attraction and ours was catered from 10am-12pm) you can stay there longer if you want but you must arrive within that time slot! 

We took the metro to Shibuya and changed a few train-lines to Mikata Station! You should experience the morning peak hour when you're taking the metro! It is definitely very squeezy! So squeezy that you can't move and Japan trains are so quiet it hurts your ears! Japanese are very nice people so they will let you try and squeeze into the train! Now we are all trained experts to squeeze on trains, whatever peak hour you've experienced in Singapore is bullshit! Try a metro in Japan and you will get what I mean! 

When we arrived at Mikata Station we board a bus at Lane 9 to Studio Ghibli! One-way bus ride there costs 210 yen (SGD$2.47) you can pay cash on the bus or you can purchase a round ticket at the machine beside the bus lane which is cheaper! 

Reached Studio Ghibli and was fascinated at all the incredible artworks there! Unfortunately we couldn't take photos in there! 

If you ever go to Studio Ghibli remember to try their Pear & Milk mixed Ice cream! It costs 400 yen (SGD$4.70) but it tastes so good! They also have a merchandize shop there for you to buy souvenirs! Obviously I bought some Hahaa! 

After the Museum, My friends Miki & Lynde went to Hello Kitty land! Not a fan of hello kitty, Jiaren Shawn, Jonah and I walked to Inokashira Park and took some photos there! There's also a pond where you can ride on the famous swan boat but we didn't because the weather was too cold!

Entry to the park is completely free! (Some parks you have to pay in Japan) so it is really a nice place for you to just go and enjoy the environment! Inside the park includes a shrine and Autumn leafs are really pretty! 

We found a restaurant inside the park with very nice crepes! Their crepes are really tasty and have a very good atmosphere for you to just sit down and chit-chat! 

I would highly recommend their Earl Grey Tea as its freshly brewed (tea leafs) 

We ordered 2 crepes and a drink which cost about 2100 yen (SGD$24.70) 

After eating we went to the Shinjuku station to purchase some tickets at the Odakyu Service Center! 

As we planned to go to Hakone (to view Mount Fuji) we needed to take the Odakyu line, called the Romance Car (1hour to reach Hakone at 850 yen / SGD$10 for One-way) and also the Hakone Free Pass at 5180 yen (SGD$60.94)

This Hakone Free Pass allows you to take any transport, Bus/Train/Cable Car/Cruise, Second Class Cabin within Hakone Region for 2 consecutive days! It is relatively cheaper if you want to try all their transports for sightseeing! 

After purchasing the tickets we went to Harajuku and walked around we went to try the Takoyaki there! IT IS SO TASTY! I ordered a 8 pieces takoyaki with cheese at 680 yen (SGD$8) 

Shortly after, we wanted to try the famous curry rice, Minoringo! Unfortunately it was closed because of public holiday. 

Therefore we randomly went to a ramen store to eat... Hmmm not as good as Ichiran Ramen but still better than Singapore's food. 

After dinning we went to shop at the 4-storey Daiso, with their things at 100~200yen (SGD$1.17~$2.35) I bought dog food there at 100 yen HAHA So cheap for treats! 

Day 3

Woke up very early in the morning again because we wanted to go to DisneySea! It was a pain in the ass to travel there because it is quite far! 

Upon reaching Maihama Station, we needed to take the railway to DisneySea! They offer a round trip ticket at 520 yen (SGD$6.11) BUT! If you go in a group of 6 or more you're in luck! They offer a bunch of 11 tickets at 2300 yen (SGD$27) therefore we bought 11 + 1 ticket = 12 tickets (2 tickets each for round trip) at 470 yen (SGD$5.52)! Yay saved money, because if you go Disney you will spend like crazy! 

Well, Disneysea was not bad the attractions are, I would say for kids not my age (I'm 22 if you don't know) the rides are not scary but the environment set-up there was really amusing. 

(What I'm holding now is called the priority pass that was given to us because we were stuck in the attraction for 40mins)

Disneysea have this thing called the Fast-Pass which you can book a slot for the ride (only certain rides) to skip the tedious long queue. However at about slightly after Noon (12pm) all the slots of the fast pass will be taken therefore it is advisable to scan for Fast Pass as early as possible. (Disneysea opens at 8.30am!)

The food however isn't really very cheap Miki and I shared a meal together with one chicken dish, one dessert, one prawn dish and 2 drinks at 4170 yen (SGD$49.05) and they don't even taste good! 

We wrapped up Disney at about 4.30pm because we were bored! The land is too big we walk until our legs sore, and there was so many people! Like orchard road during peak hours! We only managed to take 3 rides, which 1 attraction had technical fault and another one had a technical delay. Quite a horrible experience needless to say we spent 6800 yen (SGD$80) just to take 3 stupid rides there and call it a day. 

However, I would recommend you to try 'House of Terror' if you ever want to visit DisneySea! That was the only attraction which I find special and creative! (Well I only tried 3 rides though) 

After Disney, we went back to Harajuku to walk around and wanted to try our luck again at Minoringo's Curry rice. GUESS WHAT. It was closed again despite the website saying that it is open! 

After that I got saico-Ed by Miki to take NEO-PRINT THERE! I tell you all ah. THIS IS THE ONLY REGRET THAT I HAVE IN JAPAN!!!! 

The stupid Neo-print cost 400 yen (SGD$4.70) and the photos were incredibly UGLY. They auto photoshop your face into a V-shape, Bloat your eyes and put fake makeup on you!!!!! We took together! Three of us were guys! we became she-male!!! 

Day 4

Another early day up! Headed to Ginza Station. We wanted to eat the famous Sushi at the Tsukiji Fish Market! Trust me you must be there damm early because the queue is crazily long! 

The shop, 寿司大 opens at 9am, we reached there at 9.30am and it was already sold out! 

Luckily there were other alternatives we went to the shop beside it called 大和寿司! AHAHAHA okay la hor the difference only one 和! Queued for about 40mins (I totally hate queueing but Japan train me to be one patient bitch)

We went into the restaurant it was more like a small store with a sushi bar and they make fresh sushi for you, they have a chef's recommendation of 7 course sushi at 3780 yen (SGD$44.47) I know this sounds crazy for just 7 pieces of sushi! BUT TRUST ME IF YOU EAT IT YOU WILL FEEL THAT THIS IS THE BEST THING YOU'VE EVER EATEN! 

Whatever sushi you have tasted in your entire life you will feel like it is SHIT after eating this one! It is really heavenly good! I rate it 6/5! Exploded my rating already!!! 

For the price, for the waiting time it is totally worth it! If you never eat you will regret!

Before visiting the Tokyo tower we headed to the Tokyo Imperial palace! The place is awesome because some parts of the park allows free admissions and they have very nice trees! 

After visiting the fish market we headed to Tokyo Tower! Well we were all craving for Curry rice because our 2times failed attempt at Minoringo therefore we went to eat curry rice in Tokyo tower! 

I ordered a cheesy chicken curry rice for 1800 yen (SGD$21.17) quite expensive but not bad also the taste! 

We headed to purchase tickets for the Tokyo tower view. They offer a 100m view and a 150m view! Which if you want to go for the  150m view you will have to purchase it with the 100m view too. If you're a JCB credit card you can enjoy the 100m view for free however you will have to top up money for the 150m view! We decided to opt for the 150m and Lynde had a JCB credit card therefore we kinda had a shared discount of 1300 yen (SGD$15.29) 

The tower itself is a beauty. In the morning it's red and white, at night it's gold! The view inside the tower is spectacular! 

There's also a glass view at the 100m view where you can stand on a glass to look down! 

At the 150m view you can expect to see the ' shadow ' of the Tokyo tower in which the route built looks like the imagery of the Tokyo Tower! How creative! 

After the view we headed to Pinochika, a nearby art themed cafe! I previously went into their Facebook to make a reservation and they have an English translator! 

Dinning there was really delightful! The owner warmly welcomed us and translated everything for us! I would totally recommend their Pino-pie! It is so good that we ordered 2! 

The price is a little bit pricey - it cost 10800 yen for 6 pax (1800/pax SGD$21.17/pax)

Day 5 

The day has come! Hakone!! We were so excited to travel there to see Mt.Fuji despite needing to wake up so early just to travel! As Hakone is very far we had to take the Romance Car there early! As mentioned with the Hakone Free Pass we could take all the transport in Hakone Region (except taxi) 

Reached Hakone, guess what. WE CANT SEE MT.FUJI!!! It was covered by clouds! So upset! They said this is not the season to see Mt.Fuji!! This one we didn't know. Kinda sad! 

With an empty stomach we went to this restaurant that you have to remove your shoes and sit on the tatami to dine one! Pretty cool!

They are famous for their giant prawns which cost 750 yen (SGD$8.82) for one prawn! I ordered a set meal of a bowl of Chicken meat with egg and rice and also cold Soba and 1 giant prawn. 

The meal was so good too!! Although it cost 2300 yen (SGD$27.05) but it was worth it! The prawn is worth every single cent spent!

After filling our stomachs we headed to the water gate which is the not gate in Hakone that is on the water itself! Took some photos there and called it a day! 

Traveling back was expensive though! We needed to purchase a bus ticket that fetches is from Hakone to Shinjuku (1hour ride, if we take train it will be 2 hours) which cost 1680 yen (SGD$19.76) 

We reached Shinjuku and decided to try the KFC in Japan. I was having a very high expectation for the KFC there but it tasted like shit! And it was quite expensive! 790 yen (SGD$9.29) for 2 piece chicken (even pasar malam chicken wings taste nicer) and 1 drink. 

Day 6 

Jiaren wanted to go to a park that can take nice photos with yellow trees! So we went to do a research and found gingko avenue. We went to a wrong park at first at we thought that gingko avenue was the place for the park. But in actual fact gingko avenue means a place that has like trees at both side of the street down a lane. So we traveled again and reached Showa-kinen Park! We had to pay 410 yen (SGD$4.82) to enter the park!

The money was well paid because the yellow flowers were really mega pretty!!

After taking a million photos we went to the lake restaurant and I ordered curry rice at 900 yen (SGD$10.58) it taste not bad also. Not going to comment much but the meat was fried with a very good crispy texture! 

After that we decided to go for a Boat ride! There are two kinds of boat ride there - one is rowing and one is paddling! The rowing one is 700 yen (SGD$8.23) for 1hour while paddling is 700 yen for 30mins!

We split up into 2 groups after dinning Miki Lynde and I went to Shinjuku to shop because I wanted to go Takashimaya to buy SKII! Takashimaya in Japan have 5% off store wide now and they will give you a hello kitty member card! On top of that I can claim a 8% tax free! So good right! 

Unfortunately I wanted to look for Burberry Blue and Black label but the staff told us that Burberry didn't renew their license with Japan and now the two labels are only available in the UK. 

We met up again at 6pm in Shibuya and went to eat something like you can fry the food yourself one I forgot what's the name of it unfortunately but it was really quite affordable one person only paid like 1k+ yen! 

Day 7

Last full day in Japan, we decided to go around to shop! In the morning we went to Yoyogi park walking around since it's free! Took some photos there.

We wanted to try our luck again at Minoringo and luckily it was open! 11am open 11.30am inside full Liao so we need to wait! 

Well I must admit this curry rice is worth the wait and attempt you must always remember to add cheese on in! Adding cheese cost 200 yen (SGD$2..35) and I ordered the chicken curry because I can't eat beef for 900 yen (SGD$10.58) 

It was totally delicious! They also have the extremely spicy curry which my dear friend Shawn ate half of it and gave up! I had a small sip of it and it was so spicy the spiciness spreads the moment you put it on your tongue!

Luckily most restaurants in Japan offers free ice water! Good thing about Japan to take note! Don't need to spend extra money on drinks! (Although we literally go to the vending machine every single day -HAHA)

Speaking of vending machines! Do note that all the vending machines have different prices! If you buy drinks at the station it will cost you about 130~160 yen (SGD$1.53~$1.88) while when you're at the streets, the same drinks would usually cost 100~130 yen (SGD$1.17~$1.53)

If you think the difference isn't very big... You're wrong! Because when you're there you will feel like drinking every moment! So every yen counts!

If you're luckily enough the vending machines will have 100 yen sales which all types of drinks are 100 yen only and sometimes they have collaboration with anime so when you buy the drink it will drop out together with a nice keychain!

After eating we split into 2 groups and went on to shop! First stop we went to Harajuku as I wanted to buy a bag (my bag pack broke) I bought this brand called New York Yankee for 2975 yen (SGD$35) got a 5% off from the shop because I went to sign up for their stuff (I honestly don't know what's the sign up for because it was Japanese and done by the staff) BUT WHATEVER GOT DISCOUNT LEH! 

Shopping around was fun and I found out that Nike in Japan is really cheap and also Potter Bags are the cheapest there! One Nike flyknit is about SGD$260 while one pair of the same design in Japan is about SGD$150 talk about the big difference! 

I gian the cheapness so I went to buy one pair for 7776 yen (SGD$91) haha!! So cheap only man and I was really kiasu I walked a few shops and the same design they were selling at 9445 yen (SGD$111) I'm so lucky and happy haha! 

After shopping and like spending all my money we headed to this flower market to dine! 

The appearance of the restaurant was really good but the food there taste like shit! All the dishes were vegetables! Felt like a rabbit eating grass. And their supposed to be ' famous ' flower tea taste like shit also. I drank the Early Grey Tea and it tasted exactly like Lipton's Earl Grey Tea which is a tea bag that can be purchased in any supermarket -.- it was pricey too a whole meal there cost 1620 yen (SGD$19.05) consist of one sandwich which is like probably shorter than an angmoh dick and one jug of Lipton-alike tea. 

Day 8 

Early morning went to the airport and spent 20k yen buying Tokyo banana and the chocolates ! Royce chocolates are only 720 yen (SGD$8.47) and if you buy inside the airport it's cheaper because there's no tax! Remember! If you want to buy Tokyo banana or the famous 恋之人 chocolate, Royce chocolates remember to buy inside the Narita Airport as it is cheaper! 

Im writing this on my flight while on my way back to Singapore. Overall I had a really fun experience! I would really like to thank Jiaren for planning the whole trip! 

I would also like to thank Jonah for waking up early in the morning to make breakfast for us almost every morning, 

thank Lynde for getting the Studio Ghibli tickets because it was the only thing I wanted to see in Japan, lastly thank myself for washing all the clothes every single night for everyone that wanted to wash clothes hor! 

Miki & Shawn no contributions one. Only know how to disturb me ask me drink milk when it smells like vomit! Still bluff me! 

Lastly, I would like to thank myself for washing all the clothes and being one Ah sum for the family! 

I will see you again Japan! Thanks to this trip I have gotten a picture of Japan and will have an even better experience when I come back next year! 

Here's my Travelogue:

I hope you find this blogpost useful and interesting! Thank you for reading! See you in the next post!