Friday, April 14, 2017

Japan Travelogue: #buddingyeastinJP Day One - #buddinginOsaka

JAPAN !! My dream country. 
I've loved Japan since young, through watching Sailormoon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and travel documentaries #yupimageek
Amazed by how they use modern technology and keep traditions at the same time.

Scammed ahpok into buying me this travel pillow bwahahahah!
Actually we wanted to get it before my trip but we forgot. 
Heng la cause Airport's Muji had a 30% promo hehehe.

Cannot bring pok there but got substitute :p

YAY Levon came to send us off! #bitchstand

Mandatory sky snapshot!
Damn it I booked the wrong side and couldn't take the full sunrise view :x

I remembered not to wake Bimb for the sunrise this time too HAHAHAHA.

Ugh this snack provided by SQ was horrible. 
I rejected it for the flight back cause it tasted like cardboard.

First stop upon arrival at Narita Airport!
JR East Travel Service Center at Basement 1, to activate our JR Pass.

We bought our tickets using SQ's promotion, so we couldn't choose multi-city and land in Kansai :x
So JR Pass is definitely needed to save money!

We ordered our JR Pass via JTB, who delivered us the Japan Rail Exchange Order via TaQBin. 
Omg seriously, such service for few pieces of paper. #OnlyInJapan

The Japan Rail Exchange Order is valid for 3 months, and you can only get the JR Pass when you reach Japan.
There's 7 days, 14 days and 28 days to choose from, and its possible to choose the date of activation at the counter.
We planned it so that we'd end up in Tokyo by the last day of our JR Pass usage :D

JR East Travel Service Center
Narita Airport Basement One
Operating hours: 6.30 am to 9.45 pm

Just fill in a form and hand your Japan Rail Exchange Order to the counter staff.
The service staff was really nice to ask for our final destination to help us plan and suggest train timings.
Don't know why I so kiasu, find 4 alternative timings for what HAHAH.

The JR station is just up ahead from the Travel Service Center.

Just as with all stations, there is a special entrance at the side for JR Pass holders.
You'll have to flash your JR Pass to the staff to enter.
I say flash because they sometimes just glance and not even check properly LOLOL. 

Check the info boards above for the platform to go to !

#buddingyeastinJP Day One !
Aboard the NEX - JR Narita Airport Express to Shinagawa.
This is covered by JR Pass (:

Picked Shinagawa Station 品川 as our interchange, instead of the super big and crowded Tokyo Station.
Tokyo Station is wayyyyy to big to navigate if you have large luggage, 
and especially if you're trying to rush for a connecting train.
Apparently we need 20 min to transfer from the NEX platform to the Shinkansen platform to Shin-Osaka. :x

Shinagawa is more convenient cause the platform is nearer - around 10 min?
Just ensure that the trains you're taking will stop at the respective stations.
Check the JR websites for the train timetables!

Head up to 1F, to the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen South Transfer Gate
Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka is at Platform 21-24
JR Pass allows you to take either Hikari or Kodama; Please choose Hikari, cause it's faster!

Wheeeee first time aboard a Shinkansen!
Super fast and silent, and the seats are similar to that of an airplane.
Oh and the cool thing is, you can charge your phone if its a window seat! Like whaaaaaaaat. #OnlyInJapan

Disclaimer is, you'll need the Japanese plug or adapter though. Bwahahahah.

Shin-Osaka Station after 3 hours!
Still need another train to get to Osaka station - cause that's where our hotel is

From Shin-Osaka to Osaka, you'll have to take the JR Kyoto Line, using the Rapid Service Train.
Platform 13-14 ! 

First of the many vending machines we saw!
Omg the mini bottles are sooooo cute and travel friendly we both bought one. They have mini Ayataka!!

Took some wrong turns and long routes but we managed to find our hotel! 

JR Osaka station is damn huge I swear. 
It is also known as Umeda station on the other lines.. Confusing initially right. Hahah. 
Just follow the colored signs! Some of the paths have colored lines as a guide too.

Hotel Elsereine Osaka 
1 Chome-5-25 Dojima, 
Kitaki-ku, Umeda, Osaka-fu 530-0003

Seriously our reaction when we saw the reception area..
Everything was gleaming ceramic white. Fits Bimb's #摸灯 (modern :p) criteria 

And then this. Cinderella themed! Actually the name like a bit Elsa themed instead hahahah.
At this point I was quite excited for our room liao.

This is damn worth our $ per night, cause its as spacious as advertised! 
Plus the wide window is such a win.
Natural sunlight facing vanity area = Makeup perfect liao 

The Japanese definitely have their priorities right Hahahahaha. 

Also, can always trust Bimb for her hotel choices!! 
I just have to pick the location area nia 

Toilet was of comfortable size, and clean. 
This is what they term the 'western' toilet in Japan.

Look at the dining area!
Seriously~ There's a white piano in the middle of that bed of roses okay.

Freshened up and ready to bud! :D

First meal in Japan OMG I AM SO EXCITED!!!!

Wanna guess what I'm having?

Yoshinoya. #imnotkidding
We saw this near our hotel on our way there, so we decided to try upon Bimb's recommendation.

LIKE DAMN IT'S SUPER DELICIOUS. and nothing like Singapore's!
The menu is totally different too.

This is Butaniku Don, with salad and an onsen egg! 
The whole set is 500 yen only, which is sgd 6.40? #OnlyInJapan

You mix up the onsen egg in its bowl, then pour it over the meat and rice. SO SHIOK!
The goma salad sauce also comes in this squeezy container that's super innovative and no mess.

Taking a walk around Dotonburi !
Before that, we actually dropped by Kuromon Ichiba Market to take a look but it was mostly closed.
I'll return to try the okonomiyaki next time ;p

Both places are near Nippombashi Station on Sennichimae Line, or JR Namba Station on Yamatoji Line.
You need to open Google Maps to navigate can liao.

Food streeeeeet. So many things I wanna eat hahahahah need to filter!

Penguin's Bar!

And this was the queue for Dotonburi's Konamon Museum!
It's quite interesting, because you can make your own wax Takoyakis, learn about the history of Konamon, 
as well as eat real Takoyaki from Takoya Dotombori Kukuru.

Haiiya our tummy too full and my friend not intrsted, so we didn't go in hahaha.

The famous gigantic crab restaurant Kanidouraku!
All things crab; cheese grilled crabs, crab sushi..

Know what is crab hotpot called in Japanese?
Kani Nabe. BWAHAHAHA #badjoke

The famous Glico man at Nihombashi-suji!
Initially when we saw it, it wasn't alight, and yet so many tourists were still crowding around taking dark photos..
wtf. like die also must take only. #guesswheretheyrefrom

Wandered around and saw Pablo Premium Cafe! 

image credits: Pablo 

Pablo Premium Cafe Dotonburi Store
2-3-15 Shinsaibashi-suji, 
Chuo-ku, Osaka-fu 542-0085 

We both wanted to rest and nom desserts so we decided to share this.
Chocolate Banana Cheese Tart for 990 yen!

Heng we decided to share, because it is super rich and creamy.
Despite me being a cheese lover, and Bimb being a desserts person, we couldn't finish!

I think till date we're still scared of the taste hahahahah.

Please pick the mini tarts instead! It can't be ordered in the cafe, but as takeaway.
And the annoying thing is, it is considered rude to eat while walking in Japan, so buy liao go hotel eat la hahaha.

Shinsaibashi-suji !
OMG this is the best place to shop in Osaka.
Other than Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, there's DISNEY STORE AND SANRIO GALLERY wheeeeeee.
I spent a bomb at at these two stores alone wtf hahahah.
Try shopping at local stores like WEGO, GU, and Thank You Mart too!

Wish we'd known how awesome this would be, because we spent too little time here.
Haven't finish walking sia!
Most shops close quite early at around 8 pm, so head there earlier if possible.

ICHIRAN! Bimb was craving for this, so this was what we were saving our tummies for hahah.
Slurping noodles and hot soup in cool weather is really awesomeeee.

Ordering is simple, just insert the correct amount of cash into the machine and press for what you want!
For example, one bowl of basic ramen + add on flavoured egg + drink.
The machine will dispense 3 tickets, 1 for each item, and you just have to hand the tickets to the staff!
There is a form to fill for further personalizing your ramen also - softness of the noodles, thickness of the broth, etc.

HAHAHA I forgot that Bimb loves the green onions so I cancelled it out oops.
The green onions here are really strong in flavour sia.

1 Chome-4-16 Dotonburi
Chuo-ku, Osaka-fu 542-0084
Open 24 hours

Part two of shopping!
Don Quijote, also known as Donki, is a 24 hrs store selling.. literally everything.
It's like a hyper version of Daiso, at slightly higher prices.
You can find Japanese brand cosmetics inside sold at super cheap prices compared to Sg too!

I bought my Lucido-L Argan Rich Oil here for only 870 yen, which is $11?
For reference, Singapore retail price is $16.90 hiak hiak hiak

Don Quijote Umeda
4 -16 Komatsubara-cho 
Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0018
Open 24 hrs 

The gorgeous HEP FIVE ferris wheel (:

Getting ready for Day Two HAHAHA. 
Bimb please dont kill me LOL

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