Saturday, October 14, 2017

Visit Akihabara: Anime and Manga fans Favorite Destination (Tokyo, Japan)

What to do in Tokyo? Well, if you are a fan of anime or manga, Akihabara is must go place. It is a district in the Chiyoda ward of central Tokyo. Akihabara also known as the 'Electric Town' for its famous history of selling cheap electronic gadgets and accessories. Now, it is well known for the stores collector's toys, merchandising, videos, games, and more...
Mega Don Quijote is here too! Check out my review for this discount store >Here<
Two of the main highlight of Akiba is the Gundam Cafe (must come early for the queue and product availability) and the SEGA arcade game centre.
By the way, I was lured to this little shop by the smell of their cheese tart. Pablo, a famous Japanese cheese tart chain.
Although Pablo is available in Malaysia too but I think having this mini cheese tart in the origin country taste better (perhaps...).

Friday, September 15, 2017

All Nippon Airways (ANA) from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo

 I always thought that flying to Japan can be very costly and the better option would be to travel with budget airlines. This time, I prove it wrong because for my recent trip to Tokyo in mid-August 2017, I have chosen All Nippon Airways (ANA) instead of budget airlines. The return tickets cost RM1,596 as compared to other airlines (including budget airlines) ranging from RM1,900 - RM2,400 for economy seat.
ANA allows up to two free baggage check-in per passenger with maximum weight of 23KG each. This is more than enough for a week trip, including shopping for lots of stuffs to bring home. Other than that, the seats are comfortable, spacious, and in-flight entertainment. 
There is no shade on the window. It turn dim automatically.
The meal was okay (depending on individual taste and preferences) but the beverage menu is awesome.
Snacks!
Will I want to fly with ANA again? The answer is definitely yes. By the way, for some of their route, there is this Star Wars-themed aircraft!

Hotel Monterey Hanzomon (Tokyo, Japan)

Ranked #17 out of 75 hotels in Ryokan, Chiyoda on Tripadvisor, this hotel is worth to consider when visiting Tokyo. It is located near (walking distance) to the Imperial Palace and easily accessible via subway, and convenient to and from the two airport in Tokyo (Narita and Haneda). I managed to book this hotel from Expedia.com for only RM250 per night. Here are the pictures:
The hotel main entrance
Unique designed lift
Inside the lift
Walkway to the room...
Coming into the room, it is clean and comfortable, although it is quite small
Medium size bed, just nice for 2 but best for 1 person...
Standard hotel room accessories with 2 bottles of complimentary mineral water daily.
This is interesting. The pillow is quite comfortable and I think it is with some treatment function as per this description card. Maybe someone can translate this to English.
The bathroom is the best in this room, nice interior design and clean. Good water pressure for shower and a bath tub (for a small room in the city center of Tokyo with reasonable price, it is a bonus)
View from the room, nothing great but at least there is a window.
The Hanzomon subway station exit #5 is just opposite the main entrance of the hotel. This exit is with lift, easy to access with luggage.
Overall, this is a great hotel to stay in Tokyo. There must be a reason to be ranked 17th in Tripadvisor. I bet it is very expensive during the Sakura blossom in Spring because of its walking distance to Imperial Palace.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Best Discount Store in Japan: Mega Don Quijote (Mega ドン・キホーテ)

If you wonder where is the best place for a tourist to shop for 'everything', this discount store is the best place. Mega Don Quijote, also known as Donki is a 24 hours (not all stores but most of it) convenience store that have everything you need, from groceries, household items, clothes, bags, shoes, watches, toys, bicycles, stationary, adult toys, cosmetics, skin care, off-the-shelf pharmaceutical products, electrical appliances and others, to take-out sushi and prepared food. Well, basically from a few Yen until thousands, non-branded items to luxury brand like Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Chanel.
Not to forget that this is a discount store. Meaning, many of their products are on sales with attractive discounts. Also, they have tax refund counter in the store for immediate refund (must show your passport to process for refund).
Simply type Mega Don Quijote on the map and the navigation will lead the way. They are located at major prefecture in Japan. The few that I went were in Shibuya, Shinjuku and previously in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Go see it yourself how amazing is this store where they managed to utilise the limited store space to display almost everything you need. Seeing is believing!

H.I.S Pocket Wi-Fi Rental for Tokyo Trip

To travel around Tokyo with high speed data connectivity is a must if you want to use the Google Map for navigation or check on the train services. Of course, the ideal is to stay connected all the time even when we are travelling so that we can upload pictures and posts about our visits instantly. Although there are many free Wi-Fi hotspot around Tokyo such as in the subway station, some convenient stores or shops, it is still more convenient if we our own data connection.
There are many options now available to use data when we travel. There are SIM card from various telcos or rent a pocket Wi-Fi router that can be shared with multiple devices. During my recent Tokyo trip, I rented the H.I.S LTE pocket Wi-Fi for just RM15 per day. For my 6 days trip, I only pay RM90 in total (deposit not required as they only need a copy of the credit card, in case of lost or damage of the device). The plus point of their rental policy is that they only charge for the number of days in Tokyo but we can collect the device 3 days before the date of departure and return the device within 3 days after our trip without any charges.

This device uses Softbank 4G LTE high speed network, unlimited data usage and allow connection of up to 10 devices. We are satisfied with the battery life which can perform very well up to 8 hours for 2 connected device (advertised on their website: up to 9 hours).

I have not tried other providers yet but I can happily say that I am very satisfy with this one. The connection was fast and stable, even in the underground street. Most importantly, it only cost RM15 per day which I belief is very reasonable for unlimited data usage.

In case if you want to give it a try, this is their website: http://www.his.com.my/pocket-wi-fi-rental/

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

6 Days Ramen Adventures

For my recent trip to Tokyo, I managed to try out different ramen each day. Here are the 6 different ramen I had in 6 days:

Day 1: Ramen Kagetsu Arashi @ Narita InternationalAirport
Arashi is a popular ramen noodle shop all over Japan. The secret to its popularity is soup created from large portions of pork back fat stewed slowly over a low flame. Kagetsu's No.1 dish: Ramen noodles with garlic cloves.
Day 2: Afuri Ramen Tokyo @ Roppongi
Afuri Ramen is famous for their special Yuzu Ramen. I tried the Yuzu Shoyu Ramen and it taste good. Something that I won't get to taste elsewhere, refreshing!
Same like other ramen restaurants, ordering has to be done with this machine.
The menu...check out the drawing at the bottom that says "Sold out". Kawaii!
Day 3: Baikohken Tokyo @ KITTE
This ramen reminds me of Asahikawa. Baikohken ramen is from far north of Japan, Asahikawa. It is pork-based shoyu ramen with a more stronger salty taste. Anyway, the specialty of Asahikawa ramen is the butter and corns in the soup.
Note that there is no English menu in this restaurant but we are glad that the staff can speak good English and explained to us their specialty ramen. Located at the 5th Floor KITTE shopping mall, it is a worth trying ramen restaurant with some nice selection menu and Tokyo Station window view.
Day 4: Ichiran Ramen 一蘭 @ Shinjuku
No doubt, this is the best tonkotsu ramen that I ever had, especially when I can customise it according to my taste.
Since it is one of the Japan's best ramen and it is so popular among tourist, don't expect to get into the restaurant without a long queue. This is just part of the waiting line...
Yup, the restaurant is at basement so another half of the queue starts here from the ground entrance.
Took us nearly 1 hour to get into the restaurant and purchase the tickets at the machine. Still got to wait for seats here....
Despite of the long waiting time, it is worth it.
Day 5: Rokurinsha つけめん 六厘舎 @ Skytree, Oshiage
Okay, Rokurinsha is best known for Tsukemen (Special Dip Noodle) but I wanted to try their Soy Sauce and Pork Bone Broth ramen instead. Taste Good! By the way, this is another long queue famous ramen brand in Tokyo. 
Day 6: Rokurinsha つけめん 六厘舎 (Yes, again!) @ Haneda International Airport
This is the famous Rokurinsha tsukemen. I need to try it myself  after seeing many people enjoying it at the Skytree restaurant. The noodles are thicker (like udon) and the dipping soup is very rich of pork bone broth. Personally, I prefer their their regular ramen more than this dipping tsukemen.
That's all for now. My ramen adventures will continue....