Side-trip to Kamakura, Japan

(I had this blog post in my draft since July 2, 2013. I’ve decided to just post this up despite the lack of text. A picture speaks a thousand words, I guess.)

Act I: Reaching town

The trip to Kamakura in 2012 was totally impromptu. I was planning to head to Yokohama with my N’EX and Suica package but changed my mind when I saw that the ticket covers Kamakura.

Despite being a city person, I love old towns more than cities. The trip to Kamakura from the airport was quite long. I fell asleep on the train.

The sky was cloudy when I reached. It took me a while to find an empty locker to store my luggage.Kamakura station

Entrance to Komachi Dori
Adorable Japanese family
Random cute street at Kamakura
Cute anime Kamakura bus

Act II Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū

Map of Kamakura
Flag on bamboo thingy
Pigeons and lotus pond
Stone lantern burning thing, Gift from sugar store to the shrine
Art exhibition at Kanagawa Modern art museum
Solemn ceremony but we all gawked impolitely
More gawking, from behind
Stone lion
Little boy tripped on steps at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū
Do not enter, unless you are staff

Act III Before, during, after the rain

It was pouring when I left the shrine. I stood at the corner of a street to wait for the rain to stop a little. It didn’t stop that much.

Before the downpour
Ink painting billboard
Buddha for sale
Politician Asao
Hiding from the rain
Cute cafe
Small shrine
Danger! Pedestrians have priority
Around the world on a ship
Kamakura traffic
Kamakura sky
Kamakura sky

Hidden treasures on the road: Second hand bookstores

I know books don’t make the best souvenirs:

Little Prince, Beauvoir
Little Prince, Beauvoir

Despite that, I always feel a sense of euphoria when I stumble upon second hand bookshops overseas.

The musty smell of the shop, the yellowing pages and the cheap price of books give me more thrill than shopping for clothes unless the garments are second hand and cheap.

Here are a few of the hidden treasures I’ve found during my travels:



BOOK OFF is one of Japan’s second hand book store chain. I was introduced to it by my host family in Fukuoka. At the end of my summer school, I sent home a heavy box of Japanese manga.

Popular manga usually go for 200 yen for a book while older manga are 100 yen. Foreign language books are not cheap though.

When I visit Japan (which is not often), I always have my eyes peeled for a branch of BOOK OFF on the streets. (There’s even some BOOK OFFs in Paris, if you are ever there.) When I see a BOOK OFF, I can’t help popping in to see their collection.

During my last trip to Japan, I had a free day waiting for the evening to come so I could go to Gintama Land. I found a BOOK OFF on the second floor of a building and spent hours in the shop, thumbing through comics.

Books in BOOK OFF are always in pristine condition. They look even better than most of the books on my shelf back home.

The Japanese usually read books stores while standing (it even has its own phrase “tachiyomi“). On weekends, it’s quite a sight to see everyone standing, reading while facing the bookshelves.

Bouquinerie du Centre, Nantes

Bouquinerie du Centre, Nantes
Bouquinerie du Centre, Nantes

I was looking for a place to have lunch in the center of Nantes when I came across a second hand bookstore “Bouquinerie du Centre”.

The selection wasn’t a lot but it had titles which weren’t easily available in Singapore.

Trying to look smart, I picked up a few Simone de Beauvoir’s books which looked easy enough to be read. Le deuxième sexe wasn’t available, unfortunately.

But I must confess that the books are still in the suitcase since my move to my new rented room in August 2011.

Adobe Bookshop, San Francisco

Adobe Bookshop, San Francisco
Adobe Bookshop, San Francisco

While in the Mission District looking for lunch (again!), I found Adobe Bookshop. The shop was in a state of orderly mess with stacks of books arranged alphabetically according to author and genre.

I browsed the rows and rows of books, squeezing through bookshelves and found a man snoozing in one of the armchairs.

While I was looking for something to buy back home, a man came into the shop. He said he accidentally bought the same book and asked if he could exchange it for another. The shopowner agreed.

The old gentleman came to my aisle and was looking up and down for the author’s row. When he asked me if I knew where the author’s book was, I helped him in his search. We found it.

He then asked if I had my lunch as he was going to grab a bite. Although he didn’t feel threatening, I pretended that I just ate because I don’t think I should go around having lunch with strangers I’ve just met, even if it was in a book store.

Bridget Jones
Bridget Jones

While browsing, I overheard the shopowner telling a customer that the shop will be closing down as the landlord wanted to increase the price of the rent. I looked at the price of the books and wondered how the shop manage to stay open in the first place.

When I paid for my books, the shopowner asked if I was from overseas. I answered, “Singapore”. He then said that he was collecting foreign currency and if I had any money from Singapore to exchange with one of the foreign money in the plate.

I did have a S$2 note and I chose a pre-Euro coin from France. I said my thanks and left with my books.

I think the shop would have closed down by now. I feel sad.

This post was inspired by this week’s #Travel Talk on Twitter (#TTOT): Hidden treasures.

Have you stumbled upon hidden treasures when travelling? What was it?

Follow me on Twitter or share a thumbs up on Facebook.

Money saving tips for Tokyo: Accommodation and sightseeing

Adorable Japanese baby

Minnasan konnichiwa,

We’ve reached the end my money saving tips for Tokyo series. This time, I will share with you how to save on accommodation and sightseeing so you can see more and do more in the capital.

[My previous tips include how to save on transportation as well as food and drink.]

Saving on accommodation

Cheap hotels in bad locations

Room in Hotel Maruchu
Room in Hotel Maruchu

Hotel Maruchu where I spent a night wasn’t in the most convenient locations of Tokyo. But I had a private room and the chance to participate in the ritual public bath.

My single room with shared bathroom facilities was 3,500 yen (US$44.5) while the price of a dorm bed at Sakura Hostel is 2,940 yen (US$$37.3).

I’ve stayed in a twin bed room at another budget business hotel Weekly Mansion Kameido before. It was 5,300yen for two with a private bathroom. But the location wasn’t the best.

What’s good about these two places is that they are still considered to be within Tokyo city, unlike some AirBnb rooms which are quite far from the city.

Overnight at onsen theme park

Reclining chairs at Ooedo Onsen Monogatari
Reclining chairs at Ooedo Onsen Monogatari

This option combines sightseeing, fun and accommodation at the price of one.

I stayed overnight at Ooedo Onsen Monogatari using the evening package which was cheaper than the day package.

While there wasn’t a bed and I was kept up at night by a snoring neighbor, it was plenty of fun since I got to soak in hot springs and participate in Gintama Land games.

Saving on sightseeing

Buy discounted tickets at 7-11

Ooedo Onsen Monogatari tickets from 7-11
Ooedo Onsen Monogatari tickets from 7-11

If you read Japanese, you can go to 7-11 to see if they sell discounted entrance tickets to places you want to visit.

There is a touchscreen machine in the store selling these discounted tickets. I had to poke around a bit before I found the tickets for Ooedo Onsen Monogatari (180 yen cheaper than buying at the door).

I believe there are discounted tickets for Skytree and other sites.

Sites with no entrance fees

Side entrance of Hanazono Shrine
Side entrance of Hanazono Shrine

Even if you are not a Japanophile, Japan is just bursting with so many amazing things to see.

Shrines are free to visit but it’s not free from capitalism.

I bought a charm for safe travels at Meiji Jingu and had my love fortune told in a slip of paper at Dai Jingu

(Fortune: I am supposed to really want love for it to come to me. Libra and Taurus are good choices, so is B bloodtyped folks but avoid Pieces people.)

I visited Hanazona Shrine quite accidentally and loved the peacefulness.

Kabuki-cho by day
Kabuki-cho by day

Tokyo’s infamous “red light” district Kabuki-cho looked very different in the day and at night.

For the fashion conscious, Shibuya and Harajuku are places to go. Anime fans, you know where to go to! (If you don’t please visit Akihabara.)

view from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
view from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building allows visitors to head up for an eagle eyes view of the city. One of the tower closes at 11pm.

People watching

Adorable Japanese baby
Adorable Japanese baby

Japanese children are probably the cutest human babies around. They usually look very packages as their parents dress them in adorable children clothing.

Japanese’s fashion sense is quite forward so even just walking down the street felt like I was at a fashion show (with me dressing down).

Check the rest of money saving tips for Tokyo:

Like what you’re reading? Head to Facebook to “Like” my page or follow me on Twitter to get updates of new posts and other random travel-related tidbits.

Shinjuku’s (secret) Garden Shrine

When I was planning my third trip to Tokyo, I thought I would not discover anything new since I have crossed off a lot of the tourist attractions in my previous two trips.

I spent my second day wandering around Shinjuku, waiting for the evening to come so I could go to Ooedo Onsen Monogatari hot springs theme park.

My mind was numb as I walked from one street to another. All the buildings looked very much alike.

Suddenly, I spotted a patch of green between two buildings. I stopped in my tracks just before the traffic lights to look more clearly. Yes, it was indeed an entrance wedged between two tall concrete constructions.

Hidden entrance of Hanazono Shrine
Hidden entrance of Hanazono Shrine

I crossed the street to take a closer look. The name Hanazono Jinja was carved into a stone pillar. Hanazono shares the same Chinese character as “flower garden”, so I named it my secret garden shrine.

I was attracted to the hidden gates because it reminded me of Yuuko Ichihara’s house in xxxHoLic. A building (or empty field in the case of this screenshot) between two taller buildings.


I didn’t immediately go through the gates. Instead, I got a coffee at a cafe opposite the shrine.

While sipping my drink, I found out that the shrine was famous enough to be included on the map of the free guide pamphlet. However, there was no description of the place and why it was in the strange location.

After my latte, I crossed the road to the shrine. The path was shaded not so much by the trees but by the walls of the buildings.

Path to Hanazono Shrine
Path to Hanazono Shrine

At the end of the path, there was the “cleansing station” where visitors wash their hands and rinse their mouth.water.

Cleansing water at Hanazono Shrine
Cleansing water at Hanazono Shrine

Entering the shrine grounds

When I first walked into the shrine ground, I was expecting a small shrine at the end of the path, not a semi gigantic red shrine.

Main shrine
Main shrine

There was also a Treasure Room but I wasn’t sure what treasures could be hidden inside.

Hanazno jinja treasure room
Treasure room

Similar to other Shinto shrines, Hanazono Jinja sold charms and ema. You write your wish on an ema and hang it up at the temple.

Wishes on ema
Wishes on ema

I didn’t quite get what the banner said but I thought the calligraphy was beautiful.

"Old rake" submission area
“Old rake” submission area

Praying to Inari

Hanazono Inari shrine
Tori leading to the small Inari shrine

At Hanazono Shrine, there was a smaller shrine for Inari. You will recognize Inari shrines because of the red torii lined in front.


Compared to the grand main building, the Inari shrine was small and cute.

In front, two adult foxes guarded. I realized that the papa and mama foxes have little fox cubs with them. If these were Chinese stone lions, I expect one to have cubs while the other to have a golden ball to symbolize the female and male.

Parent fox 1
Parent fox 1

Parent fox 2
Parent fox 2

I left by the main entrance, which was large. I’m glad that I found secret Garden Shrine through its smaller entrance.

#FoodFri Omurice at Taimeiken in Tokyo

One of my favorite yoshoku (Japanese-style western food) dish is omurice.

It’s a rather strange dish with an equally strange name. Omu + rice = omelet + rice. An omelet covers a serving of fried rice like a snug blanket and garnished with a dash of ketchup.

Good omurice has a tangy taste. Bad omurice is just fried rice topped with a lazy omelette.

I’ve wanted to try Taimeikan’s omurice ever since I read about the Tampopo Omurice on food blog Just Bento. Maki’s photo of a runny omelet on top of rice makes me hungry every time I look at it.

I had the chance to pop into Taimeiken for lunch during my last day in Tokyo. Even though my stomach was still full from my buffet breakfast, I knew that I needed to try the dish or I would fly back with regret.

The restaurant was a bit difficult to find because I couldn’t find the Exit C5 at Nihombashi station. When I did find the exit, I was confused by the street level buildings as the Taimeiken sign was not there that day.

I eventually figured out the place. I was reached the doors slightly before 1 p.m. and it was strange that the queue was not as long as I expected.

Little did I know the queue would snake out when I left the restaurant.

Queue outside of Taimeiken Restaurant for lunch
The queue after I had my meal

I was soon seated in the crowded restaurant. The place was smaller than I imagined. My elbow was almost touching the lady at the next table’s.

Even though there was a 800 yen lunch set, I ordered the omurice. I was informed that my order was for a normal omurice so I changed it to the famous Tampopo omurice.

The deco was vintage. The chair even had what look like animals.

Taimeiken chair
Taimeiken chair

The pattern was repeated on the serviette.

Taimeiken serviette
Taimeiken serviette

My 50 yen borscht arrived before my omurice. The serving was larger than I expected. (I imagined a small Chinese bowl of tomato-based soup.)

Taimeiken 50 yen borscht
Taimeiken 50 yen borscht

Soon my omurice came, along with a small serving of ketchup. The dish looked beautiful and I took a while to find the best angle to take a photo of it.

Taimeiken tampopo omurice
Taimeiken tampopo omurice

Unfortunately, that extra 30 seconds caused my egg to overcook. Instead of a beautiful waterfall of egg flowing over my rice. Mine looked like a the face of Two Face, a character in Batman.

Taimeiken tampopo omurice fail
Taimeiken tampopo omurice fail

For 1,850 yen, the taste wasn’t exceptional. It felt like it lacked salt. (Or my friend D likes to say: Too little seasoning.)

I ate every grain of rice because it was expensive. But I didn’t feel satisfied. :( I think I will go for the normal omurice, or even the lunch sets next time.

Take Exit C5 of Tokyo Metro’s Nihombashi station. Once out of the station, turn to the right and another right at the corner of the street. It’s just down the road.

Money saving tips for Tokyo: Food and drink

This post is part of my money saving tips for Tokyo series. Last week, I talked about ways you can save on transportation in Tokyo.

Today, I’ll be talking about my favorite topic: Food.

Eating and drinking (even water, not beer) in Tokyo is not terribly cheap. But here are a few ways you can save those extra 100 yen (to buy more food).

Lunch time fixed menu + combo sets

Lunch menu
Lunch menu

During week days, some restaurants have prix fixe menu. Taimeiken had 800 yen set lunches. I didn’t get the set lunch because I wanted to try its omurice so I got the 1,890 yen dish instead (but with much regret).

Besides lunch sets, regular menus would have combo sets which allow you to try out smaller portions of two different dishes. The soba restaurant I visited in Kamakura had a combo of tempura don and zarusoba which were both delicious.

Fast food

Yes, McDonalds has a 100 yen menu. But since you’re in Japan, you should try out the Japanese fast food outlets.
Although this menu from Nakau was from last October, you get a taste of how low food prices can go in these outlets.

Another benefit of these outlets which use coupon machines is that you don’t need to speak Japanese to order. Instead, you look at the pictures on the machine and pay it with your bills or coins.

Convenience store food

Convenience store onigiri
The onigiri (rice balls) in the photos were 129 yen each. Having two can substitute a meal.

These Japanese takeaway food are available at convenience stores which open 24/7, this means you will never go hungry.

Free drinking water

Free tea
Free tea

I tend to forget to hydrate when I’m travelling because it’s too much of a chore to buy water.
Luckily in Japan, there’s quite a lot of free drinking water outlets. I’ve seen some at the platforms of train stations.

Restaurants also have free ice water or tea on the table, I admit that I’ve pour half a pitcher of water into my bottle once. Just once.

Check the rest of money saving tips for Tokyo:

Do you have other tips for saving money on food and drinks in Tokyo?

Like what you’re reading? Head to Facebook to “Like” my page or follow me on Twitter to get updates of new posts and other random travel-related tidbits.

An overnight’s stay at Ooedo Onsen Monogatari

Ooedo Onsen Monogatari

Entrance of Ooedo Onsen Monogatari
Entrance of Ooedo Onsen Monogatari

Before planning my trip to Tokyo, I made a note to visit Ooedo Onsen Monogatari and spend a night there.

My other plan was to overnight at a cybercafe but chickened out and stayed at a budget hotel instead.

The icing on the cake was when I found out that there was an event for my favorite anime/manga Gintama at Ooedo Onsen and that I would be there during the last two days of the event.

For me, staying overnight at Ooedo Onsen meant saving one night’s stay at a hotel. Since I already want to soak in hot springs, adding on the extra 1,700 yen wasn’t too bad. But if you are travelling in pairs, this might be a more expensive option for accommodation.

Checking in

Entrance fee
Entrance fee

Since I was going to spend the rest of my night at Ooedo Onsen, I decided to pay for the evening entrance (past 6 p.m. 1,680 yen) instead of day entrance fees (from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 2,180 yen). I also bought my tickets from 7-11 so there was a 180 yen discount.

Before heading to the ticket counter, visitors need to put their shoes in shoe lockers.

Shoe lockers
Shoe lockers

After putting away my shoes, I went to queue with the rest of the people. Since there was still about 10 minutes before 6 p.m., everyone had to wait patiently.

Waiting area
Waiting area

About 5 minutes before 6 p.m., a lady dressed in traditional outfit came out with a pair of clappers and said lots of things in a sing-song tone.

I remember from their Web site that she’s the kanban-musume Oshino. This literally translates to “Signboard girl” which means she’s the attraction of a business.

Too bad I wasn’t too sure what Oshino was saying. I guess it was to welcome all of us to Ooedo Onsen.

Ooedo Onsen's kanban musume (Sign lady)
Ooedo Onsen’s kanban musume (Sign lady)

Soon, the counters opened for the evening session. I handed over my my coupon and was given a wristlet with a barcode taped over and a key.

Before heading into the changing room, everyone gets to choose a yukata. There are different designs and sizes of yukata. I picked on with purple flowers.

Yukata choosing
Yukata choosing

After yukata choosing, it’s time to hit the lockers. Find the locker corresponding to your wristlet. It’s in Japanese so if you don’t read hiragana, you might need help.

The size of the locker was enough for my backpack.


At the lockers, strip down to your underthings and wear the yukata.

Remember that the left side needs to be on top, or else you are wearing the bathrobe as a corpse would.

Strolling on Edo street’s

Edo streets
Edo streets

In my yukata, I went out to the fake Edo streets. There are plenty of food stalls around so don’t worry about being hungry. There’s also free hot tea and both hot and cold water so you won’t go thirsty.

When I was there, there was a performance at 7 p.m. I think the shows change every season.


Soaking in hot springs

I couldn’t take photos at the onsen or its changing room so I can only tell through words.

Before heading to the ladies’ hot spring area, we need to put our things in another changing room. There’s other lockers here to put yukata and underthings in before heading to the hot spring area.

In the changing room, there’s a corner with samples of makeup remover, toner, face lotion. There’s also hair bands and toothbrush provided.

Before heading to the hot spring, take everything off. Everyone strips naked so no need to be shy.

The hot springs are divided into indoor and outdoor pools. There’s a large section where everyone washes their hair and body. Free shampoo, conditioner and body soap is provided too.

After vigorously washing and conditioning my hair, I headed to the pools.

There were a variety of pools and areas:

  • Ooedo Onsen hot spring which was real undersea hot spring, instead of just hot water. The color was a bit rusty. There was also a side with recycled Ooedo Onsen hot spring which didn’t have a rusty color.
  • 40 degrees Celsius pools
  • Massage jacuzzi pool
  • Pool with frothing machine which makes the water much more “fine” and is good for the skin
  • Cold water (brr)
  • Sauna
  • Outdoor pool

The pools outdoors were limited. There was only a large pond and an area with a few fake vintage bathtubs.

Off to bed

After soaking in the pools for the longest while, I head to the changing rooms and bought myself a small glass bottle of milk.

At about 11 p.m., I decided that it is time to find a place to sleep.

Ooedo Onsen has a capsule hotel but it’s catered only to men. The private rooms are too expensive for me.

I think there are also large halls where they layout tatami for people staying over. This I’m not too sure though.

My choice was the ladies’ lounge on the second floor. Here, they have reclining chairs with mini TVs. They even provide blankets.

Chairs for sleeping
Chairs for sleeping

Most of the chairs were taken by the time I got there. I found a chair with a broken TV and settled there. A mother and her young son slept one chair away.

Mini TV
Mini TV

I put on my eyemask and ear plugs and tried to sleep on the 150 degrees chair.

Suddenly as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a loud rumbling noise. I took off my eyemask and discovered an older lady snoring in the seat next to mine.

Hazard: Snoring old ladies
Hazard: Snoring old ladies

It wasn’t easy blocking her snores out even with my earplugs but I managed to sleep.

In the morning, I woke up and realized that she was gone. I was also surprised to find that it was almost 7 a.m. which meant that I had less than 1 hour before the pools close for cleaning.

I went back for a last soak of onsen. Soaking in the morning and at night was different. I could see the blue sky in the outdoor pool while at night everything was a blur because I wasn’t wearing glasses.

After the soak, I changed back into my real clothes and checked out.

Stayed: Ooedo Onsen Monogatari
Pros: Save on entertainment and accommodation; fun
Cons: Snoring seatmates; not having a real bed

#FoodFri Glutton at Tsukiji, Tokyo

Tokyo’s Tsukiji is the famous fish market. Some guidebooks recommend visiting early in the morning at around 5 a.m. to catch the tuna auction.

Being the lazy glutton, I didn’t wake up that early. I did visit Tsukiji, but only for the sushi which was slightly disappointing.

As I didn’t want to walk around with an open guidebook, I roamed the outer stalls of Tsukiji and missed the inner market.


Yamanaga at Tsukiji
I broke my fast with a tamago-yaki, or grilled egg, on a stick from Yamanaga. It wasn’t the most famous tamago-yaki stall in Tsukiji but the egg tasted yummy.

Tamago yaki from Yamanaga
I ordered the warm tamago-taki which came on a styrofoam plate. There was some shredded white radish with sauce which gave the sweet grilled eggs a balanced flavor.

Sushi at Tsukiji

Sushizanmai at Tsukiji
It is sacrilegious to visit Tsukuji without eating sushi. So after my tamago yaki, I went off to find my breakfast.

I stopped at the main chain of Sushizanmai. I had to wait outside before I was ushered into the restaurant before I was seated at the counter.

Sushi set at Tsukuji
I ordered a sushi set which was disappointing. I was not as yummy as I thought it would be. I suspect I ordered a lower quality set.

From my side of the counter, I saw the chefs work. One took a fish out of the tank, sliced the flesh off its bones and served the slices on a plate.

It was a bit horrifying watching the fish die in front of my eyes. But I forgot about it after I bit into my piece of onigiri.


100 yen Ramune
When I walked back to the train station, I passed by a stall selling drinks for 100 yen. I picked ramune which tasted like ice cream soda. At the top of the bottle, there is a frustrating marble rolling around which sometimes blocked my from enjoying the drink.

I never figured out how to get the marble out. But some people have videos of how you can do it.

Checkout my other Glutton in Tokyo posts

Day 1: #FoodFri Glutton in Kamakura + Tokyo
Day 2: #FoodFri Glutton in Tokyo 2

Money saving tips for Tokyo: Transportation

Tokyo is the most expensive city to live in but there are still many ways to make the trip less expensive.

As I was writing this money saving guide for Tokyo, I realized that there is just too many sub-categories so I split the tips into three different posts.

This post is about saving on transportation. There is another on food and drinks as well as accommodation and sightseeing.

Transportation in Tokyo is crazy. A short trip would cost 180 yen (US$2.3) on the train which is very expensive compared to Singapore.

From Narita Airport: Get the Suica & N’EX package

Suica & N'EX package
Suica & N’EX package

I picked up the Suica & N’EX package for 3,500 yen when I reached Narita airport. It includes transport into the city (and slightly beyond) as well as a 2,000 yen Suica.

The package also good value because the N’EX limited express train to Tokyo is 2,940 yen (gasp!).

There’s also a package with return fare.

From Haneda Airport: Get Monorail and Yamanote Line Discount Ticket

Monorail and Yamanote Line Discount Ticket
Monorail and Yamanote Line Discount Ticket

Only available on weekends

If you arrive at Haneda Airport during the weekend, remember to pick up this discounted ticket.

For just 500 yen, you can take the monorail and leave at any stations on the Yamanote Line. If you are exiting at other JR stations, just pay the extra at the counter.

Free one-way day trip with Suica & N’EX package

If you have a day trip planned to either Yokohama or Kamakura, I recommend doing it on the day you arrive if you reach before noon.

I was planning to visit Yokohama but when I found out that the package covers Kamakura, I changed my plans immediately.

A trip from Tokyo Station to Kamakura would cost 890 yen. So in theory, I’ve saved a little by heading straight there instead of taking the day trip on another day.

Transfer rebate with Suica

Buying tickets for Tokyo trains
If you are using Suica to pay for your transport, it automatically gives you rebates when you transfer from trains of the same company.

Stick to the same company on trains

Tokyo Metro
Tokyo Metro

Planning your transport within Tokyo is really tricky. There are just too many lines and too many different train companies.

Many times, I had to transfer from one train line to another to reach my destination. I accidentally took different train lines for a ride and it cost me more than it would if I had transferred from the trains of the same company.

So, I suggest taking trains from the same company when you travel. This might mean an extra 5 minutes, but it’ll cost 200 yen less.

Check the rest of money saving tips for Tokyo:

#FoodFri Glutton in Tokyo 2

tsuke men

This is a follow up of Glutton in Tokyo part 1 which I posted last week.

On Day 2 of my Tokyo trip, I walked around Shinjuku waiting for the day to end so I can spend the night at Ooedo Onsen Monogatari’s hot springs.


I visited the Tokyo Municipal Building around noon. As it was a Sunday, most of the shops under the skyscrapers were closed.

Luckily, the noodle shop was still open.

Naoku at Tokyo Municipal Building
Naoku at Tokyo Municipal Building

Tsuke men, or dipping noodles, is another way of eating ramen. Instead of a noodles in a bowl of hot soup, I got cold noodles and a small bowl of thick stock.

Take the noodles, dip into the stock and slurp loudly. I find this way of eating ramen fun because I rarely get this type of noodles back in Singapore

Tsuke men

Tsuke men

For an extra 100 yen, I added on an iced coffee. yums

Iced coffee
Iced coffee


I visited the guidebook-famous Sankoku Ichi at Shinjuku for dinner before heading to the onsen theme park.

Sankoku ichi at Shinjuku
Sankoku ichi at Shinjuku

The interior had a vintage Japanese restaurant feeling with low ceiling, wooden floor, tables and chairs.

Katsu udon miso soup

Katsu udon miso soup

Separately I love tonkatsu (fried, breaded pork cutlets), udon and miso soup so I ordered the Nagoya-style udon which was a combination of all three things.

Unfortunately, the sum was not bigger than the parts.

My pork chop sat on top of my udon in a shallow dish of miso. The crispy fried battered skin was soggy because of the soup. The udon didn’t have much soup to go with. The soup was tainted by the salty tonkatsu sauce. The veggie which I don’t eat was left as decoration.

If I ever go to the restaurant again, I will chose a plain udon.