Tuesday 19 March 2013

[Day 1] Our Family Trip to Tokyo, Japan

2012 was indeed a blessing year for our family to have 3 traveling trips such as cruising with Royal Caribbean International, Voyager Of The Seas during June (read more here), flying off with Japan Airlines to my dreamland at Tokyo, Japan in November (read more here) as well as a short weekend getaway to shopping paradise at Bangkok, Thailand in December (will update the trip after Japan posts).

Traveling to Japan was an impromptu trip because we had never thought of planning another trip for that year after our cruise trip in June. It was only less than 2 months before departure that we decided to join Uncle Alan and Uncle Hock Cheng's families on their Free And Easy trip to Tokyo, Japan in later autumn (mid November).

It is always my dream to be able to travel to Japan, especially for destinations like Hokkaido, Osaka or Tokyo. But due to the impression of having to pay for both high expenses and traveling fees, Japan trip has never come true for us until last year.

Although we are on free and easy trip around Tokyo city plus a few outskirts sightseeing the whole 8 days trip cost around SG$3K per pax including air ticket, hotel stay, food, transport and etc.

Japan Airlines (JAL) to Narita Airport

View of beautiful sunrise from the plane

Above were some of the snacks and breakfast set served on board Japan Airlines from Singapore to Narita Airport. Love their snacks which consists of assorted Japanese rice crackers and nuts that are very addictive when pair with cold beer and their inflight movies.

Arrival Hall @ Narita Terminal 2 Airport

Upon arrival we went to purchase the Airport Limousine Ticket at their "Limousine Bus ticket counters" at the Narita Airport, Terminal 2 (Tokyo, Japan). If you are unfamiliar you could make enquiry and select your preference alight destination on either the train station or hotel where you stay. We bought their Limousine and Metro 2-Day Pass which includes:-

~ 2 Airport Limousine Bus Tickets between Narita Airport and downtown Tokyo; and
~ 1 Tokyo Metro’s Special Combination 2-Day Open Ticket for two consecutive days of unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro lines.

Tokyo Metro’s Special Combination Ticket
Airport Limousine Boarding Ticket
The pricing for each set of ticket is:-

~ ¥6000 (SG$78.500) for Adult ticket with Limousine and Metro 2-Day Pass (via Narita Airport); and

~ ¥1500 (SG$19.60) for *Child (6 - 12 years old) with Limousine and Metro 1 Day Pass (via Narita Airport).

* For your information, child below 6 years old "travel free" but if your child requires a seat, you have to pay for a half price child ticket.

More details can be found @ http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/airport_bus/index.html

Just present the boarding tickets to the attendants at the mentioned "gate" number they would be delighted to help you sort out and tag your languages and bags as well as advise you on the boarding time and procedures. The Airport Limousine bus ferry us from the Narita Terminal 2 Airport to our hotel at Keio Plaza Hotell (Shinjuku) via the highway and the whole journey took about 90 minutes with smooth traffic flow.

Our accommodation for the 6 nights trip was at Keio Plaza Hotel, Shinjuku. The hotel has an ideal location to explore the delights of the city with is only about minutes away from the most popular shopping and entertainment spots. Furthermore it is only 5 minutes walk from the west exit of Shinjuku Station.

Ours was a triple sharing room with 2 single bed plus a sofa bed located at their South Tower. All the rooms are with complimentary high speed internet access (both wired and wireless) and Television (with CNN, BBC ,ESPN, Discovery and movie channels), Two line phone jack, International direct dial, Japanese bathrobes (Yukata), Mini bar and Tea making facilities.

Bathroom amenities includes shampoo, conditioner, bath and shower gel, toothbrush, razor, shower cap, comb, hairdryer and etc which were the few common items.

After settling our luggage in the room, we went out to explore around Shinjuku Station area where there are a lot of shops, eateries and malls. We were fascinated with most of their local food like sushi, omurice, ramen, tempura and etc. And my boy, as a kid is attracted to their mouthwatering fried stuffs like Ebi, Pork Cutlets and Korokke (or croquette). He bought a Ebi Fry (海老フライ) @ ¥340 which is about SG$4.50 each and the prawn was really "huge" as compared to the usual Ebi that we had in Singapore.

We also spotted Beard Papa there which cost around ¥200 (SG$2.60) each but we didn't get a chance to try it as there are too many interesting food around that draw us away from this.

Above are samples of their Food Ordering Machines which I have heard friends mentioning about them when they were in Japan. So when we spotted them along the way, we were quite excited to stop by seeing how the local place orders for their food via this "food ordering machine".

Takashimaya Times Square @ Shinjuku

After walking around to familiarize the area at Shinjuku (新宿) shopping districts, we decided to settle for a quick bite at Mai Hanano Seafood Tavern (海鮮居酒屋 はなの舞) which is about 2 minutes walk from JR Shinjuku Station (JR新宿駅).

{LUNCH} Upon settle down, everyone was busying flipping through the menu. Overall the price is quite cheap at about ¥600 (SG$7.80) for hotplate set with either beef, chicken or pork together with miso soup, side and rice.

Hotplate Chicken Set@ ¥600 (SG$7.80)
Assorted Sashimi Set @ ¥650 (SG$8.50)

Since I am sharing with my kid, we took the Tempura And Sashimi Set @ ¥850 (SG$11.10) which consists of  assorted tempura items such as prawn (ebi), carrot, capsicum and pumpkin plus fresh salmon and tuna sashimi. Although they don't served the best tempura in town but for the price of SG$11+ this set was still quite a steal.

Mum on the other hand, prefer something light to go with her rice so she ordered the Hotplate Omelette @ ¥504 (SG$6.50) with sandwiches a generous amount of shredded cabbage and top with some sweet sauce and seaweed flakes.

MAI HANANO SEAFOOD TAVERN  (East Shinjuku South Exit Shop)
1.2 F Commercial Building
Yonghe 3-35-9 Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 〒 160-0022
Telephone: 03-5367-8973
Website: http://www.chimney.co.jp/shop/hananomai/chubu/kofu/index.html

海鮮居酒屋 はなの舞 新宿東南口店

Opening Hours:
Lunch - 11:30 to 15:00pm ; Dinner - 17:00 to 04:30am (Daily)


  1. i miss japan!! :)

  2. Hi Ellena,

    Chance upon your blog while searching for Japan Free n Easy tour.
    It was really interesting and fun just reading it!

    Just wondering was the weather cold during the period you travelled for you did mentioned about the cold night.

    -From YH who is planning to go japan in mid nov. =)

    1. Hi YH, thanks for your note and I am glad it does help you on planning for the coming trip. The weather was around 8 - 14 degree with cold wind in the evening time. So it's advisable to bring thick clothes but do check the weather forecast again before your trip :)


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