Sunday, September 28, 2014

Shinjuku Skyscraper & Kabukicho in Tokyo, Japan


Planning for a budget accommodation during the trip to Tokyo, Japan wasn't an easy task as we had to consider a few criteria such as
  • Location - how far the distance from the hotel to attraction places in Tokyo
  • Convenience - how far to get to the subway (train) station
  • Hotel budget - looking for an affordable budget stay
  • Entertainment - Preferably to stay within the food alleys and shopping areas which open until late at night.
We were recommended to stay at the budget hotel at Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan. The hotel room and bathroom are small but the hotel location is very convenient as it was situated in Kabukicho. Kabukicho is the location of many hosts' and hostess' clubs, love hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping malls which operate until late at night. We weren't bothered and concerned about the activities of the red-light district as it was safe to walk around since this industry had been legalized in Japan. Apart from that, it is a short walking distance of 5 minutes from the hotel to Shinjuku station.


Welcome to Shinjuku city after a long ride from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
Welcome to Shinjuku city after a long ride from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan

Crossing on the pedestrian crossing when the pedestrian light turns green is mainly practised by Japanese on the road safety etiquette in Japan
Crossing on the pedestrian crossing when the pedestrian light turns green is mainly practised by Japanese on the road safety etiquette in Japan

Standing at the border between Skyscraper District and Kabukicho of Shinjuku City in Tokyo, Japan
Standing at the border between Skyscraper District and Kabukicho of Shinjuku City in Tokyo, Japan

Amazed with cocoon design which belongs to Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, a 50-story educational facility located within Shinjuku Skyscrapers Business District in Tokyo, Japan
Amazed with cocoon design which belongs to Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, a 50-story educational facility located within Shinjuku Skyscrapers Business District in Tokyo, Japan

Queuing in a line and turning your mobile into silent mode before getting onto a train or a subway is the basic rules of train etiquette (manners) in Japan
Queuing in a line and turning your mobile into silent mode before getting onto a train or a subway is the basic rules of train etiquette (manners) in Japan

Reasonable prices of Japanese food can be found at small outlets (restaurants) in a train station or along the narrow alley in Japan
Reasonable prices of Japanese food can be found at small outlets (restaurants) in a train station or along the narrow alley in Japan

There are many crowds of people heading for dinner or home at Kabukicho, Shinjuku city which is surrounded by entertainment, food and shopping mall in Tokyo, Japan
There are many crowds of people heading for dinner or home at Kabukicho, Shinjuku city which is surrounded by entertainment, food and shopping mall in Tokyo, Japan

Look at these pedestrian lines crossing which guide the pedestrians to cross horizontally, vertically or diagonally once the pedestrian light turns green in Japan
Look at these pedestrian lines crossing which guide the pedestrians to cross horizontally, vertically or diagonally once the pedestrian light turns green in Japan

Walking along Kabukicho of Shinjuku city which is surrounded by shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment in Tokyo, Japan
Walking along Kabukicho of Shinjuku city which is surrounded by shopping malls, restaurants and entertainment in Tokyo, Japan

Busy night traffic with crowded people at Shinjuku city (Kabukicho) of Tokyo, Japan
Busy night traffic with crowded people at Shinjuku city (Kabukicho) of Tokyo, Japan

Popular Robot Restaurant with crowded customers at Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan
Popular Robot Restaurant at Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan

My Older Post:
  • Tokyo Subway Metro Train Guide in Japan
  • Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction


  • Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Tokyo Subway Metro Train Guide in Japan


    For those who are traveling to Tokyo, Japan for the first time, you are definitely feeling nervous as you try to understand how to read the complicated subway map which connect 18 subway lines to each other. Initially, I had similar dilemma trying to understand the subway map but I didn't get the concept until we tried riding the subway train on the first day at Tokyo, Japan and somehow, we began to understand the connection of every different colour coded with a letter to represent the subway line while the number at the bottom of the letter shows the station number. Actually there are only five main subway companies which operate these 18 subway lines in Tokyo.

    For instance, I am planning to take a subway train from Shinjuku station to Shibuya station. Shibuya station is located below of Shinjuku station in the map. There is no connection subway line directing from Shinjuku to Shibuya stations thus, I have to change the subway line during the journey. Firstly, I ride on M08 (Marunouchi Line) from Shinjuku station to Asakamitsuke (M13) station. Then I move and transfer to another subway line G05 (Ginza Line) from Asakamitsuke station to Shibuya station at G01. Since both Marunouchi and Ginza Lines are operating under Tokyo Metro Line thus, I don't have to buy an additional new ticket. However, if I change the subway line from Tokyo Metro to Toei Line then, I need to get new tickets as they are two different subway companies. Subway train tickets can be purchased at ticket kiosks at subway trains in Tokyo. All you do is to follow the instructions in English and press the button for assistance if you are having trouble. (Note: They will attend to your problem immediately by person or behind the machine kiosk.) 

    Japan is well-known for proper etiquette. When you ride on escalator, please remember to follow Japanese Escalator Etiquette. When you are traveling at Tokyo and other parts of Japan, please stand and stay on the LEFT side of the escalator in order to give way to other users who are on the hurry to pass by. On the other hand, when you travel to Osaka, please stay and stand on the RIGHT side of the escalator in order to give way to other users to pass by. 

    A complete of Tokyo subway train map in Japan
    A complete of Tokyo subway train map in Japan
    Five main subway train companies operating 18 lines in Tokyo, Japan
    Five main subway train companies operating 18 lines in Tokyo, Japan
    Different colour coded with a letter to represent every subway company followed by a number in an order to show the route of a train in Tokyo, Japan
    Different colour coded with a letter to represent every subway company followed by a number in an order to show the route of a train in Tokyo, Japan
    Check out the priority signs at subway stations in Japan before queuing as there are special lanes for elderly, pregnant women, mothers with children and for ladies
    Check out the priority signs at subway stations in Japan before queuing as there are special lanes for elderly, pregnant women, mothers with children and for ladies
    Japanese Escalator Etiquette is by standing on the left side in Tokyo while standing on the right side in Osaka in order to allow others passing by
    Japanese Escalator Etiquette is by standing on the left side in Tokyo while standing on the right side in Osaka in order to allow others passing by in Japan

    Alternatively, you can ride on the City Train or Yamanote Line (JR East Green Line) to explore some of the city's famous landmarks and attractions in Tokyo and helps to save your journey time from interchanging the subway lines. The Yamanote Line connects most of Tokyo's major stations and urban centers like, Tokyo Station, Akihabara, Ueno, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Roppongi Hills, Ebisu and Ikebukuro. 

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    (Source: GaijinPot via Youtube)

    My Older Post:
  • Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction


  • Friday, August 8, 2014

    Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction


    I grew up watching Japanese dramas and had been falling in love with their culture and food. I always wanted to travel to Japan at least once in my lifetime but everything is so expensive and out of my budget when I had to think about the costs of a return air ticket, accommodation, riding on bullet train, etc. Japan is the only country on the Earth (that I know) has a combination of traditional and modern culture which goes hand in hand.

    When my dream came true to travel to Japan recently, I was very excited and there was a lot of reading and preparation to do in order to understand the transportation system, adapt the culture and  learn some basic Japanese words. It is not difficult to learn about Japanese culture and lifestyle as you can find many short videos uploaded online to guide the first time visitors like me. For me, I was very amazed with their excellent customer service culture (hospitality or also known as Omotenashi in Japanese). Japanese staff will engage some simple friendly conversation during your checkout payment and even bow to customers before they leave the places. You will be surprised to how they pack food and presents the products in very detailed manner to ensure they become handy to carry around. This kind of hospitality is rare to find in many developed countries.  



    I was even astonished to see many kinds of vending machines in Japan. The vending machine is not restricted in selling drinks only but you can find any kinds of vending machines from selling cigarette, beers, hot food, ice-cream, packed fresh bananas, etc on the streets, in the train stations and even in the hotels as well. Japanese really love animals. You can find pets on the streets. They treat their pets as part of their family members and are willing to spend on their pets. Japan is one of pet friendly countries in Asia besides, Taiwan. Japanese bring their pets for a walk in the park and taking them on public transportation, as long they are staying in their crates.

    Most visitors complain about small hotel rooms but to me, it's not a big deal. We spent the whole day (until late night) strolling, shopping and eating outside rather than staying in a hotel room. A hotel room is the place where we need to rest and sleep before we continue our trip the next day. Majority of hotel rooms are small unless you are willing to pay for 5 star hotels there.  

    There is a culture practice which you need to remind yourself when you are standing in front of thee counter checkout. We normally hand our cash payment on cashiers' hands but in Japan, it is slightly different culture. When you pay or get your change at the cashier counter, all the transaction have to be done by placing the cash on the small tray. The small tray is normally positioned in front of the customer at the cashier counter.

    Public transportation especially the subway train and bullet train is very convenient to travel from city to city. It takes some time to digest and understand Japan Subway System and the routes. Every subway company represents a single colour code with the first letter (represents the company name) followed by numbers in order, traveling from one point to another point. For more information on the timetable and route of a bus, subway train and train ride, please refer to Hyperdia website. The alternative will be depending on the recommendation via Google Map after keying the locations from point A to point B.    

    (Source: WAORYU ONLY in Japan via Youtube)

     Saying Thank you by flashing a few times with the hazard lights.
    (Source: TheJapanChannelDCom via Youtube)

    Welcome to Japan signboard with robot screen at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
    Welcome to Japan signboard with robot screen at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. You will be surprised to see the airport staff remove the luggage from the conveyor belt by arranging them in an order with the luggage' handlers facing up for your convenience to grab the handlers immediately before leaving the airport.

    As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
    As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan

    Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan
    Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan

    Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance in Japan
    Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance before the meal is prepared and served in Japan

    All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan
    All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan

    The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan
    The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan

    Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan
    Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan