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Archive for May 2017

1. Flight 
I chose ANA airlines as at the time of booking, the price was cheaper than other airlines, it even beats Air Asia. 

I booked the tickets 3 months before the trip.

Overall, it’s way better than Air Asia. With meals, luggage and entertainment all included in the price. The seats were okay, the foods was tasty and we enjoyed the in-flight movies. The stewardess are friendly and hardworking, as most Japanese are. They even gave Danish some sweets and toy. Compared to KLM, ANA is way better!

2. Based Location

I have decided on staying at airbnb as I preferred to have kitchen so we can cook. Not really cooking, just boil the prepacked meals like Brahims. 

Tokyo is big. There’s a lot of district and you really need to narrow down to which area you decided to stay. 

In the end, I chose Nippori. Because we landed at Narita Airport, I found out that the Keisei Skyliner train have direct train to Nippori. That’s the main reason I chose Nippori. The idea of staying elsewhere and the need to change few train lines from the airport is tiring. I figured we’ll be so tired when we reached and with a kid in tow, I don’t want to take the risk so I chose the easiest location and transportation. 

Btw, that train go direct to Nippori and Ueno so I guess u can chose to stay at either location. Though Ueno is a big station and it’s quite a long walk to the exit. Another plus point for Nippori!

Also, the place we stayed have 3 different train lines within walking distance so another plus point. 

3. Accommodations 

When choosing the airbnb, I have listed down my requirements and questions to ask the owner. The house need to have lift if its on upper floors. I need fully equipped kitchen, at least a microwave and rice cooker. I also searched for those with washing machine. Number of beds and room, please note that Japanese double bed is small, only enough for 2 adults, not even an extra kid can fit in. Also, I asked the distance from their house to tourist attractions like Disneyland. Oh, I also ask on flexibility on check in and out as most of the hotel/airbnb there state 11am as check out time and 4pm as check in time.

I shortlisted few houses, updated it on excel sheet and made my decision.

We really like the house that I chose. It has lift, fully equipped kitchen, 2 bedrooms, washing machine and it just felt like home. The owner stayed next door and is proficient in English. He changed our towels every 2 days and was very helpful to us. And the hot air controller in the bathroom was awesome for drying wet clothes. I washed our clothes everyday at night and when we woke up, everything dried including our jeans! 

And oh, we can check in and check out late too with no extra charges on our last day! Bless him!

We like the area too. It took us around 3 mins walk to the nearest train station. It was a housing area and every morning they turn on the street speaker and put on some nice songs. It kinda lifted your spirits, a nice way to start your day. 

4. Food

Recently, Japan has widen the availability of halal food in the countries. There’s quite a lot of halal restaurants in Tokyo itself. Dinner is expensive and the portion is small hence you cannot really share. If want to try eating outside, it’s better to have lunch there as the price is more affordable. 

When we were there, we ate breakfast at home, which covered our lunch as well. We had rice and heat some Brahims and sambal ikan bilis. Thus we usually eat dinner outside and it was expensive. 

Oh, when we went to Disneyland and the ski resort, I packed our own lunch- rice and brahims. At Disneyland we ate around their food court area, bought some fries and ate our lunch. While when we went to the ski resort, we ate in the train. It’s normal to eat when you ride in shinkasen, they even sell some food in the train but we didn’t buy any as we are unsure of the status.

Japanese are really kind. We wanted to buy a fried squid and when I checked the ingredients using Google Translate apps (pls use this when u travel, really useful!), the ingredients looks fine, no alcohol or any kind of meats. I asked the salesgirl to confirm the oil used and she called their office to confirm. I was like, wow. She can just read and translate to us but decided to call the office/distributor to confirm. They are really helpful and kind. They are not friendly like most western people, but when you ask for help or directions, they go beyond to help u. 

So, back to food in Tokyo, i use Google Maps to find it. Just type halal food and it will show the nearest halal restaurant near u. Of course, I did some researched too before we went and had decided which restaurants to try.

If eating out too expensive, just bring lots of Brahims 😉

Btw, we also bring raw packed sausages for Danish and the customs don’t check much. So, it’s safe to bring in any food I think, unlike Australia. 

5. Apps

We relied 100% on Google Maps and Google Translate. We went on our own, no tourist guide and no knowledge in the language either. 

However, with lots of researched and detailed itinerary, it’s doable. 

Oh, and pocket wifi too! I rent from KLIA and our airbnb owner also provide us with one so we have 2 pocket wifis and we did a live update with our families back home :). 

6. Itinerary

Tokyo is big and have lots of attractions. I planned our itinerary by day. For example, first destination was Disneyland. I used excel and put down details such as, how to get there from our airbnb , which train to use, which station to stop / change, which line , how many minutes etc etc. 

Then after Disneyland we wanted to go for dinner so I put that on the excel too. Which restaurant and how to go there from Disneyland and from there to home. 

So each day, I made a plan of where to go, where to eat etc. We didn’t stick 100% to the plan but it’s helpful to have , kinda like a back up plan. And as I researched about the routes , I am becoming familiar with their train systems and station that when we were there, I didn’t panicked. 

I searched the destination on Google Map and just followed the instructions. There were few times the Google Map showed wrong platform but their signage also showed in English so it was fine. I guess don’t follow it 100%, it’s there as a guide and was doing a good job for us. 

I printed the itinerary I had typed and brings it out with us. At least if the pocket wifi battery has finished, we have back up and won’t get lost. 

7. Skincare

When we went, weather was still cold and I didn’t wear any moisturiser or lotions. Ended up with a very dry skin and it hurt. So, don’t be like me.

8. Medicines 

As usual, bring all the medicines and minyak panas. Better to have everything than looking for it in foreign country.

I bought travel insurance from AXA too. For the family package price, the price is reasonable and it’s better to be safe than sorry! 

I also took one Vit C tablet every day to cope with the weather. Don’t want to get sick when on vacation!

9. Travel with kid

I didn’t bring any stroller as Danish never use it. And with all the changing trains and stairs, u will get tired lugging the stroller. Disneyland have stroller you can rent. As for us, we just ignore his whining. Yeah, with all the walking he suddenly have to do, he whines a lot! And he keep on asking for us to use taxi, which is expensive for long distance but if its short distance then the rate is better compared to the train tickets for whole family. 

With whiny kid, which is expected, I tried to plan destination which are fun for him. So, only one temple though I have long list of other boring tourist spots. We went to the fire museum, the ski resort, the ninja museum and Disneyland to make it into an exciting trip for him. So that he have that motivation to walk more, hahaha. 

I also keep in the backpack some snacks, coloring book and simple story book for him. 

It helps, he’s happy doing something fun and we are happy with no whining. 

This was the first time we travelled on our own as family. When we went to Bali, we have a driver to take us around. It was more challenging this time and it went well I think. We didn’t get lost much, didn’t argue much and we were happy. 
It certainly was different when traveling on my own or only with my husband, much easier I think. But the joys on my son face made it worth it. Looking forward to more long distance family trips!

Bye Tokyo

Posted on: May 23, 2017

It’s our final day in Tokyo. There’s still so many places we haven’t visited. NEED ANOTHER TOKYO TRIP!!!

We went to Shinjuku today. Shinjuku is like one of the main shopping district- full of branded shops and busy with people. 

We went to Komehyo- it’s a second hand store for branded items. I bought a bag at a really good price and we bought lots of perfumes for gifts as well. The perfumes there are so cheap! 

Then we went to Rapha , a cycling shop as my cousin ordered some stuff from there. 

From Rapha, we decided to go to Ninja Trick House. It was a long walk based on google maps. We found it at last!

the fee is 1000 yen per person. the whole thing took around 45 mins.

it was fun! We learned about Ninjas and we get to do some ninja tricks, like using the fake sword and attack a ninja mannequin and throwing the ninja star darts. Danish was ecstatic, another dream came true for him i guess. We tried to find some ninja costume for him but it’s too expensive for our budget. 

After the ninja experience, we went for lunch around the shinjuku area. We found a pakistan restaurant, called Saddiq and ordered some pratha and briyani. 

Then it’s time to say goodbye to Japan. Went back to the airbnb, called a taxi, juggled our luggages through train stations and off to Haneda Airport.

We planned to have dinner at the airport but the shop is full and the queue is long. Saw an empty italian restaurant and asked the chef to cook a non-alcoholic vegetarian pasta. It kept our tummy from grumbling.

Bye Tokyo, we shall visit you again. 


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