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Tokyo travel guides cheap buys
becky
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Okay, Tokyo Cheap buys series #2!

I will be recommending the takeya store at Okachimachi station (one station away from Ueno station on the Yamanote line)

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Takeya is actually made up of various buildings located beside each other (talk about wow shopping huh) & you can get tax rebates (for tourists too). Get more information from their website (well it definitely is a tourist attraction considering the fact that they have like the web up in English & Chinese too. Think they have Chinese speaking staff as well, not sure about English tho)

okay, takeya actually sell a wide variety of goods, ranging from women’s fashion, men’s fashion, electronics, food, home furniture, home accessories and so on (they have like 8 buildings or more)

web flyer here (only in Japanese)

& oh, they sell, marked down branded goods (gucci, coach, ferragamo at discounted prices too)

they only accept cash if I am not wrong, so do bring lots of cash if you are planning to splurge there ^^

download map here

this will be more of a place for grown ups than gyaru fashion tho (pls note!)


tokyo travel guides : cheap buys
becky
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Okay, I am sure many people have said shopping in Tokyo is expensive (so is eating and whatever, no thanks to the exchange rate)

But, i have something to say : if you want to shop for cheap(er) things, don’t go to the tourist/ high-end areas, since the things there are definitely more expensive. Shibuya109 is definitely an expensive place for you if your budget is like 30 bucks and under for a one piece (dress).

I will introduce you some of the cheaper shops in Tokyo where you can buy things for cheap (or rather at a cheaper price compared to other areas and at a reasonable quality)

First up : Shimamura (will talk about other shops in other posts)

If you have been reading popteen / is a fan of Shiina Hikari aka Pikarin/ reading some other Japanese magazines, you would  have probably heard about this shop, well while it is branded-branded (if you get what I mean), the clothes are still cute & suitable for people of all ages (they even have kids’ clothes & toys, interior goods, shoes, stationary, towels etc) and also for people in their 50s and so on, so you can go check it out, since they carry Masuwaka Tsubasa s-leg line (leggings, tights, socks etc as well)

get more information about shimamura here

& the good thing about shimamura is that they have sales items which change like every 3-5 days and they will inform customers on their website through digital flyer. for eg 22/08 -25/08

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something like this (see it on the web - bigger picture)

download the map here

okay since the map is in japanese, let me tell you (shimamura is the one that have like a bubble thing popping up and it is sandwiched between Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC & sukiya and it is on the 2nd floor)


Tokyo travel guide : Hidemi Sugino
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Hidemi Sugino is probably one of the famous patisseries in Tokyo. Located in Kyobashi (Walkable distance to Ginza), it opens at 11 and is said to sell out its first round of cakes by 1pm.

More info here : イデミ・スギノ

So we actually went out really early to queue, we reached about 10:30 or early? It’s at Kyobashi and so we alighted at Ginza/ Kyobashi (I can’t rmb the station we alighted at, but it is near Ginza, which is near Tsukiji, so you can probably go Tsukiji for breakfast and come here for dessert or something)

Due to popular demand, each person can only order up to 6 cakes if I am not wrong and there is like 20 over varieties to choose from. YUMS.

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menu, and cameras are not allowed I think and so are phones with flash. You are not allowed to take photos of anything except yourself + your cakes. which means you can’t take photos of the display etc.

We ordered 5 cakes to share, which we regretted cos we should have ordered 6 cakes each instead ugh but we were full :’(

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We chose not to order drinks and we were actually shocked to see Japanese women eating like 6 cakes each and stuffs (well their appetites are normally vvv small, guess no one can resist cakes huh)

One cake cost about 700yen which is considered pricey? But it is good and ice water is free btw.

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My fav cake ^

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While it does look chocolatey from the outside, rest assured that you will not get sick of it.

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What we ordered. (pay after you eat) and uhm, you can choose to eat-on or take out, but some cakes are not available for take out.

Go check it out if you are in the Ginza area!


Tokyo travel guide : cheap eats
becky
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Alright, bet many people are saying that food in Japan are expensive (well they are, if you are not looking at the right places or are always dining at expensive/ posh places)

I am gonna introduce a shop, or rather, an outlet shop for desserts. yup, desserts (all the girls say yay now!) While I have not been to this shop myself, I have heard that this shop sell snacks/ desserts that are sold in any other konbini (convenience stores like 7-11, family mart, lawson, sunkus, lawson 100, circle k etc) & btw, I think desserts sold at Japan konbini taste awesome. (and they are cheaper than other patisseries, bakery etc)

Okay the shop that I am recommending is Domremy Outlet which sell dessert at a discounted price (mostly due to the damaged packaging - well you know how Japanese are with their packaging…) so while there is no difference to the taste or quality of the desserts. the slightly damaged packaging or maybe shape of the cake etc might be different or considered unsuitable to be sold in shops. so they are sold here at a discounted price (yay for us!).

The branch that I am talking about is located at Ueno (on the JR yamanote line), near shinobazu pond (1F of coco grand hotel pictured below)

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well, the sweets/ desserts change periodically so you might want to go to their web and find more information about their offerings.

download the map here

(simply alight from ueno station and walk towards the direction of okachimachi station) ^^ you can use the map and ask passerby for directions as well ^^


Tokyo travel guide : Tsukiji Daiwa Sushi
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Okay, so you guys have probably heard about Tsukiji & its sushi and tuna auction etc. So, we ate at sushi dai last time, which we actually queued 3hrs + for. This time, the queue was even longer and so we went to Daiwa sushi instead which was faster because unlike sushi dai which has lesser seats and serve sushi to you after you are done, Daiwa serves sushi all at one go and well, you just have to leave after that cos there’s way too many people queuing outside.

More info here

We waited for about 1hr+ to get into Daiwa sushi and it was worth it (btw we think it’s worth it to queue 3hrs+ for sushi dai as well)

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You can look into the shop while you are queuing hehe.

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& yay, we are finally in. & have to say, sushi Dai chefs are friendlier.

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Set meal comes with miso soup with fish in it

The cuts are fresh and super duper thick. we are both ootoro (tuna belly) fans and the set doesn’t come with ootoro and so we ordered one ala carte ootoro each and it is so thick and heavy when we tried to lift it up with our chopsticks, the sushi topple over ^c^v

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Thick yum.

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compare the size of the fish to the rice seriously.


Kuromon ichiba - kuromon sanpei
becky
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Tokyo has Tsukiji market and Osaka has Kuromon Ichiba (Kuromon Market) for your seafood fix. Kuromon ichiba is the place for affordable, fresh and cheap seafood in Osaka.

Located at Nipponbashi (one station away from Namba and Nagahoribashi (where I stayed at last year). Kuromon Ichiba is easily accessible and the market is so near the train station (totally love it, btw I went back again another day cos we can't get enough of the seafood there). Kuromon market link

Kuromon sanpei is perhaps the most popular shop at kuromon ichiba. It specializes in seafood and they are sold in very affordable prices (at least compared to restaurants and Tokyo tsukiji market). A set of ootoro - fatty tuna belly (4 pieces is probably only about 1600 yen; it's about 700-800 yen per piece in tsukiji fish market and other sushi restaurants, so yup totally worth it. Kuromon Sanpei link







What's worth mentioning is probably the gigantic boiled chilled crab which is like less than 3000 yen and yet so satisfying. My mum loves this a lot and she couldn't stop eating it. We even got like 2 of it the 2nd time we went.

The miso soup with lobsters is about 1600 yen but it is worth every yen cos it has like clams and lobsters in it.


You can also get oysters, sea urchins and so on and even kaisen don from the shop. Although the prices are cheaper than those of a restaurants, I still spent like 10k yen there or more cos we ate like a lot. Hence be mindful and don't over eat while you are there alright?

Of course, there's more to kuromon ichiba than just kuromon sanpei, I had oysters at some stall, soymilk as well (another post in future).

Kuromon market link
Kuromon Sanpei link

Eating Healthy in Singapore
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As you age, somehow you just tend to eat healthier. Healthy food is so expensive in Singapore btw :(

Recently, I've been wanting to try Acai Bowl which is made of acai berry (a fruit found in Brazil) and other fruits. They say it is healthy and full of antioxidants and it doesn't taste bad too, It isn't considered sweet but it is not sour as well. It has a feel of dark chocolate. This is like made popular by America or something I guess? I guess when you want something really badly enough, somehow it just comes to you.

Singapore finally opened a shop selling acai bowl in February and I went to try it a few days ago. hehe. It is located at Holland Village (Thank God it is still considered west area(?)) and easily accessible from the train station.

I went with my friend and we ordered the large one @ S$13.50. the Small one is S$6.80 I think the Medium should be S$9+. They have puree packs that you can bring home as well, if you want to make Acai Bowl at home yourself. They have smoothies too which sounds tempting. I'm going to try that next time.

Go try it out next time if you are in the area! Saw some guys there too. heh.

Learn more about project-acai here

Map here


Japan travel guide : 2000 yen Kobe Beef
becky
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2000 yen Kobe beef

There's lots of food in kuromon ichiba located at Nipponbashi which is like one station away from Namba and Nagahoribashi. It is a good place for breakfast (lots of affordable sushi/ sashimi/ crabs compared to restaurants and even Tokyo Tsukiji fish market).

Kuromon ichiba sells a wide variety of stuffs, it's practically like a shopping street with shops selling household items, cutlery, snacks, cooked food, seafood and so on and the prices there are cheaper than some other places in Osaka, so it's worth checking this place out if you are visiting Osaka.

I have written a post previously on my Kobe beef experience in Kobe and while that meal (a set) set me back at more than 6000 yen per person, Kobe beef at kuromon ichiba is cheaper by a lot (rice and soup not included).

Maruzen at kuromon ichiba sells Kobe beef for 2000 yen (SGD23/ less than 20 USD) and while the beef portion was obviously a smaller and thinner version than that of a restaurant that specializes in Kobe beef, it is enough. The marbling on the beef looks good and there's like about 7-8 pieces of beef for one serving which is very worth the money that you are paying for imo.
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We ordered one portion each and my mum loved it too.
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Kuromon ichiba map here
Map of the shop here

Japan travel guide: Osaka
becky
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Americamura icedog

Well, there’s this village called Amerikamura (aka amemura) which means America village in Osaka which is near shinsaibashi and also walkable from namba.

If you come from western countries then maybe this won’t be special to you but this place is often touted as the harajuku of osaka which is not the case imo.

Amemura is boring imo they sell mostly western t shirts (Adidas anyone) and big hip hop style clothes. Is this Japan’s perception of America? I have no idea.

While you might not have anything to buy from there, it is a good place for people watching since people’s dressing are quite flashy there but since it was raining when I went there wasn’t many people out and about and hence I only went there to eat.

Other than having various takoyaki stalls (more about them in another post), amemura is home to the ganso ice dog which claimed to be the first stall in Japan selling ice dog which is a fried hotdog bun with milk ice cream in the middle.

Sounds normal right? I really wanted to try it though my mum was skeptical about it but this really exceeded my expectations (well always expect low then the possibility of you being satisfied is higher lol).

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I always thought that the bread is fried and the icecream would melt real fast (it probably would if you went in summer) but the bread is fried and when you first bite into the bread, it’s hot and crispy crispy and the inside that has contact with the milk ice cream is soft and cold. You might think that this won’t match but nooo, I thought the flavors and temperature and all might clash at first but this is really good. Only the ice cream that’s with contact with the bread melted and the ice cream (A pity that it’s so hard to find good milk ice cream in Singapore, well unless they have like Japan fairs or something.). The rest of the ice cream remains cold and in solid form and when you bite into the ice dog, it’s just so satisfying I really wished I ordered one more for myself since it’s only 300 yen.

I think the shop also sell milk ice cream from rokko farm which is a famous farm in Kobe. I had the rokko farm ice cream in Kobe and it was absolutely delicious. The one used in icedog seemed to come from Hokkaido though but still super good.

Map here.


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