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Winter in Tokyo

Assalamualaikum.
Hai there, it has been so long I did not write here. Probably will try to write more frequent this year.
(konon azam tahun baru)

We just came back from Tokyo. Not really that baru. 10 days ago and we think that I should write about this trip. In case anyone out there need references on how we survived our trip for nine days.

But, let me tell you something.
1. I am going to write in bahasa rojak (if you feel annoyed reading it please do not read from the start). Well, I saw some netizens commented on FB post bout how someone tulis post pasal "OPAH" using bahasa rojak which I think it is just another desperate attention seekers tactic.

2. This is NOT "You can survive Tokyo under RM 1000" or "Visit Japan for budget only RM300". We do not restrict our budget at all. The cost is not really cheap but we tried our best to minimize the budget. 

So, here you go....

Flight ticket
One fine day, my housemate said she wants to go somewhere cold to celebrate new year. We search for few places but can't get any conclusion. We were thinking perhaps we can go to Japan and visit Adilah (our beautiful schoolmate) there. Another find day, she texted me and said Vietnam Airlines got cheap ticket to Tokyo in December. Thanks to Skyscanner. But have to transit at Ho Chi Minh City. Who cares cause the ticket only cost us RM 700++. Not even RM 800. We bought our ticket in May. About 7 months before our traveling date.

Upon check-in at KUL, they will give you two boarding passes.

Tiket flight balik from Narita to Ho Chi Minh then to KL
Another thing is, we requested for Muslim Meal. Initially tak perasan benda ni, but then abah tanya dah request food ke belum sebab dia bukan Malaysia Airlines. So, we email them and very fast they send us the new itinerary with special request noted there. Efficient. Also another blogger, blogged about this (sorry I forgot your URL link). How we request the meal, just send them email informing your flight number, departure time and airport to which destination and passenger name with ticket number. Settled.


Accomodation
This is another complicated thing. We plan to stay at Adilah's place for 2 nights. We have another 6 nights in Tokyo. Tokyo itself is big. And bear in mind between places are quite far but connected via efficient schedule of train and bus. In deciding accommodation there are few things that I think is very very important to consider;


  1. How much are you willing to pay?
  2. Are you going to rent private room? or entire house? or shared room? (macam filter dekat Airbnb)
  3. How far is the house from major train station? (this is important or else you are going to waste your time traveling on the train from one station to another station)
  4. How many of you traveling?
  5. What are the facilities that you need?
So, take the Tokyo Map and try to tanda mana location of the accommodation. We mapped the location and the price sekali.

For us, we need to decide either nak stay dekat hotel or private room (shared house) or entire home. Awal-awal lagi dah tak nak duduk capsule hotel. We are not backpacking, we travel with luggage. Big luggage. Hahaha.9 hari kot tak kan bawak beg mcm nak pergi Danum Valley 3 hari 2 malam kan? Since we do not mind paying for the accommodation, and short listed the choices that we have and mapped it and only two of us traveling, we then look into the facilities that we need.
For us, basic facilities that we are looking for were;
  • kitchen
  • washing machine
  • heater
  • internet
Heater tu penting sebab pergi waktu winter. If summer probably need to check ada air-cond or not. Washing machine pun penting sebab 9 hari. Kalau 3-4 hari maybe tak payah washing machine. Pandai-pandai lah bincang dengan kawan korang. Sebenarnya coin laundry ada, macam dekat Malaysia. Sekali dengan dryer tapi tak sure pulak lah berapa charge nya.
Ada satu hotel, ada kitchen sekali dalam bilik tapi tak ada washing machine. So, decide lah apa yang perlu untuk korang travel happily. 

Next point yang penting is berapa jauh dari train station. Tengok map, macam dekat je Odaiba dengan Tokyo, tapi berapa lama naik train? and from the house itself how long you need to walk. Lagi satu, review previous customer dekat Airbnb sangat-sangat penting. Kena baca review dulu. Lagi banyak review lagi bagus and AirBnB akan ada automatic post kalau orang tu cancelkan booking. Bila ada banyak automatic post tu faham-faham lah sendiri, jangan ambik risiko. 

Our house for 6 nights we managed to book it for RM 1791 (tiket flight lagi murah :P) campur cleaning fee dengan service fee sekali. Description dia tulis, 7 minit walk from Hatsudai station. Sampai dekat Hatsudai Station, dua orang manusia dengan luggage ni pun jalan-jalan tak sampai. Please take note, 7 minutes is according to them. They walk fast. Really fast. So, if nak rasa-rasa relax sikit, 7 minit darabkan lah dengan 2. Dalam 15 minit jalan menarik luggage sampailah. Hatsudai station adalah subway station (Japan ada very efficient but complicated train system tapi jangan risau ada penyelesaian) bukan main station yang boleh tukar-tukar banyak line. Station yang boleh tukar banyak-banyak tu ibarat macam KL Sentral atau TBS, Hatsudai ni macam station Seputeh je. Luckily, Hatsudai is only one station away from Shinjuku. Shinjuku ni station besar macam KL Sentral yang ada berpuluh platform sampai ada extension ke bangunan seberang jalan. 1 minit je naik train dah sampai tapi kena ingat setiap kali naik tu kena bayar ye dalam 130 ¥ (dalam RM 5).

MashAllah view dia memang tak tipu. Sama macam gambar yang owner tu letak dekat page dia.

Begitulah comelnya rumah kami. Kanan tu washing machine, fridge, dapur. Kiri tandas dengan bilik mandi.

Canggih sangat rumah dekat Jepun ni. Adilah pun tolong translate kan apa benda ni. Yang kiri tu temperature air dekat dalam rumah (penting sebab winter ni). Kanan tu adalah udara panas yang keluar waktu tengah mandi atau nak keringkan lantai toilet (tapi kitorang guna nak keringkan baju, sejuk kot baju sidai dekat luar).

Pilih betul-betul accommodation sebab nanti bila balik dari berjalan memang penat and nak proper rest. And rasanya most of the houses dekat sini check in 3pm or 4pm and check out usually 10am to 12pm. Plan your journey carefully supaya tak membazir masa nak tunggu check in. If possible book the accommodation earlier. Lagi lambat book lagi mahal. 

Our house equipped with portable Wi-Fi so we just bring it out during the day. Tanya dulu lah owner boleh tak bawak keluar, if dia tak bagi then I recommend you to rent one at the airport. 

If you plan to stay at capsule hotel then its another different story. Don't ask me about that ya, tak dapek den nak tolong 😚


Transportation

1. Train
Very well known as having a complicated train system, honestly, I am quite scared do not know how to survive there. Foreign language, multiple train lines, and weird-weird name of the places. Not like traveling to Kundasang will pass by Bundu Tuhan, Tamparuli or Telipok (might sounds weird to them if they come here). And, you need that multiple lines that will connect you to the destination and choose wisely the route. You might need to change train at multiple stations. We changed train at weird weird stations. Don't care as long as sampai at the destination.

Dekat sini ada macam Touch N'Go juga. They call it Suica Card. Each one of us got one card but I lost mine at Tokyo Disneyland so have to purchase a new one. Each card got deposit 500¥ nanti bila pulangkan dekat JR East Ticket Office dia akan refund balik deposit and balance dalam kad tapi minus 220¥ processing fee. Machine (ada option English, jangan risau) nak topup card ni ada dekat mana-mana station sebelum or selepas keluar gate, inshAllah tak ada masalah kad tak cukup baki. If you only plan to use Subway, I am not sure about the Metro Pass sebab Suica boleh pakai untuk semua line so senang touch je dekat gate tu. 

To survive in Japan, you probably need to have these;
  • functioning smartphone (Oppo,Vivo, iPhone, Samsung, Huawei or whatever you have)
  • internet line (a lot of Free Wi-Fi area but sometime you need the internet connection at a weird place and weird time)
  • and Apps (iPhone user can install Navitime for Japan Travel and JR East Train Info, Android I am so sorry tak sure nama Apps dia apa)
  • Google Maps (nak tahu direction kiri ke kanan nak jalan)
  • Google Translate (boleh ambil gambar and dia akan translate kan)
  • Learn Japanese (ada basic conversation you might need to use it when necessary)
Banyak-banyak Apps ni sebenarnya yang guna untuk train Japan Travel. Bila nak makan and solat baru buka HHWT and Halal Navi. Nak tengok Kiblat and Waktu solat guna apps Athan) Abaikan Viettel tu sebab screenshot diambil ketika dekat Vietnam. Haha.
Alhamdulillah, we survived.
If you need further info please PM me directly or email me izzatizaki@gmail.com or leave your comment. (tak tahu macam mana nak explain satu-satu)

2. Bas
Sebenanrya kitorang naik bas sekali je from Narita Airport pergi Hitachi, rumah Adilah. The bus is awesomely on-time and clean and equipped with toilet. And safety belt ye. Jangan lupa. Every station that the bus going to stop, they will announce and remind passenger to bring a long our rubbish. And they also have a very systematic way of simpan beg. They'll tag your bag and then bila nak ambil beg nanti, you need to show the copy of the tag to them baru dia bagi beg. At least tak tertukar beg bila ramai-ramai. 


3. Travel Pass
We decided to buy JR Tokyo Wide Pass. It cost us 10,000¥ (RM 400). The pass valid for three days and you can use for any JR train. Since we plan to visit Mt. Fuji and play snow at the Gala Yuzawa, it is definitely worth it. But if you just want to wander around Tokyo, I am not so sure whether you need any pass or not. You can check their website at JR-EAST. Updated and even they provide itinerary if you plan to visit certain places within the pass coverage. Tokyo Wide Pass that we purchased can not buy from outside Japan, so we bought the pass at Narita Airport upon landing. Japan Travel Bureau in Malaysia also sell the JR passes (except Tokyo Wide Pass). So, no need to worry. 


Currency
Few months before nak pergi, I always check the rate with XE currency converter. You can install the apps too and they have their live update for the rate and can convert up to 10 currency at one time. But not necessary the rate is the same with your local money changer. I found out though the rate is quite low when I check with XE but our local money changer here in KK still sell at the old rate, so choose wisely. I changed mine few times so I get few different rates. The pro is I do not really feel that I took out a lot of money but if you really find a good rate, I advised you to change straight away all the money. Roughly we consider 100¥ = RM 4. We actually can not really find money changer in Tokyo that accept MYR, so better be prepared to bring enough money or to be on the safe side bring extra USD. I did activated my CIMB credit card for emergency. Malang tidak berbaru, right?  I called up the CIMB Credit Card Center and she said that the card accepted worldwide but better to inform them at least they noted if there is any transaction done from outside Malaysia. And I also bring few USD notes from my previous Siem Ream trip. I read somewhere that you can activate your ATM card to withdraw money from ATM in Japan but I am not so sure how to do that since I think there'll be charge for each transaction.

Weather
Disebabkan December dah start winter, agak sejuk disitu sebenarnya especially malam. Temperature waktu siang pun tak pernah lebih 13 degree. Malam memang sampai 1 degree pun ada. Cuma angin dia tu yang buat sejuk. Our face and lips and skin all turn crusty, so get ready your lotion (Cocoa Butter best), moisturizing face spray (I use the one I have from The Body Shop) and your lip balm (Nivea the best!). You definitely need a good walking shoes in Japan. A lot of walking! My steps count everyday more than 10k steps. I think there are two things that we did not regret buying;


  • Ultra light down jacket
    • We did not purchased ours from Uniqlo. You actually can buy it online from China for less than RM100 or if in KK you can find in Tong's Department. I bought mine 5XL size (thats why it loook so big but I have so many spaces to breathe in inside) from Tong's Department for only RM160.90. And you can really squeeze it and masukkan dalam the bag which does not take up a lot of space in your bagpack. I only wear my thermal wear (purchased from sportsdirect.com RM 79 for the pants and long sleeve baju), normal t-shirt and this ULD jacket. Surprisingly, we even use this jacket to play in the snow! It kalis air. If you are here in KK and planning to use this, kindly borrow from me.
Image result for ultra light down jacket
Image result for ultra light down jacket folded
  • Adidas Cloudfoam shoes
    • Another good investment. Both of us bought the cloudfoam and it does help to reduce the sakit kaki after walking almost 20k steps everyday. In fact, you need to stand in the waiting line at Tokyo Disneyland quite long up to 120 minutes (2 hours). Maybe any brand will do as long as you are comfortable with it. 


Food
Going to Japan does not mean that you need to eat sushi everyday (how I wish it was awesomely cheap and I can eat that everyday). We ate udon, sushi, onigiri and prepare our own food. Their convenience store is really really convenience. They have this cooked rice which you only need to microwave before consuming it. Initially we thought want to buy rice and cook our self since the house also equipped with rice cooker (which we are not sure how to use, it is in Japanese language!) then we saw that rice which is cheaper. We bought sambal goreng and my beloved aunty Salimah sambal to Tokyo also. Not to forget Maggi Kari, Indomie, Brahims Nasi Goreng Ikan Masin and Nasi Goreng Kampung, Brahims Kari Ayam lah, Brahims Rendang and Brahims Kurma Ayam. And also mak Jaja special sambal daging. Well, I think maybe you should bring sardin or tuna so that can eat with roti. When in Japan kena lah makan sayur Jepun kan? Haha. We are too lazy to think so everyday we eat Timun Jepun. We bought it from the convenience store also. 

Vietnam Airlines spoiled us with their food. Memang dalam flight the routine is sleep - eat - sleep. See our in-flight meal;

In-flight meal from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh

This curry is super duper delicious and the tempura is oil-less

Sushi at Genki Sushi 

Bowl of freshly cut sashimi at Tsukiji Outer Market

Its winter special but still its delicious.

In-flight meal from Narita to Ho Chi Minh

In-flight meal from Ho Chi Minh to Kuala Lumpur

There are few Facebook pages that you can refer to check whether it is okay for muslim to eat. We have our own translator to help and guide us (we owe you a lot!). But you can refer here also;



Solat
We arrived at Narita Airport Terminal 1 where the Prayer Room located at the 5th floor near Art Gallery. During transit we just pray at the waiting area of the airport. Pandai-pandai lah find a place where you will not kacau people jalan. Most of the time, we pray anywhere that we can. By the Lake Kawaguchiko, at the locker room in Gala Yuzawa and also at Ueno Park. When we went to Asakusa for the 2nd time, we can not find any place to pray and it almost Maghrib. We walk a bit far from Sensoji Temple to find a halal restaurant but it was closed. Finally saw one spot at someone's parking lot and we pray there. It is not that difficult to find a place to pray. We also bring a bottle spray (bring the 100mls bottle so you can hand carry it) for two reasons;

  1. Tan Son Nhat International Airport's toilet does not have water. 
  2. Easy to take wudhu' when you are outside. When we went to people's place, we must respect their culture and norms. Just to avoid basahkan lantai toilet, we use the bottle spray to take wudhu'. 

Itinerary
We plan this itinerary our self and and sent to our adviser for approval (thank you!). As we travel during New Year, most of the shops and attractions have their own closing time. For example, Tsukiji Fish Market closed from 31 December till 4 January. The Metropolitan Government Building closed from 29 December (I think) till 3rd January but they open on 1st January only. Better be safe than sorry. Check the attraction operation hours before you plan. Our itinerary as below;

26/12/16
From KUL to SGN
Overnight at the airport.

27/12/16
Flight from SGN to NRT
Took bus from airport to Hitachi (Adilah's house)
Meal: Udon at the Kineyamugimaru

28/12/16
Jalan-jalan with Adilah's family
Meal: Genki Sushi

29/12/16
Took Ltd. Express train from Hitachi to Ueno then to Shinjuku the to Hatsudai
Meal: Nasi from Adilah's house and sambal daging kari ayam

30/12/16
Tsukiji Fish Market
Mt. Fuji
Meal: Oat Cereal drink (Jaja bawa from here)
          Nasi and timun and telur and rendang ayam and sambal
          Dinner at Uskudar (Turkish Restaurant) near Shinjuku Station

31/12/16
Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort
Meal: Oat Cereal Drink and roti
          Nasi and timun and telur and kurma ayam and sambal
          Nasi goreng kampung and timun and telur and sambal

1/1/17
Tokyo Disneyland
Meal: Oat Cereal Drink and roti
          Nasi Goreng Ikan Masin and timun and telur and sambal
          Dinner tak makan sebab penat sangat

2/1/17
Imperial Palace
Tokyo Station
Akihabara
Ueno - Ueno Park, Ameyoko street
Asakusa - Sensoji Temple
Odaiba
Meal: Maggi Kari and Oat Cereal Drink
          Kebab
          Onigiri from 7-Eleven

3/1/17
Shibuya
Asakusa again. Lol
Ueno
Meal: Indomie and Oat Cereal Drink
          Onigiri
          Ramen at Ayam-Ya (thank you Adilah & family)

4/1/17
Tsukiji Fish Market
Shinjuku station to Narita Airport
Meal: Sushi and fresh seafood at Tsukiji Market
         Udon at the Kineyamugimaru again. Haha.
         
5/1/17
Ben Thanh Market
Meal: Vietnamese Beef Noodle and the iced coffee


Souvenir

Their stuffs not that cheap actually but you can find cheaper souvenir for your friends such as 500¥ for 5 chopsticks. So, I listed souvenirs I bought in case you need help to think what to buy for your family;



  • Made in Japan bath towel 
  • Home slipper (the one that they pakai with kimono)
  • I love Tokyo T-shirt bought at Asakusa (it can range from 2000¥ to 1000¥. Choose wisely)
  • Fridge magnets also at Asakusa about 400¥ each
  • Handmade beg with kimono design
  • Couple chopsticks
  • Starbucks tumbler
  • Chocolates (I tell you the Lotte Almond and Macadamia is super duper good. I am desperately looking for it here)
  • Pocky biscuits

Image result for lotte almond and macadamia

Image result for lotte almond and macadamia

I am not so sure what else I should put here. But feel free to ask anything you need to know. I still can not move on from the trip but I need to come back and work and earn money. 
InshAllah next time ada rezeki, will come again. Don't worry, everyone is very helpful there. Though they have limited understanding in English, they'll try their best to help you. If you are traveling with kids, they are stroller friendly also. If you have OCD especially toilet OCD, their toilet are clean and they have flushable toilet paper and flushable toilet seat cover.

Hopefully, this post will help you in planning your trip to Tokyo or inspired you to travel to Japan. 
Till we meet again!


lots of 💗
izzati zaki





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