Getting to Johor Bahru from Singapore by Bus

If you’re fed up with the frustrating traffic jams when driving up to Johor Bahru, here’s another alternative- why not take the bus to JB?

We head up to JB a few times a year simply because we find that it’s a more economical “staycation”. With our favourable exchange rate, about S$1 to Rm$3, a family can certainly enjoy a fair bit of savings for entertainment and dining. 

READ ALSOAustin Heights Water and Adventure Park in JB 

On our recent visit to JB, we decided to take the public bus. I had my reservations initially and stared hard at hubby when he suggested that. 

Can we manage with our luggage? 

Are the buses clean?

Will it be very crowded and will we be stuck in a jam with the rest of the cars? 

But surprise, surprise, it was not too shabby a ride.

Taking the bus to JB from Singapore

There are two route you can use to take the bus to JB either from Singapore Woodlands Checkpoint or Tuas Checkpoint. 

We went with Woodlands since we were staying at Doubletree by Hilton, which is close to JB Sentral. 

READ ALSO: Where to stay in JB

At Singapore Woodlands Checkpoint

We took an Uber to Woodlands Checkpoint from our home. Upon arrival, we proceed to the Checkpoint building. We tried our luck to purchase last minute train tickets but the next available ride was half a day later at 4pm.

We made our way up the lift with our luggage which we kept to a minimum since we were only going for 3days. It took us 20 minutes to clear Singapore immigration and this was considered fast since it was still the second Hari Raya weekend.

After that was done, we took a quick toilet break because you don’t want to turn blue from holding in your pee while you’re in a bus on the causeway.

Here you want to make sure you queue for the right bus. There a separate queue for the SBS bus and CW bus.

The CW bus or Causeway Link bus is a cross-border service operated by Malaysian bus operator and it picks up passengers from Kranji MRT Station, Queen Street, Newton Circus and Jurong to get to Woodlands Checkpoint. For more information, you can read about it here.  

If you didn’t take the CW to get to Woodlands Checkpoint, then queue for either Bus No. 160 or 170 as both buses will have to stop at JB Sentral Checkpoint. Bus No. 160 starts from Jurong East Interchange (beside the Jurong East MRT and Bus No. comes from Kranji MRT .

Bus fare: S$1.93 (With EZ-Link card); $2.50 (Cash).

 

Sophie saw the above poster of prohibited items and joking told me, Sorry no ninjas on the bus allowed.

At JB Sentral Checkpoint

When you arrive at JB Sentral Checkpoint, proceed to the immigration counter to get your passport stamped. For Singaporeans, no immigration card is required for entry into Malaysia. Here it took us another 30 minutes to clear the Malaysian immigration.

TIP: We discovered that the queues tend to be shorter at counters 3,4, 7,8, 11,12 as they have 2 counters to serve one queue. 

Travel time from Singapore to JB by bus

So how long did it take us to get from Singapore Woodlands Checkpoint to JB Sentral Checkpoint? A little more than 2 hours. 

And the best part? Buses have their own bus lane so we were zipping by the cars that were stuck in a jam on the causeway. Travel time was minutes and may have been faster if the cars kept the bus lane clear when we were exiting the causeway.

After we exited the immigration, we made sure to get our pre-pad data which allows us to Uber and Grab our way around JB too. We went with DIGI and got 7G of data for 1 week at 20 RM. 

Don’t pull your hair out in frustration the next time you get caught in another insane traffic jam to JB. Try the buses or train and don’t forget to look for Gong Cha at City Square Mall too!

Comparing ticket prices

Here’s a quick price comparison between different modes of transport

Tickets for KTM – S$5  from Singapore to JB and 5RM from JB to Singapore.
Tickets for bus – $2 from Singapore to JB
Hired car – $150 return trip from Singapore to JB

 

Kids tickets still exits in Malaysia! S$17 for a family of 3 on Saturday.

If you’re heading to JB, don’t miss these posts where I share some of my shopping finds and places to go cafe hopping across the causeway as well.

Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more family friendly travel updates. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for more travel and parenting posts.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil in Singapore

Cirque du Soleil is back in Singapore once again to thrill and delight audience with their spectacular circus acts with KOOZA. As Cirque du Soleil fans, hubby and I we wouldn’t miss it in the world and we attended the premiere last Wednesday for our date night. The event was graced by many media personalities and Sophie was so envious when we told her we saw the folks from The Smart Local.

The show was at 8pm and we arrived at the trademark blue-and-yellow big top, right next to the Marina Bay Sands, half an hour in advance. Since videography and photography are not allowed during the performance, we snapped some photos outside the Big Top and at the M1 booth where we did a GIF video and received a print out of it which doubles up as a coaster.

 

KOOZA Seating Plan

Many friends have wondered how the stage inside the Big Top looks as it doesn’t appear very big from outside. As you can see from the seating plan, you’ll get a 360 view of the stage from almost anywhere you seat. Almost…

This was my view for Category 5 and I was 6 rows from the back.

For those of you who are contemplating to buy your tickets, I’ll recommend that you go for Category 6 and below and do avoid the seats near to the gray sections on both extreme corners as your view may get blocked by the beams.

Kooza Singapore seating plan. Image credit: Sistic

Kooza Singapore price table. Image credit: Sistic

For Category 6, ticket prices are at $98. If you’re taking the Family Package,  you’ll enjoy 20% discount where prices are at $78/40. Otherwise, you can also enjoy 15% discount as a Watsons Member. Do note that these prices only apply for the Tuesday to Thursday evening shows and Friday matinees shows only. Since it’s a family friendly show, children are welcome and kids aged 2 and above must have a ticket for admission.

While prices may sounds steep especially for the whole family, be rest assured that you’re paying for world class performance and it will be worth every dollar for an electrifying and captivating experinece that will be so memorable for everyone. Here are some highlights of what you can expect from the show and my personal favourite acts.

Highlights of KOOZA

The name KOOZA is inspired by the Sanskrit word “Koza” which means “box”, “chest”, or “treasure” and emerging from this magical box is an international cast of 50 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from 19 different countries performing physically astonishing feats and laugh-out-loud antics to a live soundtrack fusion of jazz, funk and Bollywood beats.

Seen by over 7 million people around the world, KOOZA pays homage to Cirque du Soleil’s roots by combining thrilling, heart-stopping acrobatic performance with the art of clowning.

There were a total of 8 acts for the 2.5 hours show. In between, it was interspersed with clown acts where the clowns, a dog and king would drag unsuspecting audience up on the stage to participate in the show.

The show kept everyone on the edge of our seats from the beginning to the end. In the very first act, my mind was blown away by the 3 young contortionists who balanced and manoeuvred on top of one another while executing  mind blowing moves with such fluidity and grace. And what was more amazing was how the trio managed to do it with speed and accuracy in union that earned them thunderous applause from the audience.

The single aerial hoops and hoops act were another of my favourite acts and the performers did it so effortlessly as they controlled their hoops with great precision. I was holding my breath, each time the performer balanced herself precariously on the hoop, once with just one foot and even her neck a she was lifted and spun into the air.

The unicycle duo was another act that deserves a mention. While it may not be as jaw dropping as the wheel of death, it certainly requires lots of dexterity and acrobatic control to carry his performer while balancing on the unicycle and dancing with choreographic grace along to his partner.

The wheel of death was the highlight of the night as the pair of dare devils displayed exceptional teamwork as they leapt within and on top of the  wheel which had the audience shrieking in disbelief. In fact, there was a nail biting moment when one of the performers nearly lost his balance when he tripped on his skipping rope. Talk about a close shave.

Although the Teeterboard may sound like a classic circus act, KOOZA raises the bar with unbelievable challenges as performers are flung into the air on silts, And if that’s not impressive enough, they even attempt it with a single metal stilt! Whether of not, they managed to pull it off, you’ll have to watch it for yourself to find out.

I don’t want to reveal too much of the show for you, as I’m sure you don’t want to miss it for yourself. I’m always blown away by Cirque du Soleil’s performances and the artists dedication and commitment  to their craft and showmanship! And as the Chinese idiom goes, 台上一分钟,台下十年功. A lesson that we should impart to our kids on the importance of practice, practice and practice till it’s perfect.

KOOZA merchandise

We managed to snag a few photos with the performers of the night and they were still all smiles for the camera

These guys who worked it on the Wheel of Death

 

 

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil in Singapore

Dates : 12 July to 20 August 2017

Venue : Under the Big Top at Bayfront Avenue next to Marina Bay Sands

Duration: 2 hours 30 mins (including 30 min interval)

Ticket Pricing:

CAT 1 (VIP Rouge – First Row): Starts from S$318
CAT 2 (VIP Rouge): Starts from $298
CAT 3 (A Reserve): Starts from $178
CAT 4 (B Reserve): Starts from $146
CAT 5 (C Reserve): Starts from $114
CAT 6 (D Reserve): Starts from $88
CAT 7 (E Reserve – Restricted View): Starts from $124.50*
CAT 9 (G Reserve – Restricted View): Starts from $79.75*
CAT 10 (H Reserve – Restricted View): Starts from $61.50*
CAT 11 (I Reserve – Premium): Starts from $223.00*

*Not applicable for discounts

Book through Sistic here.

 

 

*A Juggling Mom received complimentary tickets to watch Kooza by Cirque du Soleil. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are honest and are my own. Photos are used with credits to Cirque du Soleil.

Nickelodeon Slime Cup SG 2017

Nickelodeon Slime Cup  is back in Singapore for the fifth time and bigger than ever! More than just a fun event that makes kids go crazy being slimed with  green, gooey, and messy Slime, this family activity is a fantastic way to encourage active living through play. 

You can look froward to a weekend of entertaining stage activities, photo-taking sessions with beloved Nickelodeon characters, and game stations to train up Slime Fans, topped with a healthy dose of Nickelodeon’s trademark green Slime. And how much Slime are we talking about?

At each Slime Cup, the Nickelodeon team produces nearly 30,000 litres of Slime in one weekend. That’s enough to make any kid giggle with glee. 

 

What to Expect at Nickelodeon Slime Cup 2017

  • Initiation Ceremony: Nickelodeon Slime Cup SG will kick off with an All Star Initiation Ceremony, led by percussion group, MOTUS, and their rousing rendition of samba funk. There will also be a rare appearance by six Nickelodeon characters on stage.
  • Photo-taking Sessions: Take part in the stage games and win passes to pose with your favorite Nickelodeon characters like SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and PAW Patrol!
  • Slime Salon: When it comes to slime, the more the merrier! Deck out in Slimy face paint, or sparkly Shimmer and Shine face patterns, or selected character tattoo designs before testing your mettle at the various Training Stations.
  • Training Stations: Awaken your sense of adventure through Slime Fan training stations – such as sliding and gliding through Slime, to defying gravity, or challenging your balance and dexterity on a swing!
  • Pine-App-le Pit: Try out the Nickelodeon Play app where you can view Nickelodeon episodes on the go, and discover endless mystery items and surprises waiting for you. In addition, check out Nickelodeon game apps SpongeBob Game Station, Ballarina – a GAME SHAKERS App or Playtime with Shimmer and Shine.
  • GIF Booth: Let the roving Slime Squad create unforgettable animated photo memories of you that can be printed onsite.
  • Training Cards: Hold on tight to the Training Card you’ll get at the Recruitment booths – complete the stations on the Training Card to collect stamps and redeem goodie bags*.
  • R&R Station: Slime fans who have earned their Slimy stripes can get their R(ewards) & R(ecognition) at this station.

Photo session at Nickelodeon Slime Cup 2017

Mark your Calendar for the Nickelodeon Slime Cup SG 2017
  • Saturday, 15 July, 11am – 7pm – Exclusively for Singtel subscribers
  • Sunday, 16 July, 11am – 7pm – Open to the public

This two-day free-entry event will be held at City Square Mall. See you there for a slimely good time!

For more details, visit the website at www.nick-asia.com/slimecup.

 

 

 

 

Osaka with Kids – Day 2 in Japan

Part of our free and easy family holiday to Japan was a trip to Osaka for 4 days. This wasn’t planned initially, else we would have flown straight into Osaka from Singapore instead of taking the JR from Tokyo to Osaka, wasting half a day on travelling. 

But we had no regrets with the addition to our itinerary as we had an amazing time in Osaka. It was a pity that we only had 2 full days in Osaka after factor in travelling time from Tokyo to Osaka and back. On hindsight, it would be ideal to have an additional day in Osaka since there’s plenty to do in Osaka with kids. 

Taking the JR from Tokyo to Osaka

We were up by 8 on Day 2 and made our way to Tokyo train station to catch the JR to Osaka. We couldn’t resist doing the touristy thing and bought a bento set after having a hard time deciding which to get.

Fancy bento sets that you can enjoy on the JR

Bentos sold at the train platform is a cheaper than those sold outside the train station

Bento set for our journey on the JR to Osaka

One thing I admire about the Japanese is their train efficiency and this should be the golden standard for every country, Singapore included. The train journey took 2.5 hours and I took the opportunity to finish the remainder of our itinerary while Sophie kept herself busy with a book and the iPad.

TIP: The trains are very punctual and leave on the dot. Do give yourselves ample time to get to the train station as the train station is huge and we needed to locate the correct entrance and platform to board the JR.

The JR has reserved and non reserve seats and if you’re traveling with company, it’s a good idea to reserve your seats in advance.

Seats in the reserved section of the JR

Osaka Castle

The Osaka castle is one of Japan’s most significant and famous landmark. This historical building is a striking contrast to the modern city where it sits on and there is a charm seeing the beauty of past and present in the castle which dates back to 1583. During the war it miraculously survived the city wide air raids and continues to stand today.

Highlights of Osaka Castle

  • While the highlight of the castle is the building, the Nishinomaru Garden, surrounding the castle also deserves a mention where locals can be seen cycling, jogging and having picnics in the tranquil nature.
  • Pay an entrance fee of 600 yen (children 15 years and below enter for free) to enter into the 8 storey castle tower. Take a lift or climb up to the 8th floor for a bird’s eye view of Osaka Castle Park and Osaka Plain from the top of the castle.

  • Audio guide rental in major languages are available on level 1
  • Inside the main castle tower is a museum where historical artifacts relating to the castle’s history are preserved and displayed such as paintings, samurai armour and much more. 
  • Be awed by the full scale replica of the Golden Tea Room
  • Learn about the life of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who built the Osaka Castle in miniature diorama
  • See a scale model of the original 16th century castle town

Experience wearing a samurai helmet and battle surcoat of a warlord at 500yen per person

Beating the heat with a grape flavoured ice cream

  • Take a break at the food kiosks after visiting the castle where they have takoyaki, ice cream, ramen, yakitori and many more options. Though matcha ice cream is a popular choice, Sophie highly recommends that you try the grape flavoured ice cream from the stall above.  
  • Catch street performances by buskers on weekends

We spent 2 hours at the Osaka Castle and its surrounding. But in my honest opinion, I felt that the entrance to castle tower can be skipped for those with younger kids since it may not interest kids very much them.

Getting to the Osaka Castle

  • The closest station is Tanimachi 4-chrome Station along the Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line.
  • The closest JR station to Osaka Castle is Osakajokoen Station on the JR Loop Line, a 10 minute, 160 yen ride from JR Osaka Station.

Kuromon Ichiba Market

One of the many streets inside Kuromon Ichiba Market

After the Osaka Castle,. we headed to Kuromon Ichiba Market (Black Gate Market) otherwise known as “Osaka’ s Kitchen” by locals.

With more than 190 years of history and tradition, Kuromon Ichiba Market, is popular among locals as a fresh food market specialising in seafood. But tourists have been finding their way there as stalls serve up freshly cooked food right on the spot at prices you’ll never find at restaurants.

We arrived there around half past 3 and was worried that the stalls may be closed. Thankfully most were still open and even Alexis who is usually not much of a foodie braved himself to try things like fresh uni and puffer fish sashimi!

We didn’t know which stall to order from and simply ordered from one that has seats available. After selecting our items, we passed them to the stall holder to prepare them.

Prawns, unagi, scallops, crabs, squid, all for your picking at the Kuromon Ichiba Market

Fresh oysters and uni

This is a must go for foodies and I’m glad Alexis and Sophie enjoyed the gastronomic experience where we feasted on grilled prawns and scallops, crab with macaroni and cheese which was Sophie’s favourite and even tried uni . This was actually my first time having it and it has a smooth and custard-like texture with a briny ocean tasted and oh so fresh!

Next we had chilled snow crab legs which was so fleshy and sweet and Sophie announced that we have found ourselves a winning dish! I grabbed the opportunity and hinted to Alexis that there’s plenty more snow crab dishes in Hokkaido and I think he’s sold! Haha.

Yes we ate puffer fish and lived to tell the tale! Our plate of puffer fish sashimi was thinly sliced and had a slightly chewy and gelatinous texture. Taste wise, it was noting like salmon sashimi and tasted more like like cuttlefish to me. It was served with a red pepper sauce, soya sauce and chives which gave it more flavour.

Sophie staking her claim on those snow crab legs!

Get into my tummy sushi!

Other Must Eat in Kuromon Ichiba Market

While Furomon Ichiba Market had a wide offering of fresh and grilled seafood, you don’t want to miss these must eat to have there.

Strawberry Diafuku 

Daifuku, is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweet filling. At this stall, their strawberry daifuku comes in custard, red bean paste as well as chocolate.

Tuna

There were a number of tuna specialty stalls where they sold different parts of tuna from tuna belly, tuna cheek in the most intense deep red shade where they can be served up raw, or cooked.

Wagyu Beef

You’ll hardly imagine that wagyu beef can be found as  street food but I kid you not. I saw many queuing at a particuoar stall that’s not far from where we bought our diafuku and prices were very reasonable. But we were too full from all that food that we didn’t have it.

Baby Octopus

This was one item that I looked forward to try as there was a quail’s egg into the baby octopus!

Tamago

Rolls and rolls of tamago is bound to be a kids’ favourite.

Fruits

I’m sure you’ve seen extortionately priced fruits from our local supermarkets. You can get honey dew, white strawberries, ad kyoho grapes at a fraction of those prices here at the market. Sophie loved the kyoho grapes and was pleasantly surprised by the jelly-like texture and was delighted that the grape can be removed effortlessly from the skin.

Besides food, you can also find mom and pop shops and of course some rather touristy ones like these that sold Yukata for kids and in the cutest Hello Kitty print!

Getting to Furomon Ichiba Market 

Address: 2 542 0073, 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Osaka Prefecture 542-0073, Japan
How to get to there:

  • The closet train station is Nippombashi Station. You’ll get there in about 5  minutes.
  • It’s also very close to Namba Station and is a 5 – 10 minute walk away.

Opening hours: Even though it’s a market, most shops will be fully open by 10am and close at 5pm. When we left about 4, many stall holders were packing up for the day.

Onsen hotel in Osaka – Dormy Inn Shinsaibashi Hot Spring

Before I end this post, I wanted to share about our choice of accommodation in Osaka.  I researched on onsen (hot spring) hotels after reading about Madeline’s experience and thought it would be cool to go to the hot spring every night. I shortlisted Dormy Inn Premium Namba and Dormy Inn Shinsaibashi and decided on the latter for it’s proximity to Dontonburi. 

Dontonburi, is a popular street in Osaka that earned a reputation for being a gourmet heaven and is pretty much a MUST GO.

Family mart on Level 1 of Dormy Inn Shinsaibashi hotel

Neighbourhood around the hotel

In addition, the hotel was also close to a few train stations that are within 10 mins walk. 

Our tiny room fitted a queen sized bed with very little walking space. As you can see from the photo, we barely had any room after settling our luggage.

But they do have more spacious rooms from what I see from their website which may be preferred if you’ve got more company.

Our stay came with daily breakfast where they offered a spread of local Japanese breakfast. In the evenings, they even serve soba for supper, perfect after a relaxing soak in the onsen. 

No photos allowed in the onsen naturally but you can refer to the hotel’s website for photos. According to Alexis, they have 3 pools in the male onsen. 

And if you’re wondering, kids are welcome in the hot spring. On the first night, Sophie was terribly shy watching the ladies undress and learning that she had to do likewise before going for a dip. But all her inhibitions faded once she got into the hot bath and it was the prefect end to our days for 3 nights in a row.

Address
Japan, 〒542-0086 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Nishishinsaibashi, 2 Chome−17-3′

More about our Japan holiday in the next post, on our amazing Universal Studio Japan experience and the most adorable Minion Town that just opened this year in April 22017.

If you’re heading to Japan soon, don’t miss my earlier Japan posts below.

You can also follow me on Instagram to see all the places that we visited on our Japan holiday with the hashtag #TaysinJapan

Our Free and Easy Family Holiday to Japan with kids

We’re just days away from July and already I’m reminiscing our family holiday in Japan during the June school holidays where we were there for 13 days. Our free and easy family holiday to Japan covered Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto and we had an amazing vacation as it proved to be such a kid friendly travel destination now that Sophie is 8 years old.

Hubby had always been against traveling to Japan due to radiation scares. But over the years, he slowly eased up to the idea of Japan because it’s such a beautiful country with so much to offer from cultural experiences, gourmet food, shopping and Disneyland theme parks! So when he got the chance to travel to Tokyo for work, he jumped at the opportunity and booked air tickets for us.

Now I tend to be horrible at completing my vacation blog entries, so I’m going to try my best to document our travelogues and hopefully it will serve as a helpful guide to those of you are planning to visit the Land of the Rising Sun too.

Since hubby is a theme park or rather roller coaster junkie, we made it a point to include both DisneyLand and DisneySea to our itinerary and added Universal Studios to our plans. That’s how Osaka came into the picture which turned out to be the best decision as we enjoyed it much more than Tokyo.

Day 1 in Tokyo

Looking all excited to board the plane to Japan

We took the morning flight at 8am with SQ and lucky for me, hubby graciously exchange our seats so I got to relax in Business Class where I managed to catch two movies, Hidden Figures (awesome movie by the way) and Jackie (Girl Power!).

I also got to enjoy a fancy breakfast of eggs benedict with salmon and hash brown while Sophie complained about her rather lack luster breakkie.

Fancy eggs benedict breakfast on SQ

Managed to lie down and catch a wink before we landed

When we landed at Haneda airport at 4pm after a 7 hour flight (Japan is one hour ahead of Singapore), we wasted no time and searched for the baggage delivery service counter so that we can deliver our luggage to the hotel that we’re staying in Osaka the next day.

We opted for JAL ABC and it cost 1,750 yen (approx S$22)  and I must say it was a breeze traveling “hands-free” between places without extra bulk especially when there’s so much walking to do. We brought along a day bag for a change of clothes,  toiletries and everything was kept to a minimum.

Luggage delivery service at Haneda Airport, Tokyo

As we bought our JR passes in advanced, we went to the JR counter to have them exchanged for physical passes. With our 7 days JR pass, it gave us free realm to travel from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto as well as the local JR trains.

We also purchased our local train tickets with little difficulties as we were assisted by staff who could speak English, no doubt in preparation for the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Instructions on how to use the Japan Rail (JR) pass

Instructions on how to use the Japan Rail (JR) pass

Buying tickets for the local trains

From the airport, we took the Yamanote line and traveled to Tokyo Main Station where we booked an Airbnb apartment nearby for the first night. The first thing we did was to locate the JR Travel Service Center to reserve our seats to Osaka. It’s not necessary but for a 2.5 hour ride, we wanted to ensure maximum comfort  🙂

Exploring Tokyo Train station

I’ve heard how huge the Tokyo Train station is nevertheless I was still overwhelmed by the multiple exits, lanes and felt disoriented in a maze of shops. We finally settled on this Udon restaurant located on level 1 of Kitchen Street.

What to eat in Tokyo Station

This restaurant was was listed on the 2016 Michelin Guide, so we’re expecting it to wow us. We could only rely on photos to place our orders and I’m guessing that their specialty is the one with fishcake which is shown on their store front. Alexis ordered that while I had the beef and enoki mushroom tempura udon and their soup base was an interesting yuzu lemon base which we enjoyed very much. In fact, we forgot that it was acceptable to slurp our noodles and Sophie was so tickled to hear a chorus of satisfying slurps.

Shop front of the restaurant

Since it was still early, we explored the rest of Tokyo station and spotted shops that sold all kinds of snacks, food, with restaurants and cafes at every turn.

I remembered that there was a Character Street and asked a local for directions.

If there is one thing that I’ve taught Sophie and hubby on this trip, is to make your mouth useful and ask for directions as I’m sure the locals will be more than happy to assist with directions instead of fumbling with Google Maps. After all, human touch always scores one up, no?

Character Street in Tokyo Station

Character Street a long passageway filled with shops selling popular Japanese cartoon characters, like Hello Kitty, Totoro, One Piece or even Dragon Ball, remember this?

Hello Kitty in Character Street, Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station’s special item

But none of these characters interest Sophie, except POKEMON.

Super cute Pikachu!

Pikachu, so cute, how to eat chu?

So happy to find so many Pokemons in Tokyo Station

Sophie was contented looking at the toys and she was amazed by the number of Pokemon characters that are not from Pokemon Go. Their merchandise sure are cute and they have EVERYTHING from toys to stationery, apparel and accessories and even food!

Just before we headed back to our Airbnb, we saw the Calbee Plus shop and ordered a cup of freshly made jagabee potato sticks. It was so good and tasted so divinely sinful.

Calbee jagabee pencils. So kawaii!

The No. 1 recommendation by staff is the roasted seaweed in soya sauce

We wrapped up the night for a good rest as Osaka was waiting for us. Our first night at the Airbnb is nothing to raved about and I wouldn’t recommend it as it was a distance from the train station and was tiny even for Tokyo’s standard.

 

Heading to Japan soon?

If you’re travelling to Japan soon, don’t miss the rest of my Japan posts below.

 

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