I can’t really recall when did I first heard about Japan. Was it from the first car that my dad bought years ago (it was a grey Toyota Corolla) or was it from Doraemon? Gotta be one of them (pretty sure it’s the latter considering I have little to no interest at all when it comes to car :p). Either way, 20 years later I found myself exploring the heart of this sugoi country. Had the chance to explore two of its biggest cities – Tokyo and Osaka – and honestly, you should too!
This time around, the travel pack is quite unique as none of us had actually travelled together before. There were six of us – three UM seniors (Adi, Abul and Shah), one officemate (Afnan) and Adi’s former colleague (Achid). I first thought it’s gonna be a challenge for some but hey, turned out we bond just fine. Anyway, as many had requested, here’s our itinerary for the visit.
In total, we were in Japan for 10 days (including the arrival and departure day) and the stay is divided into 2 main parts – Tokyo and Osaka, 5 days each. We arrived at Narita Airport, Tokyo on April 24th and depart for Malaysia from Kansai Airport, Osaka on May 3rd. And yes, we took the slightly more pricey MAS over AA just to experience the luxury (full service for a difference of only RM100 at time we purchase our tickets, it’s a bargain!).
Day 1 – Arrival
- We took off from KLIA at around 11am and landed at Narita 7pm local time. The journey was smooth all the way (thank God!) and there were more than enough movies to keep me from sleeping (watched Mockingjay, Om Shanti Om and few others). On the flight, I bumped into Afnan quite a few times at the toilet – apparently we both utilized the free-flow juices a bit too much. But hey, no one’s complaining!
- At Narita Airport, we then met Shah who had flewn an hour earlier with SIA from Singapore. He had waited not only for us but also for his lost luggage. As he literally has nothing else to wear then, he decided to go shopping with Abul, leaving the three of us (me, Adi and Afnan) on our own to the hostel.
- Guess I forgot to mention that another member of the team, Achid, had left his passport back in Kerteh. He missed the flight and flew the next day. And that’s not the only thing he’ll be leaving throughout our journey! More about that later. haha…
- After much confusion about which train to get to our hostel, the three of us then took the train to Asakusa. On our way there, we met a really friendly Japanese man (he’s drunk) who gave us free lecture on how to get to our station. The ticket costs a bit more than 1000Yen (+/- RM 30) much like the fare for KLIA Express from KLIA to KL Sentral.
- We reached our hostel (Khaosan World Asakusa) after walking quite a distance from the station. There are lots of subway/train company in Japan so you better be sure which stops where as the station name could also be similar. Anyway, the hostel was nice and we spent rest of the night exploring nearby area.
Day 2 – Asakusa, Ueno street and Akihabara
- The next day (and many days after) we start by first having Onigiris for breakfast. They came in various flavours and are very convenient – buy extra so you won’t starve until lunch. Trust me, you’ll get exhausted pretty quick with all the walking you never use to.
- After breakfast, we then walked to Sensoji temple – it was quite close to where we’re staying. The temple is majestic as temples in Japan usually do – but it was the popular traditional sweet bread there that I remember most. Nothing beats the aroma of bread fresh out of the oven!
- Done exploring the temple, we made our way to the currently second tallest structure in the world, the Tokyo Skytree. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this tower before. Can’t believe that it’s even taller than our twins! Ala…
- Like KLCC, there’s a mall just underneath the tower. And, like Suria KLCC, things are pricey there. So we head to Ueno street to have our lunch and shop for some souvenirs.
- Next stop, Akihabara – the electronics paradise. If you’re into gadgets then this is the perfect place for you. There’s also a Gundam cafe nearby, in case you’re a fan.
- Post Akihabara, we went back to Asakusa to have our dinner. We had ramen at a new halal restaurant, Naritaya Restaurant. This actually is my first ramen experience and it was nice. It’s great that they have prayer room available but what’s more surprising, one of the cook is a Malay guy from Kedah! Can you imagine that? Btw, it’s hard to tell at first coz he blend in pretty well.
- Afnan didn’t join us for dinner. He had a friend (who works in Japan) coming to the hostel to pass him a portable wifi router. Honestly, if you’re planning to visit Japan, do get one! Super convenient as you’ll be Google-ing for maps and directions most of the time you’re out. And oh, bring extra power bank too! The battery get drained pretty quickly.
- By the time we’re done with our dinner, Achid has just arrived from his second flight. Adi went on to fetch him at Asakusa station while the rest of us head back to the hostel. Exhausted but excited as we’re going to Mount Fuji the next day!
I’d like to sum up the journey in Tokyo in just one post but then it’ll be too lengthy to read. Now why do I have to write every detail of the trip? I believe that’s what makes it a journey. It’s the little things that makes it lively, interesting and memorable. Else, the journey is nothing but an itinerary on paper. Couldn’t be truer from MAS slogan – Journeys are made by the people you travel with.
Also, this serves as a memento for me when I’m old (if I even get there). Something to read back when I can no longer recall my younger years. A reminder that I had lived and explored the world as much as I have always wanted.
Till the next post!