Travel Tips for Tokyo…

I have shared Japan travel tips in a previous post but let me add some more from our last trip to Tokyo in December. First stop was always the grocery since we need food supplies to fill up the refrigerator in the apartment we rented through Airbnb (www.airbnb.com). Remember, we are budget travelers and therefore cost efficiency is important. πŸ˜„

Tip: Prior to booking, make sure the place is near a grocery store. Some items are cheaper and choices are better than the convenience store.

Grocery store Comodi-IIda


Store entrance below street level

Mini Grocery in front of the apartment


Tip: Near closing time some of the meals are already discounted up to 50% off.  Grab some to eat at your rented place or hotel. 

Maki Sushi Plates at the Grocery Store


Different Kinds of Tea


You can find different kinds of Japanese green tea at the grocery store. I always buy a box or more to give away to relatives and friends. It’s always a gift that they appreciate. I personally liked the roasted green tea. 

Tip: Choose your location wisely. Always research before you book and ask the landlord about the area 😊 Is it quiet and safe? Near the train station?

We got an apartment in Bunkyo area which is a quiet part of Metropolitan Tokyo. The train station is 3 to 5 minutes away. There’s a shrine nearby and the Shin-edogawa Park is walking distance. Restaurants and food places are aplenty. The Catholic church is also a 10 minute walk away.

Winter time view while walking towards the park


The winter view at the park


Tip: Prior to finalizing your booking, check out the area for restaurants or food markets. What we did was to use google earth to view the area. Bunkyo had good restaurants near the train station street level exits.

Tempura Place

Ramen and Gyoza Place


The go to food place πŸ˜„ Yoshinoya!


Japanese Curry House


Korean Burger Joint Lotteria


Fast food are always a happy sight for when you’re weary and tired from walking around Metropolitan Tokyo. Especially if you’re with family with growing kids who seem to be always hungry! πŸ˜„

Tip: Drop by the convenience stores like Lawson, Family Mart, 7-11. They do have instant meals that they can heat for you. Kids love the chicken kaarage that can fill their little tummy plus it’s affordable. 

Chicken Kaarage at a convenience store


You will not get hungry anywhere in Japan. For as long as there’s a convenience store! You will not get thirsty either for there are numerous vendo machines! Plus some even offered chips and sandwiches. 

Japanese Custard Cake Stall


A must try Takoyaki in Akiba area


Don’t hesitate to try out the street food stalls selling snacks like Japanese Custard Cakes. It’s a favorite of my kids and filled their tummy while walking around. Aside from the Takoyaki, of course. πŸ˜„



xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

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Hello Singapore…

It’s been a long time and I didn’t realize until now how much I’ve missed Singapore! My last visit was 5 years ago for a vacation. This time it’s for a very short business trip. There are changes near the work place. More places to eat and even a little mall beside the hotel.

Sad to say, I was so tired to venture into the city. Thinking about the train ride back & forth made me decide to just explore the outlet shops in Changi City Point which is just beside the Capri by Fraser hotel that I stayed in. 

Changi City Point

Changi City Point


Although the mall is not big, there are shops worth looking at and dropping by. Many outlet shops are located here. But because of limited time, I actually wasn’t able to go in as much stores as I would have liked. A sad event for a bargain hunter like me!πŸ˜„ Maybe it’s something to look forward to next time. Besides, the luggage I brought was small for the sole purpose of discouraging shopping. 😜 

However, I did go for a little while with a colleague to Tampines mall to shop in Smiggle. 

Smiggle


Smiggle (www.smiggle.com) is a store that is not yet franchised or opened in my home country and the kids love their products. Specifically requested me to go and buy them cute little things. A bit expensive but so cute and I can say worth the money. The pencil cases are proven sturdy. My son still uses a gift he received 3 yrs ago!😊 

Commuting in Singapore is really very easy. Their means of transportation is I think one of the best too. 

MRT


Expo Train Station

Singapore is also a very safe place. Even if it’s late at night, I don’t feel afraid to venture out. I wish I could have stayed longer. I have friends living here that I didn’t bother to contact because I have no time to meet up with them. Maybe, next time…

xoxo, 

the traveling KANGaroo

Some Travel Finds…

There’s always something to be found when you explore. It can be at your own city or when you go out of your place. It can be a good place to eat, a thrift shop, local products, food, clothes or beauty products. Travel finds is what I call them. I want to share about products that I found and bought during my travels. Some were recommended, others were not. In recent trips I got obsessed with finding a product that can improve the skin of my daughter who got a serious problem with acne. As a mother, I’m deeply concerned with the outbreak of acne on my child’s face. I’m sure some people can relate. It’s part of growing up, of puberty and in some part due to genes. Going to a dermatologist just didn’t work out. We tried a lot of anti-acne products and religuosly applied it. Then we eliminated some of the factors that can help an outbreak like eating too many chocolates and staying up late at night. But, school work and studying can be stressful and therefore the acne stayed. I was on the verge of buying the expensive Pro-Activ product that we saw in the mall. But still hesitated because we already purchased expensive skin lotions, anti-acne medicated creams from the Dermatologist and it didn’t help. 

Then on our last trip to Japan, a cousin requested us to buy her a facial wash that she’s been using for quite sometime. She got it in Taipei while on a trip and can’t find it in our local drugstore or grocery store. She didn’t tell us it was an acne medicated facial soap and just said that it’s a good one.  My sister in law found it in the beauty section of BIC camera. And when she showed it to me I noticed the words “medicated acne care”. And so, I dropped by one of the numerous stores selling beauty products along Shinsaibashi and bought one. The name of the facial wash is SkinLife Medicated Acne Care and manufactured by Cow Brand Soap Kyoshinsha Co. Ltd. My regret at that time was not buying a lot of it! It was effective and worked well with my daughter’s skin. It worked wonders and slowly day by day, her skin cleared. 

SkinLife medicated acne care

 

Since I only bought one and traveling back to Japan is not in horizon, I researched where to buy it online. Found it in www.global.rakuten.com but the shipping cost is very high. Good thing, Japan is the destination of choice for most of my friends and so I asked them to buy some for my daughter. At around Β₯300 or approximately Php 130 for 130gm, it’s definitely affordable and worth the price to see the acne gone!  Plus it smells really great. There are also some online stores in Facebook that’s selling the product but at a higher price of Php 500. 

Another Cow brand product that’s really good is the bath soap. Good thing I found this available at a local Japanese grocery store. 

Cow Bath Soap


Make up removers are aplenty but some of my favorite generic ones came from Japan. At around Β₯700 (approximately Php 300 / USD 6.50) for 500ml Cleansing oil or water, it’s value for money because it will last a long time. Bought my one year supply from the discount store Don Quijote www.donki.com 

Make Up Remover


During a trip to Bangkok, Thailand I chanced upon Mentholatum’s Acnes Skin Care. I don’t know why I didn’t see it in Japan. Probably because I was so busy buying Shiseido’s Perfect Whip and Biore!😁 This facial wash is also good although a bit “citrusy” in smell. The sealing gel to treat acne spot is also very good. This cost around THB 130+ (PHP 171 or USD 3.67). I haven’t seen this being sold in my country yet as of this writing. Maybe I can be a distributor! πŸ˜„

Acnes Skin Care


I also bought Namu Snail White in Bangkok because I was curious about it’s popularity. Although I’ve been using it for 3 weeks already, I honestly can’t see any difference or improvement. Maybe my skin type is not compatible with it. It’s a bit pricey at THB 990 and I don’t have any idea about it’s long term effect. We will see.


I found this nice product online named Pasjel Cherry Tender that’s made in Thailand for treating acne spots.  I can truly say it’s effective. My daughter’s face cleared up with continuous use of this night facial cream. A bit expensive from online sellers at PHP 569 (USD 12.24) but I guess I can say that it’s totally worth the money spent. I found this product being sold at kiosks in Big C Supercenter near Central World in Bangkok. It cost THB 300 (Php 395 or USD 8.50).


When I was in Busan, South Korea I literally went crazy with all the beauty products. They do love making themselves pretty over there. πŸ˜… I can’t go home without buying from Tony Moly, Missha, Skinfood, Etude House etc. Some of my faves were  Tony Moly’s Goat Milk Facial Wash, Toner and Moisturizer. If only I can buy and try everything! Just like in Japan or Thailand, Korean beauty products are very good too. 

Hope this story will be of help to you dear reader! Til the next update on travel finds..

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Pokemon Center…

One of the “must visit” place of my kids. If I don’t put a stop to their spending, all of their pocket money will be spent on Pokemon toys! We visited the Pokemon Center on the 13th floor of Daimaru Umeda Store in Osaka. It’s heaven for my pokemon loving kids. Who doesn’t love Pikachu anyway? πŸ™‚

For directions, click on this link: http://www.pokemon.co.jp/gp/pokecen/english/osaka_access.html

DSCF7453

A big Pokeball!

A big Pokeball!

Pikachu is waiting...

Pikachu is waiting…

Grab some pokeballs at the Pokemon Center! :)

Grab some pokeballs at the Pokemon Center! πŸ™‚

Pokemon Center

Even if the new craze right now is Minecraft, a trip to Japan for a family with kids (young and old) will never be complete if we don’t drop by the Pokemon Center! πŸ™‚

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo

Shopping in Japan…

I don’t know why but a trip is never complete without purchasing something from the country you’ve visited. It can be shopping for souvenirs, trinkets, clothes, shoes or the local delicacies. Aside from sightseeing, it’s the most enjoyable part of every trip. Ha!ha!

First thing I look for is the nearest grocery store, supermarket or market whenever I go to a new place. They always say that Japan is an expensive place to go for a vacation or to shop. Yes, it is. No doubt about it. But, there are also places where you can get good deals or value for your money. These are my favorites:

1. OK Supermarket in Tokyo – there’s bound to be one around the neighborhood. Bought my grocery supply of Tonkatsu Sauce, Nissin Curry/Seafood Noodles, Japanese Curry Mix, Japanese Coffee & Green Tea, Kitkat Green Tea and other Japanese food stuff here. Back home, it’s too expensive so while in Japan grab the stuff that you want! I even bought Shiseido and Kose facial toners here because it’s cheaper than in Matsumoto Kiyoshi.

OK Grocery Store in Koto area

2. Don Quijote or simply called “Donki” – is a very popular store and a must-visit place for tourist if you can’t find a local grocery. I love this place. The stuff they sell is varied. Japanese goodies for everyone! You can even find designer items in one of their floors. In Osaka, you can find a big store in Dotonbori area. In Tokyo, we found one in Akihabara while there’s a newly opened one in Asakusa. My family went crazy and shopped like there’s no tomorrow. The kids loved the Kracie Pop & Cookin’ food products that they found in Donki.

To check out the nearest store from your location you can go to their website:

http://www.donki.com/index_en.php?&gn=en


Donki or Don Quijote in Dotonbori area

Don Quijote in Asakusa

Don Quijote in Asakusa

The kids went crazy over this Pop & Cookin' they found in Donki

The kids went crazy over this Pop & Cookin’ they found in Donki

3. Daiso – or the 99 Yen Store. So many cute stuff in this place. You can buy something to give out to friends, co-workers from this store. And some things for the home.

Daiso in Shinsaibashi area, Osaka

Daiso in Shinsaibashi area, Osaka

4. Uniqlo – one of my fave brands and the company also have the lower priced GU store. You can find a lot of stores in Osaka and Tokyo. There’s always reduced priced items somewhere in the store. That’s why I love this shop because even in my own country, you can find good deals. Plus, the quality is very good. Some items are cheaper in Japan so you might want to check it out.

To find a store near your location go to their website:

http://www.uniqlo.com/jp/

Uniqlo

5. Muji – some items are a bit pricey but I like the food stuff that they sell. Some of which we can’t find in the franchised store in our country. The kids also love to shop for their pens here coz that’s what they can afford from their budget. Ha!ha! I liked the shoes for my little one and I regret not buying more in different colors and a bigger size for when the feet gets bigger. We found one of the biggest Muji store in Namba, Osaka.

Muji and Takashimaya in the same area

Muji and Takashimaya in the same area

6. Yodobashi – I almost forgot to add this to the list. I’ve been to the stores in Umeda (Osaka), Kyoto and Akihabara (Tokyo) and I enjoyed all of my visits. πŸ™‚ The kids were amazed at the capsule stations or capsule vending machines. They couldn’t get enough and if you don’t remind them that there’s no more room in their luggage for other things, they won’t stop.

Kyoto-Yodobashi

Yodobashi Umeda

Capsule Station

Capsule Station

There are more stores to go in for your shopping needs. Seiyu in Tokyo and Foodium in Osaka are supermarkets worth checking out too. It’s not so obvious I have a thing for grocery, eh? πŸ™‚ BIC Camera is also a place that you may want to visit too. The one in Tokyo even has Uniqlo and GU inside. ABC Mart sells discounted shoes and Haruta loafers is really cheap.Β  Bought outfits from H&M in Osaka & Tokyo because it was on sale! Daimaru has a lot of nice stuff too but I only bought food which I can afford. Ha!ha!.. For some high end shopping, check out Mitsukoshi in Ginza district, Tokyo. We went in there to check out the store and bought french macarons in Laduree which is located on the second floor. I like the Laduree Cafe in Mitsukoshi better than the one in Harrods. πŸ™‚

Lastly, when in Tokyo you have to try and buy Tokyo Banana! I bought from their store in Oshiage, Sumida which you can’t miss if you plan to go to Tokyo Sky Tree.

xoxo,

the traveling KANGaroo