Friday, January 20, 2012

My Trip to Tokyo, Tips and Pics for You - Solo Traveler Guide

Hi all!

As probably some of you already know, I just got back from my trip. Yes, it's Japan alright, Tokyo to be precised. I went there with Delta Airlines but not from Jakarta, from Singapore. The lowest fare you can find is 534 SGD which is very affordable considering the flight was superb, including meals and baggage allowance that made any shopper happy.

I'm flying solo this time. Thanks to Maybelline Singapore that provide the flight ticket, all I have to do is provide the Jakarta-Singapore- Jakarta flight which I use Lion air and Singapore Airlines. Strangely they both fall behind Delta Airlines. For Lion it's easily said, but SQ? Broken entertainment system has made the plane loose a lot of point from me.

Okay, so there I am, arrived in Narita terminal 1 safe and sound. Everything went on smoothly, a tips from me, for visa purpose, just get everything ready and accordingly, the visa process will come smooth. A week in advance is needed, but if you doubt yourself, a month before with flights tickets, hotel, and itinerary would be enough. Personal data including financial, company's letter, id, passport min 6 month before the return ticket is suffice.

The first thing I get is a Suica Card, when in Singapore the MRT card is enough for every transportation on the land (bus and train), in Tokyo, several companies run the subway, train and bus system. If you want to travel within Tokyo alone Suica is enough, for Narita to Tokyo (yes, Narita is NOT in Tokyo), you'll need another transport system. Limousine bus, bus, train and Narita Express (NEX).

Buying Suica including NEX is a deal. Return tickets can gives you 50% off. The train is comfortable, fast (75 minutes) and snacks on board sold in a cart.

Imagining winter I thought it would be so barren just like some traveler describe, but no, as you can see in the pic above, there still some vegetation. It is cold alright but still okay (5 degree Celcius) compared to the coldness of Europe in January. So clothing wise, a heatech, sweater and a coat is enough. But if you can't stand the cold, you'll need another layer of jacket.

Every time I went abroad mini markets is always my favorite place to go, why? It provide me with basic necessities I'm too lazy to bring and gives me chances to try on local stuff.

First thing first, drinks! They have so many drinks that's new for me. I've been to Japan before (2010) but it seems they always have new things and a lot of them as well. Take note that most tea in Japan is unsweetened.

The coffee cravings, surely coffee is a hot item, a full cabinet just for them. Yum!

From local to global brand there are a lot alright. Take your time, I know I did heehee. They cost from 100 Yen to around 300 Yen. 1 Yen now equal to Rp. 120.

In Tokyo everything is decorated. The Christmas may just over but they still have some 'leftover' which is unusual for them. They usually packed everything up nicely when the moment is up.

The next day I went to Shibuya, take Yamanote line from my hotel which is in Shinagawa. Don't get confused with the subway and train map which looks like lose thread, just focus on your location and destination. If still don't get it, just come to the officer in any train station and they will be happy to help. They not always smile, but they'll help you alright. A trip usually cost hundreds of Yen, so carefully plan your trip can save you heaps, still getting lost? Just enjoy the ride and maybe you'll find a new place for tourist ^__^

Unique stand, commercial and like this one, a ramen restaurant that have big ramen noodle with chopsticks that goes up and down. It's entertaining. Many food in Japan can be really cheap, like in Sugiya or Yoshinoya or other beef bowl place. Ramen, gyoza and curry also affordable. Price start from 240 Yen until around 900 Yen. If you went to a fancy place they usually sell in sets. Cost around 2000 Yen and above. Japanese loves their salad and I can clearly say why, the lettuce are so fresh and crunchy, you MUST try them!

Tokyo have quite a number of malls, the one that you know like Takashimaya or Seibu, or just the one that only available locally.

For me it's better to went to a local mall, I can find more uniqueness there.

There's a place that is famous for foreigners, Okachimachi, they sell a lot of products that cheaper than the one in Shinjuku, Shibuya and other famous places like Ginza. An exact same product can cost hundreds of Yen cheaper here.

But it wont be a trip to Japan without their temple. Yes, Asakusa.

As I went there on January and still considered a new year plus 20 year old celebration, where those whose 20 are considered adult now and have a day on their own. Go to temples and ask for blessings. So, it's crowded there. I'm not looking for the temple. I want the snacks on the stalls as there are many.

Me in Asakusa along the pathway to the temple.

Arriving at the temple entrance.

Yup, I only went until the entrance, take a glimpse of what inside, and couldn't understand what are they doing, so I'm snacking. Girls, Japan is famous for being safe, and I must say, I like it here. Strolling around like this with no one bothers you is a real comfort. The country is clean, the people is so considerate is just top notch.

After that I leave the temple and on my way. Near the temple there's a big market which sells a lot of souvenirs and food too. Warning! Come to this place on empty stomach and snack all the way, some can only be enjoyed here.

I was exhausted, my feet are screaming for help that night. So I bought one of these, which is a bath scent to be used in the tub. They have a lot of smell and big packaging. I bough 2 sachets which smells Grapefruit and Lavender. They are indeed a treat. Most Japanese hotel included bath tub since they really like soaking in a bath, some may be smaller and not a regular international size but uniquely fit to our body.

On the next day I went with my friend.

We meet at Hachiko, Shibuya. She is marrying a Japanese man and live in Chiba now.

It's really nice to walk around with 'local' she told me where to buy this and that. Many beauty products here is just so kawaii! The packaging is unbeatable. Am I holding an ice cream soda?

No! It was a hair dye.

Then we walk around and found this cute store that is so famous.

Can't you guess?

Yes! We're at Disney Store!

This is the Disney Store in Shibuya, it's not as big as the one in the Disneyland, but enough for some craving ^__^

Wherever you go in Tokyo, you'll sure to find tall buildings, crowded places but all in an organized manner. I say, this is one of the city that you must visit from time to time, either for family, solo traveler, with girlfriends or with anyone.



  1. very nice story :)
    And thank you for the tips!

  2. Thanks Shasha,

    I wish I can share more, I will when I have more time.

  3. That's cool! I loved your post, all well illustrated and explained.
    Live in Japan 11 years ago, but I am Brazilian and I understand its allure.
    This is really good to live!

  4. Thanks Danielle :)

    I wish I can live there, at least live there long enough to enjoy everything they have.

    One of my friend live there (Japan) for a while and then married with someone from Brazil as well, she lives in Brazil now ^__^