Tomorrow morning we'll be flying to Jakarta for our Indonesia backpack trip. Stay tuned for our full report when we come back in 2 weeks time.
Meanwhile, enjoy our story on last year's Japan trip (to fulfill one of our readers' request). We flew to Kansai, Osaka, Japan by SIA (1 transit in Singapore, price RM1900 per person, not bad aaa...) and it was 8-9 hours flight. Stunned by the politeness of the Japanese (had to bow a few times....) we made our move to JR Station to redeem our pass. The pass has to be purchased in Kuala Lumpur, it's for tourist only, so you can't buy it anywhere in Japan. I tell you, it was worth it! You can travel to most of the cities in Japan without any extra cost. Took our first sight of Japan train, and it's true IT IS frighteningly punctual. Not even a second late!
Our hostel is located nearby Fukushima station, about 5mins walk. J-Hoppers Hostel is highly recommended, easy-access, spotless clean, plus friendly staffs. Since we arrived quite early, we couldn't check-in , so we went to Universal Studio Japan which was 10 mins ride from our hostel. Ana, happy gila ada Hard Rock Cafe kat situ. Spent our first yen there. We met one of the crews there, Miyo. Even though he tried very hard to converse in English, we managed to get very useful info from him.
Went back to our hostel, checked in and went out to Osaka downtown. Price per night (RM200). Mula-mula sesat jugak la, just to get to know the train system works. Pusing-pusing baru jumpa the right line & exit. Bayangkan they have more than 20exits! Tokyo lagi dahsyat 60exits! Kalau di Osaka, Umeda is the central and it has a few attractions there including the shopping area. Another Hard Rock cafe there. Kalau dalam Asia, Japan adalah negara yang paling banyak Hard Rock Cafe. Ada 8 kesemuanya.
Our first dinner in Japan was MAGGI, yummy,,sedapnya... sebab we didn't get much info on halal food. Nasib baik ada MAGGI! Esoknya, we went straight to Fukuoka, 3 hours by train, it was SHINKANSEN. Peh! Bestnya, laju gila tapi tak rasa pun.. This time around our aim is to go to all 8 HRC in Japan. That's why we had to go all the way to Fukuoka, almost yang paling hujung kat pulau Kyushu. Sampai je kat Hakata station, we had to take subway to go to Hawks Town(Tojin-machi station) Kat sini ada entertainment and amusement park. Besides that, Canal City and Fukuoka Dome ( it has the longest bar in the world ,188-metre long). Tapi Fukuoka ni agak sunyi berbanding dengan Osaka, tapi orangnya baik-baik belaka. Masa kat sini, kitaorang dah sesat jalan, kitaorang tanya how to get to Hawks Town. Dengan susahnya nak cakap bahasa Inggeris, diaorang still nak tolong tunjuk jalan, sampaikan kejar kitaorang just to make sure we got the right direction.
Masa tu hujan, so we couldn't spend much time there, had to rush back to Hakata station to get back to Osaka. Another 3 hours on train, makan roti and coffee jer, normally per meal costs 2000yen per 2 person, jimat betul ni, itupun dah rm60. Sambung jalan2 kat Osaka, esok dah nak ke Tokyo. Yang bestnye guna JR Rail Pass ni, boleh naik semua, shinkansen, any JR services including busses and ferries (www.japanrailpass.com)
Check-out and took shinkansen again to Tokyo station! Wow! There're so many people and 60 exits! Plus vending machines all over, actually all over Japan without single notice of vandalisme. Learn from them, people! Kat sini menggelabah sikit sebab didn't know where to start and go. Our hotel is located in Ueno area, but in the staion itself they have Hard Rock Cafe! It's Hard Rock Uyeno-Eki, our first proper meal in Japan, salad and garlic bread! Had to walk 10-15mins to our hotel from the station. It's Oak Hotel. Nice hotel but the price, rm400 per night(he..he..mahal but what do you expect in Tokyo) We spent 3 nights here. Macam biasa, letak je our bags, we went to Roppongi area. Kat sini banyak foreigner and this is where Tokyo Tower located. Faizal tanya, mana raksaksa ni?! he..he.. Spent lagi kat HRC Tokyo, jangan marah seriously this is our Hard Rock Tour in Japan (feel like a rock star).
After that we went to Shinjuku area, I don't know where all these people come from. Paling best, ramai-ramai macam ni pun, diaorang still tak lupa nak beratur. Shinjuku is split in 2 by the train tracks. Nishi-Shinjuku where all the skyscrapers showing its contemporary architecture, meanwhile Higashi-Shinjuku is nonstop red-light and shopping district.
Tapi kat Tokyo ni, tak sah kalau tak lintas kat the famous Shibuya Crossing. I had a chance to cross a few times. Kat sini, Faizal enjoy habis because they have 7-storey of HMV. Along the street there're so many interesting shops selling collectible and rare stuffs. Paling popular kat sini, Tokyu and Seibu. Penat jugak la nak gi semua tingkat. Tapi tak lupa 100yen shop. Banyak outletnya dah tutup, tapi yang paling besar kat Harajuku Station.
Harajuku is also blessed with Tokyo's largest park, Yoyogi-koen. Here during weekends, you will be witnessed extravanganza fashion show by the youngsters and teenagers wearing weird and gothic stuffs. For me, they are still cute and polite. Lagi tempat yang happening are Akihibara and Ikebukuro, where all the electronics and camera shops are. We didn't buy anything except for Faizal, he bought Technics headset.
The next day we made a trip to Narita, purposely for Hard Rock Cafe and found out the cafe is actually inside Jusco (in Malaysia but AEON in Japan), jauh betul tempat ni, took us almost 5 hours back and forth.The 3rd day in Tokyo we went to Yokohama, another HRC. At the Sakuragicho Station, there is the tallest building in Japan, Landmark Tower. Mengikut sejarah, Yokohama merupakan sebuah pelabuhan, ada sebuah muzium kat situ, yang dibina didalam sebuah kapal. After that we went to Saitama, where Faizal wanted to visit John Lennon Museum. Details can be found on our previous post. Balik sempat singgah sekali lagi kat Shibuya area because tomorrow we had to go back to Osaka.
On the way back to Osaka, we stopped at Nagoya, just for my HRC.. Crazy right? Since we stopped for few hours, we didn't spend much time there. Tapi yang bestnya, when we told the HRC staff that Nagoya is our last HRC and we managed to go to all HRC in Japan, they were amazed and the manager herself gave us great discounts and free gifts. Can you guys imagine 7 days and 8 Hard Rock Cafes..We DID IT!!!
We went back to J-Hoppers for our last night in Japan. Since we were so tired, we took things slowly, had our farewell dinner in HRC Universal and took a stroll in downtown Osaka. By the way, there is Malaysian restaurant behind our hostel,
Woke-up early, feeling sayup dan gembira nak balik. Sayup sebab there're so many things to be explored and we only had 7 days, gembira sebab can't wait to see our family and friends and to share with them what an amazing places and people in Japan. Sayonara!