Seafood Heaven in Hakodate – Sea Urchin

I can almost say, it is no doubt that seafood taste better in Hokkaido than anywhere else in Japan! During my recent trip to Hakodate, it’s like a seafood fiesta, and sea urchin is one that should not be missed!

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Although Japan is not the only place that have sea urchin, other countries such as Canada, Korea also have them, but, the ones in Japan is still the top of the rank! There is a very famous sea urchin restaurant inside the Hakodate Seafood market called Murakami (むらかみ), and is popular amongst both the locals and the tourists. Although you cannot order which sea urchin, but instead, the chef will only serve you the seasonal best at that time.

We went there around 11:30am on a weekday, and there was already a line waiting. We waited for about half an hour before we were seated. The restaurant is quite small, and can only accommodate approximately 30 customers at one time. The lunch menu is also quite simple, ranging from around 1500yen to 5000yen per dish.

We came here for the sea urchin, so we have ordered 3 different menus all having sea urchin in it. The first one is the uni-don (sea urchin on rice), this is the simplest menu, letting you to taste the original sweetness of the sea urchin. The second dish we had was the uni chatsuke (sea urchin rice in tea broth), which is something I’ve never tried before. Taste wasn’t too bad, but I’m not quite used to having the sea urchin semi-hot with the hot broth. The last dish we had was the mix sea urchin congee, and it tasted so good! You can taste the strong aroma and sweetness in the congee, and it’s a great way to warm yourself up in the winter!

If you ever visit Hakodate, and you are a sea urchin fan, I would definitely recommend you to visit this restaurant! Remember to come here a bit earlier to avoid the long queer.

Murakami Website

Colourful Spring Time in Hakodate Hokkaido – Goryokaku Park

It’s been over 2 months since I last updated my blog, and it’s quite a contrast that my last post was something that happened in Okinawa (the South-est part of Japan), while this post is going to talk about Hokkaido (the North-est part of Japan).

So during my month long’s business trip in Japan last month, I decided to try to take a 4 hours bullet train ride from Tokyo to Hakodate City of Hokkaido. As Hokkaido is the North-est part of Japan, it also means that it gets cold the quickest, which leads to the earliest viewing of maple leaves/red leaves in the whole of Japan. I visited in mid October, and the leaves were already 80% red!

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Just the street of Hakodate – Ginko Trees

Although you can view the beauty of red leaves nearly in all part of the city, there are a few spots which are highly recommended, one being the Goryokaku Tower and Park (五稜郭). The original site was a pentagonal shaped fortress with inspiration from the French architect Vauban, the design allows for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.

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Continue reading “Colourful Spring Time in Hakodate Hokkaido – Goryokaku Park”

Pay Attention to the T&C When Renting a Car in Japan – Learn from My Mistake

So I’ve just came back from a family trip in Ishigaki Island of Okinawa, and had an amazing time. Before I start writing about this wonderful island of Japan, I’d like to first share with you a little learning I’ve got from my car rental this time.

I’ve done so many car rentals thru out Japan, with both big and small companies. I usually tend to rent from bigger dealers as they seems to be more trust worthy, and their websites are usually fairly easy to navigate around.

This time, as I was travelling with my family in a group of 11 people, we wanted to rent the bigger people movers. After looking thru both English and Japanese websites, there’s only one car rental company that had the car we wanted during that period, so with no choice, we went with them. I did some google search of this company, and they seem very legit and have high ratings.

On the date of arrival, we waited for about 20 minutes, then the representative from the car rental company arrived and picked us up. It’s about a 15 minutes car ride from the airport to where the company is, and while we were shown with our cars, we were slightly disappointed, as the cars seems to be a bit dated. It’s the first time I’ve rented a car in Japan that doesn’t have reverse sensor, nor electronic key fobs…. Nevertheless, everything was functioning well, and I mean, safety comes first right? So as long as it’s a safe car, we are happy.

I’ve went thru the T&C briefly, purchased the optional CDW (collision damage waive) at 1,080yen/day, signed the contract, and here we go on our road trip!

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

Everything was fine with the car, only minor issues were every now and then, the GPS would go wack! It would all the sudden tell me to turn when there’s not a road, or it would suddenly show that I’m driving in the middle of the water lol. Half the time I ended up following my Google map on my phone instead.

On the 3rd day of the trip, when I was reversing the car, I must have gone blind, and crashed the rear of the car into the stone barrier. The bumper ended up with some very visible scratches and dint. As there were no third party involved, and the stone barrier was not damaged, so I just took some photos of the car and drove off.

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NOW THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!!

Continue reading “Pay Attention to the T&C When Renting a Car in Japan – Learn from My Mistake”

Hidden Pop-up Shack of Luke’s Lobster in Omotesando Tokyo

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It’s been a busy summer month, in a blink, it’s already the end of August! Just before we approach the end of summer, I must write and let you all know about this Luke’s Lobster Summer Pop-up Shack in Omotesando area of Tokyo!

Originated from New York City, Luke’s Lobster is now it’s spread across the whole of United States, and opened its first International shack in Tokyo a few years back. If you have been to it’s first location in Omotesando, you would know how crazy the line is. It doesn’t matter at what hours you go, there’s always people lining up for it.

Last time round when I was in Tokyo, I was surprised when I discovered the Summer Pop-up Shack of the brand, and the best part of it, there’s no line! It’s a bit different to the original location, it’s a small corner store where you can sit down and eat (the other one is at an outdoor location for take away only). As it’s a bit hidden, it seems like not many people (even locals!) knows about it.

Continue reading “Hidden Pop-up Shack of Luke’s Lobster in Omotesando Tokyo”

Summer Special Pop-up – Lipton Fruits in Tea

Travel Japan Tokyo Summer Special Fresh Lipton Ice Tea 東京期間限定新鮮水果紅茶

It’s always fun to go to Tokyo (Japan) during summer time, because you will see Summer Special everywhere you go! Whether it’s a music event, firework festivals (nearly one every week in Tokyo!), or short term pop-up stores, there’s just soooo many summer specials that’s happening around Tokyo!

I was just casually walking around the Omotesando area one day, and I saw a long queue of people lining up. Went closer to check it out, and realized it’s the Lipton Ice Tea summer pop up store. I’m sure most of you are very familiar with Lipton Ice Tea, and probably would agree with me that drinking Lipton Ice Tea on a hot summer day is a great way to quench your thirst and conquer the heat!

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This summer, Lipton Ice Tea just got better! They are offering “Fruits in Tea” in two location in Japan! One being in Osaka, and the other is in Omotesando area of Tokyo. Good things don’t last long, this pop-up store will only be there for the summer time, opening until the 27th August.

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There are two options for the tea. You can either choose the recommended blends, which are “Beauty Strawberry”, “Recovery Raspberry” and “Oasis Lychee”, or mix your own blend. For the DIY combination, it involves 5 steps. 1 – Choose a tea base (2 bases); 2 – Choose a base fruit (6 fruits); 3 – Choose a topping fruit (6 fruits); 4 – Choose a type of super food & herb (6 types); 5 – Choose a syrup (7 types). For both the option, you get to choose your own tumbler as well, and there’s a total of 4 styles. The tea and tumbler package is at 1000yen, which is at a very reasonable price.

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The 3 recommended blends

Continue reading “Summer Special Pop-up – Lipton Fruits in Tea”

Bloom Your Own Edible Flower Cupcake and Eat It in Seoul!

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I gotta admit I’m not the type of girl who can cook a full 5 course meal at home, but I do however, enjoy baking a lot, and that’s probably because I have a sweet tooth. While I was on my last trip to Seoul, not only was I able to have the Hanbok experience (traditional Korean clothing), I was also able to join this amazing baking class held by I’m Green Guesthouse in Seongbuk-gu, which is only about half an hour away from Myeongdong.

So, I found this experience thru Airbnb. Despite the fact that I have been using them a lot for accommodations, it was the first Airbnb “experience” I’ve ever had. Airbnb launched this trips program at the end of last year, and it has been quite successful, with over 500 activities happening in 12 cities worldwide, and Seoul was one of them. I was really attracted by the photos promoting this baking class, and made a booking with them immediately.

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The host/teacher is Yon Woo from I’m Green Guest House, she was very kind, and gave very clear direction on how to get to her place. I arrived at the guest house around 10:30am, and was greeted warmly by Yon Woo, her assistant Arailym, and her husband Kitae. I was really amazed and impressed when I walked into the guest house, it’s so neat and tidy, and very homey. The room where the activity took part was very spacious, and my eyes were attracted to all those different types of teas on the shelf. It was only after talking with them that I know Yon Woo teaches students how to make flower cupcakes, while her husband is a teacher of tea! Continue reading “Bloom Your Own Edible Flower Cupcake and Eat It in Seoul!”

My Half Day Hanbok Experience in Seoul

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I’ve read so many blogs and posts about wearing Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) and people taking amazing photos in them, I just never had the chance. Most of the time I’m in Seoul for business on my own, and would be a bit weird if I’m doing the experience by myself, plus no one will be able to take photos for me… Finally, this time round I managed to squeeze in half a day of free time during my business trip, and got my pretty Korean friend to do the experience together with me!

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There are lots of places where you can rent Hanbok in Seoul, and Insadong is quite a popular destination for such activity. Not only because there are more than 10 Hanbok rental stores just along the main street, but also it is so close to all the attractions, such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace. My friend and I randomly chose one when we arrived in the afternoon. A popular store is the Oneday Hanbok store which you can make advance booking online. Oneday Hanbok is slightly more expensive than those along the main street, but they provide multilingual service, which is great if no one in your group can speak Korean to avoid any un-necessary confusion. Continue reading “My Half Day Hanbok Experience in Seoul”