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.

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car ExperienceMust Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car ExperienceMust Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

NOW THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!!

In Japan, whenever you rent a car and is involved in an accident, no matter the magnitude of the accident, you MUST report to the rental car company and the police! (Yes, to the police, even if you have just scratched your car) Because if you don’t, your insurance policy will not cover the incident, and you will have to pay full for the cost.

Car Accident –> Call the Car Rental Company –> Call the Police –> Get a Report

I wasn’t aware of this until the day I returned the car, and I was charged 80,000yen (USD$725) in total to fix the car. 50,000yen was for NOC (Non Operation Charge) which is to cover the loss of the rental car company during the days the car is sent to fix, and 30,000yen is the repair cost.

Initially I thought I was charged 30,000yen because I did not report to the car rental company and police immediately after the collision, but after a deeper discussion with the company, I was told that because this particular accident is caused by human error, and their CDW does not cover human error, therefore even if I have reported this case, I would still have the pay that 30,000yen.

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

I have discussed this case with many others who have previously rented a car in Japan, and everyone thought the T&C of this particular car rental company is a bit strange, and it’s the first time any of us have came across a CDW that does not cover human errors.

Nevertheless, as this was stated in their website, so I can’t really say they have tricked me, but instead, I should be the one responsible, as I was the one who did not read carefully about their T&C. Although 80,000yen is expensive, but no one was hurt and I’ve learnt something new, so I guess it’s worth it.

So to everyone of you who plan to rent a car in Japan, be sure to check out the T&C before you rent the car! And lastly, drive carefully! If you want to know about the car rental company I went with this time, feel free to drop me a mail 🙂

 

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

Travel Japan Tokyo Summer Special Luke's Lobster Popup Omotesando 東京期間限定人氣龍蝦包_01

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.

The menu is different to the other branches here, and it’s much simpler. There’s only three items to choose from – solo size, Luke’s trio Regular, and Luke’s trio US. The solo size is 1/3 of the size of a normal bun, and you can choose between lobster, crab or prawn; for the trio regular, you can 3 flavours at the same time, which makes up to the size of a whole bun; and for those who got a big appetite, then the trio US size is right for you. The cost is not cheap for fast food, but lobster is a luxury food anyways, so the price is actually quite reasonable. For 100yen more, you can choose a soft drink with your bun purchase, or a beer for 500yen. Not bad at all for an afterwork treat!

Travel Japan Tokyo Summer Special Luke's Lobster Popup Omotesando 東京期間限定人氣龍蝦包_01

As the store is quite small, it can only fit around 10 people at the same time, so it’s suggested not to come here in big groups, as you may not be able to get a seat… but, you can also do take away 🙂

The pop-up shack will be here until the end of September, exact end date is TBC. So if you are around Tokyo, why not make a quick visit before it closes.

Luke’s POP-UP Shack Details

Luke’s Lobster Japan

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!

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

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.

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

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.

Travel Japan Tokyo Summer Special Fresh Lipton Ice Tea 東京期間限定新鮮水果紅茶
The 3 recommended blends

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Top 5 Recommended Places to Visit near Mount Fuji

Travel Japan Yamanashi Fuji Five Lakes 日本富士河口湖

Continuing on from my last post about WHERE to STAY with the stunning Mount Fuji view, now I want to share with you my TOP 5 RECOMMENDED PLACES to visit near the Fuji 5 Lakes area.

Maple Leaves Tunnel (紅葉トンネル/もみじ回廊)

The Maple Leaves Tunnel is located near Lake Kawaguchi of Yamanashi Prefecture. Each year from late October until mid November, there will be a Maple Leave festival that’s held here, with many food stalls, and other small counters that sell local produce and hand made artifacts. One of the main attraction for this place is the Maple Leaves Tunnel – a long corridor filled with maple trees, with a small creek that runs in the middle.

Travel Japan Yamanashi Kawaguchiko Fuji Five Lakes Momiji Tunnel 日本 山梨 河口湖紅葉トンネル 回廊

Continue reading “Top 5 Recommended Places to Visit near Mount Fuji”

Hotel with Mount Fuji View for Under USD$100/person including MEALS!

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel COVER

Just imagine yourself sitting in an open air hot bathtub, having a glass of hot sake, and right in front of your eyes is the Mount Fuji sunset view surrounded by maple leaves?

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel 19

It’s the maple leaves season in Japan again, and one of the best place to see the leaves is at the Fuji Five Lake, which is about 2 hours drive from Tokyo. The five lakes are Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakaka, Shojiko, and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance, and a great base for climbing the mountains.

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel MAP
Map of the Fuji Five Lakes area

There are many hotels around the areas of the Fuji Five Lakes, especially near Kawaguchiko, which is the biggest and the most touristic one. However, if you prefer something quieter, this hotel I’m going to talk about may just be the one for you!

This hotel is right in-front of Shojiko, which is the smallest lake out of the five. Comfortable rooms with Japanese traditional bedding, view of Mount Fuji in your room, private open air hot spring, and amazingly delicious meals all in one place. Better yet, you can get all these for under USD$100/persons! This is one you sure can’t miss.

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Let’s Exercise in Tokyo – Indoor Batting Center

must-go-in-tokyo-japan-shinjuku-batting-center-12-02Bucket List Must Visit Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Batting Center

“Every single strike brings me closer to the next home run!!”

I’ve never played baseball in my life, but believe it or not, one of my must-do  when I’m in Tokyo Japan is actually to go hit some ball! Even though I know nothing about baseball, but it’s actually a very fun activity just swinging your bat and hit the ball (or miss most of the time like me).

Now, you may ask, where on Earth am I gonna find someone who’s gonna pitch, or where are you gonna find the bats? Don’t you worry, we are in Tokyo!! Nothing is impossible here! In Japan, they have something called the “batting cage”. It’s like a golf driving range, except it’s with baseball. All you need to bring is money, and yourself, then you are good to go!

My favourite one to go to is the “Shinjuku Batting Cage” right in the center of Kabuki-cho of Shinjuku. The place is hidden in the little alley behind the Toho cinema at Kabuki-cho, so you may not have seen it around.

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Exterior of the batting center
Japan Tokyo Shinjuku Baseball Batting Cage 01
How it looks like inside (Credit: Photo from internet)

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Mouth watering seafood rice bowl in Tsukiji Market Tokyo

Japan Tokyo Tsukiji Sushikuni Uni Sea Urchin Cover

“A seafood diet is the best diet ever – whenever you see food, eat it!”

For many of the visitors going to Japan, one of the “must do” would be to visit the Tsukiji fish market, and to see the biggest tuna auction in the world! In order to do that, you will need to get up super early to line up for one of the 120 spots available each day. I’ve tried once arriving there at 5:00am, only to realized all the spots were already taken. (It starts at 6:00am, and I guess I was too naive to think that 5:00am would guarantee myself a spot)

Without the Tuna Auction, Tsukiji market is still a great place to experience the local Japanese market, and most importantly, to taste the freshest seafood in Tokyo!

Japan Tokyo Tsukiji Tuna 01
Some restuarants will have live tuna cutting show at the front of their entrance – this usually happens during morning time

One of my all time favourite is this family run restaurant called the “Sushikuni (鮨国)”! It is a small restaurant with simple decoration, nothing fancy, and it’s only got 4 tables plus a few counter seats in front of the sushi bar. But don’t let the simplicity fool you! This little restaurant is one of the most popular restaurant in the whole of Tsukiji, and you are expecting to line up for hours if you come here at lunch time!

Japan Tokyo Tsukiji Market Sushikuni Sea Urchin 01
People lining up on a Saturday morning even when it was raining
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Remember this green signage so you won’t miss the entrance

Sushikuni is famous for their “over flowing sea urchin rice bowl” – the sea urchin is literally over flowing from the bowl! What makes this rice bowl so special is, not only the sea urchin is super fresh, the bowl actually contains two types of sea urchin, so you can double your sanctification! Other than the sea urchin rice bowl, they also have many different style of fresh seafood rice bowls, and a-la-carte available.

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Picture menu on the outside of the restaurant with price
Japan Tokyo Tsukiji Sushikuni Uni Sea Urchin 05
Menu, English version is also available

Okay, back to the main topic – “Over flowing sea urchin rice bowl” – The last time I went there, the sea urchins were both from Hokkaido, one wast the “Bafun uni”, and the other one was the “murasaki uni (purple sea urchin)”. I personally like the “murasaki uni” better as it tastes sweeter, but overall, they were both heavenly delicious!

Japan Tokyo Tsukiji Sushikuni Uni Sea Urchin 06
Two types or Sea Urchin- LEFT: Murasaki Uni; RIGHT: Bafun Uni

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