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!

Travel_Hokkaido_Hakodate_Restaurant_Uni_Murakami_北海道_函館_むらかみ_海膽飯

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!

Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭

Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭
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.

Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭Travel_Japan_Hakkaido_Hakodate_Goryokaku_Park_Autumn_Maple_Red_Leaves_秋天_紅葉_日本_北海道_旅遊_五稜郭

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.

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!!

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

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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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”

A Playground in The Heart of Taipei for KIDULTS – Your Perfect Weekend Place

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集

During my weekend escape to Taipei, my local Taiwanese friend took me to a market in the Yuanshan area called the “Maji Maji Square”. I have to say, as a Hong Konger, I know Taipei pretty well, but to my surprise, this market that my friend took me to, I haven’t even heard of it before, and it’s been there since the end of 2013. Better yet, this place is like a playground for adults!

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集

A little bit of the background information about the area, Yuanshan is home to a popular children’s theme park, and has been very popular with parents bringing their kids for a family day. With the opening of “Maji Maji Square” (By the way, “Maji” means buddies/good friends in Taiwanese), adults now have a place to spend a few happy hours too. Located in the Taipei Expo Park’s Yuanshan Park Area (this was one of the exhibition ground for the World Flower Expo a couple of years ago), the square is designed as a fun and causal gathering spot for friends – an adult version of a children’s playground! The square is like a mix of a flea market and shopping complex, a place filled with culture, music, food, and agricultural products!

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集
Entrance to the Maji Market

“Maji Maji Square” is about a close 5 minutes walk from the Yuanshan MRT station, and upon entering the market, visitors immediately notice the slow pace and laid back, casual foreign-style atmosphere.  The market uses a variety of recycled materials, using wooden pallets for the walls of restaurants, old cargo containers to house small eateries, and discarded military tents and iron frames to create sunshades and display racks. The design is eco-friendly yet still chic and stylish. Adjacent to the market is a carousel, adding to the atmosphere of youthful play.

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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

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