Food Mission 2015: Berg

Am rather behind in my travel entries section so jumping the gun slightly to highlight a somewhat under-rated gem that I discovered in my last Japan trip.

The plan (on our 2nd last day of trip back in Tokyo) was to head to Shinjuku in the morning for some shopping. Thus we decided to have breakfast in Shinjuku (as versus to in Shibuya where we are staying at). Googled a bit and saw that Berg had quite decent reviews on Tripadvisor, and is conveniently located within Shinjuku Station itself. So off we went ……

Berg is located at the Lumine EST , at the East exit of Shinjuku Station (which itself is atsoundingly HUGE). Managed to finally locate the place (at a corner of the Lumine EST stretch of shops/restaurants on B1) after walkng to and fro for a good 5 to 10 min around the East exit.

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True to form, based on some of the reviews online that I havve googled, Berg is a small, fast food coffee shop concept joint (the intended target crowd will probably be the salary men and women who commute through Shinjuku everyday).

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The interior is very Showa-style, with bar counters right at the cashier, small/narrow seating spaces, and even a standing corner as well.

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Plus a very busy counter, cashier and kitchen (right behind the counter) all cramped together. Lots of colourful pictures and posters and the menu itself is pretty self-explaintory despite the lack of English 😛

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Very extensive menu and lots of choices to choose from. They even serve draft beer early in the morning too …… and its really cheap at 300 JPY! There’s also a sausages set to go with the beer as well. But our intent was to have breakfast (together with the much needed morning coffee) …… so we eventually opted for the 450 JPY breakfast set that comes with a toast, beans, salad, bacon, potato salad and hot coffee.

Not only is it a very healthy and filling breakfast, it is also a cheap, value-for-money breakfast deal for 450 JPY only! Definitely an unexpected, best find this trip!

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One last tidbit, apart from serving draft beer at the counter, Berg also has other types of beer and some other memorabilia for sale (displayed on a self at the main entrance). Pretty amazing at the way they manage to pack so many items and stuff (and seating/standing areas) into this small space.

You must definitely check out Berg if you are in the Shinjuku Station vicinity.

Details:

Berg                                                                                                                                                                      3-38-1 Shinjuku, Lumine EST B1, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo

Opening Hours: 0700Hrs To 2300 Hrs Daily

Website: http://www.berg.jp/

 

 

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Japan 2015: Kamakura & Enoshima Highlights Part 1

1st entry for 2016!

We stayed in Yokohama for 3 nights. Apart from going round Yokohama, we also used Yokohama as a base to do a day trip to Enoshima via Kamakura as it is within Kanagawa Prefecture itself.

1st major highlight. Planned a breakfast stop @ Bills in Shichirigahama (in Kamakura) on route to Enoshima.

Some background information on Bills …… Bills originated from Sydney, and is well known to serve ‘the best breakfast in the world’ – particularly their scrambled eggs and hotcakes. Had wanted to eat at their Red Brick Warehouse outlet in Yokohama during my past 2 trips but didn’t manage to get the chance to do so. Thanks to google and various travel websites, I came across pictures of their Shichirigahama outlet in Kamakura. This is even better as the outlet looks out to the gorgeous Sagami Bay.

Little known fact – Bills Shichirigahama was the 1st Bills outlet to open outside of Sydney, and the 1st outlet in Japan as well …… whereas many would have thought their more better known Yokohama and Omotesando outlets were the 1st ones. Unlike the Yokohama and Ometesando outlets, the Shichirigahama outlet, a short 5 min walk from the Shichirigahama Enoden station, was a lot less visible …… but we managed to locate it with the help of google maps there.

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Bills has 2 sections – the family style dining section and the relaxed lounge cum bar section. As we arrived a little after 10, only the family style dining section was open – but still homely and laid back aussie-style, perfect to enjoy a slow and relaxing breakfast (whilst on holiday). Didn’t get to sit right at the balcony looking straight out to Sagami Bay, but still very nice!

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It was 1st cloudy when we sat down ….. but thankfully the skies started to clear up (otherwise our day trip to Enoshima might be ruined big time!).

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Same shot of the same couple looking out to Sagami Bay as the skies start to clear up!

Note: Touched up the photo a bit using VSCOCam before putting it on my Instagram.

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Our breakfast! We made sure to order Bill’s famous Ricotta Hotcakes with fresh banana and honeycomb butter. The hotcakes were thick and fluffy, and go really well with the honeycomb butter. And the portions are definitely bigger than what the pictures indicate 😛  …… The other dish we ordered was the White Polenta with Poached Egg, Wild Green and Smoked Bacon – sis said its a lot more normal/ordinary.

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Also, from the balcony, we could spot our next destination – Enoshima in the distance. All in all, it was a very satisfying breakfast with a gorgeous ocean view to boot! Am glad we checked out this outlet 🙂

Enoden-ed our way to Enoshima!

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The long walk across the bridge to Enoshima Island 江の島 ……

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Fantastic weather. Clear blue skies with nice white fluffy clouds ……

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Getting close to Enoshima itself. The nice building you see is the Enoshima Island Spa (Enospa).

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Enoshima Island proper!

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Shops lining up the main street of Enoshima. This is also the walk that will lead us to the 1st attraction in Enoshima – the Enoshima Shrine.

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Before getting into Enoshima Shrine proper, at the entrance, you have the option of either climbing the stairs all the way up to the Shrine itself (which is located on a forested hill). Do not fancy climbing steep stairs upwards …… so we purchased the Enopass for 1000 JPY. Crucial, the Enopass includes access to the ESCAR – which is the long escalator that will enable us to access the walking course a lot more easily 😛

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Enoshima Shrine consists of 3 separate shrines that are at various parts of the island. There’s a main shrine/building that houses the Benten statue (the patron goddess of Enoshima) but we did not go inside at all.

Some sights along the walking trail ……

Hong Kong & Macau 2014: Day 5 Macau Spectacular Part 1

DAY 5: SUNDAY 24 AUGUST 2014

Today is day trip to Macau! Do not have any concrete/detailed agenda apart from having tickets to watch House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams (Cotai) at 5pm.

But definitely no late start unlike the day before (Saturday). We decided the night before that we will cross the harbour to Kowloon to have breakfast at Mido Cafe (which we didn’t get to do so on Friday) before making our way to Macau.

Reached Yau Ma Tei MTR / Temple Street around 9-ish and got to Mido Cafe at the edge of Temple Street itself (exact address – 63 Temple Street). Mido Cafe is what we would term as a typical old school cha chaan teng (tea cafe) as they started operations way back in the 1950s …… with the 1950s style decor still well preserved.

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The top right photo (of the lady sitting by the window engrossed in her smartphone) was from a instagram post that I uploaded. The cafe interior itself is a part of classic old Hong Kong …… and makes for pretty good photography and instagram-ing 🙂

Despite Mido Cafe being said to be a good place to spot a HK celebrity having his/her breakfast here, we did not have much luck in celebrity spotting though 😛 …… But SM did note Mido is really old school Hong Kong right down to the tiles. 2 visits later only did I notice the tiles …… which in turn made a nice pattern.

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And now for the food proper. Very extensive menu with easily over 200+ items but we were very clear on what we came here for – their signature French Toast! Since it was SM’s 1st time here, we also ordered another one of their signature items – Baked Spare Rib with Tomato Sauce Rice (which I have not tried before as my previous visit was sorely for French Toast).

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Verdict – the French Toast is as good as ever, with a good amount of maple syrup. As for the Baked Rice – the portion was huge (considering it costs HKD58) with plenty of spare ribs. The tomato sauce itself had a nice sweet flavorful taste without being too heavy and melted really well with the cheese. Surprised to find that they actually use buttered rice – which gave it a very nice texture together with the small omelette bits inside the rice …… together with the spare ribs (tender and well marinated, and surprisingly with minimal bone) it made a great combination. Of course we ordered 1 bowl to share as baked rice is rather excessive for breakfast 😛

Had our fill and it was the MTR back to Sheung Wan …… and to the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal. We decided to go back to Sheung Wan for the ferry as the MTR reaches the terminal directly, as versus to taking the ferry at Kowloon (Canton Road) where we have to reach by cab. Furthermore, there are way less sailings as compared to the Terminal at Sheung Wan.

Back to Sheung Wan …… and on our way to the ferry terminal proper, we spotted a Lan Fong Yuen outlet inside Shun Tak Centre (where the ferry terminal is located). If we knew the existence of this branch outlet, we would have eaten here instead and not spend time going to Temple Street / Mido Cafe.

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After some initial confusion at the Ferry Terminal itself, we ended up getting tickets from a travel agent and ended up paying slightly more to get on the earlier 1145 Hrs ferry (as versus to us quening at the TurboJet Ticketing counter itself).

And so, off we head towards Macau!

Hong Kong & Macau 2014: Day 4 More Foodie Adventures Part 1

DAY 4: SATURDAY 23 AUGUST 2014

Back to more travel blogging after managing to recover the backed-up data (which includes precious memories from my travels in the form of photos taken) from my Seagate portable disk which stopped working around the same time as the Acer broke down.

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Ended up waking up a tad later than the usual 0700 to 0730 Hrs given that it was a Saturday. However not that much later for me (after snoozing and snoozing my alarm) …… I woke around 8-plus, and continued to do some mindless surfing and research on my iPad while waiting for SM to wake up (which she finally did around 9).

We briefly discussed last night on plans for today, of which the 1st ‘task’ was to head to Sin Heung Yuen @ Gough St to have breakfast and check out their famed tomato noodles. SM really really wanted to check out their tomato noodles after reading this …… So we left the apartment close to 10, and once again took the sloping walk down Aberdeen St. and turned to the left towards Gough St.

And yes, it is the famous Gough St. where we were at for dinner last night. And in fact, Sin Heung Yuen is right opposite Kau Kee!

But unlike Kau Kee – which is a cafe/restaurant, Sin Heung Yuen is what we will call a classic Dai Pai Dong 大排档, a type of open air food stall which was very popular in Hong Kong in the older days. Here’s a write-up on the current state of Dai Pai Dong in South China Morning Post …… currently there are only 26 of them left in Hong Kong.

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Lucky us managed to get a seat without having to quene nor wait for too long. We had to share a table with another group of tourists (taiwanese I think) but that’s pretty common in many HK eating places. We then proceeded to order Sin Heung Yuen’s signature items in the following order – Condensed Milk & Butter On Crispy Bun, Crispy Bun with Pork Chop and Tomato with Luncheon Meat & Ham Soup Noodles that we came specifically for.

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Apart from tomato soup noodles, they are also well known for their crispy buns, which they also term it as cui cui (脆脆) …… which also means crispy crispy. One bite into the bun itself (both condensed milk & butter and the pork chop version) …… it gives a nice crispy feel (had the bread crumbs falling all over the table :P), and yet the bread itself is still soft inside. This is the exactly crispy soft that I like (and not the crispy hard Yakun toast which I adhor). However SM still felt that the condensed milk bun at Tsui Wah was more classic. As for the tomato noodles, SM was slightly disappointed with it after all the rave reviews on various online blogs. For me it was more of a novelty as this was my first time trying tomato noodles in HK despite Sin Heung Yuen being around for such a long time …… my verdict is that it did feel that it was canned tomato being poured into the soup rather than freshly made tomato soup (when you have tried great tomato soup based pasta, you’ll know what I mean). Nevertheless, it was an interesting breakfast experience 🙂

We then took a walk towards Sheung Wan to head to the 樓上 outlet there which is located right at Wing Lok St. …… definitely a much easier find as compared to my experience yesterday at Causeway Bay. Bought quite a bit of dried foods to bring back home to Singapore with the bill coming up to around HKD1,000 😛 …… SM also managed to get a sling bag at one of the sport shops along the way before we walked back up Hillier St. to locate a foot massage place. Managed to settle on one outlet and we proceeded to just relax for the next 1 hour. The foot massage was timely as I was starting to feel the strain on my sole and to a lesser extent knees after walking upslope to the apartment for the past 3 days.

Food Mission: For Kee Restaurant @ Hollywood Road, Hong Kong

2nd Food Mission entry for my Hong Kong trip back in August 2014.

For Kee actually popped up in this particular Yahoo! article while I was googling for recommended food places. As per my tripadvisor review, For Kee is probbaly what you will term as a ‘hidden gem’ – as it is less well known amongst tourists as versus to more ‘popular’ HK cafes/cha chaan teng (tea cafe) such as Tsui Wah and Lam Fong Yuen (Just like For Kee, they are also well known for their pork chop buns).

As mentioned in my Day 2 entry, decided on For Kee for breakfast as it was on the way at Hollywood Road – before I head to Wong Tai Sin Temple as planned. After a long long walk down Hollywood Road, got to 200 Hollywood Road where For Kee is located. Thanks to prior research online, recognised the signboard, as For Kee is at a corner which is easily blink & miss (if you are not alert enough).

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Reached a little after 10 – which means the early morning breakfast crowd has gone off to work.

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Word has it that For Kee’s owner is also a tradtional chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner here. This explains the ‘healthy’ menu on the right side of the huge signboard – majority of it is tomato soup based.

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Noted also this vintage/retro style photo of the restaurant right in the middle of one of the walls (that I was seated right across). They have definitely been around for a long time!

Now to the food proper. For Kee is well known for its pork chops, particularly pork chop rice. However, their portions seem rather huge …… and I felt that having pork chop rice for breakfast by myself is a little bit too much at 10am. Thus decided on the next best alternatiave – Pork Chop buns! Less heavier alternative and I still get to taste the much-raved about pork chop.

(Note: Pork Chop bun is usually served before noon and after 2pm, a non-peak hour special)

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Looks very unassuming (very much like the restaurant itself, which is pretty old school). But the moment I took one bite, I was blown away by the well-marinated, flavourful and tender pork chop. Chomped down my bun in a jiffy 😛 …… Guess it was perfect that I chose to have the pork chop bun. Especially so when it was sort of ‘limited period offering’ – before noon and after 2pm. Heh!

And of course, needed a morning coffee to get my day going! Ordered a HK style coffee – which is essentially coffee with milk. I usually take black coffee, but knowing that HK cafes don’t do their black coffee that well, elected to go with their traditional style coffee instead – as this is what they do best!

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Indeed, it does look plain and unassuming. But the moment I took my 1st sip, to finishing the entire cup – I must say this is one darn good cup of HK style coffee (probably the best one I had throughout my 6 day trip). It kept me energetic throughout the day, as a good cup of coffee will 🙂

Not only that, the staff were also friendly. And kindly let on that they are indeed very crowded during lunchtime. Even when I was there at 10-plus, the restaurant is 3/4 full (mainly locals). And they are not expensive too. Paid HKDv37 (SGD 5.97 based on exchange rate of HKD 6.2 to SGD 1).

For Kee will be a new addition to the ‘Must-Try’ char chan teng list should one visits Sheung Wan area in Hong Kong. They are that good!

Details:

For Kee Restaurant 科記咖啡餐廳
Shop J-K, 200 Hollywood Road
Sheung Wan
Tel: +852 2546 8947

Mondays To Fridays 0700 Hrs to 1630 Hrs
Saturdays 0700 Hrs to 1530 Hrs
Closed On Sundays and Public Holidays

Nearest MTR Station:

Sheung Wan MTR A2 Exit. A pretty long walk to Hollywood Road (based on my own experience). Google Map

Japan 2013: Day 11 Roaming Around In Tokyo Part 1

DAY 11: SUNDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2014

Coming closer to the ‘finish line’ after starting on this blogging project in December 2013. Altogether, it has taken me 5 months to get to this point. No reason to drag it out to 6 months and more since I have only 1 more full day to go (Day 12 i.e. Monday is essentially spent in airports/on travelling).

Could have planned yet another day trip out of Tokyo in order to fully maximise the value of my JR Kanto Pass (8300 JPY for 3 days). But I suppose the trips to Fuji Five Lakes and Kamakura/Yokohama would have well maximised the value I paid for the pass itself. Nikko/Gunma would probably be nice areas to venture out to for autumn leaves (Nikko) and onsen (Gunma) …… but did read on Japan Guide prior that the autumn foliage in Nikko is way earlier in October, so decided to save that for future trips 😛

Anyway had intended for my last full day in Japan to do the following – Explore Ueno Park and the nearby Ameyoko Market Street (for lunch & more shopping) …… Head to Meiji Jingu (if time permits) and then to Omotesando for a relaxing after coffee/dessert (and maybe Maisen tonkatsu) …… then to Shibuya to capture golden hour/sunset views photography + shopping (Tokyu Hands) ….. and then hop onto the JR Yamanote Line direct to Komagome Station to go to Rikugien for the evening autumn illumination.

First up, breakfast. Left hotel late (around 1045 Hrs). Initially thought of walking over  to Tokyo Tower (estimate 15 min walk) via the traffic crossing to check out this distance to the nearest hotels (Celestine Hotel and Tokyo Prince Hotel) where the limousine bus stops at. But since I decided to scrape the idea of limousine bus, it was not necessary after all. Instead of turning right after the traffic crossing (as per my usual walk to the train station) …… walked straight instead and ended up chancing upon a Doutor outlet that just opened for business along a small street in Hamamatsucho. So this time round, I got my sandwich set, with black coffee proper 😀

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Reached Ueno around 1140 Hrs, after a 20 min train ride along the JR Yamanote Line.

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Decided to explore Ueno Park first before heading to Ameyoko Street as they are both in opposite directions.

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Quite a crowd (even before noon), and basically the park consists of cherry trees (with yellow leaves). I guess Ueno Park is never well known for its autumn foliage. The park itself is huge, consisting of a few cafés (spotted a Starbucks), Ueno Zoo and museums. No plan to explore these places ….. So made a quick exit and headed towards Ameyoko.

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Lots to see …… and not to mention, lots of people on a Sunday as well.

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Walked in right to a accessories shop where there was a man standing up, shouting out to the passer-bys auction style ….. To a dried seafood stall (selling small fish) …… And right beside it a wet seafood stall selling fresh seafood! At the same time, also came across the Matsutomo Kiyoshi drugstore (same chain store in Osaka Station that I got the Kose Perfect Whip from), went in and brought 1 year’s supply-ful of Kose stuff (sensekei lotion, mask & spray). The Kose Whip facial foam was 100 JPY more expensive than in Osaka though ……

More walking through the 2 adjoining streets of Ameyoko as I came across various dried goods, tea shops, clothes shops and food stalls along the street. Lesser photos at this juncture as my concentration was on shopping & navigating the crowd which is starting to get more crowded.

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Right across the end of Ameoyoko was Okachimachi Station – the station in between Akihabara and Ueno. Good to know that there was another option should I decide not to walk back to Ueno to take the train later on. After chancing upon another drugstore and getting the ‘wet’ masks that Mum wanted, it’s about 1240 to 1245 Hrs …… And time for lunch!

The plan was to check out Odeo Sushi as recommended by many food blogs, notably foodsaketokyo, for its cheap and good sushi. Went 1 round around the 2nd block, and one shop proprietor directed me to this sushi place. I walked in, asked the cute looking cashier (a young boy) is it Odeo Sushi, he nodded as well …… And so decided to sit down and have my lunch here!

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Unlike Endo Sushi that I visited back in Osaka that makes fresh nigiri sushi omakase style (meaning chef’s choice) …… This is a kaiten sushi style restaurant, where the sushi is made by the chefs standing right in the middle and rolled into conveyor belts for you to choose. Unlike the conveyor belt sushi found in Singapore (Examples include Sakae Sushi, Sushi Tei, Sushi Express), all the plates here go at one price – 136 JPY per plate, irregardless of the type of fish. This is like $1.72 per plate in SGD terms! There’s also a huge picture right in the middle of the restaurant’s wall telling you the different types of sushi as well.

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Was eating slowly and enjoying my sushi ….. While the patrons beside me (quite a number of elderly folks) were wolfing down their sushi quickly + most of them had an average of 10 plates, while I was starting to feel full at my 4th plate.

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Guess the constant photo taking + dipping the rice wholesale into the soy sauce was such a Singaporean thing to do that a guy & his son seated beside me began to strike up a conversation. Turns out he used to be a Japanese expat in Singapore who relocated back to Japan a couple months back …… thus the good English. Father & son easily wolfed down 15 to 20 plates compared to my meagre 6 plates. But I was really really full after that, so as cheap and as fresh as the sushi can be, this was the maximum I could go! Of course, the fish is not as fresh as those in Tsukiji & Endo, but it’s really economical here in Ueno (due to it being a working class neighborhood) for more than decent quality food!

Japan 2013: Day 6 Next Up – Kyoto! Part 1

DAY 6: TUESDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2013

The plan for the day was to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel restaurant (Santa Monica’s Wind) before checking out and to board the 820am shuttle bus back to Sannomiya. Then to Shin-Kobe to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto.

Kobe Meriken Park Oriental is probably the kind of hotel you would love to spend a lot of time in to chill and relax, given how comfortable the rooms are + also to soak in the gorgeous views of Kobe’s harbour landscape. However after my experience with the Kobe Subway the day before (train was stationery for 10 min before finally moving) …… deliberated and decided after much thought that it would be much better for me to take the 820am bus rather than the 850am one as I had reserved the 925am Shinkansen Hikari 462 ride. It was also a good idea to get in to Kyoto early at 10-plus so that I can get the necessary maps and directions, and find my bearings once again upon reaching a new city ……

First up, went down for breakfast at 7 (one of my earliest days so far in the trip). Gorgeous morning views from the restaurant as blogged under Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning.

Enjoyed a sumptous breakfast (buffet style consisting of western and some local japanese fare, variety was so good that I even skipped taking the Japanese porridge due to time constraints + also not to over-eat). 5-star does indeed make a difference  ……

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The restaurant looks like this from the entrance ……

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Took a long time (1 hour) enjoying my breakfast, while basking in the gorgeous city views. It was a little over 8 when I finally went up to my room for the last time to pick up my luggage before checking out. Before that, a few more shots from the room balcony 😛

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Went back down, checked out, and realised that I left my scarf in the hotel room. Slight panic moment there as it was 0818 Hrs, just 2 min to the bus arriving at 0820 Hrs. Made a quick run back up to level 12 to grab my scarf, and ran back down again. Luckily the bus still wasn’t here (probably slightly late due to morning traffic) so indeed a close shave and thanking my lucky stars! *relieved*

Everything was smooth after that, as there were no delays at Sannomiya, and on the subway to Shin-Kobe. Only thing was that I went to Entree Marche at Sannomiya to get a bottle of mineral water, but then forgot all about getting sounvenirs/omiyage as I was pre-occupied in getting to the subway station fast. When I reached Shin-Kobe, saw the below travel advisory on the 2 local lines (JR Kyoto Line & JR Kobe Line) ……

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Was really thankful that I managed to catch the shuttle bus to Sannomiya, and reached Shin-Kobe in time to change the Shinkansen. Did contemplate taking the 2 local lines (From Sannomiya To Osaka On JR Kobe Line, then Osaka to Kyoto on JR Kyoto Line) instead of Shinkansen as no reservations are required, thus makes for more flexibility. However the shinkansen from Shin-Kobe to Kyoto will take only 25 min – much faster. And with this breakdown/delay, am glad that I went for the shinkansen option indeed!

Waiting area at Shin-Kobe. Instead of just hot drinks like your usual cofee and tea, there’s an option for a beer as well!

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This comes to the end of my ‘adventure’ in Kobe. Would have loved to stay longer rather than leaving so early in the morning …… Kyoto awaits!

P/S: On a random note, I reached Kobe on 18 Nov Monday. Prior to that, there was a Kobe Marathon on 17 Nov Sunday. My 2nd/3rd draft itinerary actually slated me to be in Kobe on 17 Nov before I switched it to 18th as Nara was nearer to Osaka. Also thought of putting Kobe as my last city in Kansai (20th & 21st Nov) but decided that the extra 1/2 day in Kyoto would make more sense, as I would later find out.

Managed to stay awake this time on the short 25 min shinkansen and got to snap some pictures on the journey. Tried a few times before getting this shot of a plane flying in the sky from the train window (using zoom function on camera). It is always a challenge getting good shots while on a moving train ……

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Reached JR Kyoto Station a little over 10am.

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Greeted by throngs of tourists – its peak season in Kyoto (school excursions and autumn colours – which is my main motivation for visiting Kyoto as well) ……

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6 days into my trip, by now the very 1st thing I do upon reaching the train station (when I land in a new city/place) is to head to the tourist infomrmation centre for maps and directions. As with the peak season, greeted with throngs of tourists inside the office itself ……

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The quene for English speaking staff moved fast though (realised the people in my earlier pictures were mainly China tourists quening for the chinese speaking staff to attend to them) …… And got very helpful pointers to get the Kyoto City Bus Pass (500 JPY for a 1 day pass) and also the Subway Pass (600 JPY for a 1 day pass). The lady advised me that the Tourist Pass (for city bus, subway, kyoto bus) may seem cheaper, but is of not much use unless I plan to venture out to more rural areas beyond Kyoto City (e.g. Ohara) …… and City Bus would be the more handy one to have as most attractions in Kyoto are linked via the bus network rather than the subway network. Also saw a autumn leaves / koyo chart at the corner. Its all in mandarin, and as much as I am able to read mandarin, my itinerary drafts are all in English, well nevermind ……

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Went on to the JR West office round the corner after that to do my bookings for the Sagano Scenic Railway that I plan to take the next day in Araishimaya. It is a very popular attraction, especially during the autumn foliage season – thus many travel sites had advised to reserve the seats early in advance. Could only get the 1507 Hrs train rather than the preferred 1607 Hrs train …… so made do with that. It was around 1040 Hrs when I got all these stuff done, and ready to proceed to my hotel to drop off my luggage next ……

A few shots inside and outside of Kyoto Station as I search for the subway entrance to bring me to Karasuma next. As compared to Osaka Station, Kyoto Station is not as big, and simpler to navigate ……

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Its a bright and sunny day in Kyoto! Kyoto Tower right outside the station ……

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After much walking and navigation (the subway line is located right at the other corner of Kyoto Station), finally hopped onto the Karasuma Line to get to Shijio Station (2 stops). While the journey to Shijio was fast, but it took me a long time to locate the correct exit (it was South exit all along but I forgot to jot down the directions in my notebook the night before, as well as saving the map in my iPad) and ended up at the North exit …… Finally managed to locate First Cabin Kyoto Karasuma after walking into Daiwa Roynet Hotel reception to ask for directions 😛

Dropped my luggage there and went back out again. By the time I managed to locate the place and all, it took me a good 1/2 hour to 45 mins and it was already around 1145 when I left the hotel, but not before deciding to leave my iPad in the lockers at the reception as I was starting to feel the strain of carrying it with me all over the place ……

Had my eye on the Kyoto Ramen Koji while earlier at Kyoto Station, so decided to head back to Kyoto Station for ramen lunch before continuing rest of the day’s planned itinerary. Been 5 days since my last ramen meal in Tokyo and about time for one as well 😛

Reached Kyoto Station a little after 12, and after walking through the entire ramen street (located on level 11 of The Cube – Isetan side of the station that is just right next to the tourist information centre), decided on this shop which sells Kyoto-styled ramen that originated from Ginkakuji – which so happens to be my next destination after lunch!

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Chose the 800 JPY special for the month as advertised at the shop front. Tasted more like chinese style dan dan noodle, with the thin noodle used and the tau pok being part of the ingredients as well ……

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After my lunch, walked round the level looking for a place for a drink/dessert and at the same time picked out another 2 outlets that I may like to try (if I were to come back again) – one that is Fukushima based (i.e. the ramen that has a lot of meat) and Ikkousha (where there is an offshoot outlet at Ramen Champion back here) ……

Kyoto Station 3