[JAPAN ’16] OKINAWA I

Hi friends!

THIS IS GONNA BE A REAL BACKDATED POST hahaha! So last year, I visited

☀︎ OKINAWA ☀︎

Okinawa is Japan’s southern-most prefecture that is made up of a couple of bigger islands and dozens of smaller islands. In face, it’s so far-off to the south that Okinawa is actually closer to Taiwan than its own capital, Tokyo! Given its geographical location, it is no surprise that Okinawa receives a huge flock of visitors from Taiwan especially during SUMMER!!!

Here’s the view from the flight to OKINAWA ♥︎ Mind youuuu, this photo was NOT editedddddd!!

The sky, the sea, the everythingggg, I MISS YOU OKINAWAAA ☀︎

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How did I get there? 

I flew from Seoul, Incheon International Airport, via JinAir to Naha City, Naha Airport. Man, the air ticket was really expensive for that short haul ride. If my memory did not fail me, it was approximately SGD350 (ONE-WAY) inclusive of taxes and 15kg check-in luggage. On flight, a goodie bag was given out which contained an nigiri and a bun.

Some of the other airlines that flew between Seoul and Okinawa were FlyPeach and VanillaAir. FlyPeach had relatively cheaper tickets but limited flight timings. As for VanillaAir, I seriously can’t recall anything about it……. hahaha. If it matters, all of the above airlines are low-cost carriers aka budget airlines. JinAir is a Korean airline while the other two are Japanese airlines.

 Naha Airport 

Upon landing at Naha Airport, we were quickly jostled to the immigration counters along with packs of visitors mainly from other parts of Japan and Taiwan. Naha Airport was surprisingly simple but did contained all that a visitor would need:

  1. A convenience store (I think it was Lawson?)
  2. A SIM card vending machine (but there was only a provider which I had forgotten)
  3. Wifi egg and sim card rental booth
  4. Car rental booth
  5. Information counter

Transport Around the Island

Unlike other parts of Japan, Okinawa does not have an extensive public transport network. Hence, it is best for one to SELF-DRIVE. If you had been to Jeju, then yeah it’s pretty similar. FYI: It’s right-hand drive

The car rental company that I had seek was OTS International. At Naha Airport arrival hall, just look out for the friendly OTS personnel who will guide you to their shuttle bus and boom boom you will be shuttled off to their car rental site. DOOOOO remember to bring along your International Driving Permit else they might not issue a car to you. 

During my visit, there were two queues which differentiated visitors based on their home countries’ traffic direction. For instance, we were ushered to a separate queue from the korean visitors. Visitors from countries with opposite traffic direction might experience a longer administrative procedure as the OTS personnel would take time to advice them on how to adjust to opposite traffic direction etc etc……..

Ohhhh also at their site, they do also sell tickets to some tourist sites such as the Churaumi Aquarium.

Ohhhhh prior to the trip, I had read from several blogs that the roads in Okinawa are relatively quiet with minimal congestion. But I beg to DIFFER!!!! Be prepared to face congestion especially within Naha city and along the highways at peak hours. As mentioned, the most convenient way to get around the island is CAR! Therefore, don’t be surprise to see car HERE, THERE and EVERYWHERE!

Accommodation

Airbnb! During this trip, we had only stayed on the main Island of Okinawa i.e the biggest piece of land that you can find when you google Okinawa map. For ease of travelling, we spent 2 nights in Naha city and the remaining night in Nago City. For most airbnb houses, a free parking space is almost guaranteed so there ain’t much to worry about self-driving.

At Naha City, we rented a private room which was nothing exceptional but the room was pleasant with a friendly Obasan and a cute little dog. Location was also absolutely great being just minutes of walk from Kusaidori Street, International Street, and that meant FOOOD and SHOPPING at close proximity!!! Will share more of my experience at Kusaidori Street in probablyyyyyy the next post heh.

Fyi: It is not easy nor cheap to find parking space along Kusaidori street.

At Nago City, we rented a VILLLAAA! WOOHOOOO, it was so cuteeeeee!!!

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Isn’t it CUTEEEE?!?!?!?!?

As mentioned, this was found from airbnb too. Location wise… it was kinda ulu but it was all worth it! When the night sky falls, the sky was plastered with stars ★ LOTSA OF STARS!!!!! It was an absolutely lovely sightttt awwwwww heh. Despite being situated amidst the ulu forest, there were minimal bugs and my biggest fear of all – MOSQUITOES. So all in all, I give this place MANY MANY STARS heh as many as the number of stars in the sky hahaha

Again, this place is absolutely inaccessible without a car. SO, RENT A CAR!

Okay, that’s all for now guys! Night nights 🙂

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[TOKYO ’16] Date with the Hedgehogs

Planning a trip to Tokyo? Then, you must not miss out on a date with the hedgehogs!

Worried that this prickly little creature might hurt you? Not convinced that they are REALLY REALLY UNBELIEVABLY CUTE? Look below.

Catch more photos over here

Still NOT convinced? Watch it punchhhhhhhhhh!!! 

The Harry’s cafe, also known as, Harinezumi cafe, is a charming little cafe located right below its sister pet cafe, Ms Bunny Cafe. If you have difficulty locating Harry’s cafe on your google maps, perhaps you could instead located Ms Bunny Cafe. Being established a tad longer, there are definitely much more blog posts that offer detailed directions to reach Ms Bunny Cafe. But please do not get me wrong, these cafes are definitely easy to get by via Tokyo’s well-mapped, extensive subway lines (1 min walk from Roppongi Station) albeit it could be a tiny search for the actual location along the shophouses. If my memory did not fail me, it is one of the shophouses a lane from the main shopping street.

The cafe begins at 12pm daily and I would strongly suggest for you to be there EARLY. Speaking from my sole experience, a long queue had formed by the time the cafe opens. Reservation is available which I will elaborate in the next paragraph. As I had visited during the HOT summer in August, the queue was formed under the scorching sun. You definitely wouldn’t want to be waiting under the sun! However, to make the wait more bearable, the staffs of Harry’s cafe had provided umbrellas for their customers to protect against the unforgiving UV rays. Japan and its perfect hospitality culture had impressed me once again for the umpteenth time!!

When you enter the cafe, you would be guided to a seat then requested to make your payment for the visit. I had visited on a weekday, the cost of visit was 1000yen/30minutes which was approximately S$12. For reservation, you would have a priority queue but a minimum visit of 1hour is required i.e min at 2000yen/S$24. Reservation can be made through their official website. ALSO, be conscious of your own time as the staff may not inform you when your time is up. Overtime charges will be calculated according to the relevant intervals.

Upon making your payment, you will be guided by their staff to pick a hedgehog of your choice. How did I pick? Colour! For some unknown reason, I had a particularly liking for brown hedgehogs. These hedgehogs are housed in tanks, similar to hamsters, before they are “picked”.

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After you have picked your hedgehog, the staff would bring it over to your seat and place it in a card box that is unique for each customer. Pet it, or sayang it, gently. If you are not confident of doing it the right way, there are instructions pasted against the wall right before you. Else, do not be afraid to approach the friendly staff who are relatively well-versed in english!

If you would like a change of hedgehog, you may approach the staff as well. All is well if you treat these little cuties with gentle care! The staffs present are well-aware of the personalities of each hedgehog to recommend you or advise against any hedgehog. During my visit, I had overheard a staff advising against one particular hedgehog which bites. So, listen and don’t gei kiang (i.e do not be a smart alec).

Be warned that time spent with the little cuties do fly past really quickly. As a matter of hygiene, do clean your hands with the provided antiseptic before you leave.

And that’s all that I have to share from my date with the hedgehog! Feel free to drop me an email at breathetolivee@gmail.com if you have any queries, I would love to answer your queries to the best of my knowledge.

Have a great day ~

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