Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Japan 2017: Kansai to Kanto ~ Traveling through the Overnight Bus

There are two regions in Japan that is famous to tourist: Kansai and Kanto.  Kansai is where Osaka and Kyoto is located, while Tokyo is in Kanto region.  These regions are 500 kilometers apart.  We wanted to go to both areas and so we included it in our itinerary.

Traveling from Kansai to Kanto region by Shinkansen will take 4 hours; 3 hours if you take the Nozomi Shinkansen, the fastest Shinkansen in Tokaido line.  This Shinkansen ride costs JPY14450 (kids below 6 years old are free).  I am not very keen in spending JPY14450 (x2, the hubby and me) for this ride and so we searched for an alternative.   And luckily we found one: traveling by bus.

Traveling from Kansai to Kanto region by bus will take more than 9 hours.  The cost of the bus ride will depends on what type of bus you will take.  It can range from JPY5900 to JPY 12000 (kids below 6 years old are free but if you want to buy them a seat, they are charged half the price). 

Our overnight bus arrived just in time. 

We chose the overnight bus from Kyoto to Tokyo (you can opt for the day bus if you like).  The cost was JPY6000 for adult and JPY3000 for Neo.   We booked the overnight bus online at www.willerexpress.com – I suggest you use this website for booking as they have a lot of bus choices and they are in English language.

There are three things we were able to save when we traveled via overnight bus.

1.    FARE.  Bus fares are so much cheaper than Shinkansen fare.  Shinkansen cost JPY14450 for each adult; overnight bus cost JPY6000 for each adult, and JPY3000 for our little boy.

Shinkansen
Overnight Bus
JPY 14450 x2 adults = JPY28,900
JPY 6000 x2 adults = JPY12,000
JPY 0 for Neo = 0
JPY 3000 for Neo = JPY3,000
Total = JPY28,900
Total = JPY15,000

That’s JPY13,900 monetary savings for us! J

2.    OVERNIGHT HOTEL STAY.  We were able to save an overnight stay when we traveled via the overnight bus.  We slept during the travel time of 9 hours on the bus. 

We saved around JPY4000 – JPY5000 for an overnight stay.

3.    TIME.  We were able to save our precious time when we traveled via the overnight bus.  We spent the whole day touring Kyoto and Nara instead of traveling by day. 

When you are traveling by overnight bus, please do take note of the following:

·         Buses leave on time.  Not a minute before and not a minute after.  Make sure you are there before the scheduled departure so you can settle properly.  To be safe, 15 minutes before is an ideal time.

·         Check the departure area.  When booking for an overnight bus, make sure to check where it will depart.  Not all Willer buses depart at Willer Station.  Some depart on parking spaces that may not be very ideal for you.

Our overnight bus station is in front of JR Kyoto Station.

·         Check the bus inclusions.  Cost of buses varies because of inclusions and seat details.  Not all buses have toilet and luggage allowance.  If you have a lot of luggage with you, you have to check if the bus you are booking allows check in of luggage.  If you have bladder problems, you might want to book a bus with toilet.

Luggage tag. 

·         Check the seat details.  Seat details vary per bus.  More costly buses has wide seat, electrical outlet, leg rest, foot rest, wi-fi, blanket, and 3 seats in a row.  Japan overnight buses travel with a rule that women are seated together.  So if you are a couple, and you don’t fancy traveling seated with strangers, you may want to book a 3-seater bus (we did). 

The overnight bus that we book was a 3-seater bus, with privacy curtain, electrical outlet, foot rest, leg rest, blanket, and rest room.

Neo has his own seat and was able to rest properly. 

·         Be time conscious.  The overnight bus we rode was very thoughtful to ensure we have an overnight rest.  The bus was dimly lit.  It has curtains in the front row as well as the windows.  No noise can be heard on the bus.  The driver drove the bus with caution (not kaskasero).  We were able to sleep well.  And we woke up just a minute before we entered the Shinjuku Bus Station.  The bus arrived on schedule and we barely had time to stretch.  Be time conscious as you don’t want the driver and conductor to wake you up all in your morning glory. Haha

We didn’t have any issues when we traveled using the overnight bus.  In fact, I highly suggest you use this in case you want to travel from Kansai to Kanto region.  




Sunday, August 13, 2017

Japan 2017: The Shinkansen Experience

Japan is famous for its wonderful technologies that make life a whole lot easier.  One of these technologies is the bullet train – which makes traveling more faster (more na, faster pa! ganoon kabilis! hahaha).  Shinkansen is one of Japan’s famous bullet trains.  It is operated by Japan Railways (JR). 

My little boy is fascinated by trains (as evident by his love for Thomas, the tank engine), so riding the famous Shinkansen is a must in our list of to-do things in Japan. 



Most of the people who traveled to Japan suggested that if we are traveling from Kansai to Kanto (Osaka to Tokyo), we should use the Shinkansen for faster travel.  It will only take three hours.  The cost of this is travel is JPY14450 per person.  Since we didn’t avail of the JR Nationwide Pass, spending almost JPY15000 for one person is too much for me. 

So we searched for a way on how we could enjoy riding the Shinkansen with a minimal cost.  We found out that Shinkansen also operates intra-region.  Thus, we rode the Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto.




You can travel to Kyoto from Osaka through train or bus.  Traveling by bus will be a little bit longer.  Traveling by train will be a little bit faster.  There are a lot of train lines that you can choose from when you travel from Osaka to Kyoto: the Keihan Line, Hankyu Line, JR Rapid Service, and the Shinkansen. 




Shinkansen fare from Osaka to Kyoto is JPY560 one-way.  Children below 6 years old are free to ride.  Shinkansen is longer than your usual train.  It has several coaches and you have to pay for your seat.  There are three seat classes: The Green Seat, which is the first class, cost JPY3220; Reserved Seat cost JPY2460; and Unreserved seat cost JPY860.  We paid for the Unreserved seat and our total fare of Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto is JPY1420 per person.


Don’t be confused of the tickets.  We came from Fukushima Station and we traveled to Osaka with a fare of JPY160.


The Unreserved Seat is the end coach.  We arrived minutes before the Shinkansen is scheduled to leave so we ran to the Unreserved Seat coach since we don’t want to wait another hour for the next Shinkansen train schedule.  After running and locating our coach, we found out that, we could enter any coach and just walk inside the Shinkansen as all coaches are linked.




We were lucky that the Shinkansen scheduled when we traveled was the Nozomi – the fastest Shinkansen at Tokaido/Sanyo Line.  It has individual seats and tray tables.  The seats remind me that of an airplane. 





If you have a luggage with you, do put it at the end of the coach where there is enough space for luggage. 




Riding the Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto takes about 18 minutes (Osaka to Shin-Osaka: 4mins, Shin-Osaka to Kyoto: 14mins).  The JR Rapid line will take 27 minutes from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station.  You don’t save so much time, but you get to experience riding the Shinkansen.

Riding the Shinkansen is an experience in itself, so make sure to try it.  Now, let me end this blog post by a video of our Shinkansen experience with my little boy saying “Hi” all the time. J


video




Friday, August 11, 2017

Japan 2017: Japanese Accommodation Through Airbnb

Traveling can be costly.  A big chunk of anyone’s travel budget will always go to accommodation.  Lucky are those who visit certain places where they have relatives or friends where they can stay at.  Another lucky bunch of people are those who can stay at backpackers’ hotels or hostels and are amendable with sleeping in a room together with other people.  But some of us usually book hotels for overnight stay while traveling.  It can be costly – even if it’s just a hostel or a 3 star-hotel.

We went to Japan without knowing anybody (a friend or relative) who we can stay at overnight.  We were there for 11 days and we were sure that booking hotels would be very costly.  We also have a little boy and we are very sure we don’t want to sleep with other people in the same room by backpacking.  Good thing there’s Airbnb J Yes, everyone, we booked our accommodation using Airbnb.  We booked one apartment at Osaka for four nights and another apartment at Tokyo for five nights.  If you were wondering how come we are missing one night…well, we slept in the overnight bus from Kyoto to Tokyo.

Osaka Airbnb

Our apartment in Osaka is located at Fukushima.  It is 5-minutes walk from JR Fukushima Station.  Like most Japan apartments, this is very small – but it has everything we need.  It has a twin size bed, a sleeping mattress, small kitchenette with induction cooker, bathroom with a bathtub, wash area, and small table for dining.  It also comes with complete amenities such as heater, TV, hair dryer, fully automatic washing machine (with detergent), electric kettle, microwave, cooking pots and utensils, refrigerator, and complete set of toiletries.  It also has its own pocket wifi which we used while roaming around Osaka.  It’s like having your own home. J



We arrived 11pm at our Osaka apartment, cold and starving…and we found the noodles.  Arissa is such a nice host. J

Our host, Arisa, made sure everything we needed was there and she also checked on us from time to time in case we needed something.  This wonderful Osaka apartment cost us Php 6825.00 for four nights.

Click here in case you want to book Arisa’s Osaka apartment.  

Tokyo Airbnb

Our Tokyo apartment is located at Nakano-sakaue.  It is 15-minutes walk from Nakano-sakaue station.  Nakano-sakaue is close to Shinjuku area.  Like our Osaka apartment, it is also small and it is also complete.  It doesn’t have a bed, but has mattress good for 3 people.  It has a separate bath with bathtub which has complete toiletries.  It has a toilet, a Japanese one complete with all the buttons (little Neo was so amazed!).  There’s a small kitchenette with induction cooker but with no pots and pans.  It has complete amenities too like hairdryer, electric kettle, refrigerator, microwave, and fully automatic washing machine with detergent.  It also comes with a wifi, though not portable.




 Japanese toilet! 

Our host, Ou, gave us very detailed instructions on how to locate her apartment.  She also allowed us to check-in early as our overnight bus arrived at Tokyo around 7AM.  Normal check-in time for Airbnb’s in Japan is 3PM.  And Ou was very generous to give us Tokyo Metro passes – and these gave us a lot of savings. J Our beautiful Tokyo apartment cost us Php 11,541 for five nights. 

Click here in case you want to book Ou’s Tokyo apartment.

Tips in looking for Airbnb accommodation in Japan.

·         Close to a train station.  Make sure to book an apartment close to a train station.  Japan is a walking country.  After walking so much from touring, you will want to rest your tired feet.  So book an apartment close to a train station so you don’t need to walk so far.
·         Near a convenience store.  Book an apartment close to a convenience store so that when you need anything, there’s always a Family Mart, Lawson, or 7/11 you can go to.
·         Complete amenities.  Since the apartment will be your home, it is important that you have what you need.  One of my “needs” in terms of amenities was a washing machine.  We will be traveling for 11 days and washing our clothes is a must.  Some might want to cook and thus a kitchenette is a must for them.  Check the amenities and make sure it is complete by your needs and standards.
·         Book with a Promo.  Airbnb gives credits to their customers.  The hubby and I were able to use these credits and book both our Osaka and Tokyo apartments with Php1244.00 apiece!  That’s Php2488.00 savings!  Send me an email so I can share the promo code to you!

Booking an apartment through Airbnb was really very cost efficient for us.  It also gave us the feeling of being a local.  We walked to our apartment alongside Japanese people, washed our clothes there, cooked our food, cleaned the apartment, and segregate our trashes.  We were like real Japanese! J  



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Oishi Snacktacular 2017

Mall goers of Festival Mall at Alabang, Muntinlupa were in for a treat last July 28, 29, and 30.  This is because Oishi Snacktacular 2017 was held at the mall’s carousel area.  Oishi Snacktacular 2017 is an event sponsored by Oishi for families to enjoy.



There are several activities to do at the Oishi Snacktacular 2017.  Entrance was free of charge.  An event passport was given to each person who entered the activity area.



Here are the list of different activities you can try and the corresponding fee you need to pay to participate and some of my notes if the cost was worth it.

Oishi Cuckoo Blaster.  Cost: Php120.  You will be dressed in chicken costume and will need to catch the small balls thrown your way.  The prize will depend on the number of balls you will catch. 



Is Php120 worth it? Yes it is.  You will be given an eco-bag in this activity with the Oishi drinks you get as prizes.  The drinks may not accumulate to a total of Php120 (if you only catch small amount of balls), but I think the eco-bag included is a nice addition.

Make Your Own Oishi Snack.  Cost: Php20.  Here you will make your own Oishi snack by choosing 2 snacks from 5 different snacks available.  You also get to choose 2 dips.



Is Php20 worth it?  Yes it is.  You get to combine 2 Oishi snacks with 2 dips.  I think Php20 is a good enough payment for it.

Oishi O-Twirl.  Cost: Php20.  Here, Oishi’s Choco Chug and Tea Matcha are made into an ice cream.  You can choose 2 toppings too.



Is Php20 worth it?  Yes it is.  The size of the cup is quite bigger than I expected for Php20.  J

Oishi Snack Shack.  Cost: Php295.  Here, you will be given a 2ft size package that you need to fill for 1minute. 



Is Php295 worth it?  Yes it is.  Honestly, the 1 minute time is long – and you can fill the 2ft pack in less than 30seconds (I did).  When we got home, we counted the Oishi snacks I was able to insert in the 2ft pack, and I think it was way over Php350+.  Very sulit!

Oishi Snack Catcher.  Cost: Php200.  This is the most famous of all the activities. Here, you will act like a human claw and dive into a swimming pool of Oishi snacks.  All you have to do is get everything you can.

Look how meager the snacks I was able to claw. 

Is Php200 worth it?  Depends.  I tried this, and was able to get only 15 snacks.  Not sulit right?  But the experience was all worth it.  On another note, last 2016, Oishi Snacktacular was held at SM Mall of Asia.  We (the hubby, me, and Neo) was able to attend (though not as media guest) and the hubby tried the Oishi Snack Catcher – he was able to catch 150+ snacks! Wow, right?!  I guess, you have to have a nice technique on how to catch as many snacks as you can.

If you were able to complete all the activities, and post a picture of you on social media, you are entitled to a souvenir shirt as well.

Oishi Snacktacular is a very family-oriented event that all kids and their parents had fun trying out all the different activities in the event.




Sunday, August 6, 2017

Press Release: Sanosan Introduces Its Newest Celebrity Ambassador

Sanosan, Germany’s best mom-and-baby skincare brand, has launched in the Philippines and introduced to the public its newest celebrity ambassador, Camille Prats-Yambao, last July 26 at Ibiza Beach Club.




Camille Prats-Yambao has always been in the lookout for pure, natural, high-quality, and affordable products that are safe for modern Filipina moms like her.  She has been sharing beautiful photos of her glowing pregnancy in social media, and a lot of people commented about her healthy, glowing skin, and look. 




Camille unveiled her secret last July 26.  Aside from healthy diet and having a thankful and positive outlook, Camille uses the specially formulated, organic, and natural skincare products from Sanosan.

Sanosan is a mom-and-baby skincare brand created by Mann & Schroder, a German company with over 60 years of experience in developing high-quality skin and hair care products. 

Sanosan’s skincare solutions are effective because they are based on two pure and natural ingredients: olive oil and hydrolyzed milk protein.  Olive oil is rich with powerful antioxidants and vitamin E, A, & D, and has been used since ancient times as an effective yet gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and protector of skin and hair.  Hydrolyzed milk contains amino acids and nutrients to rejuvenate tired skin by gently removing dead skin cells, and brightening one’s complexion safely.




As for Camille, who loves using Sanosan: “I wouldn’t partner with just any brand – and I believe in Sanosan.”

Now, thanks to RichPrime Global Inc., Philippine consumers can now have access to Sanosan.  Sanosan Baby Care, Sanosan Natural Kids, Sanosan Anti-Stretch Mark Cream, Mom-To-Be Oil, and other Sanosan Mama Care products are available online through Lazada, Baby Company, Kids Company, and in leading departments store nationwide.  TheMommaClubPH





Friday, August 4, 2017

Press Release: Forti-D Vitamin Supplement

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed by our body.  It is especially helpful to infants has it aids in calcium absorption.  However, 7 out of 10 Filipinos a Vitamin D deficient.  If Vitamin D concentration is low in the mother’s breast milk, this may lead to Vitamin D deficiency in infants.  Vitamin D deficiency in infants can case several health problems such as delayed motor development, muscle pains, aches and weaknesses, rickets, and fractures.  This is why Vitamin D supplementation is imprortant for breastfeeding mothers to help the provision of Vitamin D to breastfed infants.



Forti-D, Colecalciferol generic, is a soft gel capsule that gives protective effects against serious diseases by keeping vital organs such as brains, muscles, bones, and brains, functioning healthily.  Since Vitamin D is very essential, Forti-D helps decrease the chances of acquiring diseases like osteoporosis, heart diseases, diabetes, and even cancer.



Forti-D can be taken 1 capsule a day for your daily requirement of Vitamin D.  It comes in an easy-to-swallow soft gel capsule and cost Php6.50 each.  




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Press Release: Real Estate Expo Manila 2017

Residential spaces, retail complexes, and other recreational spaces have seen a demand in the past years.  This demand is continuously increasing and attracting foreign and local investors.  As such, Real Estate Expo Manila 2017 is happening on August 10-11, 2017 (Conference) and August 11-13, 2017 (expo) at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City.



Real Estate Expo Manila 2017 is dedicated to brokers, practitioners, realtors, investors, developers, as well as potential clients to help showcase their latest developments and infrastructures in a 3-day exposition.

This event is in cooperation with Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) and Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines.  Several major and minor sponsors are included in this exposition such as Golden Phoenix Hotel and East West Bank, official hotel partner and official bank partner, respectively.

The event aims to deliver the unparalleled success of business network opportunities where the industry players come together to interact and share their view in promoting and strengthening the real estate sector locally and globally. 




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