Sapporo Pastry!

February 10, 2017

I saw this pastry a couple of times all over Sapporo, and bought a couple in two different stores – Sapporo Station and in Otaru. The verdict? The one in Sapporo made me go stop walking, close my eyes, and think “WOW. This IS GOOD”. After that, the one in Otaru was just meh.

It is right in between the subway and JR station in Sapporo, in a tiny stall! Oh, and these are really cheap. Just around JPY60 a piece.

 

Sapporo Transportation

Sapporo is small. You can practically walk everywhere, and walking is actually part of the fun particularly if you are not used to snow. But still, you have to go places and based on my research, here are the options one has:

Subway Pass. Unlimited for JPY830 a day (less for weekends and holidays)

It only applies to the non-JR subway trains. Each ride is around JPY200, so you need to ride it at least three times to break even. Is it worth it? Not so much. Unless you wanna go all over the city, I don’t think you’ll ride more than thrice. For example, I went to Sapporo Dome (first ride), went to Susukino Street (second ride), then went to Sapporo station (third ride) to go to Otaru.

JR Welcome pass. Unlimited for JPY1,700ish a day.

If you are coming from the airport in the morning and exploring, or going for a day trip to Otaru, this is the way to go.

The catch? Your visa should be temporary visitor.

Chitose Airport to Sapporo.

You can take the train (JPY1,500ish) or the limousine (JPY1,030). If you are qualified for the JR Welcome pass, take the train. Otherwise, take the limousine (which is really a bus).

Bus ticket to Sapporo!

Wagayado Guest House

February 8, 2017

Getting accommodations was difficult given that it was festival season, and boy was I glad there’s a last minute cancellation for Wagayado, and managed to book!

How much?

I paid JPY3,500 per night. A towel is not included, so I paid an additional JPY200 for it.

Getting there

Take the bus or train and stop at Sapporo station (Sapporoeki). Wagayado is around 10 minutes away. My marker is the Hakodate line – it’s one block away from the line, so just open google maps, look for Hakodate line, then follow it.

Overall feedback

This place is warm. Which is perfect for Sapporo. The people are also warm and nice – they are so welcoming! More than the normal ones I’ve encountered in Tokyo, which is saying a LOT.

 

This was the street to go to the hostel. It’s pretty quiet as it’s about a block away from the main street.

 

 

The entrance. Yeah, I think that’s an igloo.

 

 

The shared room. I had the upper one right there in the middle.

 

 

You get a “capsule” room, with a light and a small cabinet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narita Airport!

February 9, 2017

My first time in Narita Airport! Going to Narita from Tokyo is pretty pricey – it is a minimum of around JPY1,000 for the Narita Limousine, and goes up to JPY4,000 for the express ones.

Narita Limousine

The Narita Limo has limited routes and time periods in the morning, and more or less hourly after 1pm. The bus stops at Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

For example, the Narita Limo near TIEC (in the onsen) is only at 3am, 6am and then the next one is 1pm (based on what I remember).

To leave Narita, you can take the Limo if you are at the right time – when I was there they were leaving in 10 minutes, and the next one in an hour. As mentioned, the trips are more frequent at night.

June 3, 2017 update: a more convenient option is the one in Tokyo Station that runs 24 hours daily. Sometimes every 10 minutes. Just look for Yaesu South Exit, bus stop 7. Fare is also at JPY1,000, and takes around 1 hour 15 minutes. Oh, there’s a charger inside too. Here’s the link for other details:

http://accessnarita.jp/en/busstop/
Asakusa Line

I take the one in Shimbashi, the express to Narita (orange one), at Platform 2. They usually come twice every hour, and costs around JPY1,300. (so in my case, add the JPY380 from TIEC to Shimbashi).

The last station is in Terminal 2, and the train, as far as I know, does not go to terminal 3.

Different Terminals

I’ve been to Terminal 3 – Domestic, and Terminal 2 – International Airports. The picture above is the path between the two. There’s a clear direction on where to go when you get off so don’t worry. Just allot around 15 minutes to walk from Terminal 2 to 3.

 

 

Money Matters: From JP to PH

February 3, 2017

Let’s start with  – Trust me, I’m an accountant.

I’ve been wondering how to send money to the Philippines, and this is the best one yet. Why?

  • Highly competitive exchange rate. They match the market (from JPY to PHP) rate, as opposed to the normal money changers where they tweak it a little bit. They are way better than BDO and Czarina, and when I did my market research a couple of years back, these two had the most competitive buy rates.
  • Minimal service charge. I was prepared to shell out around JPY2,500 as it’s the JP Post rate, but the rate is actually lower (see picture below). Others may not have service charge, but the exchange rate is crap.
  • Fast processing. You only need your resident’s ID to wire money. Then the money is received within the day. Voila!

I didn’t want to bore you with the details, but I can break this down for you in a couple of ways. Some deciding factors for me though are:

  • I don’t speak Japanese fluently. So it is a bit difficult to go through other venues.
  • I don’t have My Number, which is needed in a lot of financial transactions here.

Address and contact details in the picture below