Posts Tagged With: Shinjuku

Highway Bus from Tokyo Shinjuku to Lake Kawaguchi and Fuji-Q Highland

Highway Buses in Japan are a cheaper alternative to taking trains and if the travelling time to get to your destination is almost similar for both rail and bus, I will choose the latter as you can save quite a fair bit of money.

In this instance, the highway bus ticket from Shinjuku to Fuji-Q Highland or Lake Kawaguchi costs ¥1750 as at the date of this post, but taking the train will cost between ¥2080 to ¥4650 depending on which trains you are taking (i.e. fast/slow, reserved/non-reserved seating) and the number of times you’ll need to change trains. Do note that the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these highway buses and you’ll need to buy a separate ticket. If you have already purchased a Japan Rail Pass, then it’s a no-brainer to take the JR trains to maximise your pass.

Both the Fujikyu and Keio Buses operate one to two direct buses per hour from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station (Keio Highway Bus Terminal) to Kawaguchiko Station in the Fuji Five Lakes region. The one-way journey takes close to two hours and most buses will stop at Fuji-Q Highland before arriving at Kawaguchiko Station.

Reservations are required for the Highway Buses and this can be done on-site at the bus terminal, by phone or online.

Inquiry and Reservation
Fujikyu Highway Bus Reservation Center: 0555-73-8181
Keio Highway Bus Reservation Center: 03-5376-2222

For online reservations, click here (in Japanese only).

If you need help to search for the route「新宿~富士五湖線」, click here where I have already entered the search criteria to board from the bus terminal in Shinjuku.

More information:

Locating the Keio Highway Bus Terminal「新宿高速バスターミナル」- it is opposite Yodobashi Camera on this map.

This is how the street looks by day…

…and by night:

Try and collect your tickets at least one day before your date of departure, so that you don’t have to rush on the actual day (in case there is a long queue) and also to familiarise yourself with how to get there. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get lost navigating the streets to locate the bus terminal on your departure day and miss the bus!

Collection of bus tickets for departures on the next day and beyond can be done at the 2nd floor of the bus terminal building. Look for this door:

When you get to the ticket office, please take a number and wait for your turn.

On the day of your departure, look out for the correct bus bay for your destination. The bus departure times and their destinations will be displayed on the digital signboards.

Lastly, to ensure that you have boarded the correct bus, the destination will also be displayed on the TV screen located at the front of the bus.

For those planning to visit Fuji-Q Highland, you will alight at the Highland Bus Station「富士急ハイランド」. This is located on the left of the parking area at the Highland Resort Hotel & Spa, which is near one of Fuji-Q Highland’s entrances.
[Map]

Those who want to explore the Lake Kawaguchi area should alight at Kawaguchiko Station「河口湖駅」.
[Map]

If the weather is clear, you should be able to see Mount Fuji behind the train station building. Unfortunately if it is a rainy day, the mountain will be totally hidden in the clouds. The picture above was taken in the early afternoon and on a somewhat rainy day. Usually the clouds will start to descend from mid-morning onwards, so the best time to take good pictures of Mount Fuji without much cloud cover would be in the early morning.

Categories: Fujiyoshida (富士吉田), Japan, Kawaguchiko (河口湖), Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

BAKE Cheese Tart 「ベイク チーズタルト」 (by Kinotoya) at Shinjuku

Kinotoya, a long-established confectionery store in Sapporo, Hokkaido, started selling their original cheese tarts「焼きたてチーズタルト」 in Tokyo in 2014 under the name “BAKE Cheese Tart“.

They have a cafe in Jiyugaoka, Tokyo, which sells cheese tarts, ice cream and beverages, but I couldn’t find time in my packed schedule to travel there, so I went to their takeaway-only store at Lumine in Shinjuku instead.

There were long queues here at intermittent times of the day, depending on when the trains get in (Shinjuku JR station is located just next to it). Not bad, considering only cheese tarts are being sold here.

If you buy 6 pieces, they will be packed in a box (see picture below).

Upon opening the box, you’ll see a double-deck of cheesy goodness!! ^_^

Heh heh… you can’t really envision how they would taste just by looking at them, but trust me, they are really good!!

I found the cheese tarts to be quite fluffy, very creamy, yet light in flavour (the Japanese don’t really like strong-tasting cheeses anyway). These tarts have a cheese mousse filling, made from a blend of 3 types of cheeses. Loved them!!

My hubby and I had 3 each and they were sooo good that we started to wonder why we didn’t buy more! LOL…

A word of advice – they are best eaten on the day of purchase or the very latest eat them first thing in the morning if you had purchased them on the evening before.


BAKE CHEESE TART 「ベイク チーズタルト」
LUMINE EST SHINJUKU, 1F
ルミネエスト 新宿店 1F
〒160-0022
東京都新宿区新宿3-38-1

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri  11:00-22:00
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays  10:30-22:00

Telephone: 03-5925-8170

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing Restaurant Zauo「‎釣船茶屋ざうお」 in Tokyo

I am not the sporty outdoorsy type and have never tried fishing in its natural environment before (i.e. the only times I’ve somewhat tried previously were in man-made ponds). Since I was on the trail of themed restaurants, I decided to go check out this fishing restaurant called Zauo「釣船茶屋ざうお」, located at Shinjuku in Tokyo.

This restaurant chain originates from Fukuoka in Kyushu and has since opened several branches across Japan.

It was such a coincidence that the restaurant happened to be located at the hotel I was staying at (I had booked my trip in Jan 2014 but hadn’t finalized my itinerary then), so that made it even more convenient! ^_^

When you step into the restaurant, you will see a huge fishing boat which occupies most of the floor area of the restaurant and is surrounded by what looks like a moat containing various types of live seafood. Cool!

Diners can sit at tables on the fishing boat and try to fish for your meal from above. However, there is limited seating on the boat so if they are all occupied, you will be ushered to the ordinary table booths located around the back of the boat.

As I wanted to maximise my experience at the restaurant, I made a reservation a few days earlier and specified that I wanted a table on the boat.

English menus are available and diners have the option whether you want to fish for your dinner or simply order off the menu. A brief fishing guide is also provided for your reference (a “how to” guide on the process can be found here).

I asked the restaurant staff with regards to how long it would take to catch a fish and they said it depends on how skillful you are at fishing! That didn’t help at all!!…

We were kind of hungry and weren’t sure whether we could successfully catch any fish, so we decided to order a few items from the menu just to temporarily satisfy our hunger pangs.

Love the logo on their chopstick covers!

They first served us with an appetizer (¥324 incl. tax, per serving) which was a piece of radish and some kind of fishcake and it was quite nice. We didn’t order this but had to pay for it – I suppose it’s like a mandatory fee for dining at this themed restaurant (e.g. miscellaneous charge similar to the tea/towel/peanuts charge in Singapore)??


Dried and Grilled Squid (¥734 incl. tax) – This was dry and chewy and I think would be a good accompaniment to alcohol.


Japanese Omelette containing Alaska Pollack Roe (¥734 incl. tax) – I’ve never had tamagoyaki stuffed with other ingredients and this sounded interesting, so I decided to order it. The fish roe was a little salty but overall it was quite nice.


Now for the fishing part…

It costs ¥108 (incl. tax) for a small portion of bait (shrimp) which is to be used to catch the fish. The fishing rod with a tiny hook at the end is provided free of charge.

   

Do note that there’s no such practice as “catch and release” here – once you have caught something, it means that you will pay for it! Therefore, do have a look at the menu first to check out the prices of the fish/seafood, then target the more affordable ones.

We decided to try fishing for Sea Bream「鯛」 (bait needs to be used to catch this) as it was the cheapest fish on the menu but they just wouldn’t bite!! 😦

There are other fish and even lobsters and turban shells, which you can try catching with your fishing rod. Some of them do not require any bait to be caught and you’ll have to test your skills with the tiny fishing hook.

For those seafood which is charged at market prices, there is a signboard near the tanks that lists the current prices but the fish names are in Japanese, so seek clarification from the staff if you are unsure.

As I wasn’t having any luck with the Sea Bream「鯛」 from where I was seated, I decided to move to the other side of the boat and try to at least catch one fish for dinner!

The Sea Bream「鯛」 wouldn’t bite at this end as well, so I tried my luck with the Flounder「ヒラメ」 and it took me 3 attempts before I caught this one! As the fish will be wriggling on the hook once you’ve caught it, nets are provided so that you can better handle that slippery creature and pass it to the waiter.

Haha…my hubby was still trying to catch Sea Bream from our table and was oblivious to the fact that I had already snagged a Flounder!

According to their website and signboard outside the restaurant, the staff are supposed to beat the drum, do a victory dance and chant to celebrate your success in catching a fish but there was no one around to witness my successful catch except the other diners who were still attempting to catch their own fish. Thus, I didn’t get any celebratory dance from the staff – what a letdown! (not that I wanted the attention anyway but still it was part of the novelty of this restaurant….and I did hear the victory chants much earlier when other customers successfully caught their fish!)

Next was the decision as to how the fish was to be prepared…

As you can see from the menu, the fishing price is much cheaper than ordering straight off the menu. Even if you add on the cost of the bait, it still works out to be cheaper.

We decided to have half the fish as sashimi and the other half grilled, so my cooking specifications were given to the waiter when I quietly handed over the fish to him with my table number.

The sashimi was served on a bed of ice. I don’t think I’ve ever had Flounder「ヒラメ」 as sashimi before and it was actually quite nice.


This was our grilled fish minus the parts that were removed for the sashimi.


Various sauces and seasonings were available at the table and we were testing out the different types of soy sauce including ponzu「ポン酢」 (they had slightly different tastes and levels of saltiness) with the sashimi.


Finally, here’s another picture in case you were wondering how big the portion of fish was. It definitely needed 2 persons to finish this – I don’t think I would have been able to eat the whole fish all by myself! (or maybe I could have if we didn’t order the other dishes earlier)

Our total bill came to ¥6306 but I used a discount coupon (only applicable for use on Mondays and reservations are required) and got 10% off, so our final bill was ¥5676 which wasn’t too bad for a dinner for 2 persons (including 2 non-alcoholic drinks), considering that it was at a themed restaurant in Tokyo.


Verdict:
I declare that I am better at fishing than my husband! LOL!!… :p

Overall it was quite a unique dining experience but I probably wouldn’t do it again as I don’t have the patience to wait for the fish to bite if I’m hungry! The fish was very fresh as it is prepared almost immediately after you’ve caught it.

Important points to take note of:
– You can’t release a fish back into the water once it has been caught and this could be a problem if by accident you catch a really expensive fish that may burn a big hole in your wallet.
– You CANNOT scoop the fish out of the tank with a net if you haven’t actually caught it with the fishing hook!
– If you don’t manage to catch anything, you can order the fish off the menu but it will cost more.


Address:
Zauo「‎釣船茶屋ざうお」
Shinjuku Washington Hotel
3-2-9 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-8336 Japan.
〒160-0023 東京都新宿区西新宿3-2-9
新宿ワシントンホテル1階

Phone: 03-3343-6622

Operating Hours:
Lunch (Weekdays) 11:30~14:00 [Last Order 13:30]
Dinner (Weekdays) 17:00~23:00 [Last Order 22:00]
Sat, Sun & Holidays 11:30~23:00 [Last Order 22:00]

Check this link for a discount coupon (terms and conditions apply) – http://www.zauo.com/img/shoplist_img/shinjuku-cuupon.jpg

For more details on this themed restaurant, check out the restaurant’s page (Japanese only) at http://www.zauo.com

Getting There:
SHINJUKU WASHINGTON HOTEL is directly connected to Shinjuku Station by an underground passageway (serviced by JR, Tokyo Metro, Odakyu, Keio and other railway lines) between 06:00 and 22:45 for comfortable access even in bad weather.

8 min walk from Shinjuku Station.
新宿駅徒歩8分

Oedo subway Line, Tocho-mae Station (Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
5 min walk from Tocho-mae Station.
都庁前駅徒歩5分

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bicqlo 「ビックロ」

My hubby and I like shopping at Uniqlo and Bic Camera, so this particular store Bicqlo「ビックロ」 at Shinjuku, Tokyo was quite interesting to us as it’s a combination of the best of both worlds!

Couples who love shopping but have different shopping preferences can come here as one can go to the Uniqlo section of Bicqlo to shop for clothing, whilst the other who loves electronics and gadgets can head over to the Bic Camera part of the store.

Address:
Shinjuku-ku 3-29-1, Tokyo, Japan
東京都新宿区新宿3-29-1

Telephone: 03-5363-5741

Opening Hours: Daily 10:00~22:00

Getting There:
Take exit A5 from Shinjuku Sanchome station.
新宿三丁目駅A5出口直結

5-min walk from Shinjuku station and Seibu Shinjuku station.
新宿駅、西武新宿駅より徒歩5分


(Image captured from Google Maps)

Categories: Japan, Tokyo (東京), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Sweets at Tokiya 「時屋」

I was researching on the web for food places within walking distance from my hotel in Shinjuku and stumbled upon this Japanese Sweets shop, which was established in May 1948 and is known for their dorayaki (pancake filled with a sweet red bean paste and is a favourite food of Doraemon).

Looking at the display in the shop window, they even sell a giant-sized dorayaki!

The next picture was taken at about 6:20pm, when most people would be looking for a place for dinner instead of having sweets/desserts, thus the place was relatively empty. I’ve heard that it can be quite crowded during the day!

We had already made prior dinner reservations at 8:40pm, so this was dessert before dinner! If you are undecided about what to order, or want to try more items, there’s actually a mini set of 3 desserts (take your pick from a list of 20) but we weren’t sure if it would spoil our appetites for dinner, so we just went with the dorayaki.

Sencha with cream-filled Dorayaki
煎茶と生クリーム入りどら焼き   ¥720


Matcha with cream-filled Dorayaki

抹茶と生クリーム入りどら焼き   ¥830

The dorayaki in both the pictures above are identical, it’s just the drinks which are different. Matcha by itself is bitter but it went very well with the dorayaki which is sweet, so the combination of both was perfect! The pancake was nice and soft and the red bean filling was made using plump red beans, which were very fragrant and flavourful. I’m not usually a fan of red beans but I love the beans that went into making this dessert! They were cooked perfectly and were not mushy and neither were they hard.

Fresh cream is used and here’s a peek at what’s between the pancake layers…


Verdict:  Having eaten the dorayaki, I finally understand why most of the customers of this sweets shop highly recommend this traditional Japanese dessert!


Address:
Japanese Sweets Tokiya 甘味喫茶「時屋」
新宿小田急ハルク店
Shinjuku Odakyu HALC 1F
東京都新宿区西新宿1-5-1 新宿小田急ハルク 1F

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 11:00~21:30 (Last Order 21:00)
Sat-Sun & holidays: 11:00~20:00 (Last Order 19:30)

Getting There:
2 minute walk from the JR Shinjuku Station West Exit
2 minute walk from the Metro Shinjuku Station, Exit B18

Categories: Eating in Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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