Free WiFi for tourists in Japan

NTT East now provides WiFi for tourists. NTT East operates in eastern part of Japan. Example: Tokyo, Hokkaido and Yokohama. Remember those days when we rent handphones in Japan? No more!

Where are the hotspots? You will see the stickers pasted on shop from.
Alternatively, you can also check the hotspots here before you go.

Two methods:
1)Using iOS or Android app. Download the app “NAVITIME for Japan Travel” app, provided by NAVITIME JAPAN and obtain the WiFi ID and  password.

2) Free WifiCards with WiFi ID and password from various location. Passport required.

The other cities do provide WiFi for touriset, but not by NTT East.

Osaka  Kyoto
Kobe Fukuoka
Nagoya Hiroshima

One final note though, do remember that you are on vacation, put that phone away.
It is Japan. Time to appreciate the lovely people, culture and surroundings and the loved ones with you.


Green Kyoto

First thing that come to my head when we were thinking about going to Kyoto was…….yes, that famous global green initiative milestone called the Kyoto protocol. Who wouldn’t and I was actually wondering will the city be what it has lent its name to.As the airport limousine bus travels away from the Kansai Airport, which was built on man-made land, I can’t help noticing that all vehicles are moving smoothly at cruising speed. You don’t see over zealous speedy Gonzalez aka fuel wasting. Our bus driver skilfully regulate the acceleration and de-acceleration well according to traffic conditions. Further fuel saving measures, the bus was also equipped with LED fixtures and AC temperature was comfortable, though a bit warm that what we were used to.Reached Kyoto, and wow! Just outside Kyoto station, there is a smoking point. A designated smoking point keeps the rest of the area literally smoke free. And with it, synonymous with smokers, the cigarette butts, none that I can see littered on the streets. Some streets like the shopping belt in Shinjo are completely smoke-free. One can get fined for smoking. As a tourist, it may not be too easy to know, where smoking is allowed and not. Thank god, we’re not smokers. Public transport is big in Kyoto. Got to love the city bus the most. It was punctual. We can just walk up to the timetable information board at any bus stop, check the scheduled arrival time for weekday/Saturday/Sunday and the bus will pull up at the bus stop the exact moment. No need for bus arriving in 1 minute kind of thing and another 3 minutes for bus to actually pull over the bay in Singapore. This punctuality and reliability of the public transport system will naturally reduce citizen desire for car ownership. We also love the fact, bus drivers do actually turn their engine off while waiting for the light to turn green and while loading/unloading at crowded bus stops. Not too sure if this saves fuel, but definitely reduce carbon emission. It makes waiting at the bus stop more bearable, as compared to having 3-4 buses all emitting carbon monoxide simultaneously, like we get in Orchard Road.Retailers, mostly operate up till 8 or 9pm, reducing need for lightings.Cool business attire initiative seems to be taking off well in preparation for the upcoming sweltering summer. We see it everywhere in malls, advertisements and news report of government agencies wearing Hawaiian shirts to work. Looking “kawaii” indeed. Needless to say these cool attire, such cool attire who needs AC?

bicycles parked at Dotonbori

Bicycles are everywhere.

Wider pavements and a generally flat city makes cycling convenient and comfortable for cyclist, pedestrians and motorists too. We rarely see them cycling on the roads. How wide is wide, generally about 2 cyclists and 2 pedestrians. The cycling parking points are well equipped with stand, lock and coin operated. These can be found in subways, bus stations, malls, schools, offices and temples too. As such, we can actually meet cyclists on their way to work, dating couples, kids in baskets, many in their smart suit and ladies in high heels.

our K.O.K.A Trip – Kyoto.Osaka.Kobe."America"

Itinerary for the upcoming Kyoto Osaka Trip June 2012.
We scored a cheap return flight with AirAsia, SG to Osaka (transit KLIA) for less than SGD600 for 2, include taxes.
Lets call it K.O.K.A trip, as I hope to squeeze in Kobe and a little bit of “America” in it. There is a shopping area in Osaka that is called Americamura. Expect to find western influence here.

Here is a rough itinerary. Things will change according to weather, and more importantly both our mood and/or whims.
Expecting a few rainy days in Kyoto in June too. Anyway, after all, it’s Free & Easy.

  • Day 1
    Rinku Premium Outlet > Check In (Hokke Kyoto) > Kyoto Station > Gion Night Walk
  • Day 2
    Arashiyama > Sagano Train > Monkey > Bamboo > Moss Temple > Foot Onsen > Maiko
  • Day 3
    Kiyomizu > Dera
  • Day 4
    Kyoto Manga Museum > Imperial Place > Movie Park > Botanic Garden
  • Day 5
    Check out > Nara Deer > Check in Hotel Nikko Osaka > Transport Museum
  • Day 6
    Kaiyukan > Tempozan > Ferris
  • Day 7
    Osaka Castle > Natural History Museum > Dotonbori > Shinsaibashi > Tokyu Hands


charming Putahracsa, heritage Railway Station and nostalgic PlearnWan

We checked out from our hotel in Bangkok and made our journey down to Putahracsa Hua Hin.

Took BTS to Victory Monument Station, walked on the circular overhead bridge facing the monument. Had a little misadventure, we walked to the right side of the circular overhead bridge, when we should have walked to the left side towards the Rajavathi Hospital. Blessing in disguise though, we now know we can travel to Ayutthaya by minibus in future.

Along the road, there will be lots of white minibuses. Just ask a friendly face, and say “Hua Hin”, they will point you in the right direction. The services on this road only caters for the minibuses to Phetcaburi, Cha Am and Hua Hin. Other roads will have services to Ayutthaya and Pattaya etc.

Upon arrival in Hua Hin, actually walked to Putaracsa Hotel. Once we checked in,  we hired an automatic motorcycle for 200 Baht a day. The lady owner required a copy of my passport and license and a simple proficiency test. Bike check… once done, look for a gas station to fill her up, (in my non-existent Thai language again, though we looked the part), I attempted to ask the attendant to pump at 40 Baht, the Stations only accept 50Baht for pumping).

Oh yes, we did get helmets, a red and white one, it looked basic enough and I wondered if this was the best they had, and if that helmet would make any difference. Soon enough, it proved to be our savior as we fell off the bike at the first u-turn we had to negotiate. My non-familiarity with auto bikes was evident here. Ouch! A few bumps and bruises and some TLC by a Thai elderly woman who helped us up, the helmets had saved us when fell gently on the road.

Btw, there were road blocks at night too. We approached one, were told to slow down but once verified we had our helmets on, they waved us on quickly. Some offenders were stopped and got the ticket though. In Hua Hin, non-helmets, side saddling and toddlers carrying were actually a common sight.

We rode the auto bike extremely slowly to PlearnWan.

For the second time this trip we were at a public place during flag lowering. Everyone stopped in their tracks again. Yesterday in Bangkok Chatuchak everyone just stop, wherever they were facing any direction…it was quite a sight, its like some X-Men unleashing its TIME FREEZE power. This time around, at PlearnWan, I was right in front of the flag, as the flag lowering was in progress. Awesome! You can view the video recording too.

Food sellers can board the train to sell their food or simply transact through the windows. I guess even if the board the train, they will walk the whole length of the train and probably follow the train southwards and alight 1 or 2 stops away. They then take the next train northwards to sell and return back.

We went to the Bismillah, Southern Thai Muslim Restaurant along the Hua Hin Railway track for dinner.

 At night, they have an adjacent stall selling Teh Tarek (Milk Tea) and Fried Chicken with Yellow Rice. We had the following:

2 plain rice + Stir-Fried Beef Chilli & Tom Yum Soup = 130 Baht.
1 hot milk tea + 1 hot tea w/o milk = 20 Baht


Did I mention about the lovely resort we stayed in? Putahracsa Hua Hin.

We took the Oceanbed Pool Villa at SGD$250 per night via an Agoda promotion.


Rocking with Stone Temple Pilot at a room with private pool, jacuzzi and a BOSE set. I’d not ask for more.


On 26 Dec 2011, we were both lazing at home, watching the news on TV, when we saw images of Hua Hin affected by flooding and high waves. I do hope the lovely folks at Putahracsa: Aom, Aun and Kwang, the lovely stall owners we had met in Hua Hin will be safe.