Friday, March 01, 2019

Eating In Okinawa: Ramen Danbo

Surprisingly, we’ve never heard of this ramen chain store until we went to Okinawa.

Apparently, they have so many outlets in Japan and all over the world including the States! In fact, we had stumbled upon this long queue of people outside a ramen restaurant along Kokusai-Dori and thought to ourselves like true blue Singaporeans that this must be good ramen. So we decided to queue for it despite it being a windy cold 14 degree C night. After a good 70 minutes of queuing, we made it in!

Like many ramen restaurants, they don’t have that many different choices but since it was my first time trying it, I opted for the most basic & signature option while the husband chose the sesame version.

Ordering is done via a machine, so order first before taking  a seat, then give details about your orders – Texture of your noodles, flavour of your soup and choice of add-ons etc.

I had high expectations of the ramen because of the long queue and the truth is, if I had queued so long for this, it’d better be good, right??

AND…. IT’S SUPER GOOD! The ramen tasted pretty similar to Ichiran’s and I love the texture of the noodles. The gyozas were good too – Super juicy as I bit into them!


And as you can see – the egg was good too! Cooked perfectly.

We enjoyed the meal so much that we decided that we had to go back again another day, and this time round, we went at 1am (The shop closes at 2am) and thought that we won’t need to queue at this kind of weird timing. I mean, who eats ramen at 1am, right?? Apparently, we were not the only ones with this grand idea. We still had to queue but we made it in within 15 minutes, which I was grateful for. Haha. So far in Japan, they have outlets in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Okinawa. Strongly recommend you give it a try when you are in those places! =)

To read my earlier posts on Okinawa, you can click here: http://www.jbabiesinthedaisies.com/search/label/Okinawa

Friday, February 22, 2019

Okinawa Travel: Sakura Blooming 2019

There were many reasons why we decided to visit Okinawa during its off peak season in January. The weather would be perfect at 14 to 19 degrees Celsius and there would be much fewer people because Okinawa is typically a popular summer vacation destination where throngs of people would flock to the beaches to surf and dive. Therefore, everything is cheap during this period – Airfares, accommodation etc. We only paid $250/pax for our Jetstar direct flight tickets from Singapore to Okinawa! But perhaps the best reason of it all is because it’s also their sakura blooming season! From Jan to Feb, sakuras will bloom in Okinawa, first among its other Japan counterparts. This would be our best chance to catch sakuras without burning a hole in our pockets.

There are several Sakura Festivals happening at various places in Okinawa and you can easily find those information on google. We chose to visit Mount Yaedake because it was nearby to the other attractions we were visiting that day. Some trees have started to bloom, but I’m sure when it’s peak sakura season, it’d look gorgeous! We were a little early for the season but my heart was already filled with gratitude we managed to see them! Words don’t do justice to the beauty of the sakuras, so I shall stop here and leave you with the photos we captured!






You can read the rest of my post in this series of Okinawa Travel here: http://www.jbabiesinthedaisies.com/search/label/Okinawa
For my self-drive itinerary, you can go to this post.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Eating In Okinawa: Ryukyusabo Ashibiuna

During my research on Okinawa, I came across reviews of this restaurant near to Shuri Castle and recommended by many people online, so I added it into my itinerary on the day we planned to visit Shuri Castle. I wasn’t planning on spending time to look for the restaurant but as we were walking from the castle back to the monorail station, the husband saw this restaurant with a lush green entrance and walked in to take a look. Turned out it was Ryukyusabo Ashibiuna! Totally didn’t waste anytime looking for it. =P


I could recognise the restaurant instantly because I had seen many photographs of it online and that garden courtyard is hard to miss. Netizens recommend waiting for seats in the open courtyard and we did. Thankfully, the queue was not long despite it being peak lunch hour. The entire restaurant was packed to the brim but we still managed to get our outdoor seats within 15 minutes. All’s good!


How lovely is this?? Dining outdoors especially during winter is an extremely enjoyable experience. Hot bowls of food delivered to you and you can dig in with the gorgeous garden view in front of you. It was such a relaxing gastronomic experience!



We ordered a bento set as well as their signature Okinawan Soba. The food was good and comforting and prices were not as exorbitant as we thought it would be. I think we spent about $40 for this meal – Totally worth it.


My stir-fried pork slices served with Okinawan rice was such a tummy pleaser. Don’t know what side dishes those were but they tasted not bad. Love it that they also included two small slices of pineapples to end the meal with.



We had to order their Purple Yam Tiramisu since purple yam is Okinawa’s local produce and it tasted pretty good! All in all, it was a happy and good meal. I highly recommend a visit when you are in Okinawa!

Ryukyusabo Ashibiuna
Address: 2 Chome-13 Shuritonokuracho, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 903-0812, Japan

To read the rest of my posts on Okinawa, please go to: http://www.jbabiesinthedaisies.com/search/label/Okinawa

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hotel WBF Artstay Okinawa Naha

Media Review

We stayed at two different accommodations during our trip to Okinawa and the first one left a deep impression on me. Hotel WBF Artstay Okinawa Naha is conveniently located right smacked on Kokusai-Dori, the main shopping and dining street in Naha. Donki Donki, convenience stores such as Lawson’s and Family Mart were within walking distance and Starbucks was just diagonally across the road from the hotel. The hotel was also nearby to two Yui Rail stations with many bus stops scattered in the vicinity. The best part was that even though it was located in a prime area, the rates are very reasonable and you’ll literally gasp when you step into the boutique hotel because of how beautifully furnished it was. At least I did!

Love how the walls and ceilings are all lined with wood – I thought I was in a cabin in the woods! Everything in the space was very muji-inspired and exuded a soothing and relaxing vibe. Did I mention it smells good in there too? It was a huge contrast from the rowdy and busy shopping street outside and I felt like this was a such a restful abode.

The reception counter was decorated with colourful painting done by kids in Thailand. Many of these kids may be living with poor conditions back in their country, yet their paintings showed so much hope and joy. The hotel supports them as part of their community efforts and such paintings can be seen everywhere in the hotel.

I was actually quite surprised when I stepped into our room because Japan is notorious for their shoebox hotel rooms. Our room was actually huge and spacious – There was even a full-length writing desk by the window!



Every room in the hotel is decorated differently, and you can see all the room designs in the coffee table magazine available for browsing at the lobby area.


There are separate toilet and shower rooms, with all the toiletries provided of course.

There was also a free smartphone provided in the room, which you can bring out with you and tap on their google search functions so you don’t have to use your personal data plans. What a nice gesture!

You’ll be pleased to know that the hotel provides complimentary drinks and snacks 24 hours a day in their lobby restaurant and by that, I’m talking about many different types of coffee, 24 different types of tea, miso soup and sake! It’s beyond amazing, I know!




Breakfast was such a glorious affair here in the hotel because they serve breakfast all the way till 12noon! How awesome is that! The selection was impressive as well ranging from Western to Japanese and even Indian food!





I enjoyed all my breakfasts in the hotel because the food was good and the ambience was perfect!


Families travelling with kids would be happy to know that they not only have a kids’ play area within the lobby restaurant, they also have a food line just for the kids, and there’s even a chocolate fondue fountain!

Not only that, the hotel also provides complimentary toiletries and items for your baby and children’s needs. They are readily available near the reception counter. Really a nice gesture by the hotel, I feel!

If you are planning a trip to Okinawa soon, consider staying at Hotel WBF Artstay Okinawa Naha. I super loved my stay there and would definitely consider staying there again if I go back to Naha. =D

To read the rest of my posts on Okinawa, please go to: http://www.jbabiesinthedaisies.com/search/label/Okinawa

Disclosure: The J Babies was sponsored a 3D2N stay with complimentary breakfast for two, for review purposes. All photos and opinions in this post are solely ours.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Okinawa Travel On Rented Car (Self-Drive Itinerary Included!)

Media Review

As it was our first trip to Okinawa, we wanted to explore different ways of travelling in Okinawa. In my last post on the Okinawa series, I shared about how we booked a bus pass and Yui Rail monorail pass for a day so that we can explore Naha city on public transport. You can read all about that here. While public transport is easy and inexpensive, it is not convenient to explore anywhere beyond Naha city. In fact, the key attractions in Okinawa are all at least one hour’s drive away from Naha city itself. So, through Klook, we booked our car with Times Rental for three days so that we can drive out to explore different places everyday. I was so glad I did that – It was so much fun! Self-driving on vacations means you don’t have to follow a tight schedule or itinerary. Anywhere you drive to, you can stop if you find the place really pretty. Sometimes, surprise finds along the way during self-drives make the holiday even better!

So we booked our car from www.klook.com and a voucher was emailed to me upon confirmation. I opted to pick up and return the car from a location near my Airbnb and the whole pickup process was fast and smooth. The staff at Times Rental explained to us basic traffic rules and handed us brochures with mapcodes and information on places we can visit, along with contact numbers we can call should we meet with any difficulties or accidents. Basic insurance was covered for the car but we opted to top up an additional 3,000yen+ to up the coverage so that if we ran into any problems with the car, the repairs will be 100% covered. As it was our first time driving in Japan, we thought it safer to top up the coverage. But now that we’ve done it, I would say driving in Japan is extremely safe with almost everyone being polite and kind on the roads. We probably would not top up the coverage the next time round. =P

The staff very patiently explained everything we needed to know before bringing us to the car personally. He showed Isaiah how to operate the car and explained about the usage of the car’s GPS system. Our fuel and all toll charges are not included in the car rental, so we would need to top up the fuel tank to full before returning the car.

And we set off for our first road trip in Okinawa! I am all praise for the GPS system in Japan cars – It was super accurate and we felt very assured every step of the way, even though we were in Okinawa for the first time. The car was comfortable and stable as well! Best of all, the pickup and return were fuss-free and easy, so it definitely was a very pleasant experience for us. :)

I planned out a three-day itinerary for the three days we would have the car with us, and I will share that bit by bit on the blog soon. Here’s an overview of what you can look forward to:

Day 1: Minatogawa Stateside Town –> Ashibina Outlet Mall –> Senaga-Jima sunset

Minatogawa Stateside Town is a former Naval base when the Americans invaded Okinawa for a period of time. Everything here has some kind of American vibes and has since been converted into a quaint neighbourhood of shops, cafes & eateries.


It was nice to stroll around this place and enjoy some food along the way. But things are not exactly cheap here, so be prepared for that. More about this place in a separate post.

As we continued our drive, we passed by the ocean and had to make a pit-stop because the view was just gorgeous.


Our next stop was the Ashibina Outlet Mall where we literally went crazy in just one shop – GAP. =P We are not brand-conscious people in the first place so actually shopping at such places don’t excite us much, but the sale in Gap was so amazing we got matching sweaters for ourselves and our kids and several other tees for them. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are into brands such as Adidas, Underarmor, Levis, Gucci, Ferragamo, etc.

After getting our loot (so glad we have a car to keep our shopping bags in!), we headed to Senaga-jima to catch the sunset and have dinner and drinks. It was the best decision ever – The sunset was so gorgeous and we had a great time hanging out at the Hammock Cafe! More on this in a separate post.


Day 2: Cape Manzamo –> Churaumi Aquarium* –> Nago Fish Market –> Nago Pineapple Park* –> Okinawa Fruits’ Land* –> Mount Yaedake –> Kouri Island/Kouri Bridge/Kouri Tower* –> American Village

Day two looked super packed but we had so much fun! I was glad we booked the Churaumi Enjoy Pass, which gave us access to 12 attractions in Okinawa including the Churaumi Aquarium and we saved lots of money because of that! Those attractions marked with a star meant we used the pass to enter. The rest are FOC attractions. I will cover all of these attractions in my upcoming posts and I highly recommend getting the Churaumi Enjoy Pass from Klook because it provided us with so much convenience and cost-savings!







Day 3: Okinawa World & Gyokusendo Cave* –> Cave Cafe –> Mibaru Beach

The Churaumi Enjoy Pass would be valid for 5 days of usage so you can take your time to really explore the different attractions and not rush like me. Haha! But one of the attractions I really enjoyed was the Gyokusendo Cave, which was an interesting and unique experience for us. We have never explored a limestone cave before and we were so amazed at how nature made the caves what they are today!


Opposite Okinawa World is the Cave Cafe (which is actually the entrance of another ticketed cave (but not covered by the Churaumi Enjoy Pass) and I think it’s worth having a cuppa there, to complete the cave experience.

That wraps up our three-day itinerary where we self-drove everywhere in the rented car we got through www.klook.com. Thankfully, parking was complimentary in all the places we visited but we did pay extra for tolls on some days. Klook actually has many different services and packages available for booking, so hop over and check them out for your upcoming travels! Thank you Klook, for making everything so easy and convenient!

To read the rest of my posts on Okinawa, please go to: http://www.jbabiesinthedaisies.com/search/label/Okinawa

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Valentine’s Day Bouquet: Farm Florist

Media Review

Valentine’s Day is in 2 days’ time – Have you gotten the bouquets you need??? If not, quickly hop over to https://farmflorist.com/shop/ and get them! There is something for every budget (Psst. I saw a bouquet going for $35. That’s really affordable for Valentine’s Day!) and they offer FREE SAME DAY DELIVERY!

I received a bouquet from them a few days ago and even though they are not from my husband, a beautiful bouquet always brightens up my day, no matter what! #confessionsofawoman

Get your bouquets now!

Friday, February 08, 2019

Okinawa Travel On Public Transport

Travelling to a new country for the first time is always exciting, don’t you think? :)

Okinawa has always been on my bucket list since young, after I fell in love with a Japanese drama series – Beach Boys. I watched it umpteen times and I’ve always dreamt of stepping onto the land of Okinawa. Finally, after xx years, I did! And I love the place – everything from the pace of life to the food, people, nature… Okinawa is a very chill place that would make you feel relaxed no matter where you go, and that was exactly the kind of vacation I need before I dive into another busy & hectic year ahead!

Because it was the husband and my first time to Okinawa, I thought it would be fun to explore the place using different means for varied experiences. A quick google search came up with comments that Okinawa is best explored by self-driving, and there are limited options if you do not rent a car. The truth is that Naha (the main city of Okinawa) is very small and has a monorail system called ‘Yui Rail’ that takes only 30 minutes of journey time from end to end. We decided to take on the public transport challenge for one day, and explored Naha on monorail and buses. To do that, I sought for help from www.klook.com to get all the useful passes that would make it convenient and easy for tourists like us to get around. So glad they have everything I need!

We got the Okinawa Main Island Route Bus Pass & Monorail Pass which gave us unlimited bus rides for one day and monorail rides for 24 hours. The passes saved us time from having to purchase tickets for every trip, and we can literally hop on and off anytime and anywhere we want. Saved us lots of money that way too! I definitely recommend for those planning to explore Okinawa on public transport. There was waiting time for the public transport of course, but we also saw sceneries and views we otherwise would have missed if we had driven everywhere.

Collecting Our Klook Passes

Our flight to Okinawa landed at 8.30am at the International Airport, so we took a short 5-minute walk to the Domestic Airport (connected by sheltered bridge walkway) to collect our passes from the JTB office (Located at 1F), which opens at 9am.

If you are early and the office is not open yet, I recommend that you try the Spam & Egg onigiri from this famous shop on the same level as the JTB office, just a few shop spaces away. It was SO GOOD!


We collected our passes quickly once the office opened, and the friendly staff explained to us the usage and gave us maps for navigation etc. The bus passes are dated, so you have to decide which day you would like to use the passes. But the Yui Rail monorail passes are more flexible – It is valid for 24 hours after first tap-in.

Our public transport day was scheduled for the next day and the plan was to take a bus from Kokusai-Dori (main shopping street where our hotel was) to Shuri Castle vicinity and explore the place for half a day before going on a Yui Rail monorail station hopping trip to explore the various places of Naha. The monorail system brings you from one end (Airport) to the other end (Shuri) so you can literally cover the whole of Naha city in one day and conveniently so via the monorail. And so that was what we did!


I love taking local buses to have a taste of local living! It’s part of the fun of travelling for me. :)


Shuri Castle is one of the key icons in Naha and definitely worth a visit if you are a first-timer in Okinawa. The free access area was vast with lovely views and greeneries, but if you wish to understand more about the history, you can pay to enter the main castle. However, hearsay is that all the decor inside are not the real artefacts but replicas only. We didn’t pay to enter, but just loitered around the castle grounds to take in all the peace and serenity of the place.




Nearby to Shuri Castle is the Kinjo-cho Stone-paved path which is worth checking out. It is an ancient limestone pave and good walking shoes is recommended if you are going for this because there are lots of uphill walking.

By the time you are done with all the walking, you should be quite hungry so it’s a perfect time to settle for some good Okinawan cuisines at a beautiful restaurant nearby called Ashibi-una. I’ll be sharing about this restaurant and the awesome food we had in a separate post. :)

We spent the afternoon hopping on and off different monorail stations to explore Naha, and that’s when our monorail passes came in handy! If you are planning to do this in Naha as well, here’s my recommended itinerary!

Yui Rail Monorail Tour

1. Omoromachi: DFS Galleria, shopping mall
2. Onoyama Park: Large park with many events
3. Oroku (North exit): AEON Naha Shopping Centre, 100yen shop (Daiso)
4. Akamine (South exit): Manga Souko - Mall that sells 2nd-hand goods, Shuttle bus pick-up point to Senaga Island

It was relaxing taking the monorail from one end to the other, and when we saw interesting things or shops, we got off to explore. It was so convenient with our monorail passes! One of the main highlights for us was the trip to Senagajima (Senaga Island) and we love the place so much, we went back a second time just to catch the sunset! Getting to Senagajima without a car is very convenient. Just take the monorail to Akamine Station (South Exit) and wait for the free shuttle bus which comes every 30 minutes from 8:30 to 21:00 daily. The journey takes about 15 minutes. That was what we did!

Senagajima is super beautiful with lots of restaurants and cafes! You can even opt to stay at the Onsen Hotel on the island! More about Senagajima in a separate post. Stay tuned for that!

So, you see… exploring Naha on public transport is definitely doable, and it’s made easy and convenient with the bus & monorail passes from www.klook.com. No matter where you are travelling to, Klook always has something that can make your trip planning easier and the entire experience seamless and hassle-free. Plus, if you don’t know what you can do in a specific place, you can get many ideas from their website. I know it because I’ve used their services many times on various trips! Check them out now for your next trip here –> www.klook.com

To read the rest of my posts on Okinawa, please go to: http://www.jbabiesinthedaisies.com/search/label/Okinawa

Disclosure: The J Babies was sponsored Okinawa bus & monorail passes by Klook for honest review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions and photos in this post are solely ours.