10 Ways to Experience Japan While in Singapore

10 Ways to Experience Japan While in Singapore

Do you want to go to Japan but you don’t have the budget to? Believe it or not, you can still experience Japan in Singapore!

So you would really love to go to Japan but you can’t because your pile of work never seems to dwindle. Or perhaps you just do not have the money to jet off to Japan at the moment. Well, if you happen to be in Singapore, here are some things that you can do to give yourself the experience of feeling like a tourist in Japan (short of booking your flight straight to Tokyo or Osaka).

1. Go on a shopping spree in Daiso

Image Credits:
Zhao !

Ah, Daiso. Our favourite $2 chain store.

Shopping in Daiso is quite a unique experience as you get to take a look at some Japanese products. Japanese products are known for being quite intriguing sometimes and the products at Daiso are no exception to this rule. For example, you can get things like banana cutters in Daiso, right here in Singapore. How cool is that?

Also read: 16 Travel Essentials to Buy From Daiso Before a Vacation

2. Attend Natsumatsuri at the Japanese School and wear a yukata

Image Credits: han siang wong

Have you always wanted to visit a summer festival in Japan where all visitors wear Yukatas and get to savour traditional Japanese treats?  Well, you can visit a Japanese Summer Festival – right in Singapore!

Singapore has its very own natsumatsuri (summer festival) organised by the Japanese Association in Singapore every year, where you can watch traditional Japanese performances, play games and learn a little more about Japanese culture. This year’s natsumatsuri will be held on the 22nd of August, 2015 at the Japanese School’s Changi campus, so be sure to block out your calendar to attend this event!

Most visitors will also use the opportunity to wear a yukata that they own. Should you not have a yukata to wear, you can rent one from the Japanese School. However, yukata rentals from the Japanese School are extremely limited, so do get in line early.

3. Eat at a Japanese restaurant

Image credits: Keng Susumpow    

Image Credits: Tamoya Udon

Quite a few Singaporeans I know think of Japanese cuisine as comfort food. With the proliferation of Japanese restaurants in Singapore, I am sure that you can find one near you.

For a taste of authentic Japanese cuisine, head down to Tamoya Udon, either at Liang Court or Chinatown Point. Tamoya’s udon is much chewier than udon served at other Japanese restaurants. It also helps that udon at Tamoya is reasonably priced. A basic bowl of udon at Tamoya will set you back by $5.80.

4. Visit a cat cafe….

Image Credits: Lace + Bobble

It should come as no surprise that Japan, a nation seemingly obsessed with cats, would open the first cat cafe. That said, cat cafes have opened up all around the globe, including Singapore.

We recommend Neko no Niwa, the very first cat cafe in Singapore, as Neko no Niwa takes excellent care of all its cats. Alternatively, visit the Company of Cats. The management of this cat cafe advocates for animal welfare and even donates a portion of its proceeds to charity.

5. Or visit a maid cafe

Image Credits: chinnian

I’m sure that at some point in time, most of us have fantasized about visiting a maid cafe. Believe it or not, that is something you can actually do in Singapore! There will be pop-up maid cafes during events like Anime Festival Asia (AFA).

If you can’t wait for an event before visiting one, head down to Cawaii Koohi Maid Cafe at Funan DigitaLife Mall to make that maid cafe dream a reality.

6, Pay a visit to an Anime festival

Image Credits: Jene Kirishima

Singapore plays host to many local and regional anime festivals. One of the largest anime festivals that can be found in Singapore is Anime Festival Asia, which had a turnout of a 145,000 people in 2014. Ticket prices start from SGD 13, which is a relatively small price to pay to experience the atmosphere.

For those who dislike crowds, there are also smaller anime festivals for you to look into, like the End Of Year (EOY) Anime festival.

7. Make candy sushi

Image Credits: pelcinary

Popularised by Nameless (previously RRcherrypie) on Youtube, Japanese Candy that resembles other Japanese foods (like Sushi) are now a popular souvenir.

And yes, you can get these sweets in Singapore, either at Toy Outpost or Box Street. Though each set will make you approximately SGD 10 poorer, getting a set in Singapore is cheaper than flying to Japan! Alternately, you can purchase these sweets online.

8. View “cherry blossoms” (when you can)

Image Credits: The New Paper

So we don’t have real cherry blossoms in Singapore. But what we do have is the Trumpet and Mempat trees, which start to blossom in the downpour after a dry spell.

The sad news is that a mass blossoming like this doesn’t happen often. However, there is always the likelihood that it might occur again. And if it does, be prepared to gather your friends for a “hanami” (cherry blossom viewing party).

9. Go to the only authentic Japanese supermarket in Singapore

Image Credits: Denise Cortez

Meidi-Ya Supermarket is a supermarket chain that was established in 1885 in Japan. And yes, there is an outlet right in Liang Court.

You can find some extremely unique Japanese snacks in Meidi-Ya supermarket, such as different kinds of sweets or Kit Kats that can be found nowhere else in Singapore.

Meidi-Ya supermarket also offers an online shop for the lazy among us. There will be free shipping for orders that total more than SGD 100.

10. Go to the Japanese Garden

Image Credits: xsnowdog

Let’s not forget our very own Japanese garden! Also known as Seiwaen, the Japanese Garden recreates the Japanese gardens in the style of both the Muromachi and the Azuchi Momoyama periods. The gardening techniques used in the Japanese Garden are also based on gardening techniques used in medieval Japan.

How many of the items on this list would you consider doing? Tell us in the comments below.

About Author

Yi Shao
Yi Shao

Yi Shao is constantly on the lookout for new adventures, which had led her from the mountains in Salzberg to the bustling night markets of Taiwan. While she is currently in Singapore finishing up her university education, she still seeks out the lesser known places in her hometown before she embarks on her next big adventure.


Related Posts