2022 is already here, but a VTL to Japan is nowhere in sight. Let us help you cure your heartbreak with these 12 activities you can do in Singapore to make you feel like you’re in Japan! From otaku lovers, to some of the best places to get your Japanese food fix, we got you covered.
P.S. Travel with your tummy to these places to fix your Japanese food cravings:
You’re In Japan Now, Not Singapore AnymoreTake pictures of pretty sakura flowers at Gardens By The Bay’s annual sakura displayCredit: @dr_shruthy_chacko for InstagramStart your day by viewing our very own cherry blossoms at Gardens By The Bay! From March 4 to April 3, you’ll definitely feel like it’s springtime in Japan as you walk through the torii gates at the Flower Dome, and feast your eyes with beautiful hanami (flower viewing) of sakura and momo (peach blossoms)! You can also enjoy a display of koinobori (Japanese carp streamers) and gawk over elegant Japanese red-crowned cranes (tancho) gracing the Flower Field.Credit: @dr_shruthy_chacko for InstagramIt gets even better: Tokidoki characters such as Donutella, Sandy and others are spread all over, so try to spot them among the landscape! There are also other Japanese-inspired installations perfect for photo opportunities such as the traditional round Japanese windows, or marumado, often found in temples, and rickshaws. Be right back, we need to double-check if we are somehow in Japan now. Check out the website to get your tickets now!Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953Opening hours: 9am-9pm dailyWebsite | Facebook | InstagramCheck out the immersive Future World: Where Arts Meet Science at ArtsScience MuseumCredit: @qlicphoto for InstagramWalk across Marina Bay Sands, and check out immersive art installations at ArtsScience Museum! In collaboration with teamLab, a renowned Japanese interdisciplinary art collective, there’s 19 art installations and creative projects for people of all ages to interact with, play and explore! Tokyo has always had some of the most spectacular illuminations and interactive experiences, so you can enjoy a slice of that right here at home! Their installations change constantly, so each visit would always be like your first time! Address: Marina Bay Sands Singapore, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974Opening hours: 10am-7pm daily
P.S. Future World: Where Arts Meet Science is among the many places in Singapore Instagrammers must go for the perfect Instagram picture shot! Website | Facebook | InstagramTuck into a comforting bowl of ramen for lunch at IchikokudoCredit: @hannyaeatsanddrinks for InstagramHungry? There's nothing like slurping a piping hot bowl of ramen while travelling in Japan and we're glad to be able to do just that at Ichikokudo - Singapore's first halal Hokkaido ramen (and our favourite) eatery! Their umami-laden broths are savoury, rich, and full of generous toppings too. All of their outlets have Japanese-inspired decor and you can choose to have your meal either near the chefs at the ramen "bar" or sit at the traditional dining areas. You’ll almost be transported back to your last Japan trip Halal status: Halal-certified
Opening hours & Address: Check out their websiteWebsite | Facebook | Instagram
P.S. Can’t get enough Japanese food? Check out our halal Japanese food guide in Singapore here.Fill up your gaping otaku heart at HakkenCredit: @hakkenonline for InstagramThere’s more than 700 official merch items from the popular anime shows and films you love such as One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, and more! If you’re coming from Ichikokudo’s outlet in Bussorah Street, you can definitely head to Hakken’s outlet in Plaza Singapura. Stock up on your ever growing collection, if it helps heal the pain of no VTL to Japan yet (we get you!)Addresses:
Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road #07-08, Singapore 238839
1 HarbourFront Walk, #02-37 Vivocity, Singapore 098585
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily (Plaza Singapura); 12PM-9PM, Daily (Vivocity)Website | Facebook | InstagramPick up your favourite Japanese snacks from the largest Don Don Donki store in SingaporeWith even more floor space than the outlets, you’ll be lost in an amazing sea of all things Japanese food at Don Don Donki’s store in JEM! That repetitive tune you keep hearing in the stores simply sounds so nostalgic, as we reminisce about our last trip in Japan. Not sure what are some Muslim-friendly options available? We got you covered righthere. If JEM is a little far for you (sorry Westies), check out their website for the other 10 outlets across Singapore! Address:
50 Jurong Gateway Road, Jem, #02-24/26 & #03-27/29, 608549Check website for other store locationsOpening hours: 9am-12am dailyWebsite | Facebook | InstagramVisit a cat therapist at the Japanese-themed Cat Cafe Neko No NiwaCredit: Cat Cafe Neko No NiwaJapan has so many animal cafes, especially one with cats, since they are seemingly obsessed with them, and so are we! There’s multiple cat cafes across our island, but Cat Cafe Neko No Niwa stands out from the rest because they are the first ever cat cafe in Singapore, and also their cats are sometimes wearing the most adorable kimonos! Cuddle up with these fluffy beings and soak in all that positively soothing kitty energy. We promise your sadness of not visiting Japan yet might go away for a bit. #wesupportcattherapyHalal status (for food & drinks offered): They offer cakes, soft & hot drinks and other bakes. Do note that they are not certified halal, so dine in at your own discretion.
Address: 54A Boat Quay, Level 2, Singapore 049843
Opening hours: 11am-9pm (closed on Tuesdays)P.S. If you want to enjoy some food with your furry friends, check out these halal cat cafes in Singapore!Website | Facebook | InstagramImmerse yourself in the Japanese culture at En Japanese Tea CultureCredit: @en_kimono.sg for InstagramStill near the central area? Some of the activities that you might try in Japan to get acquainted with Japanese culture would include a Japanese tea ceremony or kimono class. Did you know that you can try both of them in Singapore too? At En Japanese Tea Culture, you can sign up for a Japanese tea ceremony experience for $60 (90-minutes session) where you'll learn the basics and more. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a kimono wearing class which will teach you how to wear a kimono and yukata, if you’re still interested in learning more next time! It starts from $240 for 4 classes!Address: 11 Mohamed Sultan Road, Unit 03-01, Singapore, 239010
Opening hours: 8am-6pm (closed on Sundays)
Contact No: +65 97331362Website | Facebook | InstagramGet your highly important sugar fix with Flipper’s fluffy soufflesCredit: @followmytumtum for InstagramIt’s tea time! Desserts are so popular in Japan, that Japanese people themselves swear they have a betsu-bara, or “second stomach”, just for dessert! Flipper's Japanese souffle pancakes are the best in town as they are light, fluffy and melt in your mouth. From the signature plain kiseki pancakes to more unique savoury options such as the Egg Benedict Souffle Pancake, you’ll be spoilt for choice! We might need a third stomach for dinner later though.Halal Status: Halal-CertifiedAddresses:
Bugis Junction #01-97
Ngee Ann City Takashimaya S.C #B1-56
Opening Hours: 11am-9pmWebsite | Facebook | InstagramPose alongside Kyoto-inspired bamboo trees at JewelCredit: Reshel Chan on FacebookTechnically, the bamboo grove is located in Jewel which is near Changi Airport, and we head there to board planes, so is it fair to say that we’re vacationing in Kyoto? The pebbled ground and stone pavement around is almost making us think we’re in Arashiyama Bamboo Forest! We see no difference between these two pictures! Look out for the bamboo grove at the lift area near Rich and Good Cake Shop and Changi Lounge on Level 1!Reignite your Pokémon Go love at Pokémon Center Singapore in JewelCredit: @lifeofbec for InstagramDon’t rush off Jewel just yet! Fly over to Level 4, and get some adorable exclusive merchandise (same from the one in Japan!) from Pokemon Center! It’s the first permanent store in Asia outside Japan, and it’s the real-life replica of the actual center featured in the gaming world. Credit: @lifeofbec for Instagram
P.S. We know nothing beats physically going to Japan, so here's hoping these8 things in Japan happening this yearwill give you hope about a trip there! Hint: teamlab and Pokemon are some of the activities you can look forward to! WebsiteExplore Japanese history at the Japanese Cemetery ParkCredit: @mo_clare for InstagramEstablished in 1891, the Japanese Cemetery Park is a fascinating spot that combines history with natural beauty. As the biggest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia, this was the burial ground of the early Japanese community and there are about 1000 graves here. The spot is now a memorial park with graves of Japanese civilians, soldiers and more. It truly will be an eye-opening trip for you while you learn stories of those who have impacted Singapore in one way or another.Credit: @mo_clare for InstagramStill can’t get enough of sakuras, or GBTB is just too packed? There’s also a beautiful floral archway made up of Singapore’s most common flower, bougainvillaea! For the most picturesque spot, head down right after it rains and you will get the most pinkest and stunning backdrop. Address: 22 Chuan Hoe Ave, Singapore 549854Opening hours: 8am-6pm (closed on Sundays)Have your dinner at Singapore’s only halal izakaya Credit: Daya Izakaya on FacebooWind down after a long day of walking around Japan (potato, potahto), at Daya Izakaya, the only halal Japanese izakaya in Singapore! Grilled Yakiniku Beef, Teriyaki Chicken Don, Chicken Karaage, fresh Salmon Sashimi, Ebi Tempura….. Okay we need to stop, we’re getting too hungry, we’ll stop! Do note that you should book a reservation by calling them or book through their main website. Also, on Fridays and Saturdays, they are open till 2AM! Now, you'll have a place to satisfy your midnight cravings for Japanese food ? Now you’ve truly experience the traditional izakaya ambiance you miss right here at home! Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: 254, Jalan Kayu, Singapore 799481
Sun-Thurs, 11.30AM-10.30PM (Last order at 10PM)
Contact: +6583215242For dine-in reservations, click here!Website | Facebook | InstagramAnd we’re done! We hope this list could at least get you through your Japan-less fever. There’s still so much else you can do here to fulfill your Japan needs, so check them out on our site! Happy Japan-hopping!