The land of freshly-caught sashimi, picturesque views and kawaii cafes – it is no wonder that Japan remains one of the top destinations for travel-deprived souls in Singapore. As there’s hope for border reopenings in the not-so-distant future, you might be intensely feeding your piggy banks to save up for a much-needed getaway.
But in the meantime, with this 3D2N itinerary of “Japan” things to do in Singapore, you’ll be able to catch those dearly-missed Japanese vibes in our own backyard.
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Image credit: Le Meridien Singapore
What’s a vacation without a hotel, right? Amp up your 3D2N itinerary with a proper staycay the Japanese way. Cosy up with a book in hand during the day and relax with a glass of wine at night in your very own private whirlpool onsen bath when you book Le Meridien’s Onsen Suite.
It even features a mini half-terrace right outside the bedroom to give you an open-concept vibe complete with your very own outdoor daybed.
Le Meridien Singapore
Address: 23 Beach View, Sentosa Singapore 098679
Le Meridien Singapore website
MET A Space Pod @ Chinatown
Address: 46 Smith Street, Singapore 058956
MET A Space Pod @ Boat Quay
Address: 51A Boat Quay, SIngapore 049840
MET A Space Pod @ Arab Street
Address: 56 Arab Street, Singapore 199753
MET A Space Pod website
Note: The Le Meridien Onsen Suite is currently under renovation and is expected to reopen in early 2021.
Image credit: Ikeda Spa
Onsens are incredibly popular in Japan, so a themed staycation even in sunny Singapore is not complete without soaking in the piping hot water.
Ikeda Spa offers a single (from $80) or a couple Hinoki onsen bath (from $120) enriched with bath salts – a luxury historically reserved only for royalty. If you need to loosen knotted muscles, opt for the Ganbanyoku massage (from $190) which is a traditional detox ritual to rid your body of toxins and calories – while enjoying the heat from the 49°C volcanic rock bed.
After pampering your body, take a moment to enjoy their various free perks. Calm your mind as you take a meditative walk in the Japanese Zen Garden or sip on a refreshing cup of green tea while experiencing their chado tea ceremony. Alternatively, you can sit back and relax at their serene Tatami Zen Lounge.
Address: 787 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 269762
Operating hours: 11.30AM-10.30PM, Daily
Telephone: 6469 8080
Ikeda Spa Website
Image credit: @whyzedtan
Handpicked and made by the chefs themselves, Omakase meals are left entirely up to the chef to pick the dishes for you, and are a great way to satisfy your ultimate Japanese cuisine cravings.
Ryo Sushi whips up a slew of different dishes like the Hijiki Seaweed Salad, Truffled Onsen Egg with Ikura fish roe and handrolls which are part of the lunch-only 15-course Omakase set meal ($38). This allows customers to enjoy the theatrical experience of the entire cooking process right in front of their eyes.
Level up the experience for dinner with their 18-course $68 and $98 omakase sets, which come with luxurious entrees featuring sea urchin, chu-toro fatty tuna and truffle onsen egg.
Pro tip: This spot is high in demand, so book 1-2 weeks in advance to avoid disappointment.
Address: 1 Tras Link #01-06 Orchid Hotel Singapore 078867
Operating hours: Mon – Sat 12PM-3PM & 6PM-11PM (Closed on Sundays)
Ryo Sushi website
Neon lights and crowded bars are commonplace at night in Japan, but that’s not all – you may also notice packed grocery stores even in the wee hours. A 24-hour Japanese grocery mart, DonDonDonki has a ton of Japanese snacks and products to browse through while you nurse your post-dinner food baby.
From food items like frozen Angus beef shabu-shabu ($10) and the famous Uha Cororo Gummy ($1.90) to everyday household items like stationery and makeup products, DonDonDonki is your one-stop-shop for all things Japanese. By the 10-minute mark, you will find yourself humming along to their catchy theme song on loop. DonDonDon, Donki…
Address: 181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #B2 01-10/30/43 & B1 15-29/K7/K8, Singapore 238896
Operating hours: 24 hours
Image credit: Esplanade
Anime fans will find themselves pleasantly thrilled at Aniplus Cafe, where you’ll find lines of tables plastered with your favourite anime characters. The twist: the theme of the cafe changes every few months based on trends and new releases – so look forward to the day that your favourite OnePiece character comes to life in the form of posters and stickers.
The food is also uniquely curated each round – each dish is actually found in the anime itself! While avid Spongebob fans continue to dream of having a Krabby Patty one day, you may be able to physically taste the mouthwatering dishes featured in Food Wars.
Address: 8 Raffles Avenue, The Esplanade Mall, #01-13C Annexe, Singapore 039802
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 12PM-9PM (Closed on Mondays)
Telephone: 6815 0011
Aniplus Cafe website
Image credit: @hvala_sg
After a hearty lunch, head to Hvala for some matcha tea and desserts and bask in the minimalist Japanese-styled interior. For full-fledged matcha lovers, opt for their Ceremonial Grade whisked matcha ($8.80) that lets you pick what kind of matcha taste you prefer or their Premium Matcha Gelato ($5.20) for that astringent flavour that you crave for.
In terms of aesthetic, pop by their TripleOne branch and lounge at their tatami-style seating spruced with a white-stone pathway. Also equipped with full-length windows to brighten the place up, this small seating area resembles a mini Zen garden that channels Japan in Singapore, a fantastic respite away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Address: TripleOne Somerset 111 Somerset Road Singapore 2381646
Opening hours: 11AM-9.30PM, Daily
Image credit: Patch Magic
Nothing gets more uniquely Japan than when you deck out in Kimonos. But if you’re afraid of getting weird stares from the public from wearing the full traditional Kimono out in Orchard Road, visit Patch Magic as they’ve repurposed traditional Kimono fabric into more modern pieces appropriate for Singapore’s weather.
From cotton and silk blouses to kimono outerwears, they’ve even made intricately-designed belts and scarves that will definitely turn heads. These gorgeous pieces are all hand-dyed using the traditional Katazome technique of stencil dyeing, letting you don an authentic piece of Japan in Singapore wherever you go.
Address: Palais Renaissance #03-05, 390 Orchard Road, Singapore 238871
Operating hours: Mon – Sat 10.30AM-6.30PM (Closed on Sundays)
Telephone: 6235 7710 | 9617 1927
Patch Magic website
Update: Patch Magic has since closed down.
Vacations are all about treating yourself, so indulge in an upscale fine-dining experience in a majestic dining hall similar to the iconic Rush Hour fighting scene. Think a grand soaring atrium dotted with elegant red and yellow lanterns, centred on a striking red Japanese arched bridge.
Snap some photos at the magnificent faux-Torii Gate at the entrance
Image credit: @singaporecityexplore
At Koma Singapore, feast on delectable appetizers like Oysters on the Half Shell ($24) before digging in mains like Scallion Fried Rice ($32) and Wafu Carbonara with Uni ($38). For the ultimate lavish experience, splurge on the A5 Wagyu Beef Tenderloin ($170), a top-grade cut of beef brought from Japan to Singapore.
Address: The Shoppes #B1-67, 2 Bayfront Avenue Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
Operating hours: Mon – Fri 11.30AM-3PM & 5PM-12AM | Sat – Sun 5PM-12AM
Telephone: 6688 8690
Koma Singapore website
Ichiban Boshi’s Kaiseki Sashimi Tenzaru Gozen Set – comes with sashimi and sushi balls, soba noodles, and miso soup
Image credit: @njoydininghall
A promising mini Japanese “street” located in Great World City and Jurong Point, &JOY Dining Hall features eateries, bakeries and a supermarket with authentic Japanese fare.
Check out the Double Beef Zen from Roman.Tei
Image credit: @njoydininghall
Available at both locations, Roman.Tei serves up the meat-laden Double Beef Zen ($17.90), while Pittarino offers Neapolitan-style classics like the Bismark ($14.90) with a Japanese twist. At Kuriya Japanese Market, pick up ready-to-eat sushi platters (from $21.90) flown straight from Japan if you’re looking for a laid-back feast to dabao back to your suite.
Address: #B1-49 1 Jurong West Central 2, Jurong Point, Singapore 448886
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM, Dail
&JOY Dining Hall website
Image credit: @sh.amirvh
No trip to Japan is complete without a snapshot of you with cherry blossoms in full bloom. Check off this must-do even on our sunny shores at the Japanese Cemetery Park. Instead of sakura, the gorgeous pink floral archway located at the entrance is adorned with more local bougainvillaeas, but they instantly transport you to Japan in spring nonetheless.
While you’re snapping photos, remember to keep the significance of this cemetery in mind, as it holds the bodies of Japanese residents in Singapore from 1891 – 1973. See if you can spot the tomb of Yamamoto Otokichi, the first Japanese resident of Singapore.
Address: 22 Chuan Hoe Avenue, Singapore 549854
Opening hours: 8AM-6PM, Daily
Telephone: 6468 0066
Japanese Cemetery Park website
Learn to create your own aesthetic and nutritious bento sets for loved ones
Image credit: Atelier Koinu
You’ve already tasted all the sumptuous dishes that Japan has to offer, so it is time to learn the techniques behind making these famous dishes as well.
Taught by a former Japanese chef, these lessons at Atelier Koisu cover a range of dishes including a bento ($70) and Ichihyu Sansai ($75) – a set menu consisting of rice, soup, fish or meat and vegetables.
If you’re looking to prep a feast for a loved one, go for the themed menu ($85), which teaches you how to make 2-3 dishes based on a main ingredient. That way, you’ll best pamper the beef, pork or seafood lover in your life.
Address: 734 Upper Changi Road East #02-03 Cascadale Singapore 486862
Telephone: 9478 6415
Price: from $70
Atelier Koinu website
Experiencing all things Japan doesn’t necessarily warrant you to be in Japan itself – there are a ton of things to do on our little red dot that can bring you the same overall experience, apart from eagerly awaiting supermarket sushi discounts at 8PM.
From midnight grocery shopping for Japanese products to savouring pure, rich and creamy matcha, you too can be in the land of the rising sun without having to hop onto a plane.
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