Hong Kong Express – HKG – HND

Hong Kong Express – HKG – HND

Despite having travelled through Hong Kong and being an ultra-frequent passenger on Hong Kong Airlines this was my first time taking their sister airline and LCC, Hong Kong Express


Boarding was well managed and priority (paid for extra) was respected and controlled. Despite their being two queues ground staff held back the regular queue and processed the priority queue first which makes sense otherwise with a single door aircraft it wouldn’t be priority by the time the two queues mixed down to the plane door!


The plane itself was new and clean, I believe the seating is the Recaro slim line seat common on LCCs around the world. It’s not a seat you want to spend a long time in but is fine for a short hop LCC flight. On this flight though I had pre-booked probably the best seat on the plane which is 12A (12F is equally as good). What makes it so good is the unlimited legroom behind the exit but also there is no one to recline into you. You also have the benefit of a window but easy exit for toilet etc. Have a look at the photos for the deluxe legroom!

In terms of the other seating and what to look out for, row 11 has two seats only in the exit row, these are decent as well with good legroom but are a bit isolated. Watch out for 12B,C and 12 D,E which may look like exit rows but are normal seats. Only 12A and F are exit. At the front there’s a bulkhead on both sides of the aircraft so no bashing of legs etc. if you’re seated in 1A-C as on some LCCs that have removed the wall.


The service was average. I don’t have very high standards for LCCs in general and nor should most if you’re paying a good fare for your ticket. However there’s a couple of glaring issues compared to even other LCCs or HK airlines:

  1. They won’t allow any outside food or drinks. Stinky take aways I understand but they won’t allow even outside bottled water and will tell you not to consume it if they see you have it. Sorry but this isn’t on. Yes you want to sell your onboard products but have some common sense! What’s worse is a charge of HK$10 for a cup of water from the airplane tank. Frankly unacceptable.
  2. There were zero announcements from the flight deck at top of descent in fact nothing since take off. So despite flying around in the middle of the night as well as being delayed, with no map and having no idea what’s going on an announcement from the captain might have been a good idea, no? I had to flag down a passing member of crew and ask when we were landing and what the delay was.
  3. They still don’t allow mobile phone use during take-off and landing. As I understand it this is because they haven’t applied to Hong Kong CAD for permission and certification. Other airlines in Hong Kong did this years ago so come on!
  4. The food bore no relation to the menu photos, see my example. Taste, size and presentation were all poor. I feel the cost is being squeezed too much to maximize profit. I wouldn’t order anything again and would smuggle on a sandwich to eat when the lights are down. If you’re going to charge for food and enforce no outside contraband prison style then at least make it decent!


In summary it’s a decent option if they fly where you want to go and check in, boarding and the plane itself were good and I got what I expected when I paid for the priority service. Where they fell down was on the quality of product and service levels. Often I complain about poor crew but in this case, they were good in the cabin but I felt they are let down by UO quality and procedures. They are issues that are fixable if the motivation is there.

Anata No Warehouse.

Anata No Warehouse.

Arcades are usually bright and loud, an assault on the senses with cheery music and gaudy lights. Anata no Warehouse (Your warehouse) in Kawasaki is a different breed. Step through it’s ominous doors with me.

The creators of Anata no Warehouse took great care in its construction. The outside is murky and deliberately worn, a stark contrast to its cleaner neighbors. Inside, the entrance lies on the first floor, along with parking. Step through its automated doors (parking side), and you’ll be transported to the seedy underbelly of Hong Kong’s infamous (and now extinct) Kowloon Walled City. Take the elevator or escalator up to the second floor, and be amazed at the level of detail.

There are five floors altogether. The first floor is parking and entrance/exit. The second floor is a mix of retro and modern arcade systems, including driving games, beat em ups, RPGs, and UFO catchers. This floor is the most impressive. Every inch has been made to look like Kowloon City. Dim neon signs in kanji light up the top half of the room, old posters scatter the walls, and there are even props you can take photos in, including a street food market and an apartment complex entrance. Look up, and you’ll see tattered clothing crisscross the ceiling, listen carefully and you’ll hear sounds of a long dead city. The decor alone is a reason to go. But, if you love games, you won’t be disappointed in that respect either. The place is like a tardis, it seems like you’ll never reach the end. Each floor is the same in that respect.

Once you tire of this floor, head up and check out the others. Whilst sadly the same theme isn’t carried up, each floor has its own set of features and entertainment. On the third floor, you’ll find a huge bank of medal games. The purpose of this game is to simply drop medals (you’ll find machines dotted around that allow you to change yen into medals) into a machine that continually pushes them forward. It’s oddly cathartic, but not for the impatient.

The fourth floor is all about billiards and darts. Speak to the staff at the central desk to get the equipment needed (darts, balls, cues), then take your pick. Again, it’s a big floor, you won’t spend much time waiting around.

The fifth floor is an internet cafe that serves food, but you have to be a member to use it. It can only be reached by elevator.

There’s no limit on how long you can stay. Anata no Warehouse opens at 9.00am and closes at 11.45pm, and it has free parking. You pay as you play, so be sure to take cash with you. There isn’t much in the way of food, but you will find vending machines scattered throughout for drinks. There is a restriction on age. No under 18’s are allowed. There is disabled access in the form of elevators, though if you are entering and have mobility issues, use the street side entrance as it’s level. Smoking is permitted inside, floors 3-4 get especially smoky, and ventilation is limited.

Overall, I really enjoyed Anata no Warehouse. It’s unique and has a lot of arcade games I enjoyed as a child. If you’re in Kawasaki, I recommend a visit. You can find it here.

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari Taisha sits resplendent at the base of Mount Inari, Kyoto. Bright pops of vermillion can be seen even before you set foot upon its hallowed grounds, and this only intensifies as you explore deeper.

Step through it’s alluring Torii, and into a world of ancient history. In 711, on the Inariyama hill in Southwestern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Taisha’s earliest buildings began to take shape. However, In 816, at the direction of Kukai, a monk, these were relocated. In 1499, the Honden, or main shrine was completed. At the base of the mountain sits the roman tower gate, and the go-honden. The inner shrine sits within the mountain behind, reached by a path lined with Torii. Along the path to the summit you will find over 10,000 tsuka, or mounds for private worship. In the 8th century, it was dedicated to the Japanese God of rice, sake, fertility, agriculture, and industry, Inari, by the Hata Clan. In 965, Emperor Murakami made it law that messengers must carry written accounts of important events and present them to the guardian God of Japan. Early on, these “heihaku” were presented to 16 shrines across the nation, Fushimi-Inari being among them. From 1871 to1946, it was officially designated a “kanpei-taisha”, a first in rank of government supported shrines. It is head shrine of all the Inari shrines, and since its early days has been seen as a patron of merchants, manufacturers, and businesses. It’s estimated that this shrine has over 32,000 sub-shrines scattered throughout Japan.

The Senbon Torii, or “Thousand Gate”, is arguably Fushimi Inari Taisha’s most famous attraction. From the base of the mountain, snaking around and up to the 233m summit, is a chain of thousands (actual number unclear) of Torii. All are painted a bright orange, a feature very typical of Inari shrines. Since the shrine has strong ties with industry, a lot of the Torii are sponsored by businesses. You can see the names of each sponsor carved and painted black. They sit vertically along the supporting posts. From an aesthetic point of view, it’s a bewitching sight. Even on a dull day, the Torii stand loud and proud. I highly recommend making the full 4km hike (moderate, but not wheelchair or stroller friendly, sadly) to the summit.

Another famous feature is the many resident Kitsune guardians. Kitsune, or fox in English, are another common feature at Inari shrines. They usually come in pairs, bearing items such as granary keys. They are also often adorned in red, a color that has come to be associated with warding off evil spirits. There are many Kitsune to be seen and enjoyed across the grounds of the shrine, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

The easiest way to access the shrine is by rail. Both the JR Nara Line Inari station and the Keihan Electric Railway Main Line Fushimi-Inari station service the shrine. If you plan to hike to the summit, allot a full day to visit. Check the streets leading up to the shrine for cool gifts, local delicacies, and even the odd cat cafe! It can be visited in all seasons, but bear in mind winter could mean additional hazards, such as snow and ice. Be sure to wear sensible shoes, take cash with you, and carry plenty of water. There are shops and vending machines along the mountain path, but these can be expensive, since you are a captive audience. The path of Senbon Torii sits behind the main shrine buildings, but do be sure to peruse these before you ascend, as they are very beautiful.

Intrigued? Here’s a location to help you out.

Eggs N’ Things Japan.

Eggs N’ Things Japan.


Eggs N’ Things is a chain of Hawaiian-style restaurants with origins in Hawaii. It’s a tempting choice for lunch, brunch, and beyond!

What’s it all about?

Eggs N’ Things first appeared in 1974, and since then has been a firm favourite all over Japan and Hawaii as a “casual breakfast” joint. Their aim is simply to provide you, loyal customer, with an all day breakfast option. What’s not to love about that?


The menu is pretty extensive. It’s virtually all breakfast-type foods, with the odd Hawaiian favourite thrown in for good measure. As the name suggests, eggs are a popular feature. Have them any way you want, with anything you want. Poached are particularly good, especially teamed with one of their meat dishes (steak and eggs is a good meal any time of day). For any vegetarians, don’t worry! There are plenty of veggie-friendly choices, as well as a decent kids menu for little appetites. Since my knowledge is limited, I’ve attached a link to their Menu’s, so any vegan readers can check for themselves if Eggs N’ Things can cater. Pancakes? Eggs N’ Things have got you covered. Their pancakes are awesome. Light and fluffy, they come out heaped with fruit, whipped cream, and sauces, and are part of the grand all day menu, meaning you can enjoy one right up until closing time (It’s hard to say no to pancakes for dinner).


They pride themselves on a laid back feel. All locations are light, bright, and airy, with staff donning cheerful Hawaiian shirts and a big smile to add a pop of colour. There’s also beautiful artwork, a mix of seating, and an open-plan bar so you can eye all the drinks! All locations have souvenirs available, so you can take home a mug or bag adorned with their logo too.


It’s not cheap, but it won’t break the bank either. I would say it’s about mid-range for price, and it’s worth the expense for the experience. For a couple dining with drinks, allow around 5,000 yen (roughly US $50), and you’ll not leave hungry (and possibly with some change!).


There are 17 locations across Japan, including Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Kobe. The website has a list of locations; click on one to bring up address, opening times, preferred methods of payment, and transport advice (Japanese only).


Whilst Eggs N’ Things isn’t a local food option, it is nice to have choices when travelling. You can take a break from ramen, curry, and sushi guilt-free, and maybe enjoy some eggs n’ slut (an actual menu choice) surrounded by locals who love it.

Dōtombori, Osaka.

Dōtombori, Osaka.

Sunset on Dōtombori

Dōtombori. This world-famous strip runs along the Dōtonbori canal from Dōtonboribashi Bridge to Nipponbashi Bridge in Namba. It started its life off as a theatre district, but is now more famous for its illuminated billboards and animatronics. Let’s take a casual walk along here, and discover what it has to offer.


Kuiadore is a word you may see associated with restaurants here. Translating to “ruin oneself with food”. it’s often used on signs and in advertisements. Let’s do just that with one of these beauties:

  • Hariju. A famous beef restaurant founded in 1924, and using only Japanese beef in its dishes.
  • Zubora-ya. Easily spotted thanks to the large pufferfish hanging outside, this is a fugu restaurant for those with exotic tastes.
  • Cui-daore. Perfect for the indecisive diner, it’s an 8 storey mega-restaurant with every kind of Osaka cuisine your little heart could desire.
  • Kani Doraku. Another easy to spot restaurant thanks to the moving crab billboard. No prizes for guessing the type of food served here!


Quite possibly the most famous landmark is the Glico Man billboard. Originally erected in 1935 to promote Glico Candy (a local Osaka confectioner famous for Pocky among others), it is one of the oldest billboards here. It has undergone a few face-lifts in support of sporting events over the years, with the most recent incarnation being switched from neon to LED. Still, it sticks out among its modern peers as unique, retaining its vintage charm. Another note-worthy feature is the Ferris wheel, which sits close to the canal, and at a juxtaposition to the glossy buildings and glittering signs. Whilst on the subject of billboards, make sure to go back at night so you can appreciate them in their full glory. My personal favourite is the Asahi Beer one, which fills up at regular intervals with golden LED’s to simulate their “Super Dry” variety. It’s mesmerising.


It’s almost a certainty you’ll pass through here, even if it is accidental at first. I suggest you stay a while, soak in the atmosphere, and join all the other delighted tourists in enjoying the food, scenery, and atmosphere. Night time, as mentioned, is the best time, but it is nice during the day too. Take a walk along both sides of the canal, grab some Takoyaki (octopus balls) at Otakoya, ride the Ferris wheel, and pose on Eibisubashi Bridge with the Glico Man. Make sure it’s a victory pose!