5 recommendations for a Japan-themed daycation in S'pore

A taste of Japan in Singapore.

| Melanie Lim | Sponsored | May 19, 2022, 11:35 AM

Like many other Singaporeans who miss travelling overseas, I miss travelling to Japan most.

It’s been three years since my last overseas holiday, and six years since my last trip to Japan (Kyoto and Osaka).

Suffice to say, the Japan-o-phile in me misses the land of sakura, sushi, sumos and snow more than I can describe.

But since travel from Singapore to Japan is still limited, I decided to take things into my own hands.

I concocted my very own Japan-themed daycation in Singapore, filled with gourmet coffee, onsen spas, Japan-inspired milk ice cream and more.

If you’re looking to experience the goodness of Japan without flying, here are five recommendations to consider.

1) Grab a drink at Suzuki Gourmet Coffee

There are several Japanese themed cafes in Singapore, but none quite like Suzuki Gourmet Coffee.

Tucked away in a rather obscure part of Boon Lay, Suzuki Gourmet Coffee is one of Singapore’s oldest coffee roasters and has been around since 1979.

Image via Suzuki Gourmet Coffee

This Kyoto-inspired Japanese teahouse sports wooden furnishings and bamboo elements throughout, aiming to replicate a calm and peaceful atmosphere that is not easily found in Singapore.

Image via Suzuki Gourmet Coffee on Facebook

Besides this, all of their drinks are also made with high-quality Hokkaido milk and freshly roasted coffee beans from Suzuki Roasting Factory, located right next to the cafe.

Image via Suzuki Gourmet Coffee

You can check out their drinks menu here.

Address: Suzuki Gourmet Coffee, 8 Chin Bee Avenue Singapore 619934

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 5pm (Last order for dine-in: 4:30pm)
  • ​Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 4pm (Last order for dine-in: 3pm)
  • ​Monday/PH: Closed

2) Have lunch at Keyaki

Next up is Keyaki, a Japanese restaurant at the Pan Pacific hotel that offers a slice of Kyoto to its diners.

Surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden and koi pond, one can choose to enjoy a meal in either a Tatami- or western-style private dining room.

If you're looking for a more private setting with an elevated ambience, the Garden Pavilion boasts a seating capacity of 40 for any dining occasion.

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A post shared by Keyaki (@keyakirestaurant)

Shoji-inspired screens and a moon gate open up to lush greenery and a koi pond, creating an out-of-Singapore illusion without actually crossing the borders.

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A post shared by Pan Pacific Singapore (@panpacificsingapore)

According to a spokesperson for the hotel, the garden is open to hotel guests and diners at the restaurant, which means you'll probably have to dine in if you want to feature the location on your Instagram feed.

Exclusive to the lunch menu, the Keyaki Bento (S$70) includes an appetiser, grilled dish, simmered dish, deep-fried dish, sashimi, chawanmushi, rice, miso soup, pickles, and a dessert.

Keyaki Bento. Image via Keyaki.

Available on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 11:30am to 2:30pm, kaiseki-style okonomi weekend brunches start at S$75 for a seven-course meal.

Okonomi weekend brunch. Image via Keyaki.

Address: Level 4, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square Singapore 039595

Opening Hours

  • Lunch:11:30am to 2:30pm (Last order at 2pm)
  • Dinner: 6pm to 10:30pm (Last order at 10pm)

3) Visit the Japanese Cemetery Park to learn more about Japanese history in Singapore

Those who miss Japan's famous cherry blossoms can consider visiting an alternative much closer to home.

Located in the midst of Hougang is the Japanese Cemetery Park.

Image via Guan Zhen Tan

According to VisitSingapore, the Japanese Cemetery Park is the largest in Southeast Asia, with nearly 1,000 graves of Japanese civilians and soldiers, mostly from the early 20th-century.

Image via VisitSingapore

First built in 1891 by three Japanese brothel-keepers, it originally served as a burial ground for "karayuki-san" – Japanese women brought to Singapore for prostitution.

Afterwards, it was utilised to hold the ashes of Japanese soldiers killed during World War II, as well as the remains of Japanese war criminals executed at Changi Prison.

Because the government prohibited any more burials in 42 cemeteries including the Japanese cemetery in 1973, the scenic cemetery now serves as a memorial park.

Image via VisitSingapore

The park is most known for its lush greenery and Japanese-inspired architecture, as well as a long row of arches decorated with a native plant species, bougainvillaea.

When the flowers are in bloom, the archways make for a picturesque photo reminiscent of springtime in Japan.

Image via The Japanese Association, Singapore

Take as many photos as you want while you’re here, but make sure not to forget the significance of the place.

Address: 22 Chuan Hoe Ave, Singapore 549854

Opening Hours: 8am to 6:30pm daily

4) Relax, recharge and rejuvenate at Yunomori Onsen & Spa

The hustle and bustle of city life in Singapore can take a toll on one’s mind, body and spirit.

Urbanites may therefore need a place to escape to where they can relax, recharge and rejuvenate.

Located at Kallang Wave Mall, Yunomori Onsen & Spa combines traditional Japanese Onsen therapies and Thai spa treatments.

Image via Yunomori Onsen & Spa

The Japanese-style spa is fitted with Onsen baths that offer a relaxing and therapeutic experience.

Image via Yunomori Onsen & Spa

For example, the mineral-rich, warm waters of Yunomori’s baths detoxifies and relaxes the body, readying it for the healing effects of expert Thai massage.

Image via Yunomori Onsen & Spa

Besides onsen, massage and spa facilities, there is also the Yunomori Cafe, which offers homemade Japanese-style food and snacks for customers to enjoy during their retreat.

Image via Yunomori Onsen & Spa

You can check out Yunomori Onsen & Spa’s services and prices here.

Address: 1 Stadium Place, #02-17/18, Kallang Wave Mall, Singapore 397628

Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm daily

5) Savour Wall's Viennetta Classic Vanilla and White Peach Sticks

For sweet dessert lovers, Wall’s has recently launched their all-new Viennetta Sticks for those looking to experience the wonders of a Japanese winter in Singapore.

Image via Wall’s Viennetta

Inspired by the flavours, landscapes and sights in Japan, these Viennetta Sticks bring endless waves of soft ice cream, skilfully layered with exquisite Japanese craftsmanship.

Made from 100 per cent Japanese milk, each Viennetta Stick will make your mouth water with the unmistakable crack of its crispy chocolate shell and classic Viennetta swirls.

Currently, Wall’s Viennetta Sticks come in two flavours:

  1. Classic Vanilla
  2. White Peach

We tried the Classic Vanilla stick and noted that it had a full-bodied milk taste and soft-creamy texture, leaving an irresistible aftertaste of pleasure and indulgence.

Wall's Viennetta Classic Vanilla Stick. Image via Wall’s Viennetta

On the other hand, the White Peach stick was refreshingly fruity to the palette, with a delightful burst of juiciness and sweetness with each bite.

Wall's Viennetta White Peach Stick. Image via Wall’s Viennetta

Impulse sticks are now retailing exclusively across all 7-Eleven outlets islandwide, and multipacks of six will be available in all major super/hypermarkets, as well as e-commerce platforms from May 2022.

The Viennetta Sticks are available at the recommended retail price* of S$16.90 for a multipack of six and S$3 for an Impulse stick.

*Final retail price is at the sole discretion of respective retailers.

This sponsored article by Wall’s Viennetta made this writer excited about experiencing a Japan-themed daycation in Singapore.

Top images via Wall’s Viennetta, @suzukicoffee and @panpacificsingapore on Instagram, Yunomori Onsen & Spa