Cafes of all different kinds open in Singapore, but a Japan Rail Café seems rather different.
Rail pass ticketing, retail and Japanese style cafe.
This is the first overseas venture by East Japan Railway Company, located on Level 1 of Tanjong Pagar Centre, right next to Tanjong Pagar MRT Station.
All promising, but I urge the local team to quickly improve on their service standards, communication and processes to leave a positive impression, as some may come expecting the “Japanese” type of service. (This came after both visits.)
Walking in, the first thing you may notice is a convenient rail ticket service for Japan rail passes.
You can purchase exchange orders for JR passes before their trips at the instore rail pass ticketing counter operated by JTB Pte Ltd.
The range of rail passes covers not only JR East but all other passes issued by the 5 other Japan Railway companies namely JR Kyushu, JR West, JR Shikoku, JR Central and JR Hokkaido.
My question was: Why would commuters want to get passes here, rather than in Japan itself?
I have learnt that the passes could be $10 – $20 cheaper when purchased here, and some Singaporeans like to feel ‘safe’ and more prepared before travelling. The type J personality in some can attest to that.
There is also a small retail area which provides a small selection of food items, clothing and accessories, in line with the brand’s “Eki Naka” philosophy, which means “in-station shopping”.
Spotted a section of handkerchiefs, the same brand I actually get from in Toyko. Excited, though more expensive. But of course.
Food wise, the menu did feel rather ‘Western-Japanese’, with a selection of burgers ($19 – $22), sandwiches ($15 – $18) and rice plates ($16 – $18). There is a selection of pastries from Asanoya Bakery.
Slightly on the higher end, that the OLs in the vicinity may think twice before visiting regularly.
The signatures included The Ultimate Burger ($19) – coupling avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese and 160g wagyu beef patty; Kaisen Avocado Don ($18) which comes with Japanese soup for customers to make their own Ochazuke by pouring the soup (original or dashi) over the rice.
Drinks wise, I would recommend the Uji-Maccha Latte ($$6.20).
Japan Rail Café
5 Wallich Street, #01-20/21 Tanjong Pagar Centre, Singapore 078883 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Sat), 11am – 8pm (Sun, PH)