Culture, food, technology, scenery and Pokemon — the week I spent in Japan tempted me to live there! How can it be that even their toilets are nice? During my stay, we were able to explore the interesting streets of Osaka and the traditional temples in Kyoto. Let me tell you, we were impressed. I now understand why people repeatedly visit Japan. Aside from the sights, the discipline of the people is one to admire. The streets are clean and even the public transportation is seamless. I promised myself that it wouldn't be the last time I would visit their beautiful country.
HOW TO GET THERE
The easiest way is to fly directly to Osaka, Japan (Kansai - KIX). Flights to Osaka usually cost PHP 12,000 or lower if you get a promo fare. However, it still varies depending on the season.
WHERE TO STAY
My family and I stayed in Guest House Bears, a simple hotel in Moriguchi. It costs approximately PHP 3,500 to PHP 4,000 per night. The place is not too far from the city center and is only 10 minutes away from Osaka by train.
Dining, drinking, and snacking
Services and conveniences
Disclaimer: Photos of Guest House Bears from Agoda
Sample photo of their standard single room. They also have twin rooms and family rooms.
For other accommodations, check out Osaka Hotels
WHAT TO DO
Sharing with you a few of my Japan favorites:
Walking around Osaka was so enjoyable. The air was clean and there was a cool breeze despite the sunny weather. We went from building to building and tried several eating places along the way.
There were flowers everywhere and every place felt like it could be part of a movie scene.
One of our must visit places was the historical Osaka Castle. Here I got a chance to learn more about the history of Japan and its culture.
It was a bit of a struggle to get a solo shot with all the tourists. Though understandable given how awe-worthy the castle was.
Crested with gold, Osaka Castle undeniably looked timeless.
Sadly, only a few cherry blossoms were left when we visited. However, there were still so many beautiful flowers that surrounded the castle.
My family and I even got to visit the museum inside.
It was an opportunity for me to get immersed in the rich history of Japan.
Once you reach the top level of the building, you'll reach a viewing deck that overlooks the city
A bird's eye view of Japan
Osaka is known as the food capital of Japan. My family and I rode all the way to Dotonbori where shopping and dining (but most especially dining) is abundant! I can attest to this because I must've gained at least 3 pounds from my trip from eating all the delicious meals. I would liken Dotonbori to the Maginhawa Eat Street in QC, Philippines. A lot of locals and tourists flock to this area for some affordable yet mouthwatering meals.
Sadly, my camera ran out of battery when we visited so the photos below are from Google Images
Running parallel to the canal, the streets of Dotonbori are alive and bustling with all the neon lights
There are just so many options — sushi, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, kobe beef, cheesecakes and etc.
Umeda Sky Building
Just a few train rides away is the glorious Umeda building which I would liken to the Namsan Tower in Seoul. Simply because they also have love locks and a great view of the city!
That's me in the middle and my brother, Patric and older sister, Paula.
Paris and Korea aren't the only places with love locks!
There's a cute heart-shaped peep hole that was perfect for taking photos! Naturally, we took advantage.
My family and I really made it a point to wait for night to fall because Umeda had a great viewing deck of the city lighting up like it was Christmas.
If you're into Pokemon, the Umeda tower also has a Pokemon center where you can geek out and purchase pasalubongs for loved ones back home.
This is where I bought a Pikachu mug for my boyfriend
Kyoto had an ancient and traditional feel to it. I enjoyed seeing a lot of the known temples during our visit here. Also, it was a refreshing change of scenery compared the the busy streets of Osaka. Entrance fees can either be free or if not, they usually cost 400 Yen or PHP 170.
Tourists travel all the way to Japan to see the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Though, I don't have any doubts because the pictures you see in the internet do not give justice to how captivating it actually looks in person.
The shrine resides at the base of a mountain. It's known for its vermilion tori gates which lead to a green wooded forest.
Climbing to see this was actually very good exercise. However, it wasn't so tiring given the cool weather.
We also got to visit a lot of other nearby villages with that same old Japan architecture
Kinakakuji Temple (Golden Gate Pavilion)
The Golden Gate Pavilion sits on top of a pond and shines for all to be seen
The Golden Gate Pavilion was actually burned twice already during a civil war (Onin war) in Kyoto. The structure that lay in front of us was rebuilt and restored version.
Kyoto has a lot of Geishas around so don't be surprised if you bump into, not one, but at least 10 of them. Feel free to ask for a photo since they are very friendly. Exhibit A: my brother looking like a smug little teenager.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
My family and I visited this place close to the end of the day. The place felt eerie (which I loved) and even more so as the sun was about to set.
As you get deeper into the forest, you'll find that the Japanese have their own version of "kalesa" except theirs are pulled by men/women!
The bamboo trees were tall and towering
It felt like an appropriate place to just get lost and forget your worries
How grateful are we to be able to go on this trip!
Somewhere in Kyoto that I can't remember (lol)
Here's a photo of one of the stations in Japan that I liked. It had a rustic feel to it because of the traditional look of the train as well as the yellow lights. During our trip, our common mode of transportation was by train. I admired the discipline in this country because people really knew how to line up. Plus, shoving and pushing were non-existent. Even while lining up in escalators, people would stay at the right if they planned to stand, while those who were in a hurry can walk quickly on the left side of the escalator.
Somewhere a little bit farther away from Kyoto, we also visited a province in Japan that was quiet and peaceful
I reflected on the trip that was and how I really wanted to see more of this lovely country. It makes me realize that travelling really widens your horizons and gives you the opportunity to aspire more for my own country (in terms of technological advancement and discipline of the people). I am proud of the Philippines and I truly believe that our country has so much to offer. If we combine that with the discipline, we would truly be world-class.
Arigato, Japan. I promise I'll come back for you.
Time to make your own memories! Happy Travels!