Japan, South Korea · 6 Days · 46 Moments · October 2016

Japan journi

17 October 2016

The trip was too short, way too short! Too bad we didn't have time to take longer leave from work :( You definitely need more than 6 days in Japan, heck 2 weeks isn't enough to explore every inch of the country! But i will be back, that's a promise to myself!

16 October 2016

Loved the onsen experience at Kamigata Onsen! It had a very private atmosphere although it was a public bathe, the chilly night air coupled with the hot onsen waters was so relaxing for my body, and no one turned a head to scrutinize you even though you're in your birthday suit! Missing the onsen waters already~! And can you believe it, we missed the last bus back to the train station! We've never missed the last bus or train until our last day!
Dinner before onsen. Had some really good bbq in Dotombori!
It was our last night in Japan, so we wanted to pamper ourselves as well as try the onsen in Japan. But before that we had a few hours, so we decided (quite an impromptu decision) to visit Sumiyashi Taisha shrine which is one of the oldest and most famous Sumiyashi shrine in Japan. It's said that it also grants your prayers β›© We got lost getting here because google map gave us the wrong directions and we ended up in a totally different shrine in a totally different location πŸ˜’ luckily we got there before they closed! It was way more peaceful then the other shrines we had visited, maybe because it isn't as well known among the tourists as compared to say, Kiyomizudera in Kyoto. I'm glad we decided to make a stop here!
Headed to Shinsaibashi because I wanted to search for this coffee shop called Mills Pour. It is a little away from the main shopping street so a teeny bit harder to find, well, good coffee is not always to find! 😝 Along the way the cousin was looking for salon that had reasonable prices because she wanted to cut her hair. Found one that was reasonable, and the cut was so good, she looked really good with her new cut. I asked id I would look good with a fringe, sadly he said no >.< I'd give their service 2 thumbs up! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» her stylist walked us all the way to the lift and bowed to us as the door closed.
Visiting a traditional market in Osaka! Had so much food to eat! Takoyaki...okonomiyaki....dango...sea urchin.... i am salivating πŸ˜‹

15 October 2016

The city lights at Gion. Settled on dinner at Hoshino (and its so much better than the Hoshino cafe in Singapore!) before heading back to Osaka. This marks the end of our Kyoto journi πŸ™ I really fell in love with Kyoto. I will definitely like to be back! I will definitely be back!
Found our way to Yasaka Shrine at the end of Gion! While wandering around the streets we saw spotted maikos making their way to certain restaurants. So pretty! 😍
Slowly making our way to Gion on foot and passed by Kamogawa River. The weather was great so people were sitting by the banks having a picnic or just relaxing.
Strolling around the street lined with traditional houses, had some traditional snacks which were really good and, to be honest, i think we picked out one of the nicest kimonos!
Queueing up to have a drink from the Otowa Waterfall which is located at the base of Kiyomizudera's main hall. Its waters are divided into three separate streams, and visitors use cups attached to long poles to drink from them. Each stream's water is said to have a different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. However, drinking from all three streams is considered greedy >.<
The huge structure of the protruding platform, the best shot i could get πŸ˜ͺ
Located within Kiyomizudera is the Jishu Shrine which is revered as β€œthe Cupid of Japan” or a shrine for love. Singles and couples come here to pray for their relationship. There are 2 plain looking stones, it's said that if you can walk safely from one stone to the other while keeping your eyes closed, your wishes for love shall be fulfilled. "Love is blind", literally. Would have liked to try it out myself but it was mad crowded!
Feeling so pretty dressed up in the kimonos with our hair styled up! πŸ‘˜Okamoto KiyomizuzakaπŸ‘˜ has been around for around 180 years. They've got a lovely selection of kimonos and for a little bit more, they will style your hair into a beautiful hairdo 😍 I am in love with their kimonos. There are so many beautiful designs and colours and it just made me feel pretty wearing it! I won't get tired of trying on kimonos so i will definitely rent one again when I am in Japan! It's the end of summer and autumn is just around the corner. Though the leaves have yet to change colour, i chose a autumn-ish style πŸ‘˜ a deep red with simple autumn leaves design while my cousin went for a more mature look with bright, colourful flowers 🌸
Kiyomizidera shrine where we dressed up in Kimonos. Really unfortunate that the main shrine was under construction, so we couldn't take a picture of the famous platform.
Vermillion Cafe on our way back down. It's a lovely cafe ran by a very friendly Caucasian β˜•οΈ
Lunch with a spectacular view mid way down the mountain. This is the rest stop down one of the more common routes. People either choose to continue climbing up else they will head back down after taking a break here. We had their Fox Udon to fill our hungry tummies.
RIGHT AT THE TOP OF INARI MOUNTAIN~ WE MADE IT! The climb can be tough for beginners but trust me, that sense of achievement is gratifying πŸ’ͺ🏼
This time we are going to do a morning hike at Inari mountain. You'll first pass the beautiful tori gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine. The first few sections were flooded with visitors, to get a beautiful clean shot without anyone photo-bombing your photos, climb a little more. The higher you go, the lesser people there are!
Morning sunrise while making our way to Kyoto again!

14 October 2016

πŸŒ™ Heading back to Osaka after an exciting day in Kyoto!
Once our time was up at the owl cafe, we finally made our way to the market πŸ˜‚ I love the food there! Fresh seafood, freshly baked buns and doughnuts and traditional Japanese snacks. We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening strolling around the shops and looking for little souvenirs and buying a lot of Japanese snacks to bring home with us. After having dinner of fresh oysters and beers, we wandered around Kyoto's shopping area before heading back to Osaka. We were going to come back the next day to explore more places anyway and needed our rest! We decided to just take an express train to Kyoto for 2 days rather than stay there since Osaka was so close to Kyoto and didn't want the hassle of lugging our luggage to and fro!
After getting my coffee fix, we were walking back to Nishiki market when we came across this girl carrying an owl (yes a real owl). Found out that there was an owl cafe nearby so we made a detour and did not regret it. Learnt a lot about owls! Did you know when owls are sleeping, the only stand on one leg? That was an interesting fact! Got to learn their names (which i already forgot) and hold them on our hands, head, shoulders! The little ones were so adorable i would have loved to bring them home!
Made our way to Nishiki Market next for some market snacks. But first I havn't had my daily cup of coffee so went in search of Inoda Coffee which was located nearby. Lovely sort of ambience inside, it had that slight old school classy European feel to the interior.
The entrance tickets to the Golden Palace are s interesting! Kinkakuji (the Golden Palace) was our next stop. Unfortunately there were many tourists there so what would have been a peaceful stroll wasn't so peaceful at all. I really wasn't happy about having to squeeze and be pushed by those certain kind of tourists who seem to be everywhere! :(
Head over to the 'kimono forest' after coming out of the bamboo forest! These columns line along a path and they are wrapped with beautiful kimono fabric. It's really pretty in the day and it'll be light up at night as well!
We had lunch nearby at a cozy tea shop that le cousin recommended. she had been here before for the dessert and absolutely loved it. Since we didn't really had anything to eat before that and it was cold, we ordered a hot bowl of udon to share.
And reached our destination! We were here early so it wasn't so crowded yet. There were a lot of school kids though, coming here to take some group shots, i think it could be for graduation or something. Walking back down we passed a taxi full of Japanese boys, they were friendly but said hi to us in Chinese. Neither me nor my cousin replied because I was trying to process what they said and my cousin was a little tired. One boy said something like 'you got it wrong, they're not Chinese!' I felt so bad but well, I'm Singaporean and my Chinese is terrible πŸ˜…
Hello Kyoto! First day trip to this beautiful city filled with tradition, culture and history. I love history so this city is totally up my alley! First stop is Arashiyama's bamboo forest! From the station we had to pass this bridge to get to our destination, which has a lot if history to it... Togetsukyo Bridge literally means Moon Crossing Bridge. Young boys and girls first receive a blessing from a local temple and then make their way across the bridge under orders to do so without looking back. If one ignores this instruction, it is said to bring bad luck as a result. Interesting ain't it? Now, there are roads where vehicles pass and sidewalks for people to walk along. But the view was still really pretty.
We happened to pass by this temple. I'm not sure what it's called but we decided to go in anyway and cut through to get to Arashiyama Bamboo forest.

13 October 2016

There was a huge supermarket on the way back to our accommodation. My cousin and I literally swept the entire shelf of calbee chips clean and stocked up our fridge with more than enough fruit beer and ice cream to last us for longer than we were here!
Dinner was at this hole in the wall sushi place which sells some awesome sushi at a decent price! We were sat besides some lovely ladies who strikes up a convo with us in their limited english and our limited japanese. They even treated us some Otoro! It was a present, they said 😊🍣
Headed to Shinsaibashi to shop somemore at the drugstores and grab some food along the way before dinner. On the menu tonight: SUSHI!
Lunch time! Headed to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum and made our own ramen to bring home! First you decorate your ramen cup and then proceed to the counter to choose your ramen toppings and watch how they pack it all together! A really interesting experience 😊
After 2hours, we got to our destination. It was really cooling, and there was a little rainbow at the bottom of the falls. There weren't many tourists (which we appreciated), I guess tourists would rather visit other more popular places around Japan, but Mino is a really lovely park and in autumn there are some good spots to take in the fall foliage. I'm glad we decided to visit. Great way to start our day.
It was supposed to be a 40mins hike to the waterfall. Except they don't tell you that it'd take longer if you sidetrack from the main way up. There was a school excursion so there were a of kids. When it was almost lunch time, they would find a comfortable spot and open their really awesomely packed bento boxes.
Got hungry by the time we got to Minoo station so popped into the 7-11 store to grab an onigiri πŸ™ and a cup of coffee β˜•οΈ Okay, read to go now! Got the directions from the very friendly station master at the ticketing booth and off we go!
Good morning Osaka! Up and about early because we are heading for a morning hike at Minoo Park! Breakfast in Shinsaibashi. It's really quiet when it's early, very different atmosphere when we were here just last night. Popped by a waffle cafe we passed by last night for breakfast, except their kind of waffles seemed more for like tea or dessert, a tad bit too sweet for me >.<"

12 October 2016

Have to take a photo of the glico man! The bridge which has one of the best spots to take a picture of the brightly lit poster was filled with tourists and locals taking selfies with Mr Glico. Found out that Shinsaibashi was literally just besides Dotombori, across the bridge which will lead you past the Glico man! Let shopping at the 300yen store commence before we call it a night!
Dinner time! First full meal since reaching Osaka! Headed over to Dotombori and went searching for some ramen - Ichiran Ramen to be precise! We headed to the second outlet in the area because the first outlet we went to had a really long queue. Maybe because the second outlet was a little more out of sight so not many people knew where it was. Choose your own ramen and toppings and head up to the seating area! You have a choice of seating together or by the bar which has retractable 'blinds' if you are eating solo. They also have an area for you to hang your coats and bags on the wall behind while you eat. Walked past this takoyaki stall and just had to buy a box to try although we were so full from ramen! πŸ˜‹
Caught the sun setting in the horizon at the bay area. Bathed the place in its beautiful golden rays, it was definitely a beautiful sight. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is relatively near Diamond Spot which have some beautiful sunset views - drop by to catch the sunset if you have time!
And we're here to visit our underwater friends! To be very honest, I think Singapore's Sea Aquarium is much nicer πŸ˜‰
Headed over to Osaka Aquarium next. Stopped hy for a cup of coffee on the way. The Osaka ferris wheel is just outside the cafe. Once you see it you know you're reaching the aquarium πŸ™‚
It was a chilly day but no trip to Japan is complete without having some Matcha ice cream 🍦
Checked into our airbnb and went exploring straight away! First stop: Osaka castle.
Hello πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅! Had a very pleasant flight aboard ANA. The morning sun is just rising here and we can't wait to start exploring the city!