TRAVEL: Japan Day 5


It’s our last day in Osaka and it makes me really sad to be leaving this place. But since we have an afternoon flight, we decided to have a free day. We didn’t really have any concrete plan.

First official business: Leave our hotel and drop our baggage so we can still roam around. It’s our first time to ride their cab! We never really did during our stay. We hopped from one place to another by using their trains.

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And we dropped our bags off. It’s a good thing Jude read this somewhere. We also saw this in Namba, in the underpass in the ‘malls’ / stores that you pass by going to the train but we felt it wasn’t that secured so we did some research. And we ended up here, just outside one of the train stations. (so it’s a plus)

Then we head to Dotonbori for Lunch. ❤ We decided to try some maki and sushi to fully experience authentic Japan. We picked Nigiri Chojiro, Conveyor Belt Sushi. It’s also one of the top restaurants in Yelp.

Ofcourse he had to order the set / sampler one. He says it’s really good and tasted fresh.

Me, on the otherhand ordered a which is also good. Nothing fancy, nothing special either. And we were also amazed how the order process go, since you order it from a computer. What’s more amazing is how much they trust their customers.

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Because we had Japanese for Lunch, of course I was not full. 😛 Who would be? I only ordered Tuna Yakiniku! :/ Ergo, I was eager for some dessert!

We asked our friend, Yelp for some best desserts in Dotonbori and was glad we were just a block away and to our surprise, there was a LONG line for takeout. We went inside and they still had a sit down area on the second floor.

Rikuro Ojisan

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We had to wait for 10 minutes to be seated. The wait was okay. It was nice to wait in the stairway rather than on the streets because of the weather. 😛

When we were finally seated, we ordered their set which comes with 1 pastry and a coffee. (I forgot how much). We ordered one each since they have a minimum amount for you to be seated and dine.

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I don’t normally eat cheesecake but it was fine. Hubby liked it and I was able to finish my chocolate slice. We both had some coffee to go with our pastries.

Next Stop: Shisekai Area

On the way to Tsutenkaku Tower, we passed by a certain area similar to Dotonbori. I wanted to stroll and try different food stalls but he reminded me that we had limited time. :/

Tsutenkaku, a symbol of Osaka is 64 meters in height. It reminded citizens of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.

There’s a lot to see inside the tower. There’s no point going in one of the tallest buuilding if you won’t, at the very least look at the view from the highest point, right? So here we are, admiring the view from the top.

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They have a separate floor for a dining area and for souvenirs too.

But most importantly, we lined up to have a glimpse and touch Mr. Biliken. 

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We were told that Mr. Biliken bring luck and happiness to those who touches his legs! ❤ After a short trip to Shinsekai, we had to rush back to the airport to have some dinner before our flight.

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We had five days of Japanese food so by this time, I was craving for some Chinese, and Chinese it is! I absolutely love YANGCHOW rice. ❤ I can eat it everyday! We also had some hot shrimp salad. ❤

This is our last train ride back to the airport. Thank you so much, Japan! I fell in love. Now I know why everyone wants to keep coming back. ❤ ❤

TRAVEL: Japan Day 4


For our fourth day in Japan, hubby got us another Klook Tour: Kyoto and Nara Day Tour! I’m excited to meet the deers since they always seem so friendly. ❤

Since we were joining a Group Tour from Klook, our Pick-up Location is in VIP Villa in Namba at 7:50 am. But the hubby wants to be on time, and when I say on time – it means an hour early. We were there by 7:00 am! And I guess other guests had the same thing in mind since several joiners were there already. (And I noticed that almost half of our group are Filipinos too. Haha)

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The drive from Namba to Kyoto was about 2 hours so even though we got up so early, we had time to take a nap. 🙂 First Stop: Kinkaku-ji Temple. (or what they call Golden Temple) Entrance Fee is 400 yen. (but since we got this from Klook, it’s free already)

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The Golden Temple was previously a retirement home but became a Zen Temple. The top two floors are completely covered in Gold Leaf. AND, the temple has burned down several times already. Can you believe it?

I love how peaceful the whole place is. The temple is surrounded by a pond in the middle of a garden full of trees and plants. No wonder it used to be a retirement place.

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But before you get to the temple, you will pass by this house that used to be the living quarters of the head priest. See? It really is surrounded by lovely trees! especially in autumn. ❤

Next Stop: Kasuga Tai-sha

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This place is the most celebrated shrine in Nara and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. It is also one of the most sacred places since a lot of the Gods are enshrined in the place. On the way to this place, our tour guide taught us on how to honor the place: (as seen below, the husband is trying).

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Next: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

One of the most famous landmarks – the sky high bamboo groves are truly instagrammable. But unfortunately, we didn’t know that we needed to pay extra to go inside the road (at the back of hubby) to get a good picture. As I said, one of the most famous, thus it attracts CRAZY number of tourists!

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We don’t have a good photo to show you the giant bamboos that fill this place. BUT!!! Along side the road leading to it, there’s a LOT of food stands and stores on the road. So we managed to try  the following:

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Husband tried the Ichigo Daifuku – It is a Japanese confection, a mochi filled with bean paste, split into two and a fresh strawberry is placed within. The hubby liked it. ❤ I tried it too but I don’t really eat strawberries. Sooooo. . .

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I normally won’t go for Gyoza since I feel like the meat usually is dry. But this is good. ❤ The sauce is perfect, it was soft and the meat was not dry. Thumbs Up!

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I was pretty excited that there were ice creams in sight but as I looked closely to each store, they were all offering BAMBOO flavored desserts. I don’t eat Matcha and Green Tea so you know where my hesitations are coming from. BUT, I still wanted to try this Bamboo Flavored Soft Ice Cream – and it tastes exactly as matcha. :/ so the hubby finished it by himself.

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We also managed to try Grilled Crabs and Rice Cakes too. There’s a bunch of stores lined up in the streets and I’m a bit overwhelmed. We both wanted to try everything. 😛

Since we consumed most of our time binge-eating in the street, we decided to eat our late lunch in one of the restaurants in front of the parking, so we can see our bus. And obviously, we ate Tempura – the safest order. 😛

Another Stop: Fushimi Inari Taisha – It is famous for its thousands of Vermilion Torii Gates.

It is the most important shrines dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. Also, You have to be really patient – since there are so many tourists here too. You can never really get a shot with no one there to ruin the shot. 😛

Fun Fact: The thousand gates are donated by different individuals — and their names are written on the gates. One gate costs around 400,000 yen.

Our Last Stop: Nara Park

A very large park home to hundreds of deers. ❤

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Like I said, it is home to deers, roaming around freely. ❤ You can interact with them! Deer Crackers are sold at 100 yen for 10 crackers!! And it’s so fun! They are so tame and it seems like no matter how many tourists are there to feed them, they always seem to be hungry.

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The deers are said to be messenger of Gods. At first, I couldn’t decipher which of them are fawns or which of them are the older ones. But after some research, I read that their antlers are removed every October. (so that’s why!) – Antler Cutting Tradition – for safety reasons.

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Another fun fact: Deer Crackers are just wheat flour and rice bran. And all of the profits from the crackers are used for the sole purpose of protecting the deers.

Before we left for Nara, we also found a good spot:

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Going back, I think everyone went back at around 6:30 pm and we left by 7:00 pm. There’s also a store where you can buy your souvenirs even deer shaped chocolates too! ❤

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It’s been good, Nara and Kyoto. ❤ I cannot wait to go back and explore you more! We got back at around 8:30 pm and since it was late, we went to dinner straight.

Dinner at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M (The restaurant is quite famous so they require reservations.)

A winner in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for restaurants, ranking number 1 in Japan, and number 5 in Asia.

We first heard about this place from a friend who is pretty well traveled. We were warned that it is quite pricey — and it is. I believe this is our most expensive meal in our entire stay in Japan.

We ordered the Matsusaka Tasting Platter for 3,000 Yen – 2 pieces for each type of beef. The Beef that’s included are Sirloin Steak, Kyukyoku and Haneshita.

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You will be the one to cook this on grill in front of you. We were taught to cook each side of the beef for at least 2 minutes for the perfect taste. You are also given different sauces to go with it.

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I LOVE MEAT. and I’m amazed how tender the beef is. ❤ it’s so flavorful. Although it’s not quite filling since we shared this, did not regret this as we really wanted to try one of the best in Osaka. ❤

And because we only shared 1 rice (you know how we Filipinos love our rice), the hubby still wanted to eat. We ended up trying Okonomiyaki. We were trying to find a particular place, famous for its Okonomiyaki but we failed.

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We ordered the Pork Okonomiyaki with Big Size Octopus for 550 Yen with Draft Beer at 430 Yen.

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I don’t really eat Okonomiyaki. But I tried it – hubby says it’s good. The size is huge too!

Okonomiyaki, when translated means ‘grilled as you like it’. It’s a Japanese Pancake with cabbage, flour, eggs and variety of meat.

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And that ends our Fourth Day! 😀 We are pretty productive, don’t you think? Sad to be leaving tomorrow. 😦

TRAVEL: Japan Day 3


Of all our planned itinerary for our Osaka Trip, I think this is my husband’s most awaited day. Why? We are going to Universal Studios, Japan! ❤ It’s his first time in Universal and more importantly, there’s a Harry Potter themed park!

We were lined up by 7:00 am and I am not over reacting when I tell you that you really need to be there by 7. It’s as if everyone was thinking the same thing, the lines were crazy long already. BTW, We bought our USJ Tickets from Klook too. They have a special ticket that allows bearers an earlier 15 minutes time ahead. It means they get to enter the park at 7:45! and man, it’s a huge difference!

By the time they opened the gates? Everyone, and I literally mean EVERYONE was RUNNING. So yes, we ran too. Haha. Our first stop? Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

In the world of Harry Potter, there’s a walking tour where you can see the different classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts. At the end of the lane, you can enjoy the Forbidden Journey, a 4k  HD ride that lets you join harry during a quidditch play! If you still want a more thrilling ride, you can to the Flight of Hippogriff, a roller coaster ride that takes you to Hagrid’s Hut. It’s a must experience for you to pass by Ollivanders where you can witness how the wands pick you. And tip? they actually choose a lucky wizard among the tourist and the chosen one gets to go home with a wand! You can also eat at Three Broomsticks Restaurant to get the full experience of Harry’s World.

And never, should anyone forget to try the Butter Beer! You can find it anywhere in the Wizarding World.

Luckily, the butter beers comes in Hot or Cold variety. And since it was freezing that time, we chose Hot Beers. ❤ It’s their signature non-alcoholic drink in butterscotch flavor. You can also get it in a collector’s item souvenir stein. ❤

Second Attraction? Jaws. The iconic giant, man-eating shark attacks during the boat tour. And contrary what one may think, no. You won’t get wet.

And because we were damn hungry already, we ate at Amity Landing Restaurant in the Jaws Land.

By the time we finished eating, it was raining. :/ We had no umbrella but because we wanted to maximize our time and we have our jackets on, we walked.

 

Next Up: The Flying Dinosaur. We chose not to engage in this ride because we were both scared. Haha. We heard that there was a 25.9 meter drop to escape the dinosaur!

And Of course, I managed to squeeze in some sweets! We tried this chocolate churros from one of the stands. They also have some Matcha flavored churros.

Next Attraction: Minions

The lines in this Minions ride is crazy!! It took us about 45 minutes to actually get inside. There are 2 rides here: Despicable Me Minion and Freeze Ray Sliders! Both are bearable for the scaredy cats like us. 😀

And here, we are transported in New York, one of my favorite places. ❤ For our next attraction: The Amazing Spiderman 3D

Thank you, Universal! You will always be one of the places that we will visit every time we return to Osaka! ❤

Since we finished early around 4 in the afternoon, we chose to binge eat our way to Dotonbori. First Stop: Ichiran Ramen

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The most iconic symbol of Japan (I guess) and their most famoust – Ichiran! It’s a good thing we didn’t go there during dinner time. ❤ We had no trouble getting in. It’s freakin good and I’m now a believer! It’s so good!!

And as if that’t not enough, we went straight to Atchichi-Hompo.

The line was long but it was fairly quick. The takoyaki is made right in front of the customers. I don’t really eat them but my husband says that it tastes authentic.

We then tried the BIG ass grilled crabs of Kani Doraku. The place was packed! If standing is not an issue and you don’t plan on dining in, it’s a good thing they have a stand where you can just order the grilled crabs.

It’s HUGE. It doesn’t taste any different but it sure was delicious. ❤

On our way back to our side, we simply had to take a picture with the famous running man!

To spare you the curiosity, The Glico Man was famous because it was marketed as a wrapper of an energy bar – where when you eat them, you can run for 300 m! (In case you were wondering).

And before we went home, we tried the Turkish Ice Cream. It’s one of the must try desserts in Dotonbori.

There’s a whole show of trickery before you can actually taste their icecream! I’ll spare you the details so you can enjoy them first hand. But really, the ice cream was so good! I didn’t mind eating the ice cream even though it was freezing cold.

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This may probably be one of my favorite days because we were able to cross so many food on my bucket list. ❤ The day was so tiring but I love that we were able to visit so many places and tried a lot of food. ❤

TRAVEL: Japan Day 1 and 2


We finally tied the knot! ❤ and for our Honeymoon, we visited Osaka, Japan. We nearly had no time to do our respective research but the husband managed to get us a few tickets through Klook.

HOTEL: Best Western Hotel – It’s only a 2-minute walk to the train station. There’s also a family mart beside  the station. It’s a quite neighborhood.

Day 1 – We arrived in Osaka at around 9 in the evening and got lost. We still had to learn how the transportation system works. Thus, we arrived at our hotel at around 11 in the evening.

And like I said, there’s a convenient store nearby. For dinner, we purchased the items below: (spicy seafood noodles, 2 chicken fillet, 1 box of rice and 1 stick of chicken skin)

Day 2 – We are up and about at 7 am. we head to Osaka Castle Park. We then had the opportunity to try another set of breakfast at a convenient store just outside the park. We were able to try the Melon Pan, Maple Syrup Pancakes and their store coffee.

You can already take lots take of pictures in the garden. The garden is absolutely beautiful especially when we went the there as the trees are already in various colors.

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Inside the Castle Museum, you can try-on a battle armor they used to wear before. It’s the Kabuto Helmet and Armor.

The Nishinomaru Garden is a lawn that houses miles and miles of trees, a tea house and the Osaka Guest House.

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The Osaka Museum of History is just across the Osaka Castle.  It opens from 9 am – 5 pm.

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It shows life sized ancient times of trading, shopping exhibits and local villages.

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And because we had a deadly long walk, we were heavily starving by this time.  The hubby searched for the Top 1 restaurant in the area and we ended with Tokumasa Moronomiya.

Dubbed as having the Best Curry Udon in Osaka, we just had to try it.

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We both ordered the sets. The sets run from 600 – 900 yen. We ate Beef Set Curry Meal and Tempura Curry Meal Sets both for 900 yen. I was doubtful about the curry udon since I’ve tried some before and I didn’t like it. The curry udon was flavorful and so filling. The Beef Yakiniku was really good. I finished my rice meal. The tempura was good too.

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We were so full and I was really happy with my order. We then decided to take the cruise of Aqua Liner Cruise in Yodayabashi Pier.

The Aqua Liner Cruise can be boarded in 4 different locations. The glass roof of the boat can be lowered when passing some of Osaka’s lowest bridges on route. It also explains the history and other landmarks. The river is lined with different colorful trees which makes it the perfect scenery during the cruise.

And since we already had our rest during the cruise, we then walked to the center of Umeda to see the HEP Five Ferris Wheel. The Shopping Mall is open from 11 am – 9 pm, the restaurants are open until 10:30 pm and the ferris wheel is open until 11 pm.

The HEP Five is home to 7 floors of clothing stores, an amusement floor on the 8th and the famous ferris wheel on the 7th floor.

The highest point is at 106 meters above the ground and has 52 seater gondolas. It offers an amazing view of the Busy area of Umeda.

For Dinner, we head to the famous Dotonbori Area, home to the best food in Osaka. We searched for the must try dishes in Dotonbori and of the top is Kushikatsu. The Kushikatsu Daruma is one of the best out of the bunch.

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Kushikatsu means deep fried skewered food. We tried the 1800 Yen set. This is a set that includes some beef, shrimp, rice cake, asparagus, quail egg, pork cutlet, chicken meatball, sausage, cheese, chicken karaage and sweet potato. It is dipped with thick tonkatsu sauce.

Everything practically tastes the same but I especially like the beef, sausage and cheese. It’s a bit filling but not particularly full. I can still eat. I’m glad we tried this. ❤

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We ended the night strolling the streets of Dotonbori and mentally ticking the food that we want to try the next day. And oh, this is probably my favorite place. Dotonbori is alive, it’s full of people and you can already see the culture and practices of the locals. It’s full of tourists too and it reminds me a bit of the Times Square in New York, everyone doing their own thing, everybody busy with something.

And that’s where we end our first day. ❤ ❤ ❤