Monday, May 8, 2017

Osaka Itinerary (Osaka + Kyoto + Nara + Kobe + Universal Studio Japan) - Jalan Jalan Cari Makan 走走美食团

OSAKA (3 Days)

We spent 2 days in Osaka by using the Osaka Amazing Pass, and 1 days Free and easy.
We heavily rely on the Google Map (Pocket Wifi is a MUST HAVE item) to find the direction to reach those facilities we short listed below.
We also visited:-
1. Umeda (you can do a lot of shopping + Pokemon Center) - if you use the Osaka Amazing Pass, some of the facilities near to this area.
2. Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street Next to Dotonbori
3. Dotonbori - Food Paradise (our accommodation near Dotonbori, I walked over this place almost every night)
4. Joshin Super Kids Land - Toys paradise  =)
5. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (purchase the entry pass at Osaka Airport with discounted price - entrance + Transportation)
6. Kuromon Ichiba Market 黒門市場 - Many great food stalls (close at 6pm)
7. Don Quijote Dotonbori Store - huge selections like grocery items, chocolates, souvenirs, cosmetics

Food (Must Try):-
1. Ichiran Ramen 一蘭 is known as one of the best ramen in Japan - at Dotonbori
2. Mizuno Okonomiyaki at Dotonbori
3. Street Food at Kuromon Ichiba Market 黒門市場 walking distance from Dotonbori
4. Toki Sushi (search this place from Google Map)
5. Egg's n Things (English Breakfast)
6. Kani Douraku Dotombori Honten (The crab restaurant in Dotombori, easily identified by the giant moving crab billboard)

Purchase the Osaka Amazing Pass (2 days pass) 3,300 Yen
1. Use the pass and get on trains and buses.
When you let the pass go through the automatic ticket gate, you can ride unlimited all day (or 2 consecutive days for a two-day pass) on that day! It allows you to travel easily, so enjoy going around many areas.

2. Visit facilities with your transportation pass.
You can enter about 35 facilities for free once at each place when you present the pass at the counter of the facilities. Valid only on the day of use of the pass. (Two consecutive days for a two-days-pass.)

Out of many facilities, we shortlisted below:-
1. Tombori River Cruise
2. Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory
3. HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel
4. Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
5. Osaka Tennoji Zoo
6. Osaka Museum of Natural History
7. Osaka Castle Museum
8. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Osaka
9. Osaka Prefectural Government Sakishima Building Observatory
10. Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu
11. Tsutenkaku Tower

KOBE (1 Days)

Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum
Direction: Ten minute walk from Iwaya Station

Meriken Park
Direction: Meriken Park is about a ten minute walk south of Motomachi Station or just across the sightseeing cruise terminal from Kobe Harborland.

Kobe Harborland -  two largest shopping complexes in the area are Mosaic
Just outside of JR Kobe Station and the Harborland Subway Station.

Shin-Kobe Ropeway - Nunobiki Waterfall and the Nunobiki Herb Garden
Direction: hiking trail from Shin-Kobe Station

To access the hiking trail to the waterfall, leave Shin-Kobe Station through the exit on the first floor to the south (the ticket gates are located on the second floor), where you will find a tunnel that leads below the station building northwards to the forested mountain.

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Direction: short walk from Maiko Station on the JR Sanyo Line (25 minutes, 300 yen from Sannomiya Station by local train) or Maiko-Koen Station on the Sanyo Railway Main Line.

Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown)
Direction: Nankinmachi is located a five minutes walk south of Motomachi Station, a ten minute walk southwest of Sannomiya Station or a five minute walk north of Meriken Park.

Ikuta Shrine
Direction: 5 minute walk from JR Sannomiya Station

Starbucks Kobe

Lunch: Steakland Kobe (Must Try)

NARA (1 Days)

Todaiji Temple
Direction:  Take bus from Kintetsu Nara Station, Get off at Todaiji Daibutsuden from where it is a 5-10 minute walk to Todaiji's main building.

Kasuga Taisha
Direction: Take bus from Kintetsu Nara Station, Get off at the Kasuga Taisha Honden bus stop (190 yen, frequent departures).

Nara Park
Direction: five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station

Nara National Museum
Direction: 15 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or by bus

Kofukuji Temple
Directon: five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station


Lunch: Wakakusa Curry Hompo http://www.wakakusacurry.jp/ (Must Try)

KYOTO (2 Days)

Kyoto Tower Standing 131 meters tall just across from Kyoto Station, Kyoto Tower (京都タワー) is Kyoto's tallest structure and a rare modern iconic landmark in the city famous for its ancient temples and shrines.
Direction: Kyoto Tower stands on the north side of Kyoto Station.

Kiyomizudera - One of Japan's most popular temples. It stands in the wooded hills od eastern Kyoto and offers visitors a nice view over the city from its famous wooden terrace. The busy approach to the temple is lined by dozens of shops and restaurants that have been catering to pilgrims and tourists for centuries
6am-6pm ~ 300Yen ~ Kiyomizudera can be reached from Kyoto Station by bus number 100 or 206 (15mins, 220 yen). Get off at Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, from where it is a ten minute uphill walk to the temple. Alternatively, Kiyomizudera is about 20 minutes walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station along the Keihan Railway Line.

Upon exiting Kiyomizudera, walk down the temple approach while exploring the shops along the way. Turn right just before the fork in the road and head down the scenic Sannenzaka Stairs onto the somewhat quieter shopping streets below. Continue past the Ninenzaka Steps. There are many interesting things to see along the path including Ryozen Kannon. There are plenty of tea-houses and restaurants here if you feel like a break.

The Higashiyama District along the lower slopes of Kyoto's eastern mountains is one of the city's best preserved historic districts. It is a great place to experience traditional old Kyoto, especially between Kiyomizudera and Yasaka Shrine, where the narrow lanes, wooden buildings and traditional merchant shops invoke a feeling of the old capital city.

The streets in Higashiyama are lined by small shops, cafes and restaurants which have been catering to tourists and pilgrims for centuries. These businesses retain their traditional design, although many have been renovated through the years, and they continue to serve customers today, selling local specialties such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, pickles, crafts and other souvenir.

Maruyama Park  - is a public park next to Yasaka Shrine. During the first half of April. when he cherry trees are in full bloom, Maruyama Park becomes Kyoto's most popular and most crowded spot for cherry blossom viewving and hanami parties. The centerpiece of the parks is a tall shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree), which gets lit up in the night.

Yasaka Padoga, the last remnant of Hokanji Temple, is one of the most visible and recognizable lanmarks in the Higashiyama District. Visitor may climb up the inside of the five story pagoda, which is a rare opportunity as most pagoda can only be viewed fro the outside.

Lunch: Nishiki Market (Must Visit)
Direction: on foot in less than five minutes from Shijo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line (4 minutes, 210 yen from Kyoto Station) or Karasuma or Kawaramachi Stations on the Hankyu Line.

Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社, Yasaka Jinja), also known as Gion Shrine, is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto
Direction: The closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.
Alternatively, the 20-30 minute walk from Kiyomizudera through the narrow lanes of the Higashiyama District to Yasaka Shrine is highly recommended.
Day 2 in Kyoto

Fushimi Shrine 
Direction: Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line (5 minutes, 140 yen one way from Kyoto Station, not served by rapid trains).

The fastest access from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama is provided by the JR Sagano Line (also known as JR Sanin Line). The one way ride to Sara-Arashiyama Sation takes 15 minutes. From Saga-Arashiyama Station, central Arashiyama can be reached in 5-10 minute walk.

Visit Arashiyama, a pleasant touristy distrcit in the western outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherryblossom and fall color season.s

Go to Togetsukyo Bridge (15-20 minutes walk) to enjoy the view of Hozu River. The Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama most iconic landmark. The bridge looks particularly attractive in combination with the forested mountainside in the background. A riverside park with dozens of cherry trees is located just adjacent to the bridge. Many small hops, restaurants and other attractions are found nearby (i.e. Arashiyama famous bamboo groves)

Bamboo Grove - The walking paths that cut through the bamboo groves make for a nice walk or bicycle ride. The groves are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth.

Universal Stuidio Japan (1 Day)
Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan - Plan the rides you want to visit to maximize your experience.
Some money are not worth saving, unless you want to stand in queues for hours (depending on season, for peak period, average waiting time per ride > 120 minutes). Hence, get your Universal Express Pass.
I SKIP the kids Zone - Universal Wonderland (Sesame Street Fun World). I personally find below rides are the BEST and would like to recommend to you guys:-

1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ in 4K3D
During you visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, find the giant Butterbeer caravan, Try a mug of butter beer (taste like caramel root beer)

2. The Flying Dinosaur (played twice - BEST)

3. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man - The Ride 4K3D  (played twice - BEST)

4. JAWS

5. Jurassic Park – The Ride

6. Terminator 2:3-D


ACCOMMODATION
Suggest you look for accommodation near to
Kintetsu-Nippombashi Station (Nipponbashi 日本橋)
Dotonbori 道頓堀; or
Namba Station 難波駅

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