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Osaka - Kyoto 3 : The Days, the Activities, and the Places


So like I mentioned in the previous post, we went to Japan for 14 - days : many days spent in Osaka, 3 days in Kyoto and 1 day in Nara. How did we planned out the days? We actually planned the night before, every night after dinner we'll have a small gathering to discuss the plan for the next day. It's a bit hard to schedule it properly because we don't know how long we will take on each places, or how far each places were located, so we just have a rough idea of what we are going to do. That way it won't be like a rush tour, we were trying not to do the tour hopping thing, instead, we waited for the right moment to let everyone finish up what they wanted to do (or tried to-lah, at least).

Susah betul jadi planner and trying to make everyone happy =.='


Here's our rough schedule :
  • Day 1 : Arrival, check-in at Namba near Dotonbori
  • Day 2 : Kyoto ( Day 1 Kansai Thru Pass ) 
    • Gion-Shijo
    • Arashiyama
  • Day 3 : Osaka
    • Tennoji Zoo (supposed to be our resting day after the extreme 12 km one-shot, Kyoto exploration the day before so I suggested we spend the day at the zoo) 
    • Shiseiki Alley
  • Day 4 : Exploring Osaka ( Day 1 Osaka Amazing Pass )
    • Osaka Castle, 
    • Museum of History
    • Museum of Housing & Living
    • Ferris wheel ride at HEP5
    • Joypolice ride *not recommended
    • The top of Tsutenkaku Tower for a sunset view
  • Day 5 : Exploring Osaka ( Day 2 Osaka Amazing Pass ) 
    • Osaka Science Museum
    • Kaiyukan Aquarium
    • Tempozan Pier and Marketplace
    • Tempozan Ferris Wheel ride
  • Day 6 : A whole day with Ishijima Sensei in Namba
  • Day 7 : Resting day, but we explored Dotonbori at night, we found Mithilia restaurant at Dotonbori for dinner
  • Day 8 : Kyoto ( Day 2 Kansai Thru Pass) 
    • Nishiki Market
    • Fushimi Inari + hiked to the top of Mount Inari
  • Day 9 : Check out day, we spent the day waiting for our other Airbnb check-in time because the bag was super heavy - we found the Honolu Ramen near Namba City - highly recommended
  • Day 10 : Nara 
    • Deer Park,
    • Kohfukuji Temple
    • Yoshikien Garden 
    • we found Naramichi Jinnayah halal ramen *not recommended
  • Day 11 : Expo' 70, Bampaku-kinen Koen & Expo' City (Osaka Unlimited Pass)- we found Soba Dining - recommended
  • Day 12 : Exploring Kyoto one final time (Osaka-Kyoto Keihan Pass) 
    • Shimogamo Shrine
    • Kyoto Imperial Castle
    • Kyoto Manga Museum
  • Day 13 : Check-out day, exploring Namba and slept at the airport - dinner at U-don, KIX - highly recommended :D
  • Day 14 : Flight home
Images were shared in my Instagram multiple images by days during my stay. I don't really feel happy sharing images in this blog anymore, knowing the ugly auto-compression Blogger uses that I don't like. 

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So as you can see, our days were packed with activities and each place wasn't near to one another. We had to do a lot of walking. 123km in 14-days means we walked around 8-10km per days, almost every day. By evening, our feet usually ached/sprained so we had to soak our feet in an icy-cold water bucket to let it heal faster for the next day activity. It was that tough, I soaked at least 3-4 times in those 2 weeks. We usually walked for the whole day, with a short rest for lite lunch and tea-time and train rides. Kesian ma :D I already told her, we are a bit hard-core in exploring but she insisted in following so sometimes she complained - we let her rest in several resting spots (like cafes with wifi) so she'll get the heat and wifi and she'll be happy (lol).

The reason I tried to put all activities as much as we can is because honestly, I have a lot of places in mind that I want to go to in this world and I'm not sure when I'll reach this part of Japan again. So I really wanted to cram every single things inside, plus this was a family trip so I hardly got my silent moments where I can reach out to the solidarity of new places. The feeling was different than all my previous trips, but the experience was still nice :)

Movie : Logan vs Last of Us

We watched Logan right-after we were back from Japan (of course). Af has been waiting to watch it because the trailer was nice and he loves Logan - a bit farther off than normal superheroes movies, while I love older man = Logan is an older man = watching Logan means watching cool older man (hah-hah-hah). But I don't really like super-heroes movie, except as dark as this one.

My thoughts after we watched the movie :
  • The movie is almost exactly like the Last of Us , a game Af played for several weeks, almost 2 years ago - I sat watching the whole gameplay because it was that engaging T^T
  • So I can't stop to compare the similarities, it reminds me back to the game because I loved the game. I cried twice watching the game, I cried twice watching the movie T^T Old men and children's tears are my weakness. 
  • If I can't stop comparing with Last of Us, that means I already put a standard and if I already put a standard that means I will decide on which movie/game was the better one. Last of Us WON - even though Af said it is not a contest :D 
  • Laura looked a lot like Kendall Jenner when she was young.
  • Still loving Joel than Logan. The character development in Last of Us was super strong because the game took longer to finish :

This was a trailer for the first Last of Us in 2013 and for the second Last of Us trailer in 2016, so exciting ! I can't wait for another good game to watch. The latest trailer threw audiences in a lot of speculations (!) but I didn't want to read any of those write-ups because I want to watch Af play it like watching a movie again :




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I think the whole gaming community agree with this similarity (especially the father figure x child relationship), so I found a lot of memes, fanarts and comparison photos online (I copied from their shared link, so you can get the sources by clicking it on the images ) :


Osaka - Kyoto 2 : The Tourist Passes


In this trip, we played tourist - I wanted my family to experience everything Osaka & Kyoto got to offer without thinking too much about the money - because Japan can be a bit expensive if you don't plan it properly. So by the time we reached the airport that morning, I searched for a tourist information center to choose which passes we might need in our trip. It was a long discussion in a long queue, and my siblings gave me the power to decide on which passes to buy. So we bought this passes in the first week when we arrived :


Osaka Amazing Pass ( 2 days - 3,000 yen ) Where to buy ? *****
The pass to go to all the visitor's attraction in Osaka and the train/subway rides. It was a value for money, thank God we bought it because we didn't have to pay most of the ticket fees afterwards. By the second day pass usage, we already almost finish up all the listed places, we tried everything they offered because we already paid the super-discounted price. I urge you to buy this if you are exploring Osaka. We went to the castle, to the Tsutenkaku Tower, twice on different ferris wheel ride, awesome museums, discounted huge Kaiyukan aquarium, the zoo, etc. Too bad we didn't have more time for a cruise ride - I think that's the only thing we missed from the guide book. 

Kansai Thru Pass ( 2 days - 4,000 yen )  Where to buy ? **
A pass to use all the train, subways and buses in Kansai (Osaka - Kyoto - Nara - Hyogo - Wakayama - Shiga ). You'll get a guide book, map and coupons. But we just went to Kyoto twice, because we didn't cover most of the Kyoto parts we wanted on the first day. If I knew we didn't have time to explore the other part of Kansai, I would have bought the Keihan 2-days Osaka-Kyoto pass for only 1,000yen.

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After my family went back to Malaysia, we went to Nara without any passes and I spent over 1,600 for return train ticket (which was too expensive - almost 3 times more without any passes). So the day after, we searched for a tourist information center to buy more passes for our remaining days. We still wanted to go to Bampaku-koen, outskirt of Osaka and another one-time exploration in Kyoto. So we bought :

Osaka-Kyoto Sightseeing Pass ( 1 day - 700 yen ) ****
When you buy the pass, you'll get a book of coupons you can use. So you still need to pay to enter certain places but with discounted prices and free gifts. It is way cheaper than buying without any passes that might reach at least twice the price. We went to Kyoto again for the third time and it rained (ha-ha).

Osaka Unlimited Pass ( 1 day - 500 yen ) ***
We bought it because we wanted to visit our final spot and that is Bampakukinen-Koen where Expo' 70 is located. It was quite a long ride as well and without passes, it might be a bit pricy, so after we discussed with the lady at the tourist counter, we just bought the Osaka Unlimited Pass. But we had to add more fees afterwards because to go to Bampakukinen-koen, we need to change to a monorail that was not listed in the pass. This pass is useful if you want to travel in main parts in Osaka - not including any free passes, just discounted coupons.

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So plan properly! They have a looooot of passes to offer, almost every major train line got their own passes that you can buy from. If you are planning on a 1-week trip, for example : maybe you can allocate 2 days for Osaka, 2 days for Kyoto, 1 day for USJ and 1 day for Nara. So for every day you want to explore on certain area, you can buy the passes to get a great discounted price. What you can do is allocate at least 10,000 yen for all the passes to buy at the airport when you arrive there - make an initial plan beforehand and show to the tourist center people, ask for their opinion and choose wisely :D

Note : We didn't go to USJ as my brother and Aja wanted because I'm not so much of a theme-park person. So they probably sulking over it because I managed to drag them along to the huge Kaiyukan Aquarium and Tennoji Zoo, but not USJ :D But I tried soooo much to keep everything under budget and tried not to make any of the family members feel like they are on a tight money budgeting because some of them only brought RM 500 to spend in Japan la weyy =.= How to survive that. 

Osaka - Kyoto 1 : Post-Japan in Words


The reason I was unavailable for the past 2 weeks was because I went to Japan (again), this time to Osaka - Kyoto - Nara. This can be counted as my third Japan trip, if I exclude the time when I was growing up in the country : I grew up in Hokkaido, I visited Fukuoka for a student exchange program in 2000, I visited Tokyo with Af in 2015.


Why Japan, again?
I actually went to Singapore and Indonesia last year, the feeling wasn't as much exciting as we hoped it would be. We are already in love with Japan since our previous escapism so going to a place that I know we'll surely love is fair for both of us. We did gave a chance to travel to other countries during the gap between Tokyo and this trip.

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Pre-planning :
We planned since early 2016 - after a discussion with my family, and we booked the flight ticket on July 2016, so it was a long-awaited trip for all of us =.=' I gave such a long gap so everyone can collect money for the family trip. Airbnb apartment were booked in early 2017, around 3 months before our flight date.

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Differences between this trip and the Tokiyo trip :
  • This was a semi-family trip, because Ma was complaining about our trip to Tokyo - that I didn't let her tag along. So this time I did asked everyone to follow us on our Japan trip, but they had a 9-days trip with us while we extended to 14-days. Family trip is different than our usual travel escapisms.
  • We went to Tokyo during a transition to Autumn, so it was a bit rainy and the weather was breezy nice - *the big flood in different prefecture was alarmingly scary though. In this trip, it was a transition from winter to spring, so it was cold. Most days was below 10ยบc , some places were icy-windy. I don't like winter, never did.
  • I brought more money in this trip because we were staying longer than before. In the Tokyo trip, I spent around RM 1,000 during our stay - each day was recorded. In this trip, it's hard to keep track money especially if you are bringing your family members along and 'belanja2'ing others. So I spent around RM 1,500 in this trip but I can't really put in detail like I did before.  
  • I doodled in my book almost every day : on things we did, places we went and foods we ate. Compared to my previous trip in which I didn't do the drawing straight away, this time I followed my Bromo & Beijing trip. It is way easier to make a travelogue when you already have something fresh doodled in your book as a record.
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How much we walked?
If you are an iPhone user, there's a feature in Health that you can use to track your steps automatically without turning on any app. It is just there, tracking your steps and that's my favorite free embedded feature in iPhone :D By clicking on the app : Health > Activity, you can see how much we walk + run for the day, and how many steps we took. So that's how I keep track of my walking distance in Japan.
  • 27/2 : 6.5 km ( Arrival day )
  • 28/2 : 12.4 km ( to Kyoto )
  • 1/3 : 8.3 km ( to Tennoji Zoo & Shiseiki Alley )
  • 2/3 : 11.7 km ( Exploring Osaka )
  • 3/3 : 8.8 km ( Exploring Osaka )
  • 4/3 : 10.2 km ( A day with Ishijima Sensei & Dotonbori )
  • 5/3 : 5.3 km ( Rest-day & Dotonbori Street )
  • 6/3 : 11 km ( to Nishiki Market & Fushimi Inari, Kyoto )
  • 7/3 : 7.7 km ( Check-out, Namba Walk, and check-in )
  • 8/3 : 10.4 km ( to Nara )
  • 9/3 : 11.1 km ( to Expo City, Bampaku-Koen )
  • 10/3 : 11.1 km ( to Kyoto )
  • 11/3 : 8.7 km ( Check-out day & Namba )
  • 12/3 : 3.9 km ( Departure day )
  • Total : 123 km, not counting the last day.
Many days in Osaka, 3 days in Kyoto and 1 day in Nara. 

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Return flight ticket :
Like I mentioned above, we bought the ticket over half a year before during Airasia promotion including chosen seat and insurance. The flight was over 7 hours and I didn't bring books - can you imagine that?

Money : RM 794 each person

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Accommodation :
We booked for 2 apartments - 1 with the whole family, and another 1 after the whole family went back home to Malaysia, so we searched for a smaller place to stay.
Airbnb 1 : Namba apartment (wifi) : RM 272 per person, total was RM 1908 for 8 nights
Airbnb 2 : Sembayashi Loft (wifi + bicycle) : RM 229 per person, total was RM 457 for 4 nights

Total : RM 500 per person for 14-days trip (last day were spent sleeping at the airport)

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Camera :
Oh, I finally upgraded. Remember I used to use the iPhone 4S since 2011 and it was slowly dying - I suffered the phone's weak battery, frequent blackouts and so many issues. Before the trip, I went to the bank and took out my savings to buy a new iPhone SE. I did consider to buy other than Apple product though, for so many months, it was almost become a joke between us. But a love is still a love, I'm an Apple user, I'll know I won't feel the same as before if I change to other devices. So I bought it and I'm super happy with my decision now (as I look back to the moment when I was deciding). This is the only device I used to take photos, nice ones, if you agree with my Instagram posts :D I brought along my Lumix but didn't even use it. 

So, one device it is : iPhone SE.

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Useful stuffs :
  • Learn about their tourist passes offer because they are super convenient and a super value for money. There are so many passes to buy from the Tourist Information Center at the airport (be ready for a long queue) or in Shinsaibashi if you are already in the city. Read here for the passes we bought.
  • Know your budget. My budget was RM 1,500 but I brought RM 2,000 for emergency usage. We activated the debit card use outside of the country (just in case). 
  • Halal foods 101 : take the pamphlet at the airport (with all reachable listed restaurant in Kansai area), OkashiChecker to check ingredients in kombini foods (especially snacks and chocolates - hope they will add more into their database when I visit Japan again), Citymaps to download offline maps of the cities I wanted to travel to (and they have Halal food spots!).
  • I always use Airbnb to book apartments online - never tried hotels or backpackers hostel, just affordable small apartment to live in a house like a local, cook, and free bicycle (+pocket wifi).
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People :
We are just a bit too reserved to mingle around with other travelers or even locals, can't seem to grab the idea of being friendly whenever I travel just because I was travelling - we are both introverts and aren't good with new people. So I don't mind being quiet because we are quiet-beings whenever we are with strangers. Not like unfriendly-kind-of-way, just quiet and won't simply chat with random people without any strong reason. Just pure introverts by heart. So not chatting with people all through our travels doesn't seem odd, because we just don't do it here, ditto anywhere else.

Japan is a great place to feel isolated and we can get the quietness we longed for because they are as reserved as most introverts. Plus, all introverts love other introverts - they give the right amount of space :D 

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Note :
It will going to be a super long series like my previous Tokiyo Trip - because I'm detailed as that :D But I will also post other stuffs as well alongside of the escapism stories. Hopefully this written travelogue will help any first-timers/planners that are planning on going to Japan soon.