25 December 2023

8D7N Kyoto & Osaka, Japan - Part Two

It is because I procrastinated in updating about our Japan trip, that now I have to refer to my saved IG story's highlights to see what we did and where we went. So, if you are getting inpatient to see our itinerary, I suggest you go see my highlights. Or other people's itinerary, because ours is not going to be super complete with details. 

I cannot remember anymore. I wished I have the constant blogging mojo, but usually with whatever energy I have left at the end of the day, I will mostly use it to do something that doesn't require a lot of thinking. Heh. Sorry! 

Back to our Japan's post!

It has been raining a little here and there when we were in Kyoto, but nothing too heavy that needs the usage of an umbrella. The rain made it cold but not too cold to need a winter coat. 

This morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast from the mart and headed to Sagano Scenic Railway. It's a very romantic tour, and since Adrian is very into scenic things, we decided to travel 1 hour (one-way) there. 

It was not expensive to ride on this Sagano Romantic Train, but it wasn't that romantic la please. We did see really nice scenic things along the way, and the weather was perfect, so it's nice. 

We chose the outdoor carriage although it was drizzling a bit because romantic ma. Haha. It stopped raining after a while. 

We didn't know what to eat for lunch, so I went and got these two fish paste things. We spent a while by the Katsura river, because he was working and I was feeling very homesick. 

It was really relaxing, sitting here and people-watching. I was trying to plan what we were going to do next, because every minute here is precious. 

After Adrian was done with his work, we walked to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and it was crowded. We didn't walk all the way to the end (actually I am not sure if there is an end also), since they all looked the same. Bamboos and people everywhere. It was breezy and cooling so super nice for a walk. 

You may realize that we often see a lot of people taking nice portraits with no other humans behind them at this famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, but it was impossible. There were humans everywhere! 

There were some bamboo walkways that were blocked with a sign that says, "No entry". At first we thought it was for like religious purpose and all, but later found out that those empty walkways are for those who hires muscular Japanese man to carry them on a high trishaw. I have no idea what they are called but yeah. 

So, when we see no trishaws, we quickly walked into the "No entry" land and snapped a few shots. This is how we did it. Hah. 

After taking photo for this influencer boy, we waited for the public bus to our next destination. We depended a lot on Google for the directions, and which bus to take and all. It was not difficult and super convenient. We love using public transport in foreign land, without children. Heh. 

It took close to 2 hours to reach Kinkaku-Ji Temple, because of the wait and bus changing, so it was a good time for us to nap and rest a while. When he sleeps, I would be awake, and when I needed a nap, he would stay awake. Just to make sure we don't miss any stop. Heh. 

Before we entered the Golden Temple, I wanted to eat something solid first because started to feel hungry already. We walked around by the road, and found 1 small little very homey shop. They sell okonomiyaki, and since we have not had that this trip, we decided to try it. 


Those were hands down the best okonomiyaki we had in Japan. We went searching for a few more after we ate here, because it was so yummy. But even the famous shops could not beat this homemade local one. 

Here's a snap shot from Google Map for you. 

The quaint little shop is called Dainoji. Their okonomiyaki is the best! Please, go eat at this place if you going to visit the Kinkaku-ji Temple. PLEASE. Eat on our behalf. Hah. 

Kinkaku-ji is a Buddhist temple, in gold. Not sure if they are painted in gold, or like made in gold. Most likely not made in gold la. But yeah, read it up on Wikipedia when you have the time okay.

David Beckham and his family was at this place a day after us, so ughhhh. 

I think it was not very expensive to enter, because if it was, then we wouldn't have paid to enter to see a golden temple. Sorry not sorry. I rather use the Yens to eat all the Japanese food I can in Japan. Hah. 

After that, we went back to Kyoto's happening place. I cannot remember what it's called. We walked around the city and stopped by for a lot of street food snacks. We decided to spend RM100 on a stick of kobe beef. We actually don't think it's real kobe and we got scammed, because it did not melt in our mouth and it was horrible. 

Then, we went into a random standing ramen shop, and boy, cheap and good. Such win. 

Oh, and our friends recommended Koe Donuts, and of course we tried them. I wanted to try their other specialties but they were sold out! Boo. 

But yes, please try Koe Donuts when you go to Japan! It's very different kind of donut but really yummy. Like mochi donut, and the texture really very different and yummy. 

Our energy reached 1%, and it was time to head back to our hotel to recharge. It was a really great night moving about in Kyoto. I cannot say this enough, but the weather was so perfect please. 

Thank you Adrian Koay (and Vanessa Khoo and mom and dad and friends :P) for making this trip a go! 

We took the public bus home, and Adrian was busy catching Pokemon in the bus. No energy to walk anymore, but always got reserved energy to catch Pokemon and fight Pokemon masters. *gives him the side eyes*

We went home, and showered and walked across the street to a bookstore. He wanted to get the old nostalgic PlayStation set but the owner had just sold it to someone! 

And we found out that the bookstore has another 18sx section behind. It was nah ah. 

We woke up pretty early the next day and left the hotel in our slippers to go hunt for breakfast. We walked alongside the river and sat down for a while. 

Then, Adrian found a local breakfast place nearby, and we were the first customers! We ordered very basic Japanese breakfast they had and it was delicious! Their natto was so fresh and good! I don't even like natto in general. The lady converted me. Heh. 

We went back to the hotel, showered, packed and checked out. We said goodbye to Kyoto, and headed our way to Osaka. 

We took the train and it was about 30 minutes ride. Just get the information from Google Maps. They are very informative. They will even tell you how much the train tickets are going to be. Love it. 

While we were lugging our bags at Kyoto Station, we saw a small shop selling tiny pastries, and there was a line. So, must be good. We lined up, and ordered 2 of everything they were selling. They were tiny really - just my kind of bite size. 

We were not sure if they were going to be yummy, so didn't order more than 1 piece each. Regret kau-kau in the train. Hah. 

We got to Osaka, and went to check in at our hotel. We were still too early so we kept our luggages there, and started exploring Shinsaibashi, where our hotel is located at. 

It's a shopping district, so it was really happening, and a very strategic place to stay at. Highly recommended! 

The never ending stretch of shops eventually led to the famous Dotonbori, and the running man billboard. I think this place will always have lots of people around. It is a must-visit if you go to Osaka. I actually quite love the vibe this place gives. Too bad it can get crowded at times. Covid would love this no doubt. 

Adrian's boss who travels to Japan at least once a year told us that we have to try the Matsusaka beef - here. We didn't think to research first because it was highly recommended, so we went in and then realized that Matsusaka beef is like way more top notch than wagyu and kobe beef. 

Since we were already in the restaurant and the M beef is way better than the already-superb-kobe-beef, we decided to hor-ee-lok! 

I cannot remember exactly how much it was, but based on my memory, it was probably like RM250 per person. It seemed like not too bad of a price right? But the portions were small so obviously we were not full, but so glad we experienced it :)

After the Matsusaka beef dinner, we went to collect our Osaka Amazing Pass. This pass is really highly recommended - it includes entrance fee to almost all the touristy places you must go and for metro train rides! We paid a total of RM240 for 2-days pass. We didn't have to pay any entrance fees or train ride fares. Super worth it for us because we traveled everywhere in Osaka, and go to as many places this pass offers. 

Another thing I love about this pass is there is no need to queue up at entrances. It's like a VIP pass too. Please buy this on Klook if you planning to go Osaka. 

After retrieving the Osaka pass like happy children, we walked back to Dotonbori and started looking for food! Hunting for street food is one of our favorite thing to do - when we travel. Always. 

We took a romantic stroll along the Dotonbori River, and went for a quick shopping. I saw all these different Kit Kats and I almost went nuts. We couldn't buy them because we did not have enough luggage space and weight. Oh such sadness in me. 

That night, we walked so much we had to get this foot patch relief from the pharmacy. I still have them in my fridge now. Hah. At this point, we were both missing the kids so much, but kept reminding ourselves that it could be our last holiday for just the two of us, because Sasa was leaving to another country. 

Then, we would be okay again. Hah. Very thankful we got to go for this trip, really. 

Got 6 mini beers and die die also I need to bring at least 2 home because too cute! 

Adrian went for a night onsen, and we ended the night with a soju bomb. It was such a great first day in Osaka. 

Oh, and we decided to book the hotels without breakfast, because we wanted to go eat all Japanese things, and not like hotel breakfast, so this could be a money-saving hack :) 

Our breakfast the next day was at the famous 24-hours Ichiran shop. We went there super early so the line was not crazy long. 

RM33 for a bowl of Ichiran ramen. Adrian cleaned the bowl. It was really yummy I cannot. My expectations were a bit high because everyone talks about it, and it met my high expectation. We loved it so much we bought back the instant ones, and that also finished in few months. 

Then, my cousin got us more recently. Heh. It's a precious asset in this house. 

After a satisfying breakfast, the first place we went was the Osaka Castle - with the Osaka Amazing Pass, we didn't pay for the entrance fee and we didn't have to queue up. Also, I somehow dropped my Osaka Pass while taking photos and selfies. Panicked for a while because it's like RM120 for that card. 

We traced back our steps, and found it on the floor. Phew. I think my IG stories videos tells a better story than this so go watch la. Heh. 

After that, we went for the Aqua Liner Cruise because enough of walking, we need to rest. I actually fell asleep during the river cruise. Such a great power nap to reset my energy. Hah. 

After that, we used the Osaka Metro (train) to go back to the hotel to rest up for a bit. We were going to explore Umeda side in the afternoon, so our hotel is like a quick pit stop to rest and shower. 

We really enjoyed walking around in Osaka. The weather was really cooling, and we hardly sweat. 

Lunch was at a Tonkatsu place in one of their metro stations. It was not amazingly good, but still good for me. I am quite a Tonkatsu fan. 

Next up - Hep Wheel. It is located on top of a building so it was already looking scary for Adrian. I love the color of this Hep Wheel! Yes, also free with the Osaka Amazing Pass. Every place we went in Osaka, is included in this pass. 

Adrian struggled to open his eyes up on this ferris wheel. It was way too high for him, and his palms and feet were sweating! Poor boy. I enjoyed the view for sure, but there was a time I got a bit scared too because he was really terrified. Hah. 

After that, we went to a Uniqlo store. Probably the biggest in Osaka - because they were like 5 storeys high or something. Adrian and I split up in here, because we shall waste no time. 

Everything in here is at least 30% cheaper than in Malaysia. On top of that, you can get more discounts if you buy over a certain amount due to tourism tax thing. 

It took us a lot of self control to walk out of this store not overbuying things. We did it la of course. 

Next up, Umeda Sky Building! 

We purposely timed our visit here to be around sunset time, so we could see sunset in Osaka from the highest point or something. But we didn't managed to. 

There is like a clause that says it is only free with the Osaka Amazing Pass from a certain time to a certain time. By the time we got to halfway mark (which was already super high up), we have already passed the "free entrance" time, and we need to pay to go up to the highest part (open air) with a 360 view of Osaka (I think). 

We obviously did not pay for it, because no sunset and we rather use the money to eat more street foods. Heh. 

The Umeda Sky Building has a very unique infrastructure, so that was Adrian lying down right on the bottom and looking it up. 

We started making our way towards where our hotel is, and for dinner too. Earlier, Adrian saw a yakiniku buffet restaurant and made a booking for us. So, we didn't have to line up for long. 

Oh, and he saw an Ultraman shop on our way back, and decided to get an Ultraman (his childhood hero) fridge magnet. Only to find out when we got home to Penang, that the salesperson gave him the bad guy monster instead. Aduhhh. 

It was a eat-all-you-can-yakiniku at 1,000 yen (about RM33 per person). 

After that, I went to get this stick of different strawberries, and they tasted so bad. It was quite expensive also but cannot remember how much. Not worth at all. 

We ended the night with this yummy drink, which my mom confirmed will like. We only could bring 1 home. Again, I want to remind you all that if you are planning for a trip to Japan, please bring an extra luggage bag (if you can) and get 30kg luggage weight EACH. 

Don't share the luggage weight. Learn from our mistakes. Please.

Okay, part 3 will come next time. 

Here's a goodnight photo from our kids that night. Okay bye :)