DAY 3 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan: Kyoto

Hello there guys! Happy happy New Year! 🙂 I’m so sorry for posting this late, hello 2017! HAHAHA

Before reading my Day 3 itinerary, I hope you’ve already read my DAY 1 and DAY 2. *winks*

DAY 3

We spent our third day exploring the cultural center of Japan – KYOTO! 🙂 Kyoto is famous for its classical Buddhist temples and imperial palaces. This is where I had my authentic Japanese culture experience which I will forever treasure and laugh about! HAHAHA To know why, keep scrolling! 😀

Kyoto is an hour away from Osaka. From Namba, take a train to Minamikata station for 240 yen (P100). Then transfer to Hankyu Line which is actually outside the station, maybe just a 2-minute walk. You may ask the officers for direction. Mwaah! When you reach Hankyu, you will see the HELP or INFO machine (see picture below), use it to start a video call with the assigned station officer. Uhhmeyyzing! 😀

Take the train going to Kawaramachi for 400 yen (P165). Initially, we just took the regular train but during our trip, we were able to talk with a local and he said that we may transfer to an express train going to Kawaramachi for FREE. If my memory serves me right, it was at Ibaraki-Shi station when we transferred to the express one. 🙂

After almost an hour, tadaaaa! Konnichi Wa, Kyoto! 🙂

Before leaving the station, we went to Hankyu Tourist Information Center to get some maps and travel guides -DIY travel essentials. HAHA

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KYOTO Tourist Spots Map

I don’t know but we instantaneously felt a totally different vibe when we arrived at Kyoto. Prolly because there are only few skyscrapers and a lot of locals are wearing their traditional costumes while walking down the street. The main roads are not that wide and there are  numerous historical buildings everywhere.

Before we started our Kyoto tour, we must fill our tummy first. HAHAHA Burger King was our savior! LOL (can’t find the pictures, Gomenasai!)

Since we saw a lot of Japanese girls were wearing Kimonos, we asked them where we can rent such OOTDs. 😀 We really didn’t understand the direction they gave us but we easily found one. There are a lot of rental shops actually but the one below was the first one we saw. 🙂

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Dress: 3,000 yen (P1,300)

Hair: 1,000 yen (P440)

Ribbon: 500 yen (P220)

Tax: 360 yen (P160)

TOTAL: 4,860 yen  (P2,120)

We’re so lucky that we chose this shop because the owner/stylist was very nice and so friendly! 🙂 His name is Ryo. He’s very amazing because he finished styling or fixing my hair for just ten minutes! Woaaah! Kindly follow him on Instagram @ryo.first18 and @ryo.11.12 to see more of his beautiful hair creations. 🙂  Domo Arigato! *winks*

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How do I look? 😀 We didn’t expect that we could wear this Kimono for the whole day around Kyoto for FREE! Unlike in South Korea, we only had our photo ops inside the shop. So yeah, we got really excited! Hooray!!! 🙂

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First stop: Yasaka Shrine “Gion Shrine”

They said if you will visit this shrine, your body and mind will be blessed with beauty. Furthermore, if you will wash your hand and face with the “beauty water”, your heart and skin will also be beautified. ‘Twas too late for me to know about this, thus, I was able to wash only my hands and not my face (the reason why my face is not yet beautified atm haha)

I swear this is my favorite street food in Japan! Giant crab stick for 500 yen (P220). So delicious!!!! Oishi!!! Thank goodness I don’t have any food allergies! 😀

‘Twas so funny because while we were eating this, two Chinese tourists asked us to have pictures with them. HAHAHA I posted the video on my personal Instagram account but below are the screenshots. LOL

We decided to just walk going to our next destination not knowing that it’s very far! hahaha But it was still worth it because we were able to observe and discover many things along the street.

Second stop: Kiyomizu Temple or Kiyomizudera Temple “Pure Water Temple”

After more than 30 minutes of walking, we finally decided to take a bus.We took bus No. 100 and alighted at Higashiyama Gojo bus stop. Fare was 230 yen (P100). However, we didn’t know that it’s a long uphill walk to the temple plus the road was a bit crowded that time.

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Yey! After ten attempts, I finally had a photo with only few photo bombers. LOL

There are a lot of Matcha, maaatcha, matchaaaa, MATCHA!!! and souvenir shops in the area. Some sell fruit shakes and ice drops to beat the heat. But this one below caught our attention. It’s called Iced Kuzu Mochi– a new sensation of Japanese sweets!

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This is the entrance of the temple. We actually saw the temple from afar but were already too tired to go up because of the scorching heat of the sun. Entrance fee btw is 400 yen (P174).

Third stop: Fushimi Inari Shrine “Tori Gates”

ICYDN, we were wearing these traditional Japanese slippers called Geta while doing the deadly walkathon. LOL

We took bus No. 5 and the fare was 230 yen (P100). This bus ride was really unforgettable because a group of Filipinos thought we were pure Japanese. HAHAHA Their convo went like this…

Pinay 1: Girl, papicture ka dyan sa katabi mo (referring to me) para may panghawakan tayo na nakapagpapicture ka sa isang local.

Pinay 2: Nakakahiya girl at saka baka di nakakaintindi ng English.

Pinay 1: I-selfie mode mo lang phone mo, magegets nya na yan

Pinay 2: Wag na, nakakahiya.

HAHAHA We were going to the same destination so my travel buddy Naima and I decided not to speak Tagalog or Filipino anymore. LOL.

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Wasn’t able to try this 😦

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We weren’t able to see the whole place because it was already late and we must return our costume before 7pm. We took a cab from Tori gates to Kawaramachin (where the rental shop was located) for 1,200 yen (P500).

Tomodachi de itekurete arigatou Ryo! 🙂

Before leaving Kyoto, we looked for a resto that serves white rice! HAHAHA

Did this answer our prayer? LOL

Their Tandoori chicken was really good that we forgot to take a snap of it. 😀 Tandoori chicken meal costs 980 yen (P420).

Unexpectedly, we passed through this food festival something, I obviously don’t know what this is. HAHAHA

There were actually a lot of street food being sold but my phone battery didn’t want to cooperate. 😦

Time to say “Sayonara” to Kyoto! T____T One day was indeed not enough. We weren’t able to visit the famous Golden Pavilion. Well, it’s alright, at least I have another reason to go back to Osaka,  Japan! HAHAHA

Kawaramachi (Hankyu Line) to Umeda (Limited Express ) : 400 yen (P174).

Umeda (Midosuji Line) to Namba : 240 yen (P100)

I made a short travel video for Osaka, just click this link! 🙂

That’s all for now tomodachi! 🙂 My apologies btw for the poor resolution of some photos (ALL photos I think hahaha) Thanks for reading! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

DAY 1 of 7 Days 6 Nights in Japan : Osaka Castle, Dotonbori and Namba District

Konnichiwa! (Hello/Good day!) Ogenki desu ka? (How are you?) 🙂

Hello everyone! I’m baaaaacccckkk! 😀 Before reading my DAY 1 itinerary, I hope you have read already my Japan Travel Guide. Check my previous post here. 😉

DAY 1

Our departure time to Osaka via Jetstar was at  7 o’clock in the morning. We arrived at NAIA Terminal 1 around 4am then we immediately paid P1,650 for travel tax. There weren’t too many passengers that time so we only spent few minutes for immigration clearance and had more time for breakfast! HAHAHA

Our flight was not delayed so we arrived at Kansai International Airport (KIA) on time. So unusual, yeyyy! 😀

OHAYO OSAKA! ♥ ♥  ♥

Just like in Incheon Airport, KIA has a train from the boarding gates to the main building. We had a fast clearance in Immigration and Customs and their officers are not that scary. LOL

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Time to fill up our tummy! 😀 It’s always a part of my itinerary to try either KFC or McDonalds in every country I get to visit because I love comparing their food and trying something that’s not being offered in our country. In Japan, we tried McDo! 🙂 BUT… I don’t like their fries! huhuhu I spent  450 yen (P207) for this meal.

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Our AirBnB room is located in Namba so we took Nankai Airport Express which costs 920 yen (P423) to Namba Station for a 50-minute travel time.

Our check-in time was at 6 o’clock in the evening because we needed to wait for our host to finish her work that day. Good thing she suggested Namba Hands-Free Center. It is where you can leave your luggage for a corresponding fee. This is located near Namba station and Namba Park. It’s on the fourth floor of Hotel Ichiei. I paid 500 yen (P230) for my big trolley bag and 200 yen (P92) for my backpack.

After leaving our luggage, we went to Osaka Castle.

Subway Midosuji Line (Red Line) at Namba Station (M20) → Hommachi Station (M18) → transfer to Subway Chuo Line (Green Line) → Tanimachi 4-chome Station (C18). Total Fare: 240 yen (P110).

From Tanimachi 4-Chome Station, take Exit No. 1-B and walk for about 10 minutes before reaching the gate of the castle. You know you’re on the right track when you see these landmarks below. 😀

Few more steps before the gate….

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This is the GATE! hahaha

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From here, you still need to walk for almost five minutes before reaching the castle. There are different food stalls inside.

Entrance Fee to Osaka Castle: 600 yen (P276)

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Inside the castle is a museum but you can’t take pictures in a certain floor. ( I forgot if it was the 2nd or 4th  hahaha)

There is an observation deck in the topmost floor of the castle tower which offers a beautiful panoramic view of Osaka.

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One amazing thing I found in this place is the Osaka Castle souvenir coin machine located at the ground floor. 😀

Step 1: Choose between gold or silver coin for 500 yen (P230)

Step 2: Choose between necklace chain or key chain for 200 yen (P92) (Optional)

Step 3: Engrave your name (or your lover’s name if you’re very sure s/he is the ONE already ‘coz maybe s/he has another ONE or TWO? y’know! lol) at the back of the coin for 30 yen (P14) This is a fixed rate regardless of the length of your name.

Time for some ice cream! 🙂 This tastes a little ordinary but it was kinda big. Well it should be big, it’s so pricey! hahaha 400 yen (P184) Gosh.

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We stayed for only few minutes in Osaka Castle, upon exit you will see this fountain above. From here, just walk for maybe 5 minutes before reaching the nearest station. Fare to Namba Station: 240 yen (P110).

After claiming our luggage at Namba Hands-Free Center, we directly went to our AirBnB room which is located beside Rise Motomachi Animal Hospital. We walked for almost twenty minutes. Whew!!!! I don’t really recommend the place. HAHAHA

We took a rest for just an hour then went to Dotonbori for dinner!!! 🙂 Dotonbori is one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations because of its many shops and restaurants. This is the perfect place in Osaka for those tourists who want to experience “Kuidaore” which means “To ruin oneself by extravagance in food” or simply “Eat till you drop!” This is also where you can find the iconic Glico Man.

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Takuyaki with egg – 550 yen (P253)  for 6 pcs

Okonomiyaki – 1,000 yen  (P460)

This was our only dinner because everything was very pricey. HAHAHA And also, we were very tired already so we all decided to just go home and sleep. LOL

That’s all for now tomodachi! 😉 DAY 2 will be posted sooooon! :*

Xoxo,

Kulit.

Japan Travel Guide

Japan has been every Filipino’s dream travel destination in Asia. And I think I don’t need to explain why. LOL. Honestly, I’m just feeling a bit lazy now so let’s just get straight to the point, shall we? HAHAHA

AIRLINE. There are a lot of airlines that offer direct flights from Philippines to Japan. And since thousands of Japanese visit our country every year, the flights are not limited to their capital city which is Tokyo. Some airlines offer flights to Osaka, Nagoya or Fukuoka and some of these flights are departing from Cebu or Davao. There are two airports in Tokyo: Haneda and Narita. Haneda International Airport is located closer to central Tokyo than Narita International Airport. To check the flight schedules for every airline, just click the icons below. 🙂

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jetstar

 

 

Among these airlines, the cheapest one is Jetstar. I learned about their promo when I attended Travel Tour Expo 2016 last February at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. I’ve been attending this kind of event since 2013 and I find it really helpful for a budget traveler like me, trust me! HAHAHA To know more about this annual event, you may check my previous post here.  It was my first time to try Jetstar and their online booking system is the easiest one for me. You can easily check for an alternative date with the same or cheaper price.

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Yes, that price in the photo above is in pesos. One way ticket to Japan can be as cheap as P1,998 ONLY!!! However, Jetstar is very strict with their hand luggage (carry-on baggage). They strictly follow the 7kg rule (14kg in business class) and that includes your handbag and other personal items such as your gadgets.

VISA APPLICATION. Unlike applying for South Korea, applying for Japan is through their accredited agencies only; one cannot apply directly to Japan Embassy except for diplomatic or official visa. The following are the accredited travel agencies:

Based on my brain-squeezing research (chos! haha), UHI is the best one. And I was riggghhhttt! 🙂 I consulted first my requirements through their email address and they responded on the same day. I submitted my requirements in their office on the 19th of July and got a text and email that my passport was already ready for pick-up on the 22nd. That fast, amazing! 😀 UHI has two offices: Makati and Cebu. Their office in Makati is located at Mezzanine Floor, Dusit Thani Hotel. It is just beside SM Makati and the nearest train station is MRT Ayala. While their office in Cebu is located at 2nd Level JY Square Discovery Mall, 1 Salinas Drive, Lahug. By the way, you can send your application and documents via courier if you’re not from Metro Manila or Cebu. Just check their website for more details. 🙂

There are different requirements for each type of applicant, you may check the complete list here. But I will only focus on the requirements for a tourist without any family or relative or guarantor in Japan.

  • Philippine passport (more than six months valid with at least two blank pages)
  • Visa application form (download the form here)
  • Photo (4.5cm x 4.5cm with white background)
  • Birth Certificate (issued within one year)
  • Marriage Contract (if the applicant is married, also issued within one year)
  • Daily Schedule in Japan (see sample below)
  • Bank Certificate
  • Income Tax Return (Form 2316) original and photocopy
  • Visa application payment of P950 to P1,500 depending on the travel agency.

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OSAKA, KYOTO AND TOKYO. Osaka is Japan’s second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. Some tourists prefer this city than Tokyo because of the famous The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan. For a complete list of tourist spots and travel guide to Osaka, you may check this page. On the other hand, if you want to see countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures, include Kyoto in your itinerary. This city is just an hour away from Osaka but one day is not enough to visit Kyoto; an overnight stay is recommended. 🙂 For Kyoto travel guide, visit this page.  Lastly, if you want unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, anime and dining, Tokyo is undoubtedly the best city for that. There are a lot of amazing things in Tokyo and it’s really a beautiful and  peaceful city. And also, this is where Disneyland and Disney Sea are located. Tokyo is six hours away from Osaka if you will take the regular train and only two hours if you wanna try the very expensive bullet train or Shinkansen . That’s the reason why some tourists only visit Osaka and some only visit Tokyo. But in our case, we visited both because it’s more pricey to have another Japan tour. HAHAHA And we really really wanted to try their bullet train! 🙂

JR PASS. Japan Rail Pass is the most economical means of travelling throughout Japan by rail. It is valid for reserved and non-reserved ordinary car travel on all Japan Railways (JR) Group Shinkansen “bullet trains” (except for the “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” services), limited express trains, express trains, and local trains (Green Car passes are valid for Green Car travel) and the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit system). But then, you cannot buy this pass within Japan. You must purchase first a voucher from an accredited agency here in the Philippines and exchange it with an actual pass when you arrive in Japan. Or you may also purchase it online DISCOUNTED 7-DAY JR PASS. But I’ve read in the Facebook page of The Japan Times that it will be available within Japan very soon. The 7-day validity pass costs P13,200 (As of June 2018, it costs P14,000). We weren’t able to buy our JR passes before we left Manila and ’twas a good thing because our total transportation expense within Japan was only around P10,000 which already includes Shinkansen (P6,150). So that’s around P3,000 cheaper! 😀 But it’s more convenient to use JR pass since you no longer need to buy tickets in every station and do the Math every now and then. HAHAHA

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TRANSPORTATION. “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation” by Gustavo Petro.  Japan, so far, has the best transportation system I’ve been to. You can see a lot of businessmen and rich people who take the public transport particularly the train. There are more than a thousand of train stations in Japan and every city railway map looks very complicated. Posted below are the railway maps of Osaka and Tokyo.

 

Told yah! You’d surely get totally confused on your first try of finding the station you’re looking for. HAHAHA But like I said before, worry no more, train mobile apps will be your savior! 😉  Hyperdia is one of the famous train app in Japan. I also recommend Osaka and Tokyo apps by Mapway.

 

But during our trip, Google Maps was more useful. 🙂

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Bicycles are widely used in Japan; you can see a lot of cyclists and bicycle parking racks everywhere. We forgot to look for their amazing underground parking system like the one in this video. 😦 Anyway, a friendly reminder: always be alert while walking in the street because some of them don’t blow their horn. I was almost hit for more than ten times already. HAHAHA

TIME. UTC/GMT +9 hours. Japan is 1 hour ahead of Philippines.

SEASONS. Spring: March to May; Summer: June to August; Autumn: September to November; Winter: December to February. But the most famous season is the Cherry Blossom season! 😀 This starts from early March to late April. Below is the Cherry Blossom Map for 2016.

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ACCOMMODATIONWe booked our rooms both in Osaka and Tokyo via AirBnb. You can download their app or use their website to rent unique accommodations from local hosts. AirBnb provides great choices and with it, you can really feel at home anywhere in the world. If you will go to Osaka, I suggest you look for a room in Namba district. This is regarded as the center of Osaka. And if you will just stay within Tokyo, the best place would be Shibuya.  However, the room we booked for in Tokyo was in Itabashi-Ku which is a bit far from the center. But I still recommend it since the local host named Niki was very friendly and helpful. Her unit is clean and comfy. Both of these rooms have free Wi-Fi and toiletries. But our stay in Niki’s place was way better than in Osaka. 😀 I’ll share the whole story on my next post. HAHAHA

Our local host for Namba, Osaka was Noriko. While in Itabashi-Ku, Tokyo, our local host was Niki. She’s a Vietnamese who currently works in Japan.

If you want to avail Php1,600 (30USD) discount from your first AirBnb home booking, just click this link. 

LANGUAGE. Most of them can speak and understand English. But still, you need to prepare your translation apps. 🙂 In our group, I was the one assigned for this. I mean, for communicating with those Japanese who can’t understand English. HAHAHA (One was assigned for route planning or transportation and the other one was for photography. That’s actually a travel tip! Assign roles to your travel buddies! :D) I actually had fun using their language and it was so fulfilling whenever they understand everything I was saying. haha I started learning their language when I was still 15 years old but up to now, I only know the basic. LOL

JAPANESE YEN. One (1) Japanese Yen equals .45 Philippine Peso. Your Philippine pesos would be of greater value if you convert it beforehand in the Philippines than in Japan. Japan is an expensive country. You should definitely double your budget. HAHAHA We lost weight during our tour because of their expensive drinks, meals and fares. Actually, almost everything is expensive! hahaha Well, if you’re rich, forget about what I said. LOL

ELECTRICAL PLUGS OR SOCKETS. They are using types A and B. Type A is a two flat identical sized parallel prongs while type B is a two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin.  In the Philippines, we also use Type A so you no longer need to bring an adapter. 🙂

WI-FI. We expected for many free Wi-Fi access points in Japan but only find few ones. We just found some in convenience stores and cafes and you need to “Log-in with your Facebook account” when prompted with log-in options. It’s a good thing though so we can fully enjoy the city and just surf the net before hitting the hay. 🙂 But if you want, you may rent a pocket wifi at any airport in Japan by clicking this link.

TOURIST GUIDES or MAPS. These can be found in every train station. In the airport, there are only few ones being displayed in the Tourist or Information Desk.

VENDING MACHINES. There are thousands of vending machines in Japan. Like every 10 or 15 meters, there is a vending machine and I’m not even kidding! Really amazing. HAHAHA I believe it’s because Japanese love walking and biking and their summer is hotter than ours so they need to stay well hydrated. By the way, they love flavored and sparkling water. It was only on my fourth attempt that I was able to buy a natural drinking water. LOL  And this one below is my favorite flavored water!!! This one is so hard to find. Only 1 out of 20 vending machines offers this drink and I wasn’t able to find this in convenience stores.  This sounds like an exaggeration but to taste is to agree! HAHAHA

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SELF-SERVICE. “Self-service” culture of Japan is truly remarkable especially in restaurants, parking areas, gas stations, laundry stations and some grocery stores.

Whew! This post is already the longest one I think. HAHAHA Spent almost three hours for this, time to sleep! 😀

That’s all for now sweeties!🙂  I will just update this if ever I forgot something to be included here.😀 If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me! 😉 I will share my 7 Days 6 Nights Itinerary in Japan on my next posts!🙂Domo Arigato!😉

Xoxo,

Kulit.