Chasing Snowflakes (Japan Part 1)

japan

Moshi! Moshi! Been busy for quite a while… i have a lot of pending blog posts, pending asian dramas, pending self dramas… πŸ˜† o well. .

Anyway, i’d like to present my overdue DIY – 9 Days Japan Itinerary. Some might be an alternative because let’s be realistic, you WILL not be able to visit everything. Hahaha.

Prices are subject to change. Take note that the train transportation provided here is just one of the multiple ways of going to the place of interest/s.

This trip was completed in the early part of 2018.

Things that i did before the trip: (might help you too with your itinerary)

1. Purchased a JR pass (nationwide) thru KLOOK website (you can use this code: APDCU to earn a discount!) – pls allow at least 2-3 weeks prior to your trip. I did this after finishing my itinerary and my estimated cost led me into booking this pass, as it will save me a lot from transportation costs.

2. Reserved a pocket wifi thru Klook’s website for pick-up at Kansai International Airport. (That’s my airport of Arrival)

3. All my accommodations were reserved thru Agoda and Airbnb (earn a discount by getting my link: KRUNG ). All are reserve now, pay later with free cancellation. I already booked them even before i was granted a visa.

4. I booked a flight Arriving at Kansai in Osaka and departing at Tokyo, to save time.

5. The 3 main apps that i used in this entire trip are Hyperdia ( believe me, this is a life saver! has a real time schedule of trains), Google Map and Japan Travel App.

DAY 1: OSAKA ARRIVAL

Expectation:

*Trains sched 4:30 am – 12:00 midnight

3:05 PM: Departure at NAIA Terminal 3 via Cebu Pacific Air

β€’ Travel Tax – 1620 php

β€’ Terminal Fee – 750 php

8:00 PM: Arrival at Kansai International Airport (if Terminal 2, ride shuttle bus or transfer train to Terminal 1, just follow the crowd and you’ll be fine)

β€’ Get Money from ATM

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β€’ Pick-up Klook Pocket Wifi located at the 1st Floor International Arrival Lobby, terminal 1 (near the information desk at the entrance of the South Arrival Gate). Pocket wifi is your life saver in Japan. Trust me.

β€’ Move yourself to JR Haruka Shinkansen (follow the signs) Located at the 2nd Floor

β€’ If with time, get JR Pass at the JR Ticket office. Do take note of the Haruka Shinkansen Time tho’.

Reality: Our accommodation at Shin-osaka has a main gate which automatically closes at 11 pm. Unless you have a key card, you wont be able to enter the premises after 11 pm. So our goal is to catch the 9:25 pm shinkansen train to Shin-osaka, should we fail, we cannot enter the building anymore and personally needs to get the key card at the owner’s office which is located in Dotonbori. This can be very stressful for us since we have luggages, a senior and a biting-cold weather. In the end we found ourselves getting some money from the atm, we got our pocket wifi and run towards the shinkansen gate which is located at the 2nd floor of the arrival hall. The queue in getting the JR pass is unreasonable so we opt to just get the tickets at the vending machine. The machine gave us 2 tickets, we’re a bit confused and clueless if we got the right tickets. But in the end, we managed to catch our train and carry on.

Expectation:

9:25 PM: Kansai to Shin-Osaka Station

Using JR Pass (29,110 YEN for 7 days)

β€’ Kansai Airport via JR Haruka Limited Express 58 to Shinosaka Station – 2330 YEN

10:15 pm: Arrival at Shin-osaka Station Track 11

β€’ Proceed to East Exit, then cross the street and turn right, walk for 5 minutes.

Reality: God must be on our side during our arrival. We got the right way immediately and the correct exit. (Trusting our instinct) The building is roughly about 2-3 mins walk from the station.

β€’ STUDIO SHIN OSAKA

Check-in at Studio Shin-Osaka 533 – 1-17-5 Higashinakajima, Higashiyodogawa-ku-Osaka-shi.

β€’ Tel # 06-62105913

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Free treats from our Host!

β€’ Rest

β€’ Buy Food – 900 YEN

β€’ Eat

Reality: Buying food at a Japanese restaurant sometimes requires you to order via vending machine. Don’t be discourage by this, it’s actually quite fun. Ofcourse you cant leave Japan without trying out one of their vendos. This place have massive vending machines at all corners. Probably the vending machine capital of the world. Hahaha

So how do you do it? Simple, just place your money at the slot, select your meal from the monitor, get your food stub and money change. Then give your food stub/s to the waiters and wait for your food. That’s it!

Unique, easy and fun.

We also bought some breads, snacks and water at the nearby Lawson’s convenience store.

TOTAL:

Fare: Non JR: 2330 YEN

Food: 900 YEN

Tax: 2370 php

DAY 2: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN – OSAKA

Expectation:

5:00 am – Wake-up Call

β€’ Breakfast – 900 YEN

7:30 am – Start Journey

β€’ Exchange Rail Pass at the Ticket Office near the East Exit of Shin Osaka Station

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β€’ Shinosaka Station to Osaka Station via JR Tokaido Sanyo Main Line Local (to Nishiakashi), then transfer train line Osaka Station via JR Osaka Loop Line to Nishikujo, then transfer line Nishikujo Station via JR Sakurajima Line to Universal City Station – 220 YEN

ENTRANCE: 7600 YEN

β€’ Universal Studios Express Pass – 7400 YEN (7 attractions)

β€’ Opens 8:30 am – 9:00 pm (ticket Booth opens at 7:30 am)

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Needs a Timed Pass before entering especially during weekends (time pass is at the central gate or near the Wizarding World)

β€’ Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

β€’ Flight of Hippogriff

β€’ Drink Butterbeer – 600 YEN

β€’ Visit the area and Take Pictures

β€’ Lunch – 900 YEN

Universal Wonderland

β€’ Sesame Street

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Hollywood Dream /Β New York /Β San Francisco

Minion Park

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Jurassic Park

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Amity Village – WaterWorld

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β€’ Winter in Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle show – 30 mins after sunset / 30 minutes before Park closing

β€’ Night Parade

7:00 PM – Park Closing Time

8:00 PM

β€’ Universal city Station to Nishikujo via JR Yumesaki line for Tennoji, then direct connection to Osaka Loop Line to Osaka Station. – 180 YEN

β€’ Then walk and transfer to Umeda Subway via Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line for Nakamozu to Namba Station – 230 YEN

8:30 PM – Arrival

β€’ Stroll Dotonbori / Shinsaibashi / Eat

β€’ Dinner at Namba – 900 YEN

11:00 PM – Namba Station (Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line for SENRICHUO) to Shin-Osaka Station – 280 YEN (15 mins)

Dinner

Glico Running Man

Donki

TOTAL:

Fare: No JR: 910 YEN

Food: 3000 YEN

Entrance Fees: 7600 YEN

Reality: When it’s true that the line to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is quite overwhelming, my advice is, to make your way towards the castle in the afternoon to avoid the long queue. Just hold to that “excitement” coz as the saying goes, Patience is a Virtue.

As per itinerary, we leaved Universal studios at 6 pm after learning that there wont be any closing parade plus the weather at that time is a killer! Very cold and LITERALLY windy! So we decided to make our way to Namba. Close to namba is Shinsaibashi Station, an area with numerous stores called the Shinsaibashi shopping arcade. We decided to get out of the train in shinsaibashi station to visit those stores, in hopes that we could walk from there to Namba, Dotonbori to see the iconic Glico Running Man. Unfortunately, tho’ i think it’s possible, google map is giving us a not so nice direction and we ended up in the middle of a high end Shopping street.

After few minutes of wandering, we decided to just find the famous Don Quixote or Donki. It’s actually in my bucket list.

We did found it after minutes of long walks and surprisingly, the store is just infront of Dotonbori River, where the famous Glico Running Man is located. We follow the stream and found ourselves infront of Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade! Mostly, stores are closing around 8 pm, i don’t know if its only during winter or of any season. So its kinda’ frustrating since we arrived there at 7:30 pm. I guess Japanese people value personal quality time the most.

DAY 3: KYOTO

Expectation:

*Start of JR Pass

4:00 am – Call time

β€’ Breakfast – 900 YEN

6:08 am – Osaka to Kyoto via Bullet Train (14 mins) – 1420 Yen

β€’ Via Bullet Train

Shin-osaka Station to Kyoto Station via Hikari Shinkansen 504 (13 mins) – 1420 YEN

Departure Track: 23

β€’ Via Rapid train

Shinosaka Station via JR Tokaido Sanyo Main Line New Rapid (to Maibara) to Kyoto (23 mins) – 560 YEN

6:22 am – Arrival in Kyoto Track 12

Our Welcome Gift

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WESTERN KYOTO

How to get to Arashiyama: From Kyoto Station, take the JR Sagano Line (going to Sonobe) (aka JR Sanin Line) to Saga-Arashiyama Station (17 mins) – 240 YEN

From the Saga-arashiyama Station, the central Arashiyama area can be reached on foot in 5 minutes.

7:00 am – Arrival in Arashiyama Temples and Bamboo Groves

Nearest Station: Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano/Sanin Line)

SEE: Togetsukyo Bridge, Horinji Temple, TenRyuji Temple, Nonomiya Shrine, Bamboo Forest

β€’ Rent Kimono

β€’ KIMONO RENTAL: 3400 YEN + 300 UMBRELLA – 3700 YEN

Upon exiting at the Arashiyama Exit. Turn right and follow the narrow path. Probably about 5-7 mins. Once your in the main street, turn left for 2 minutes, from there you will noticed small food stalls and a lot of tourists. Make your way at the right side and you’ll see yourself in the opening path of the famous bamboo grooves.

8:30 am – Saga-Arashiyama Station to Kyoto Station – 240 YEN

β€’ Kyoto Station to Inari via JR Nara Line (for Joyo) (5 mins) – 140 YEN

9:00 am – SOUTHERN KYOTO

β€’ Fushimi Inari Shrine

Nearest Station: JR Inari Station

Admission Fee: FREE

Lunch Time (Soba Time)

10:00 am – Tofukuji Temple

β€’ JR Inari Station to Tofukuji Station via JR Nara Line (for Kyoto) – 140 YEN

β€’ Entrances: 400 YEN (bridge) / 400 YEN (Honbo garden)

11:00 am – Buy Kyoto Bus 1-day Pass – 1000 YEN (or 230 YEN per trip) NON JR

β€’ Lunch – 900 YEN

*Enter at the Rear door and insert the card on the card slot for the first time, then just show the card to the driver in the succeeding ride.

β€’ Board Raku Bus 102

Ginkakuji Temple – 500 YEN > Kyoto Imperial Palace – Free > Kitano Tenmangu Shrine – Free > Kinkakuji Temple – 400 YEN > Daitokuji Temple – 400 YEN > Kitaoji Bus Terminal

β€’ Board Raku Bus 101

Kitaoji Bus Terminal > Nijo-jo Castle

β€’ Board Raku Bus 101

Nijo-jo Castle – 600 YEN > Kyoto Station

β€’ Board Raku Bus 100

Kyoto Station > National Museum & Sanjusangendo Temple – 600 YEN > Kiyomizudera Temple – 400YEN > Gion > Heianjingu Shrine – Free > Kyoto Station

5:00 pm – Back to Osaka

via Bullet Train Kyoto Station to Shin-osaka Station via Hikari (going to Okayama) (14 mins) – 2610 YEN

5:15 PM: Rest

Reality: As you’ve noticed, i’ve listed a lot in our Kyoto itinerary. LOL But in reality, we only made it in 2 destinations. πŸ˜€ The arashiyama bamboo groove and the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

We were so overwhelmed by the bamboo grooves and spent a lot of time there. This is also the place where we experienced “Snow” for the first time. The end of the grooves showed us an open area with lots and lots of snow! I can’t contain myself at that time. I felt so giddy and out of it i decided to make my first snowman!

As i walk through the vast land of white foamy flakes, i spontaneously lay down. My head kept on telling me to “be a snow angel, be a snow angel” and i obey. I literally drenched myself, roll around and made some snow balls! I didn’t even care if i’m wearing a waterproof outfit or not. (I wasn’t BTW πŸ˜‚ ). It was one of the happiest moments in my life and i wanted to savour it.

I guess, God really sees your heart and listens. The weather forecast during that week indicates no signs of snow fall. It saddens me a bit coz it’s one of the things that i really wanted to experience. To see snowflakes pouring over my palm. Unfortunately it wasn’t in the forecast.

But behold during our time in kyoto, “surprisingly” Snow started to pour down from heaven! “Giggles” Just imagine how ecstatic am i to see those tiny white thing fleeing all over my body! So Surreal! ❀️

7:00 PM – Dinner / Free Time

β€’ Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi (inter-connected)

Nearest Station: Namba

β€’ ShinOsaka Station Midosuji Line (for Tennoji) Station to Shinsaibashi Station (15 mins) – 230 YEN (non JR)

β€’ Dinner – 900 YEN

10:00 PM: Namba Station to Shinosaka Station (Osaka Subway) – 280 YEN (non JR)

TOTAL:

Fare: JR Pass: 4790 YEN

Non JR: 1510 YEN

Food: 2700 YEN

Entrance Fees: 3700 YEN

DAY 4: Jan 26, 2018 – Friday

OSAKA CITY TOUR

7:00 am –Breakfast – 900 YEN

8:00 am – Check-out

β€’ Put bags inBaggage Storage (located at the 1st floor of ShinOsaka Station) – 420 YEN per bag / Locker Big (located at 1st, 2nd & 3rd floors) – 900 YEN

8:30 am Osaka Castle Park (Nearest Stations: Tanimachi 4-chrome Station (Tanimachi Subway Line, Chuo Subway Line), Osakajokoen (JR Loop Line)

β€’ Shinosaka Station via JR Tokaido Sanyo Main Line New Rapid (for Himeji) to Osaka Station, then transfer to JR Osaka loop line to Osakajokoen Station (19 mins) – 180 YEN

Opening hours:

9am-4:30pm from November to February

9am-9pm during Cherry blossoms season

9am-5pm the rest of the year

10:00 amShitenno-ji Temple – 10 mins walk from JR Tennoji Station – 120 YEN

Nearest Station: Shitennoji-mae-Yuhigaoka Station (Tanimachi Subway Line)

Opening Hours: 8:30am-4:30pm

Admission Fee: 300yen

β€’ JR Osakajokoen Station to JR Tennoji Station – (12 mins) – 160 YEN

Lunch

1:00 pm Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

β€’ Take JR Osaka Loop Line – Tennoji to JR Osaka Station (walk for 10 mins) – 180 YEN

β€’ Transfer to Umeda Station (Hankyu Takarazuka to Hibarigaokahanayashiki Line) to Ikeda Station Masumi-cho Homen Exit (53 mins) – 270 YEN (non JR)

Do take note that the Hankyu line is not part of JR lines.

2:00 pm – Walk 5 mins south from Ikeda Station of Hankyu Railway Takarazuka Line. You can easily find the Museum by following the so-called “Men Road.” (“Men” means noodles in Japanese). In front of the building is a bronze statue of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles, smiling with a package of Chicken Ramen in his hand, standing on a Cup Noodle-shaped pedestal.

β€’ MUSEUM – Free

Opening Hours: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm (last admission is at 3:30 pm)

β€’ Chicken Ramen Factory – 500 YEN

β€’ My Cup Noodles Factory – 300 YEN (for each cup noodles)

4:00 pm – Ikeda Station Hankyu Line to Umeda Station Hankyu Line – 270 YEN (non JR)

(walk for 10 mins), transfer to JR Osaka Loop Line – Osaka Station to Shinosaka Station – 160 YEN

Reality: We decided to let go of the temple coz we don’t want to miss the Ramen Factory. It’s location is a bit on the outskirt part of Osaka, around an hour or more from Osaka Castle. We didn’t anticipate that it’s kinda’ far.

From Ikeda Station, it’s around 10-15 mins walk to the factory. We arrived at the vicinity at around 3:45 pm. I was kind of disappointed already coz we didn’t made it to the 3:30 pm cut-off. But then one lady from the factory greeted us from a far and ask us if we’re going to enter. I immediately nod my head. The lady then asked her collegues to let us in! So Kind!

We immediately grab our cups from the Vendo Machine, designed them, choose the ingredients and place it at a specialized bubble bag! Truly one of a kind experience, definitely!

5:00 pm – Get Luggages / Buy Food

β€’ Buy Bento Dinner Box – 900 YEN

Side-Trip to Umeda / Ultraman Shop

6:16 pm – Enroute to Tokyo

β€’ Osaka to Tokyo via Shinkansen

Shin-osaka Shinkansen Station to Tokyo Station via Hikari 532 Shinkansen Track 23 – 13620 YEN (via NOZOMI – 14,500 YEN) – 3 hrs

9:10 pm – ETA in Tokyo Station

β€’ Transfer to JR Sobu Main Line Rapid Tokyo Station to Kinshicho Station (9 mins) – 160 YEN

β€’ Take North Exit, Walk for 5 mins > Starbucks > Yoshinoya, go straight, turn left when at Family Mart > Take the pink M Padlock at the fence > Pin Number 5030 > Take the key

β€’ Check-in at Kinshicho Apartment 503 : Forecity Taihei 2-9-5 Sumida-Ku, Akihabara Tokyo

β€’ Buy Food & Drinks at Family Mart

SIGNING OFF

TOTAL:

Fare: JR Pass: 14580 YEN

Non JR: 540 YEN

Food: 2700 YEN

Entrance Fees: 800 YEN

Locker Fees: 1200 YEN

dividerlouise

Part 2 is coming….

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