Monthly Archives: September 2013

I Left My Stomach in Japan (Part 1: Osaka & Kyoto)

Such a long overdue post! Been so busy at work lately that I nearly forgot I had a blog *teehee*.

This is probably one post that I can’t skip, as this is one of the destinations that I probably dreamed of going ever since. The visa application I thought was tideous, perhaps because I had to prepare for myself and my shobe, who’s still a student (ang daming financial support ek ek that required documents from my mom!). Thank God we all got approved.

We chose to land at Osaka for one reason – the ticket was on sale LOL! We booked it for 2000 pesos one way – such a steal. Bahala na how to get to Tokyo and how to get back. We eventually got a ticket from Narita to Manila for only 9000 pesos. I always brag about this 11000 pesos (total) airfare for a roundtrip ticket to Japan hehe!

Osaka was a nice laid back place, not a busy city, more provincial looking. We stayed at the Hotel Nikko which is located at the Shinsaibashi shopping district. The weather was freezing. It was somewhere at 8-12 degrees Celsius. We arrived at night so we just had to walk the streets and find a place that’s still open. Guess where we ended up — haha! of course – an Izakaya (or an inuman place)!

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With Ers, Dazz and Shobe

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Octopus with Wasabi

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Hot Sa-ke

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With Tersh and Tim

And so as expected, we were not yet busog, so we walked some more and stumbled upon a carinderia looking place that sells Gyoza (dumplings). To our lovely surprise they also had ramen, so we had to try them and it was super good!

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Authentic Cha-syu Ramen (this was really to die for!)

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Gyoza – super yum!

First stop the next day was the Osaka Aquarium. It is known for it’s size and uniqueness. Basically you climb up the escalator of 8 floors to walk your way (circular) down as you see the water creatures, or mammals or animals or however you like 🙂

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With my shobs

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Those are actually wind chimes. Nice no?

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How it is inside…

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May ume-emo lang haha

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Crab-let. Life size comparison. It was huge!

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You can touch the mantarey. Slimy daw shobe said. I couldn’t dare 🙂

Next stop, the search for the last of the Cherry Blossoms (Sakura). Okay, I shall explain. We planned on going to Japan earlier in April to catch the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom, but too bad my sister still had school and we wanted her to come, so we waited until the second week before we could go. Unfortunately Sakuras only bloom quickly, and that is the main reason why it is not the main attraction of our trip hehe! We heard from very reliable Japanese sources that different more kinds could be found in higher mountain ranges, so we’re all up for it. Literal na naghahanap kami ng pink na puno haha!

Before that search, our hungry tummies stumbled upon kalye restaurants (oh yes we love streetfood because everything fancy is just so expensive!), that cook Takoyaki! It was so good, forgive me if I forgot the price, but it wasn’t so bad na for its quantity! I realized Takoyaki in pinas doesn’t have octopus in it, that’s why it made the experience so much different!

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Takoyaki – fried veggie ballls with this sort of breading with octopus!

The not yet so full me and shobe still went inside McDonalds to try their EBI Filet-O which is actually a Shrimp burger! Something we can’t find here in Pinas.

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Sorry no open shot haha walang sense!

And then they were found. We went up to this place called Sakuranomiya Park where you will still see Cherry Blossoms in bloom but not at it’s peak anymore. Well, it had to do. Noticeably the photo is not too “pink” anymore, but nevertheless it was still kikay to begin with. haha!

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Happy shobe found her Sakura!

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…and so did I hehe

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She loves Cherry Blossoms because it’s pink. She even has it as her scent!

After overflowing our eyes with pink, we then headed back to Osaka to see the Osaka Castle. Not that there was anything extravagant to see, but I think Osaka is known for it’s temples and castles, so might as well visit one or 2.

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Feeling photographer while walking to the castle… It’s like a river separating the CBD from the country side. How’s that perspective?

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The Osaka temple from outside the walls

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Pose muna as we get closer to the castle, it was a LOOOOONG walk going inside.

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Finally the temple – right in front of me!

After that long walk, we headed to Dotonbori, which is another tourist destination that used to be a pleasure district (but all gone now), and now turned out to be a shopping alley with restaurants and food stalls. Forever 21, H&M have opened up their stores there as well (haha additional knowledge lang for the women!).

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Dotonbori at night

Again, we did not go to Japan to shop, but rather to EAT. We found this very in demand cha-syu ramen restaurant that serves nothing else but still sobrang haba ng pila. So we had to give it a try.

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This chain of resto is easy to remember, a green dragon in orange walls.

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The very busy chef. Hindi pwede kausapin :-p

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Heaven at our finger tips… or chopsticks. Another super good cha-syu ramen. Obviously my favorite. I’ve been eating it haha!

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Are you hungry?

And still… the unsatisfied tummies of the Uy’s and the Sy’s was still in search of food. So we went into this revolving sushi buffet to cap of our dinner for that night. I probably had 6 or 7 plates haha!

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Sushi buffet

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Kani Maki

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The sushi cooks

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Ebi Maki

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Milk pudding that I bought on the streets again…while walking 🙂

Next stop… KYOTO, Japan. Yet another provincial destination that highlights one of the most loved views when in Japan, and you must have heard of it. We went to Kyoto to see the Temple of the Golden Pavillion. I can say Kyoto has a very nice train station, much better than Osaka, it looks very modern.

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Kyoto Train Station

It was also the same place where I saw this very cute strawberry bun. I love how Japanese make every thing so cute!

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Strawberry flavored bun – but it was a bit expensive.

We still had to take a bus to finally see the temple. It was really nice, though apart from taking photos, there weren’t really that much to do inside the temple.

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The Temple of the Golden Pavillion

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Whoelse, my shobe dear

I wouldn’t leave Kyoto without pigging out of course, so before we headed back to the train station we stopped for lunch. I was craving for some Tonkatsu. Fried fried fried. We just found this restaurant down the street of the Golden Pavillion entrance, and it was delicious. A little pricey, but worth it. So I had Tonkatsu with udon on the side.

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Bento box

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Nabitin pa, one more tempura hehe

Last stop, the Fushimi Inari Temple, still in Kyoto, known for its uniqueness, you’ll see multiple orange arcs that seem to never end.

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Entrance just beside a train stop

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Orange arcs

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With Tersh

Now Tokyo bound! We decided to take the overnight Cocoon Bus instead of the Shinkansen – that’s now a reason for me to go back to Japan!!

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Cocoon shaped chairs – bus

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My seat

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Reclining seat with a facial mirror, foot rest, table, tv with movies and video games

I’ll park for now, this is way too long! Part 2 – the rest of the trip in TOKYO. The city life in Japan. 🙂