Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Day 5 – Japan trip (Osaka, Dotonburi & Umeda Sky Building)

On the next day, we took the train at Kansai train station from Kyoto to Osaka and the whole journey took us 75 minutes. Before that, we stopped at the train station for a mini lunch a.k.a Bento set. We were impressed by the gifts and snacks assortments displayed at rows of souvenier shops.

My Bento set. YUMMEH!

A customary selfie portrait. 

Well-dressed and trained officers. Upon request, they were able to pinpoint to us some of tourist attractions in Osaka along with the routes and destinations.


Once we reached Osaka, we can’t help but to notice the lively and vibrant city. The people here were generally friendlier, warmer and more open to communication. As we had some “lost in the city” moments on our way to our hotel, they were able to show us the way to our hidden hotel. 

Managed to capture unique and theme-inspired hotel design. 

Our cosy little hotel room with paneled wardrobe and Japanese-style tatami bed.

Once we’ve dropped our luggage bags, we hurried ourselves to the heart of the city – Dotonburi. Posing with the signature “Kani Doraku” – the big crab. 

Immersed in the beauty of the city; flurried with activities.

We settled down for a bowl of piping hot ramen at Ichiran Dotonbori, a self-managed ordering and payment vending machine. Don’t get me wrong, the machine does not dispense ramen but all the ordering and customisation of your ramen is done via this intelligent machine. It’s kinda cool and a new eating experience for us. Once we walked inside the shop, we were surprised by the compartmental style of the restaurant whereby the customers can enjoy their bowl of ramen in privacy. This has made it so much easier for on-the-go white collars to enjoy their lunch in a jiffy.

Devouring our densely broth lunch.

We had some shopping around the town whereby the pharmaceutical goods were sold at a slightly cheaper price compared to Kyoto. There were rows of buses bringing in tourists to shop at the mushrooming networks of shops. 

My shopping haul. ∩__∩y

Around evening, we were greeted by the neon lights at night. Hipsters, young adults, metropolitans started to fill up the place after a tiring day at work or school. As it was weekend, many teenagers thronged the place to hang out with their friends or simply enjoying the view of the “pick-up” bridge. 

The night was transformed into a colourful street packed with activities.

Nipponbashi, a nearby shopping arcade district selling mainly electronics and consumer goods products. 

We end our day by exploring Umeda Sky Building, a 40-storey building made up of two glass-and-steel tower linked by a bridge. We were truly mesmerised by the enigmatic vibes of the city {{{(>_<)}}}


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Day 4 – Japan trip (Kinkakuji temple & Kiyomizu-dera)

On Day 4, we woke up with excitement anticipating the most-visit temples in our wish list – Kinkakuji temple (A shimmering gold temple) and Kiyomizu-dera (“Pure water” temple built on top of a hill). As usual, we had our caffeine fix at the friendly neighbourhood café near our hotel. Albeit a slightly “old” café run by two senior Japanese couples, the restaurant offers quite an extensive list of food such as fried udon with localized flavour, generous sandwich with extra eggs which you seldom find it here, in Malaysia. Just saying! Well, overall, the food portion fit a king’s meal.  

Early selfie with double chin side-effect! ∩__∩y

After a hearty breakfast, we made a dash to catch the next train to visit the World Cultural Heritage site – Kinkakuji. The entrance fee costs ¥400 and due to the ticker's unique design, I naturally can’t resist to pose with the signature ticket (pun intended)! (*><*)′

Upon entering the Golden Pavilion, we were greeted with 3 elements of “zen” namely wooden building, grey & white pebbles and shaded trees. At the moment, we felt peaceful and calm. _/\_

Of course, we wouldn’t want to miss posing with the nature background. Prior to entering the gold-coated temple, we managed to have a glimpse of the “hojo” where former head priest resides in the living quarters. Long queue before admission…

Once we arrived at the charming shrine, we were truly mesmerised with its beauty. A solid gold-encrusted temple with different architecture style for each floor. In fact, each story houses different clans of its class – 1st floor was built for the “shinden”, 2nd for the samurais and the peak of the temple was catered for the Chinese zen hall. The uppermost floor was capped with a golden phoenix where you will see its wings were peeking out from the roof. The golden-lacquered shrine was a perfect backdrop for the lake which imbues mysterious allure to it. This is further amped up with the leafless tree wigs and bonsai-style trees. 


A stroll in the temple before we walked further inside; captivated with the sea of trees.

We took a short break to savour the matcha soft-serve (*^@^*)

Next up, we visited Kiyomizu-dera dubbed the “pure water” temple for its scenic view with waterfall streaming at the foot of the hills, where the water falls into a pond. The water is believed to have a wish-granting power. Originally, it is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto, in fact, the most celebrated temple bustling with crowd. Not to mention, the ancient temple is also a UNESCO heritage site.

The magnificent temple overlooking breathtaking view. 

Many youngsters adorned in their best traditional costumes thronged the must-see attraction.

The temple leads us to a quiet alley which stores a mixture of local handicrafts display, household brands, novelty souveniers and premium outlet such as Hermes to resonate to the locals with a pop of local culture.

Our dessert before we ends the night. Best cheesetart in town! {{{(>_<)}}}

Till then, cheerioz! (^_^)