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Friday, January 23, 2015

A Week Leisure Trip to Kyoto and Osaka




Places: Kyoto and Osaka, Japan.
Date: 23 - 29 September 2014 (Autumn)
Suitable for: Solo traveller, groupies and family vacationers.
Duration: 7 days 6 nights
Basic costs: RM 1760 per person including flight ticket, transportation, activities and food. RM870 per person for accommodation.

Day 1

Journey
Kuala Lumpur - Osaka (Kansai) - Kyoto

Transportation

7 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka
AirAsiaX 
RM 840 per person return

2 hours bus ride from Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station
2550 yen per person

Tips
There are 2  options to go to Kyoto either by airport bus or by train. We were suggested by Malaysian students we met at the airport to take the bus because it is more convenient and comfortable.

Food
Dinner at Udon Restoran at Kansai Airport 
500 yen per meal

Accommodation
Green Rich Hotel (Click to view the room and features)
9000 yen per night

Tips
- We booked 4 rooms to accommodate the 8 of us. The hotel in Japan is quiet small hence the 4 rooms. The hotel is very comfortable and convenient, only 10 minutes walk from Kyoto Station. 
- If you want to experience Japanese style accommodation, t here are also hostel and guesthouse available from 2500 yen to 5250 yen per night such as Kyoto Guesthouse Hannari, Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto and BJ Family House.

We took an 8 o'clock flight from KLIA2 by AirAsia X and landed safely at Kansai Airport around 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The time in Osaka is 1 hour faster than Malaysia. Our first destination was Kyoto. One thing we liked most about Japanese was they were very helpful.  Our hotel was about 10 minutes walk from Kyoto Station and we didn't know where our hotel was but a friendly Japanese lady who just got back from Paris showed us the way to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel around 10 o'clock at night and we settled down for the day.

Day 2

Activities
  • Sightseeing & souvenir hunting at Kiyomeza dera Street and Sennanezaka Street
  • Kiyomeza dera Temple
  • Gion Street (Takashimaya Department Store and shopping area) 
  • Kyoto Mosque
Tips
From our observation,  most shops sell souvenirs at similar price and the standard price for a t-shirt is 1080 yen.

Transportation
  • 20 minutes bus ride from Kyoto Station to Kiyomeza dera Street
  • Bus ride from  Sennanezaka Street to Gion Street
  • Bus ride from Gion Street to Kyoto Mosque
Tips
We bought 2-day pass from Tourist Information Centre at Level 2, Kyoto Station for 2700 yen. Valid for all buses and subways.

Food
Lunch at Rose cafe. Located near the mosque. 
1500 yen per meal

Tips
You can find the list of Halal Restaurants from Kyoto Muslim Travel's website.


This is the entry to the Skyway tunnel which allows visitors to walk the length of Kyoto Station

Kiyomeza dera Street

Kiyomeza dera Temple

Japanese monk at the temple

The view of the street from the temple

Sennanezaka Street located just next to  Kiyomeza dera Street

You can easily find Geisha on this street

Gion is one of the Geisha District left in Japan. Famous for Geisha, teahouses, exclusive Japanese Restaurant and Gion Matsuri festival on every July

Day 3

Activities
  • Sagano Romantic Train 1300 yen per person
  • Nijo Castle 600 yen per entry
  • City Zoo (a cute little zoo) 600 yen per entry
  • Philosopher Walk
Tips
- According to their website, Sagano Romantic Train which runs along the Hozugawa River provide incredible views of fall foliage from October to December and the flowering trees including cherry blossoms from late March to April. However, take note that these trains does not run during winter (December 30th to February 28th) and every Wednesday.

Transportation
  • 30 minutes train ride from Kyoto Station to Sagaarashima station (Sagona Romantic Train located near this station) 260 yen per person
  • Train to Nijo Station from Kameoka Station (the last stop of Sagona Romantic Train) 200 yen per person
  • Subway from Nijo Station to Matsuo Shrine (about 15 minutes walk to the zoo)
  • By bus to Philosopher Walk
Food
Dinner sushi at AEON Kyoto 
600 yen per meal


The train is an old-fashion steam train that take you beyond Arasyiyama area. You have 2 options for the trip either one-way or return trip

We bought one way ticket and it took about 30 minutes journey. Along this journey u could see the river, old bridge, forest and mountain 

You can also go back to the station by boat.

Our next destination was Nijo Castle. From Nijo Station, we decided to walk about 1.5 km to Nijo Castle to enjoy the view of Kyoto's suburban. If walking is not your cup of tea, don't worry, you can also take a subway to Nijo Castle.

Cherry trees of numerous varieties are planted throughout Nijo Castle grounds and the blooming season at the castle usually lasts from late March through the entire month of April

Nijo Castle is one of Unesco World Heritage Sites. The castle which was built in 1603 is one of the best surviving examples of castle palace architecture of Japan's feudal era. Unfortunately, the main keep was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1750 and it was never rebuilt. This castle is big and there were so much things to explore. It is advisable for you to check the map before you wander around. If you are into the history of the shoguns and Japanese feudal culture,  this castle is worth visiting.  


Before we went back to the hotel, we decided to spend time at Philosopher's Walk and the atmosphere there was calming and peaceful. We enjoyed walking along the canal, stone path and passing by the local neighbourhood where you can see interesting Japanese house architecture. 

Day 4

Journey
Kyoto to Osaka

Activities
  • Kamogawa River
  • Night walk at Dooma Underground Street Market
Transportation
  • Subway from Nijo Station to Kamogawa River 530 yen per person
  • 30 minutes train ride from Kyoto Station to Osaka Station 630 yen per person
Tips
You can also take the bullet train which only take about 15 minutes for 5000 yen.

Accommodation
The Hotel North Osaka ( Click to view the room and features)
8100 yen per night

Tips
- The hotel is located just 10 minutes walk from Nijo Station and 20 minutes walk from Umeda Station and Osaka Station. 
- For cheaper options, there are also hostel available below 3000 yen per night and for adventurous backpackers, Eco Cube Shinsaibashi offers as low as 2000 yen per night for capsule hotel experience.

Food
Dinner Shrimp burger at Lotteria (This burger is famous among Malaysian students and tourists in Japan)
500 yen per meal


The riverbanks are popular walking spots for residents and tourists. In summer, restaurants open balconies looking out to the river. There are pathways running alongside the river and some stepping stones on which you can walk across the river as the water level of the river is usually low

Here the video of Kamogawa River in summer courtesy of Japan Travel,


A fraction of Osaka at night

Day 5

Activities
  • Shinshabashi Street, Namba Street and Dountoburi street
  • Namba River Cruise
  • Night walk at Nakanoshima Park
Transportation
  • Subway from Umeda Station to Shinshabashi
  • Subway from Nakoshima Park to Umeda Station
Tips
- We bought a 2-day pass for bus and subway which also include 28 places FOC pass entry for 2700 yen at Municipal Tourist Information Centre, Osaka Station.
- In Osaka, the subway is our main transportation. There are 9 subway lines and we managed to cover 7 of the lines. Meanwhile in Kyoto, there are only 2 subway lines and buses are the other option.

Food
Crab Lunch 
4000 yen per set

Tips
There are a lot of Crab Restaurants in Namba. Just look out for giant crab replica. We had our expensive yet delicious lunch at a restaurant with Namba River as the background. You can choose from BBQ Crab to Crab Soup and many more.


The pass

Our first destination in Osaka was Shinsabashi Street. All the branded boutiques such as LV, Channel, DKNY etc are located here. After that, we went to Namba and Dountoburi Street. Here they sell a variety of items such as food, souvenirs, t shirts, groceries and local products. Before lunch we went to Namba river and enjoy a free ride on the cruise for about 30 minutes.

At Namba and Dountoburi Street

Us posing before the last bite at the Crab Restaurant

At night we went for a walk at Nakanoshima Park which comprises of Rose Garden, Science Museum, Osaka City Central Hall, cafes and water spring. They call it water spring because of the clashes of two rivers at the end of the park.

We walked along the park and enjoy the lighting on the trees, buildings and bridge

Osaka City Central Hall

Day 6

Activities
  • Osaka Castle 
  • Aquaboat 1900 yen per person (promotion season)
  • Osaka Museum Housing & Living
  • Kimono Rental 200 yen per kimono
  • Tenjimbasuji Street (Shopping street)
  • Osaka Prefectural Government Building
Tips
Bicycle Tour also available for 4000 yen half day and 8000 yen full day. You can check out their website for more information about the routes.

Transportation
  • Subway from Osaka Station to Osaka Castle
  • 1 1/2 hour return cruise from Osaka Castle to Nakanoshima Park
  • Subway from Osaka Castle to Osaka Museum Housing & Living
  • Subway to from Osaka Museum Housing & Living to Osaka Prefectural Government Building
Food
Dinner shrimp tempura 
1000 yen per meal


Osaka Castle is surrounded by parks which makes a beautiful sight especially during cherry blossom season. Make sure you spend some time walking in the park around the castle. Outside of the main entrance, there is a small store where you can grab some food before start touring. This castle has 8 levels. You can either take the elevator or use the staircase like we did. We learned about Japanese rich culture and valuable historical information while inside the castle.  On the side note, people mentioned that during winter, there was snow on the way in and out of the castle and also you will see a very amazing scene of Osaka castle if you visit this place during sunset.

From the top of castle you can see the view of Osaka city

After the exhausting climb, we decided to cruise in Aquaboat and enjoyed the view along the river

Our last destination was  the Housing  Living Museum. What surprised us most was this museum was at the 10th floor of the building and they built the model of Japanese houses up here. Here we had the opportunity to wear a kimono and see how the interior of traditional Japanese houses. Next to the museum is Tenjimbasuji Street. The street is about 2 km long and the activities here were almost the same as with Namba and Dountoburi Street where you can do some shoppings and buy souvenirs.We end up our tour at Prefectural Goverment Building and enjoyed the night view of South Osaka from Level 55.


The details at the museum

Ohaiyo gozaimasu!

The view from Level 55

Day 7

Activities
  • Umeda Sky Building 700 yen per entry
  • Osaka Mosque
Tips
After check out, we left our luggage at Osaka Station. You can use the locker up to 3 days for 600 yen to 1000 yen.

Transportation
  • Train from Osaka Station to Osaka Mosque 600 yen per person
  • Train from Osaka Station to Kansai Airport 1600 yen per person (non reserved seat)
Food
  • Lunch 1000 yen per meal
  • Dinner Lotteria Shrimp Burger 500 yen per meal 



On our last day in Osaka, we went to Umeda Sky Building which also called Floating Garden. Only 20 minutes walk from Osaka Station, this building has North and South tower with an amazing architecture. These two towers are connected by an escalator from South to North Tower and we went to the open air rooftop at the top of building which gave us a wonderful 360 degree view of Osaka City.

Escalators connecting the North to South tower

The ground view

The view from the top of the building

Conclusion 

We enjoyed our trip to Osaka and Kyoto. If you are planning on visiting Japan, you don't have to worry about getting lost because their public transport's map was very helpful & user friendly. You can also refer to the information counter which is located in every building. The Japanese are so polite and very helpful and they will not hesitate to assist tourists where possible (just get them to help google for you using their smartphones). Nevertheless, we totally recommend for you to visit Kyoto and Osaka during cherry blossom season in late March to April where all the attractions become more attractive and picturesque.

ps, check out this infographic website for more information about 10 things to do in every Japan cities.

Written and photographed by Siti Asurah

About the writer: Siti Asurah is an engineer working for local authority in Malacca. Besides travelling, she loves outdoor activities such as hiking , camping , trekking etc. She is also active in sports.

6 comments:

  1. kyoto ni mmg cantik laaa...hahaha comey gler korg berkimono tuu!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tq...kat situ shj yg murah nak sewa kimono so peluang jgn dilepaskan...kwn saya lena tido after hajat kesampaian :-)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Hi Muhammad. Thank you. Hopefully bole dimanfaatkan.

      Delete
  3. salam

    nice sharing..btw boleh tanya tak berapa bajet yang habis kat sana ye?tq :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Dah ada tunjuk kat atas tu,

      Basic costs: RM 1760 per person including flight ticket, transportation, activities and food. RM870 per person for accommodation.

      Delete

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