We just got back from our holidays to Japan.
We bought our tickets to fly to Kansai International Airport early this year when Air Asia was doing a promotion, thinking it was a great deal. A couple of months later, MAS had their promotion, and tickets were even cheaper. A few of my neighbours actually managed to grab the tickets and theirs cost less than ours! Bummer!
Due to the busy schedule this whole year, we only started to plan for the trip 2 months before our holidays. We decided to only focus on a couple of places around Osaka and Kyoto area even though we have 12 days there, preferring to take things slowly.
This is the map of where we’d been.
Did the girls enjoy Japan? They sure did! They asked us to extend our stay, they wanted to go there again; and we have to keep reminding them Japan is an expensive holiday destination. Accommodation, transport, entrance fee are all very expensive! It’s not some where we can go every other year.
Here is Zara’s thought about Japan written in her journal.
1) Travelling around Japan.
We traveled around Kyoto using the bus and train. The (bus and train) maps available are quite easy to read/understand.
In Osaka, we took mainly the subway, it looks complex, but lines are clearly coloured with station numbered, see this; i.e. Y15, S16, M20 for Namba 難波駅, なんば駅 (as it can be reaced by 3 subway lines)
We rented a car for 4 days and requested for an English GPS. To get to a place, we only needed to enter the phone number. Traffic updates however were announced in Japanese.
2) People are extremely friendly and courteous in Japan, even if they don’t understand you, if you asked for help, they will patiently listen to you and try their very best to help you. We seek a lot of help from people at subway stations, bus stops, convenient stores. A couple of times, we asked for directions at shops, and they whipped a copy of maps, charted out the route, and gave us the map. Amazing people!
3) Chin Nee asked how do we read menu in Japanese. Usually, they have English menu. When they don’t, they will have some pictures/photos of what they served. I read Chinese, so I look for key words as well in menu, e.g. 豚 (pork), 鶏 (chicken), 魚 (fish), 焼 (grill), 揚 (deep fried), 野菜 (vege) etc etc.
And posts will be added below as and when I’d finished writing them.
Part 1 : Day 1 – Nara 奈良
Part 2 : Day 2 – Takao 高雄
Part 3 : Day 3 – Arashiyama and Sagano 嵯峨嵐山
Part 4 : Day 4 – Nijo Castle 二条城 and Nishiki Market 錦市場
Part 5 : Day 5 – Eikando 永観堂, Kiyomizu-dera 清水寺, Higashiyama District
Part 6 : Day 6 – Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社, Tofukuji 東福寺, Gion 祇園
Part 7 : Day 7 and 8 – Road Trip, Exploring Takayama 高山 and Epic Lunch at Turuturutei つるつる亭
Part 8 : Day 8 and 9 – Snow at Shirakawa-go 白川郷 And Gokayama 五箇山
Part 9 : Day 10 – Gero 下呂 Friends Making and Osaka 大阪 Takoyaki Making
Part 10 : Day 11 – Osaka Castle 大阪城 Dotonbori 道頓堀 Shinsaibashi 心斎橋
Part 11 : Day 12 – Osaka Doguyasuji 千日前道具屋筋商店街 and Shinsekai 新世界
Useful links :
Japan Guide – I refer to this a lot when planning the trip
Kyoto Tourist Guide Book – I printed this out to bring along as a quick guide.
Frommer’s Japan Guide
Official Kyoto bus map – here, and here This is a must have if you took the bus in Kyoto, hotels will be able to give you a copy too.