Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe Trip 2017 - Shinsaibaishi Shopping Street

After the visit to Osaka Castle, we headed back to Shinsaibaishi Shopping Street. Shinsaibashi is one of Osaka's oldest and busiest shopping destinations which runs about 600 meters in length.

Whenever I travelled, I dont shop much but only in Japan, I can shop a lot cause a lot of stuff are attractive and make good souvenirs and gifts. Take note a lot of shops closed around 8 pm or 8.30pm except in Namba, the shops closes later.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe Trip 2017 - Osaka Castle

After lunch, our first sightseeing in Osaka must be the famous Osaka Castle. The recommended approach to Osaka Castle is through Otemon Gate at the park's southwestern corner. The closest station is Tanimachi 4-chrome Station along the Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line.

Osaka Castle is only 2 stations away from our hotel(10 mins) but we need to change subway train in between. From our hotel at Nagahoribashi (K16), we need to take the Sakaisuji Line(K) and change at Sakaisuji Hommachi (K15)(C17) and from here need to transfer to Chuo Line (C) to Tanimachi 4-chrome Station (C18). So is always easier to remember the Alphabet and number of the station instead of the long name haha.

It was a very very hot day (temperature around 35 degrees celsius) and it was suppose to be the raining season. (Throughout our entire trip, we encountered 2 raining days, 2 very hot days and the rest were nice and cloudy days.)

Admission to the grounds of Osaka Castle is free but need to buy admission ticket (600 yen) to go inside the castle.

Of course we took the elevator instead of the stairs but the elevator stops at 5th floor and we need to climb the rest of the stairs to 8th floor where the observatory deck is located. Nice view from the top, can see the whole of Osaka City.

Every floor is a museum, so walked every floor down to view the display.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe Trip 2017 - Crystal Nagahoshi Food Town, Osaka

The check in time for most hotels in Japan is 3 pm, but our room were ready at around 1.30 pm, so we quickly put our luggages in the room and went out for lunch and some sightseeing. Took the lift back down to crysta nagahori where the food town is. The lift is just less than a minute walk from our hotel and seven eleven.

There were several restaurants, coffee house, shops, etc, very convenient indeed.

We spotted a chinese restaurant very quickly, feeling happy cause we were really very hungry. We were attracted by the food display infront of the restaurant. It was not very crowded.

We ordered the set lunch, one was sweet and sour pork, deep fried prawns, egg soup and dessert and free flow of tea.

The other set was omurice, sweet and sour prawns, assorted vegetables and dessert.

The food was really tasty and delicious and we finished everything haha.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe Trip 2017 - Kyoto to Osaka by train, Sarasa Hotel Shisaibashi

Day 4, we collected our luggages from the hotel and made our way to Kyoto Station to take the train from Kyoto Station to Osaka Station. There are number of options to go to Osaka from Kyoto.

Osaka Station (do not not mistaken Osaka Station with Shin-Osaka Station) is best served by the Special Rapid service on the JR Kyoto Line. The Special Rapid Train will get you to Osaka Station in 28 minutes for 560 yen. Trains depart from platforms 4 and 5 at Kyoto Station. Read about other way to travel from source.

Different trains are marked by different symbols, so it is important to consult the information board to check the time of the train, its mark, and the numbers from where you can board.

On the platform, there are marks on the ground or on the walls across the train platform, often denoted by triangles, circles, and color combinations, that show where the train doors will open. These signs will also show the boarding point number and whether there are priority seats (seats reserved for the injured, disabled, elderly, or expecting mothers) within close proximity of the doors.

View more information and pictures about the markings from source.

The ICOCA Card (IC Card) can also be used in Osaka, so we just tapped our card at the gantry and head to the correct platform. When the train arrived at Osaka Station, we tap out of the gantry and then walked over to Umeda Station to board the subway train to our hotel at Nagahoribashi (K16 or N16), we need to change train at Shinsaibashi Station. It is easier to remember the number of the station as the name of the station can be quite long to remember.

As we booked our trip only two months before hand, difficult to get choice hotels at good price at Osaka Station or Namba Station. It is more convenient to stay at main station like Osaka Station or Namba Station, so that there's no need to change so many trains, especially if there's a lot of luggages.

Our first choice was at Hotel New Hankyu Annex at Osaka Station but they were fully booked and second choice was IBIS Hotel at Namba Station, also fully booked. So we booked a newly opened hotel, Sarasa Hotel, Shinsaibaishi (there's another Sarasa Hotel at Nipponbashi), so dont confused the two hotels.

Anway, I got a very good price at Sarasa Hotel cause when I booked for 4 nights, it costs me S$800+ but there's free cancellation, and we chanced upon new promotion of 4 nights for $600+ and we booked the promotion price and cancelled the first booking, we save S$200.

This map of the train route is very handy, found at the back of the brochure I collected from our hotel, I tear the map out and is very handy for quick reference to board the train and changing of trains.

Sarasa Hotel Shinsaibaishi can be accessed at Exit 5A at Nagahoribashi Station but OMG Exit 5A do not have lift and the flight of stairs were many, difficult to cart our luggages up, so we exit at EXIT 5B, and walked(short walk of less than 1 minute) through the connecting building called Crysta Nagahori. Passed by some restaurants and looked for Exit 3 South (not to be confused with the subway station exit 3). Took the lift and walked towards the 7 eleven and the hotel is just next to seven eleven.

Spot the 7-11 logo on the map, the hotel is just next to it.

Sarasa Hotel is a very cozy and clean hotel (opened in January 2017). The staff were very friendly and helpful.

As with most Japanese Hotel, the room were small but we could fit our luggage in one corner of the room.

The closet does not comes with a door. Bedroom slippers were provided but the floor were not carpeted and very clean. I even walked barefooted haha.

The only negative about the hotel is the very small toilet. I am already small sized and I find it a bit cramp. This is definitely not suitable for big sized people.

The laundry room was on the 3rd floor (if I am not mistaken), the washing machines and dryer are coin operated. No detergent, need bring your own.

There's a drinks vending machine in the laundry room.

There's also an ice dispenser in the laundry room but no water dispenser. Strange the hotel dont provide free complimentary water. But no problem, the 7-11 store next to the hotel is very convenient, we bought the big bottle of mineral water at only 100 yen.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe Trip 2017 - Higashi Honganji Temple, Kyoto

After checking out our our hotel, we left our bags at the reception and do some sightseeing before heading to Osaka by train. We decided to visit Higashi Honganji Temple which is located just behind our hotel, took us less than 5 minutes to reach there from our hotel. It was free admission.

Nishi Honganji (West Honganji) was built in 1591 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, after the sect's former head temple, Ishiyama Honganji in Osaka had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga due to the temple's interference in politics. Nishi Honganji is the head temple of the Honganji faction of the Jodo-Shin sect with over 10,000 subtemples across the country and 200 temples overseas. Nishi Honganji's two largest structures are the Goeido Hall, dedicated to Shinran, the sect's founder, and the Amidado Hall dedicated to the Amida Buddha, the most important Buddha in Jodo-Shin Buddhism. The temple also displays some surviving masterpieces of architecture from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period and early Edo Period, including the celebrated Hiunkaku Pavilion. Nishi Honganji is designated an UNESCO world heritage site. Read more from source.

The temples were very beautiful and big, looked very serene and peaceful.

Need to remove shoes and put in the plastic bag they provided, and carry the plastic bag along with us.

There's even a place for those who brought along luggages to park and lock them at the front of the temples. No photography allowed inside the temple's halls.

Hair ropes, made from human hair mixed with hemp and used in that construction, were donated by parishioners from all over the country.

Able to view Kyoto Tower from the temple's ground.