More than a year ago, I booked a trip to Japan as a birthday present for my wife.
At the time, a few of my friends had recently returned from Kyoto and surrounding areas and were telling me it was a must visit – Kyoto is Japan’s most beautiful city. And visit either during the spring cherry blossom or autumn colour season.
So after some thought I book my trip a year ahead. The plan was to land in Kansai Airport, Osaka in the morning, and take a train straight to Kyoto. There in Kyoto I would spend 5 full days. Then I’d return to Osaka to spend 3 full days before flying back to Malaysia on the morning of the 9th day. So in effect, I had 8 days to plan for in a country with the most advanced and complex transportation system in Asia, with English not widely spoken or read. But no matter, every new country is an adventure.
From Kyoto we planned to do a day trip Nara. We also wanted to visit Hiroshima, especially to see giant torii gate floating in the sea. But after studying the cost of taking the shinkansen (bullet train, 95 minutes) from Kyoto, it was just too expensive. The better way was to have taken a much cheaper overnight train (6-7 hours). We had already booked our hotels throughout our stay, so it did not make sense take the overnight train. So we had to scratch off Hiroshima from our itinerary. We also planned to visit Himeji Castle and Kobe as a day trip from Osaka. Himeji is Japan oldest surviving feudal castle and is the most beautiful, featured in the movie The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise. But after studying our itinerary, we decided to drop Kobe / Himeji and instead spend the 3 full days exploring Osaka.
So with our itinerary roughly done (and with lots of reference maps and notes in hand), on the 29th of November we set off to Japan.
Posts in this series:
Japan 2016 : Transportation Guide
Japan 2016 : Part 1 â€“ Arrival, Nishiki Market & Teramachi Shopping Street
Japan 2016 : Part 2 – Meeting the Deers in Nara & Kofukuji Temple
Japan 2016 : Part 3 â€“ Todaiji Temple, Nara
Japan 2016 : Part 4 â€“ Ramen Lunch and Kasuga Taisha
Japan 2016 : Part 5 â€“ Dinner at Kamameshi Shizuka
Japan 2016 : Part 6 – Kiyomizudera Temple
Japan 2016 : Part 7 – Traditional Kyoto Sushi at Izuju
Japan 2016 : Part 8 – Gion and Fushimi Inari Taisha
Japan 2016 : Part 9 â€“ Arashiyama
Japan 2016 : Part 10 â€“ Togetsukyo Bridge and Kinkakuji Temple
Japan 2016 : Part 11 – Ryoanji Temple
Japan 2016 : Part 12 â€“ Ginkakuji, Philosopherâ€™s Path & Eikando Night Illumination
Japan 2016 : Part 13 â€“ Tenjinbashi Shotengai and Harukoma Sushi in Osaka
Japan 2016 : Part 14 â€“ Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Japan 2016 : Part 15 â€“ Osaka Castle
Japan 2016 : Part 16 â€“ Umeda Sky Building
Japan 2016 : Part 17 â€“ Umeda & Osaka Station
Japan 2016 : Part 18 â€“ Dotonbori & Ichiran Ramen
Japan 2016 : Part 19 â€“ Kuromon Ichiba Market
Japan 2016 : Part 20 â€“ Den Den Town, Shinsaibashi & Shinsekai
Japan 2016 : Part 21 â€“ Our Last Dinner in Japan
Japan 2016 : Wrap Up