Good afternoon to this fine Sunday!
It’s been a really relaxing day for me so far. I’ve planned to do absolutely nothing and have managed to do that so far xD However, I thought that I’d better get on with some entries so this blog won’t be so abandoned. And then I couldn’t get the password to the account right -.- I almost gave up…
But here I am! I’ve already picked out the pictures I would like to use for this entry too so I don’t want it to go to waste.
So let’s begin!
At the end of June, I went to Japan with my best friend/wife, lune. We planned for this trip for nearly a year, booking our flights sometimes in September may be as well as some of the accommodations. May be we were both overly eager but Japan requires planning a bit beforehand if you want things at a good price. Hence the nearly year long planning xD
And actually, it was a good thing that we started planning so far ahead. As the flights and accommodations were booked, we didn’t have to worry too much about everything else as time crept by. And towards the end of May, beginning of June, the thought of this trip was the only thing that kept me going as I was being swamped with work.
After a week of rest in Bangkok, 21st of June finally arrived!
But before officially starting our trip:
(Have been trying to upload pictures so I can add them to the entry but the internet doesn’t seem to be cooperating…)
(I’d resorted to putting away some of my washing while I wait…)
My nails for the trip 😉
I’ve always painted my nails before going on a trip to Japan but this time was a bit more special. I paid my first ever visit to a nail salon and even had a butterfly printed on 2 of my nails! Yes, printed! The rest were hand painted of course and I was so happy with the result. They used the gel paint kind too (one that needed the UV to dry) so they endured perfectly and also took less than an hour to complete my whole hand.
Our flight was at night so I was able to get my nails done during the day. I met up with lune at the airport as and we dropped our luggage together (we did an online check-in) beforehand.
I have a membership that allowed us to enjoy one of the loungers in the airport so we both went in to wait for the flight. It isn’t anything fancy but there’s always a bit of food and drinks for us to enjoy and free wifi!
The food fest has begun! Even before we left BKK! ;D
I, of course, couldn’t help it and enjoyed the food thoroughly xD I enjoyed the noodle so much I got myself a second helping and convinced lune to have some herself too 😉
The flight was at around half past 11pm so I was a bit tired by then. The flight wasn’t full so I moved up to sit with lune (who had 2 free seats next to her) while still having an extra seat between us.
I tried to sleep but I’m not sure how much rest I got. Which was quite odd since I usually have no trouble sleeping/napping on planes (or any kind of moving vehicles). I gave up after some time and thought I should make the most of my window seat (I almost always go for the aisle seat for convenience).
Sunrise from up above.
We were served breakfast on the plane (I think) and I believe I put Zootopia on to keep me company xD (I love that film). We landed at about 8am Osaka time at the Kansai International Airport. It was my first time at this particular airport so it was great to experience that novel experience again (I pretty much know my way around Narita Airport now xD).
After coming out to the arrival zone without much fuss (thank goodness for Japan and its efficiency), we walked to the train station which is right next to the arrival hall. We had already done our research to find out which way was best to travel into Osaka and was about to buy a Yokoso Osaka Ticket when the staff told us that the Nankai limited express rapid train into Osaka was not running at the moment.
After a brief discussion between lune and I, we decided to buy a ticket for another limited train and had to wait for a while for the train to arrive. It was a good thing that the Kansai Airport is a terminal station because so many people came on the closer we got to Osaka.
I think there must had been some sort of problem with the rail and some trains weren’t running because there couldn’t be that many people on one train everyday. I had a high school student half on my lap and he had someone else on his at some point. We were very glad to make it to Namba station…
We went to drop our bags at the hotel in Osaka first before freshening up a bit in the toilet and then headed over to Kyoto. Lune had an extra Suica card (IC card that is mainly used in Tokyo but can be used in all major cities in Japan) so that made life SO MUCH easier when travelling since I didn’t have to buy individual tickets from the machine.
These penguins were there to greet us at the Kyoto JR station.
We arrived in Kyoto after about half an hour train ride (limited train) and I was hungry.
I think this was the restaurant’s special and recommended set.
We had our first proper meal at a soba restaurant at Kyoto station. One of the things I like to enjoy in Japan during summer is the cold soba so I looked up good soba restaurant on the internet (thank goodness for pocket wifi!) and we found one that was in the train station, called Aoi.
After lunch, we hopped on a bus (again, we could used our Suica cards) to go to Kiyomizu dera first. There is a kimono/yukata renting place near the temple as well as a honey shop for lune.
We got off at a stop at the foot of the hill and had to walked up along a road. It was good(?) exercise after lunch I suppose xD But the sun was out and it was really warm. The hill was quite steep towards the top as well so I was panting by the time we made it up.
Entrance to the temple. Look at that clear blue sky. The last time I was here (April 2015) it was grey and wet so this was quite a nice change.
There are two narrow roads leading up to Kiyomizu Dera. the one we walked up wasn’t the main one, there wasn’t a lot of people. In contrast, the main road was buzzing with people and shops. We kept an eye out both for the honey and the kimono shop.
We managed to find the kimono shop first (called Okamoto) and the place is busy with customers (mostly tourists). We chose a yukata set instead of a kimono because that should be less hot to wear in the budding summer ^^” We could pick everything ourselves so it was up to our coordination how the final look would be like.
I browsed through the whole row but still ended up with a pink/purple hue yukata, which I realised later was very similar to the first one I ever wore in Odaiba back in 2011. (That one was a lot less formal though, we wore them at an onsen attraction.)
It actually took a while to change into the yukata. There is a staff for each of us because we wouldn’t be able to put it on properly by ourselves. We also had our hair done too and I was glad that my hair was long enough to be styled.
The only time limit was that we had to get back to the shop by 6pm but it must have been nearly 3pm by the time we were done. So we quickly came out (or, well, as fast as the walking on the wooden sandals permits) and managed to find a taxi in a relatively short time.
Our next destination was the Fushimi Inari shrine. This was my third time in Kyoto but I had yet managed to get to Fushimi Inari shrine. Partly because it was at another JR station (Inari station) and I was always a bit too tired for the last destination and would give up and go back to Osaka instead.
Not this time though. This time, we hired a cab and got there without breaking much of a sweat. xD
It was pricey, the ride, but we were in a yukata and wooden sandals and this way saved us a bit of time too.
And really, it was worth the money once we got there in our yukata and actually attempted to climb up under the thousand torii gates.
It had started raining lightly as we were walking up so we had our umbrellas out.
We did spend at least a good hour or so walking and taking in the scenery. It was beautiful and well worth a visit.
We took a taxi back to Kiyomizu dera again but since we had a bit of time left, we made the most of our yukatas by taking lots of pictures in them around that area xD
After having returned the yukata and changed back into our (more comfortable) clothes, we contemplated where to go to next. Lune had kind of given up on finding her honey shop but I got my mobile out and search for it. It turned out that the shop was on one of my personal favourite areas in Kyoto.
On the same street that goes up to the Kiyomizu Dera, there is a side street you can turn into, where you can eventually walk back down to the main street.
Higashiyama District is beautiful and it’s always made me feel like I was in a different time when I walked down that street. We found lune’s honey shop and went inside for a bit of a rest.
My honey and yuzu drink. Very refreshing and just what I needed.
The rest took a bit longer than expected, but it had started raining quite seriously so we weren’t in quite a hurry. However, the late afternoon slowly turned into the evening so we ventured out and lined up for a bus back to the JR station.
The journey back to Osaka was uneventful and we ended up in Umeda area to find a sports shop for lune’s father and hopefully some dinner xD
Dinner came late though and it was only because we saw a poster advertising for the dish that caught lune’s eyes.
Focaccia pizza toast with soup and pickle. I really, really liked the pickle.
It was tasty though and gave me a bit of a boost in energy as we hunt for dessert xD
Before going to Japan this time, both of us did a bit of research regarding places to eat. Pablo has made it on the list for numerous reasons, but mainly because both lune and I love cheese.
Now, we read that there was a special dish in Pablo in Osaka only where. A takoyaki cheese tart! Of course we had to try it out! So even though it was nearly 9pm and I was absolutely exhausted and we had a packed day ahead the next day, we went into Pablo for dessert.
We ordered the takoyaki cheese tart and lune wanted to try this cheese tart drink so we ordered that too.
I still couldn’t quite understand how they could combine such savoury and sweet components together but this was why we had to try it!
At last, the dish arrived and we both dug in eagerly.
Looks tastey doesn’t it?
To find out that the ‘takoyaki’ was actually filled with custard and the sauce was chocolate.
But we have already ordered the dish so we might as well try to finish it. I’m not sure if we did finish it or not but at the very least, we dug out every piece of cheese and ate that.
Lune wasn’t so impressed with the cheese tart drink, mainly because it tasted more like a yoghurt than cheese. We thought that may be they got our order wrong since there was a peach/fruit cheese tart drink too…
We ate as much as we could and then made our way back to the hotel.
It wouldn’t be a visit to Osaka without this picture!
Overall, it was a really worthwhile day. We were in Japan, we saw some beautiful sights while wearing yukata and ate good, local food. We are now ready for the next day, USJ!
How much walking we did. Not bad for the first day with less than 4 hours of sleep and wooden sandals!
Now, I must admit, it has been a pain trying to blog this entry. I started at around 3pm and it’s now after 6pm! I think it’s because of my internet but it takes ages for the pictures to be uploaded and the draft wouldn’t save quite a few times. So I’m not sure when I’ll get around to the next entry… I will try but there is a reason why the blog is named ‘a professional procrastinator’…
So fingers crossed!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are feeling refreshed for tomorrow!
I would like to end this entry with this picture. Taken by lune on her camera, thank you!
PS – we went to Trivia at Rebel Rebel yesterday. So. Much. Fun. The best one I think because dancing broke out before the final score was announced! xD We then went to Party Pier after and danced some more 🙂
PPS – I’ve started the 5:2 diet once more but will try to do some exercise along side it too… It’s not so bad doing it on a Sunday but Wednesday is really going to be tough…