From Tokyo to Kyoto – II

After a 3-hour ride on the comforts of the Shinkansen from Tokyo, we finally arrived at Osaka Station. The first thing that we needed to do upon arrival would be to have one of our largest luggages delivered to the hotel closer to the Kansai International Airport where we’d stay the night before our journey home, while we would be staying at Namba, near Shin-saibashi, Osaka’s shopping district.

Once we’ve checked in at Hotel Hillarys and freshened up, we decided to explore Namba and Shin-saibashi. We did try the Japanese curry rice at one of the roadside stalls even though we weren’t really hungry (we were lured by the nice aroma). Freshly made by our chef, we were served a big plate of the Kare Rice with tonkatsu that took both of us to finish.

Both sides of the street on Shin-saibashi are filled with all kinds of shops, from well-known fashion chain like H&M, Uniqlo or local brands, as well as local and international food and snacks. Along the way, we’ve found one of the more distinct stores, called Crepe Ojisan, which, obviously serves some of the more interesting crepes. As a crepe lover, I couldn’t pass this opportunity up. So we’ve ordered ourselves one of the original chocolate banana crepe. Yummy!

Note that Japanese don’t eat while walking, so we finished our crepe before continuing with our shopping down Shin-saibashi.

From Ojisan’s Crepe, we crossed the street and found a canal running through the city. Along the way, there were people hanging and chilling. It was a pleasant addition to any city around the world as this “water park” actually breathes lives to the people. In addition, we could get some beautiful sunset here too.

One of the attractions for many Thais (or other tourists) would be the giant Glico neon sign along the canal (we’ve seen countless posts on this one across the web). We didn’t really pose with it, though we were observing people who actually did it. So if you come across anything interesting poses with this sign, send them our way and we’ll repost them here.

It was quite late when we were done with our shopping in Shin-saibashi, and we headed back to the hotel as we had an early train to catch the morning after to Kyoto.

We checked out rather early to the empty streets, headed to Kyoto on the JR train with our remaining luggages, which we’d put in the large coin locker at the Kyoto Station and headed to enjoy the old capital.

It took us around 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto Station, and it wasn’t difficult to get ourselves the day-pass bus ticket that would take us to all the major temples and attractions in Kyoto. The only matter would be whether you have time to visit all of those impressive temples.

Our first stop was the Kinkakuji Temple, or the Golden Pavilion. While I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d enjoy the visits to temples, Kinkakuji would be one that I’d love to go back. The impressive golden pavilion is beautiful and picturesque.

We were really enjoying Kinkakuji, and absorbing its history that it took us longer than expected, and it was already 1 in the afternoon when we left. As we were heading to our 2nd destination, we ran into an Udon place for lunch. Though we couldn’t recall the name, it was near the bus stop in front of Kinkakuji and we recommend that you check it out. The Udon was unlike I’ve tried before and tasted very good.

Next stop, Kiyomizu-dera or the Water Temple as many people called it.

From the bus stop, you’ll need to walk up the steep slope towards the temple. Again, you could find many stores selling souvenirs along the way. The main hall at Kiyomizu-dera was built on tall pillars that support it off the cliff. This has given it some of the most spectacular view of Kyoto. With many sights to see within the temple compound, we spent our last few hours in Kyoto here even though we wished to go to more sights. Hopefully we can catch more of that during our future trips to Japan.

As night approached, we got on the bus that took us to the Kyoto Station, heading back to Osaka, though this time to the Kanku Hineno, the hotel close to Kansai International Airport that we would stay before departure. While there was some incidents during our trip back to the hotel, we’ve found that traveling in and around Japan isn’t that difficult with the fact that most transportations will have English subtitled.

So the next time you want to plan a trip to Japan, don’t hesitate. Pack up and go. We love it!