Osaka - Kyoto 1 : Post-Japan in Words


The reason I was unavailable for the past 2 weeks was because I went to Japan (again), this time to Osaka - Kyoto - Nara. This can be counted as my third Japan trip, if I exclude the time when I was growing up in the country : I grew up in Hokkaido, I visited Fukuoka for a student exchange program in 2000, I visited Tokyo with Af in 2015.


Why Japan, again?
I actually went to Singapore and Indonesia last year, the feeling wasn't as much exciting as we hoped it would be. We are already in love with Japan since our previous escapism so going to a place that I know we'll surely love is fair for both of us. We did gave a chance to travel to other countries during the gap between Tokyo and this trip.

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Pre-planning :
We planned since early 2016 - after a discussion with my family, and we booked the flight ticket on July 2016, so it was a long-awaited trip for all of us =.=' I gave such a long gap so everyone can collect money for the family trip. Airbnb apartment were booked in early 2017, around 3 months before our flight date.

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Differences between this trip and the Tokiyo trip :
  • This was a semi-family trip, because Ma was complaining about our trip to Tokyo - that I didn't let her tag along. So this time I did asked everyone to follow us on our Japan trip, but they had a 9-days trip with us while we extended to 14-days. Family trip is different than our usual travel escapisms.
  • We went to Tokyo during a transition to Autumn, so it was a bit rainy and the weather was breezy nice - *the big flood in different prefecture was alarmingly scary though. In this trip, it was a transition from winter to spring, so it was cold. Most days was below 10ยบc , some places were icy-windy. I don't like winter, never did.
  • I brought more money in this trip because we were staying longer than before. In the Tokyo trip, I spent around RM 1,000 during our stay - each day was recorded. In this trip, it's hard to keep track money especially if you are bringing your family members along and 'belanja2'ing others. So I spent around RM 1,500 in this trip but I can't really put in detail like I did before.  
  • I doodled in my book almost every day : on things we did, places we went and foods we ate. Compared to my previous trip in which I didn't do the drawing straight away, this time I followed my Bromo & Beijing trip. It is way easier to make a travelogue when you already have something fresh doodled in your book as a record.
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How much we walked?
If you are an iPhone user, there's a feature in Health that you can use to track your steps automatically without turning on any app. It is just there, tracking your steps and that's my favorite free embedded feature in iPhone :D By clicking on the app : Health > Activity, you can see how much we walk + run for the day, and how many steps we took. So that's how I keep track of my walking distance in Japan.
  • 27/2 : 6.5 km ( Arrival day )
  • 28/2 : 12.4 km ( to Kyoto )
  • 1/3 : 8.3 km ( to Tennoji Zoo & Shiseiki Alley )
  • 2/3 : 11.7 km ( Exploring Osaka )
  • 3/3 : 8.8 km ( Exploring Osaka )
  • 4/3 : 10.2 km ( A day with Ishijima Sensei & Dotonbori )
  • 5/3 : 5.3 km ( Rest-day & Dotonbori Street )
  • 6/3 : 11 km ( to Nishiki Market & Fushimi Inari, Kyoto )
  • 7/3 : 7.7 km ( Check-out, Namba Walk, and check-in )
  • 8/3 : 10.4 km ( to Nara )
  • 9/3 : 11.1 km ( to Expo City, Bampaku-Koen )
  • 10/3 : 11.1 km ( to Kyoto )
  • 11/3 : 8.7 km ( Check-out day & Namba )
  • 12/3 : 3.9 km ( Departure day )
  • Total : 123 km, not counting the last day.
Many days in Osaka, 3 days in Kyoto and 1 day in Nara. 

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Return flight ticket :
Like I mentioned above, we bought the ticket over half a year before during Airasia promotion including chosen seat and insurance. The flight was over 7 hours and I didn't bring books - can you imagine that?

Money : RM 794 each person

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Accommodation :
We booked for 2 apartments - 1 with the whole family, and another 1 after the whole family went back home to Malaysia, so we searched for a smaller place to stay.
Airbnb 1 : Namba apartment (wifi) : RM 272 per person, total was RM 1908 for 8 nights
Airbnb 2 : Sembayashi Loft (wifi + bicycle) : RM 229 per person, total was RM 457 for 4 nights

Total : RM 500 per person for 14-days trip (last day were spent sleeping at the airport)

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Camera :
Oh, I finally upgraded. Remember I used to use the iPhone 4S since 2011 and it was slowly dying - I suffered the phone's weak battery, frequent blackouts and so many issues. Before the trip, I went to the bank and took out my savings to buy a new iPhone SE. I did consider to buy other than Apple product though, for so many months, it was almost become a joke between us. But a love is still a love, I'm an Apple user, I'll know I won't feel the same as before if I change to other devices. So I bought it and I'm super happy with my decision now (as I look back to the moment when I was deciding). This is the only device I used to take photos, nice ones, if you agree with my Instagram posts :D I brought along my Lumix but didn't even use it. 

So, one device it is : iPhone SE.

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Useful stuffs :
  • Learn about their tourist passes offer because they are super convenient and a super value for money. There are so many passes to buy from the Tourist Information Center at the airport (be ready for a long queue) or in Shinsaibashi if you are already in the city. Read here for the passes we bought.
  • Know your budget. My budget was RM 1,500 but I brought RM 2,000 for emergency usage. We activated the debit card use outside of the country (just in case). 
  • Halal foods 101 : take the pamphlet at the airport (with all reachable listed restaurant in Kansai area), OkashiChecker to check ingredients in kombini foods (especially snacks and chocolates - hope they will add more into their database when I visit Japan again), Citymaps to download offline maps of the cities I wanted to travel to (and they have Halal food spots!).
  • I always use Airbnb to book apartments online - never tried hotels or backpackers hostel, just affordable small apartment to live in a house like a local, cook, and free bicycle (+pocket wifi).
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People :
We are just a bit too reserved to mingle around with other travelers or even locals, can't seem to grab the idea of being friendly whenever I travel just because I was travelling - we are both introverts and aren't good with new people. So I don't mind being quiet because we are quiet-beings whenever we are with strangers. Not like unfriendly-kind-of-way, just quiet and won't simply chat with random people without any strong reason. Just pure introverts by heart. So not chatting with people all through our travels doesn't seem odd, because we just don't do it here, ditto anywhere else.

Japan is a great place to feel isolated and we can get the quietness we longed for because they are as reserved as most introverts. Plus, all introverts love other introverts - they give the right amount of space :D 

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Note :
It will going to be a super long series like my previous Tokiyo Trip - because I'm detailed as that :D But I will also post other stuffs as well alongside of the escapism stories. Hopefully this written travelogue will help any first-timers/planners that are planning on going to Japan soon.

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