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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Day 4 & 5 of 9 in Japan: Dotonbori shopping, Osaka Amazing Pass, Osaka Castle, Cruise Ship Santa Maria Day, Tempozan Ferris Wheel

It was time for us to check out of our wonderful Kyoto airbnb apartment. Kyoto is a city with tons of magnificent attractions - I will definitely visit Kyoto again! Till next time...

As mentioned previously on Day 2 travelogue post, travelling between Kyoto and Osaka is not difficult to manoeuvre around. Simply take train from Kyoto station to Osaka station via JR Kyoto Line. More details can be found here.

We stayed at Mue's apartment in Osaka and her apartment is around 15 minutes walk from Namba station (Nankai Line exit). We spent around 1 hour to reach her house as I did not know which Exit should we head to even though she provided a direction guide with images... Just be sure to look for Nankai exit or Exit 5. So thankful that the weather is not too warm.


Remember to stock up Lycee eyedrop if you are a fan of this! 548yen before tax is meant for contacts and the other is the original version.


Had a quick lunch amidst travelling

It was quite exhausting for us to change airbnb apartment thrice and we decided to explore Dotonbori at night since it is within 20 minutes walk form our apartment. Oh my God I fell in love with Dotonbori - you can find awesome food, shopping and MORE food there! The entire area is still very crowded after 8pm. However, do note that the shops will start to close after 10pm... I'm gonna summarize Dotonbori by uploading photos. 

P.S. we visited Dotonbori almost every night, so I'm going to combine all the photos in this post for easy reference.



I love this street the most! Spot forever21 😍

Dotonbori's river


Not sure if it's just me but I don't really like eating Takoyaki in Osaka...

Because their Gyoza, sushi and crab meat ARE WAYYYYYYYYY BETTER!!!

Bro went crazy over Jap beef and we still feel that the one we had in Kyoto is more tender!

This plate cost us about 2000-2500 yen. 
I love their onion hidden beneath that kobe beef 😆

Bought this strawberry + banana crepe right behind Kobe beef shop.
Not recommended as I can easily find this crepe in Singapore as well....




Bought these 3 items from the crab shop (you can NEVER miss out their large 3D crab sign) and it is awesome!

Please note that the food will be sold out by 7pm?? We went at 8pm and the store located right at the entrance is closed. You may still consume their crab by dining in but the price is.... quite steep 😲 Hence, I would recommend you to flock to the crab shop - watch out for the mini counter selling crab meat, siew mai and many more by 6pm.


If you walk along the street (forever21 that area), you should be able to spot this Dessert cafe signboard. 


This Taiyaki is the bomb. The one sold at Takashimaya food hall SUCKS BIG TIME. They are selling for 200yen ONLY. Although it is quite expensive to some, YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS ONCE.


Look at the goodness Taiyaki. The texture is like our local Roti Prata with brown sugar. It is very crunchy and I could never forget the taste. I love it, I would definitely buy it everytime I pass by Dotonbori. Highly recommended to all tourists!

We purchased the Osaka Amazing Pass the next day from Klook for S$41 per person for 2 days usage.
The package includes:
  • Unlimited travel on Osaka Municipal subway and Osaka City Bus
  • Enjoy complimentary entry to selected attractions
  • Enjoy discounted rates at selected attractions
More information can be found here: https://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/about/about_2day.html


I would strongly recommend to get this Amazing pass if you are a first-timer in Osaka. You get free transport along Osaka Municipal subway (those colourful lines as shown in Osaka train map) and free entrance to popular places leh!

The only downside is that you are limited to 2 days usage.

For those who are interested to sign up with Klook for free, please click on my referral code to get S$4.30 off your first purchase: https://www.klook.com/invite/9EO59 .

Osaka castle is located at near Morinomiya station. Don't worry about getting lost as there are signage to direct you to the castle entrance.

 NICE HOR?




Took an artistic shot for Mum using Samsung S7, not bad hor?

It is going to be difficult to get a good shot here... I give up 😅

Thanks to the Amazing pass, we get to explore Osaka Castle museum, Nishinomaru Garden for free! 

Next up, we decided to tour around Osakako around - their famous Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Tempozan Ferris Wheel and Cruise Ship Santa Maria. Simply alight at Osakako station (Chuo Line) and follow the signage to Aquarium.

Spotted these gorgeous flowers along the main street! SO COLOURFUL 💜


For the cruise experience, please keep a lookout for the departure timings on that specific day. More details can also be found at the Osaka Amazing Pass website.

The wind is crazy as you get to tour around the island from the sea. So glad that this unique experience is made possible with the Amazing pass. However, I would not recommend to pay just to get onto this cruise as it can be quite boring.

Boarded the Tempozan Ferris Wheel together with Aunt and Dad located right beside the cruise area. You can never miss that Ferris wheel as well! They will explain the current view you can see in english and I enjoyed the ride very much, excluding my height phobia 😱

Forced to take a photo oh my...

It was definitely a fruitful day spent with all the awesome perks as an Amazing pass holder and I look forward to Day 2!

Check out Day 1 & 2 in Japan here
Check out Day 3 in Japan here

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Day 3 of 9 in Japan: Kyoto Kimono Rental Wargo, Fushimi Inari-taisha (Orange Bamboo), Nijio Castle, Machiya Restaurant

I could never forget that wonderful feeling when I woke up in Kyoto's airbnb... I'm yearning for another vacation trip soon!

It was our 2nd day in Kyoto and we decided to rent Kimono for the day. Chance upon Kyoto Kimono Rental (Wargo) and decided to book our Kimono set online at a cheaper price.

How to purchase from Kyoto Kimono Rental online prior to your trip

1. Visit their website here - https://kyotokimono-rental.com/en/

Before you check their price plans, please watch out for any ongoing promotion on their homepage! I took advantage of their previous promotion and the details are as follows:
  • Premium Kimono Plan (Women)* for 3,900yen
  • Plan for Men for 2,900yen
*Plan includes the following: Kimono, Underwear for Kimono, Obi, Bag, Japanese Sandal, Kanzashi (hair piece)

I opted for the additional hair service for 900yen! There's only 1 choice for men so their selection is uninteresting.. I shall not elaborate further on that aspect as they do not have standard/premium/high-end/brand classification unlike women. For your information, the premium plan that I chose is the 2nd cheapest option.

They also have the option of pre-booking the Kimono design online or you may choose the Kimono at their physical shop. I chose the latter as their online design is not appealing enough. 

Please also note that upon selecting the plans online, you have to indicate your height range as well 😆 All of us are not tall enough la so we choose the lowest range. Ok actually they only have 2 range for you to choose...

2. Select the preferred outlet and timing

Wargo Kimono Rental has more than 10 branches all over Japan. Take your time to do research on every outlet as your residing area and the intended places of interest to visit varies. For my case, I chose the Kyoto station outlet as it is very convenient to move around the temples and castles. 

As for the timing, you might want to choose the early slots in order to maximise the time spent outside. You have to return your Kimono and other accessories to the same shop 1 or 2 hours before the closing time. However, if you choose the earliest timing (9.00am), there will be an additional surcharge. I chose the 10.00am slot at no surcharge but the shop was quite crowded at that timing... haha

3. Make your payment and print out your email confirmation

They also provide additional services i.e. Photoshoot and accessories at a price but we did not proceed with any. Hence, I'm unable to give a review regarding this. 


The overview of the shop
Spot the selection of Japanese Sandals, bags, scarf and Kimono selection!

"Walk-in" wardrobe classified according to standard, premium and high-end!
They do provide recycling bag at the bottom left-hand corner without any charge

Umbrellas available for rent

Bags selection 
Do note that they will indicate the range of bags available according to the plan you've purchased.

Hair services right behind the wardrobe area!

4. Getting ready for your exclusive Kimono rental experience

You gotta remove your shoes upon entering the shop. They will provide 1 recycling bag per pax (as explained above) to keep your personal belongings with a locker attached to it. You are required to sign an indemnity form and a fee will be imposed should you lose the locker key.

Here are some tips which I've learnt and could be beneficial to those who have not tried Kimono rental service:
  • Dress as light as possible - strongly discourage jeans
  • Try not to wear socks as they provide Japanese Tabi socks - a separation between the big toe and other toes
  • Try not to bring too many loose items
  • Try not to bring along bulky items
  • Don't bother to style your hair (if you're opting for hair services)
  • Apply an adequate amount of makeup as the bag may not be huge enough for your cosmetics
This was my first experience and the naive me thought that wearing a Kimono is just like an outerwear - I'm terribly wrong and hopefully you won't make the same mistake like I did. 😛

Firstly, you are required to put on the underwear for Kimono (a thin white blouse) with your undies on ONLY. It was a culture shock for 3 of us as we had to remove our shirt, including our Bra okay lololol. I wore my jeans and I had such a tough time undressing!!! 

Secondly, the service attendant will put on the Kimono and Obi for you - just stand still and let them do the work.

After you've donned the Kimono with Obi, you'll proceed with the additional service if applicable. Otherwise, you may select your bag/Japanese sandals and you are good to go!

P.S. I had a difficult time walking along the streets with the Kimono as you can't walk in big steps. Time to be a demure woman again... 😁

I think we look Kawaii here HAHAHA 🙊

Our first destination is Fushimi Inari-taisha aka Orange bamboo shrine. We took the train from Kyoto station to Inari station (JR Nara Line). I remember that there 2 platforms for JR Nara Line and we almost took the wrong train as the train is not stopping at Inari station 😱 Please check with the friendly security guard or just follow the huge crowd if you're too shy to seek help.

Once you've reached Inari station, you can NEVER get lost on your way to Fushimi Inari-taisha as the entrance is smacked right opposite the station!


They do not have an entrance fee so feel free to roam around the shrine at your own pace!




Monkey see Monkey do - just rinse your hands at the purification fountain near the shrine's entrance!

 They have a food street right beside the shrine - MY FAVOURITE CHICKEN KARAAGE!!!

I can't stop eating in Japan leh how? LOL

Look at the gorgeous cherry blossom beside the lake!!!

Everything is just too insta-worthy in Kyoto, especially during the cherry blossom season.

Asked for directions from a local and he offered to take a group shot for us!
Another passer-by stopped and spoke in Japanese that we look like Japanese, especially ME
Totally not kidding ah, that's what the local translated her words to us HAHAHA 😇

From JR Nara Line, we transferred to Tozai Line and alighted at Nijiojo-mae station. I was quite reluctant to enter Nijio castle as there is an entrance fee of 600yen per pax. However, I guess luck is on our side as the guard ushered us to the entrance point without any entrance ticket leh! My dad used his body language to communicate with him and somewhat figured out that we can enter the castle for free if you are donning a Kimono/Yukata. WOOHOO I was jumping for joy as I didn't want to pay for the entrance fee.


Weather is so cooling, I'll snap snap snap away whenever i see cherry blossom~

Acting cute with Daddy 😜

Romantic hor? Thanks to me ahhhh

After visiting the castle, we returned our Kimono and the process was hassle-free. Never felt so carefree as the Obi needs to be tight around my waist 😅 #WoesOfAFatty

Had our Dinner at Machiya Restaurant located at Kyoto station underground then headed to Gion-shijo for a short night walk before we call it a day!

Spoilt for choices sia

Settled down at Machiya and no regrets!!

Perfect for Okonomiyaki lovers!



Sorry not sorry as I was too famished and only took 2 photos before digging in. Oishii~ and affordable as compared to Singapore's Okonomiyaki leh.

We couldn't spot a real Geisha around Gion so we call it a day and had family bonding in the airbnb apartment. How I wish it would happen again... 🙋

Check out Day 1 & 2 in Japan here