Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Travel log Nov 2013: Trip to Japan. First stop Osaka.

Time to update on my recent Japan trip to Osaka, Kyoto and Kyushu. Let's hope I have the energy to complete it since I havent even got started on my travel to Jeju that was in July!!! Looking at the load of pictures and my massive headache begins already.

Initially the plan was only to head to Kyushu but I had trouble to book the ryokans that I wanted and so my man decided to just book a place in Osaka as our springboard to Kyoto. However as luck would have it, we managed to get available ryokans elsewhere and so it became a city-prefecture hopping trip instead of just holing up in Kyoto alone. That made me happy since I had already been to Osaka and Kyoto previously and frankly not my cup of tea. Osaka is just boring and Kyoto is just Old.....

The flights to Osaka in Nov was pretty much booked out by late September. Talk about CRAZY. That's how much Hong Kongers love Japan. That's how frequent they travel to Japan. For Hong Kong, Japan is our backyard playground. Kinda like how Singaporeans love to flock to JB. So we had to depart on Fri instead of sat since that was the only flight we could board for 10.30am.

Since my man has the Cathay diamond FF (yes that's how much they made him fly for work..poor chap), we headed to the sit in lounge that morn since the business class lounge noodle bar hasnt started serving that early. Apart from cooked fresh eggs orders, even soy bean drink is being foamed here. Funny!
Sit-in First class lounge 

My frothy soybean drink!
Beautiful morning before we set off.

You guys have NO FREAKING IDEA how much prep work I did for this trip.
I'm serious.

It wasnt just a let's go on holiday pack up and go trip. I basically labor over every details a month ahead, plan each day to the hour and figure out transportation, estimated cost and travel time, dining places, driving sighting seeing spots in Kyushu, calculate time and distance travelled to fit in various spots etc. As we didnt know if we can get a English navi for our rental car, I had to try to google how to read some of the places that are in Kanji. It was PAINFUL, anally painful.

My eyes were tearing and popping out just from visiting the various Japanese websites, google maps,getting advice about train tickets from various sources etc, Japanese navi maps, getting mapcodes etc. It was stressful I'm telling u. One would have thought I'm taking a tour group instead of just my husband alone! lol
Just to give an idea of some of the sites visited....

Still, it was worth it.
EVERY Hour and minute prepping for the trip made the holiday a breeze and we both had a good time.

15th Nov

When we landed in Osaka, I decided to forgo the train and took the limousine bus instead. Yeah time to put my Japanese into good use. It was alittle nerve racking since I havent used Japanese since I quit school since July. so i'm kinda 4 months rusty but I did alrite though my tenses and grammar was all over the place. Sigh. Some Japanese I had spoken to, it was easy to understand them but some, I simply couldnt catch them. It could be the same content but I think it has to do with the speed or intonation. I'm used to certain Japanese tone and pitch but not some. I am starting to understand why my man commented he cannot understand some Singaporean's English because it sounds incomprehensible to him. It isnt that we use the wrong words, its the way of saying it that makes it difficult to understand when the ear is accustomed to certain words in certain tones. Then again, I'm no expert and I'm not fluent in the Japanese Language to be sure.

Anycase, because we are putting up at Ritz Carlton in Osaka, after speaking to 2 different ladies at the airport. The information counter lady was of no help at all because she didnt know much about the travelling time comparison, she could only tell me how much the train cost but not the bus. I had to walk out of the airport to find the bus ticket counter and asked the lady there for details. The bus lady told me bus was a wiser option as it brings us closer to hotel with less walk.

For me, less walk is good because it means less navigation. With no wifi and access to google map, I hate to lug my luggage around an unfamiliar city.

Another advantage of the bus, we get to see the sunset in Osaka! It's like a preview to the city!

So once I got the instructions and bus stop number from the lady, I bought our bus ticket 1500yen per pax and was ready to head off! Def slightly more expensive than if we take the train but I didnt regret this option. There was also another HK family who was staying at Ritz who did the same, and this wasnt their first trip. In terms of time, it was almost the same but the bus was slightly faster by about 10mins than via train. If i include the lesser walking than if we had taken the train, then, the extra yen was worth every yen.

A beautiful eve as we were on way to our hotel.

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