Experience Japan: 6D6N in Kansai

After months of procrastinating, I’m finally posting this article. This will be a continuation of my ‘What Tokyo So Long‘ post.

If you haven’t read about my 11-day trip to Japan, I mentioned that we also included Kansai in our itinerary. The Kansai region (関西地方 Kansai-chihō), also known as Kinki region (近畿地方 Kinki-chihō) lies in the southern-central part of Japan’s main island. Kansai includes the prefectures of Mie, Nara, Hyogo, Wakayama, Kyoto, Shiga, and Osaka.

The most populated and more known prefectures in Kansai, next to Tokyo, are the urban regions of Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto which is also referred to as the Keihanshin region.

After roaming around Tokyo and seeing Mt. Fuji, we transferred to Kansai. Our base was in Osaka. We booked an Airbnb in Tennoji. Since we already had JR Passes, it was easier for us to transfer to different prefectures. We did not have to pay train/metro fares everyday since our JR Pass covered most of the spots in our itinerary.

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Here’s how we spent 6 days in Kansai region…

Just a quick background, when I made the itinerary, I intentionally mixed our destinations in the hopes to avoid large crowds. I only suggest doing this if you have a JR Pass.


DAY 0 – Thursday (Osaka)

Transfer from Tokyo to Osaka

We took the 7 PM Shinkansen trip from Shinagawa to Shin-Osaka. We arrived in Osaka around 9:30 PM. After arriving in Shin-Osaka we transferred to another train heading to Tennoji Station.

Upon reaching Tennoji, it took us more than an hour to figure out which apartment was ours because our host gave us the wrong door number. At least our host replied even it was so late at night. We then called it a night.


DAY 1 – Friday (Kyoto)

  • Arashimaya Temples & Bamboo Grove
  • Otsuka Steak
  • Kinkaku-ji: Temple of the Golden Pavilion
  • Gion District

From Tennoji, you can catch a train going directly to Kyoto. We stopped in Kyoto and transferred to another train heading to Arashimaya. It was a really cold morning. We started our day a bit late. When we arrived in Arashimaya it was already 9 in the morning and the place was starting to get really crowded.

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After strolling in Arashimaya, we reserved a table in Otsuka. It took more than an hour to be seated. If you’re really hungry, you might consider dining someplace else. We were already fixed with the restaurant since we really wanted to try their steak. All I can say is: it’s worth the wait!

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After Arashimaya, we rode the train to Kyoto Station and took a Kyoto City Bus going to Kinkakuji Temple. Admission fee costs 400 JPY (around 200 PHP or 5 USD). Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto. It was one of the best temples I’ve seen with its top floors covered in gold. When we got there, the place was full of people. But don’t fret, you can still get a good shot of the temple.

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We decided to go to Gion after visiting Kinkakuji. We rode another bus going to Gion. We just strolled around the area, enjoying the cold breeze. We went to Hohei to have dinner. It was the best Gyoza I’ve tried my entire life! Ha! After dinner, we continued to walk around Gion. My friends bought their Matcha fix and I bought my Mochi fix.

food5 From Gion, we rode the bus going to Kyoto Station and went back to Osaka.


DAY 2 – Saturday (Kobe)

  • Kobe Nikusho Ichiya
  • Noevir Stadium
  • Kobe Harbourland
  • Dotonbori

This day was more relaxing than the rest of our days in Kansai. Of course, we had been on the move for six (6) days already and those days were really packed. We had to recuperate.

We started our day late. We left Osaka at 9 AM. We reached Kobe around 11 AM, just in time for lunch. I researched about good Kobe beef restaurants and found Nikusho Ichiya. The restaurant is located a few blocks away from JR Nanba station. We tried the famous Kobe beef and black beef. It was superb! We spent almost 4000 YEN per person but it was really worth it.

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When my partner and I knew about a football game happening in Kobe, we really wanted to watch. But of course, we have to ask our buddies about it. When they agreed to go with us, we checked the website and the tickets were sold out. We still went to the stadium in the hopes to find onsite tickets but they were really sold out. We stayed for a bit outside the stadium checking out the athletes’ merchandise and also hoping to catch a glimpse of Andrés Iniesta. AND WE DID! AAAAHH! I was so happy even if I wasn’t able to see the entire game.

After Noevir stadium, we transferred to Kobe Harbourland. We did nothing but chill, eat, and roam around. As I said, it was a more relaxing day than the rest of the days.

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We went back to Osaka and grabbed something to eat in Dotonbori. We strolled and ‘shopped’ before going home to our Airbnb.


DAY 3 – Sunday (Osaka)

  • Osaka Castle
  • Umeda Building
  • Ganko Kaitenzushi
  • Kuromon Ichiba Market
  • Elk Pancake
  • Orange Street
  • Dotonbori

We were expecting weekends to be packed that’s why I intentionally scheduled visiting USJ on a weekday (Ha!). We wanted our Sunday to be relaxed as well. We visited Osaka Castle and saw the Umeda building in the morning. We had lunch at Ganko Kaitnezushi, a conveyor sushi restaurant located near Osaka station.

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Afterward, we went to Kuromon Ichiba Market, also known as “Osaka’s kitchen”. Local homeowners and restaurant chefs get their supplies in Kurumon. It has become a popular destination for tourists because of its fresh seafood. But since we already visited Tsukiji in Tokyo, we weren’t really impressed with the selections in Kuromon. We bought our pasalubongs there though.

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After Kuromon, we just walked towards Dotonbori. We had the rest of the day exploring the area. If you’re part of the Gucci gang, Champion group, etc, you should drop by the Orange Street. We had our snack/coffee break in Elk Pancake. It was a small and packed cafe. I still prefer Flipper’s’ pancakes. We didn’t miss Daiso in Dotonbori and several shops including Don Quijote.

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DAY 4 – Monday (Kyoto – Nara)

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Kendonya
  • Nara Park
  • Todaji Temple
  • Nakatani-duo Rice Cake Shop
  • Kintetsu Market
  • Matsusakagyu Yakiniku
  • Dotonbori

Technically this was day nine (9) of our trip. It’s understandable if we’re tired, right? We usually wake up 6 AM to prepare but this time, we woke up a little late. We were able to leave Osaka by 8 AM and arrive in Fushimi Inari Taisha around 10 AM.

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After walking and appreciating the numerous torii gates, we explored the food stalls near the entrance and had our lunch in an Udon restaurant called Teuchi-udon Kendonya. The restaurant is close to Fushimi Inari and they take pride in making handmade udon noodles. Delicious, I must say! You should include this restaurant on your food list.

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From Inari, we rode a train going to Nara. You don’t have to transfer to another train, just make sure you ride the right train on the correct platform. We were the only passengers left on our car when we arrived in Nara. We boarded the bus going to Todaji Temple. Just by looking at the window, you can already see several deers roaming around the streets. I guess they’re sacred there, huh?

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Of course, we didn’t miss feeding them. It was a scary experience as some of the deers get very aggressive if you don’t give them food. And if they detect that you have food inside your bag, they will really barge on you.

After visiting Nara Park and Todaji temple, we walked about three (3) kilometers towards Nakatani-duo Rice Cake Shop. I know, we could have taken a bus. But we had plenty of time plus the experience is different when you walk. We got to Nakatani-duo hoping we can catch the fastest Mochi maker but he wasn’t there… We still bought his mochi so we could try them. We then explored Kintetsu Market which is just across the mochi shop.

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We ended our day in Dotonbori, again. We had a reservation in Matsusakagyu Yakiniku. We were supposed to have this for our last night in Osaka but we couldn’t wait. It was my best Japanese meal and the most expensive one. BUT NO REGRETS! It’s very worth it! We got the course meal, added 2 premium types of meat, and drank sake! Kanpai! We spent almost 6,000 YEN (Around 3,000 PHP or 58 USD) each. For some, this may not be that expensive yet.

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Matsusaka Beef in Dotonbori! Definitely a must try! You have to reserve a table to eat here.

DAY 5 – Tuesday (Osaka)

  • Universal Studios Japan
  • Dotonbori

DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?

This is one of this trip’s highlights. We were super excited to go to Universal Studios Japan simply because the majority of us were Harry Potter fans. USJ is the only Universal Studios theme park in Asia which houses a Harry Potter World.

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We booked our tickets through Klook. We arrived at the park premises around 8:30 AM. I’ve read lots of reviews and blogs about USJ, the horror of going through the crowd just to get inside the attractions.

When the park opened the first thing we did was go to Harry Potter World. We went in smoothly. The queue lines weren’t long. We were able to try the rides easily. The only key when you visit USJ is to know which rides you want to try to maximise your time.

After Harry Potter World, we explored other parts of the park like Despicable Me, Jurrasic World, etc… My friends enjoyed the rides as much as I enjoyed watching them. I’m no fan of extreme rides, blame my fear of heights and vertigo. Hehe!

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Would you believe I took this photo all by myself? I’ve mastered this art! Ha! Click this photo to know how!

We went back to Harry Potter World at night. You should do it too! It’s another spectacle you should see. We left USJ very happy! It rained so hard though. We waited for the rain to stop before we left USJ. We proceeded to Dotonbori (again) to do last minute ‘shopping’.

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DAY 6 – Wednesday (Osaka)

Tennoji to Kansai International Airport

Our flight back to Manila was scheduled around 11 AM. We left Tennoji around 8 AM. That was my first time riding a train bound for 2 destinations. The train uncoupled at a certain stop.

Tip: Be sure you ride the correct car!

We had our brunch at the airport while waiting for our flight.

Our #JaFUN trip was one for the books, indeed! It was an eventful and memorable trip. And you Kansai no when it’ll call you again! (Get it?)

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#JaFUNtastic squad!

DAILY EXPENSES

DAY 0 (Transfer to Osaka)

Free – c/o JR Pass


DAY 1

¥225 Strawberry Mochi 450/2

¥334 Sweet Potato

¥2,200 Otsuki

¥134 Souvenir 400/3

¥770 Hoehei Gyoza

¥480 Sweet Potato and Sakura Mochi

¥108 FamilyMart

Total: ¥4,251 = ₱1,997.97

(Exchange Rate as of Nov 26, 2018 ¥1 = ₱0.47)


DAY 2

¥2,400 Nishuko Ichiya

¥2,000 Iniesta Merchandise

¥385 Calbee 770/2

¥139 Cheesecake 695/5

¥500 Takoyaki

¥220 Sesame Mochi

¥956 Daiso Haul

Total: ¥6,600 = ₱3,102.00

(Exchange Rate as of Nov 26, 2018 ¥1 = ₱0.47)


DAY 3

¥754 Kaitenzushi Ganko

¥183 Pablo 915/5

¥248 Choco Cheese Tart

¥284 Traditional Mochi 568/2

¥250 Mochi 500/2

¥1,400 Shiroi Koibito

¥900 Royce Chocolates

¥850 Royce Chips

¥350 Strawberry 700/2

¥875 Elk Cafe

¥120 Choco Pie

¥1,118 Daiso Haul

¥522 Muji

Total: ¥7,854 = ₱3,691.38

(Exchange Rate as of Nov 26, 2018 ¥1 = ₱0.47)


DAY 4

¥850 Kendonya Udon

¥167 Grape Fruit 500/3

¥30 Inari Senbei 120/4

¥150 Taiyaki Honpo

¥210 Bus to Todaiji

¥150 Food for Deer

¥324 Souvenir

¥210 Bus to Nara Station

¥6,385 Matsusakagyu Yakiniku

¥278 Ippudo Instant Noodles

¥310 D. Kelly Shopping

Total: ¥9,064 = ₱4,260.08

(Exchange Rate as of Nov 26, 2018 ¥1 = ₱0.47)


DAY 5

¥308 7/11

¥500 USJ Potato Chips

¥1,100 USJ Butterbeer

¥250 USJ IceCream 750/3

¥639 KitKat Packs

¥2,827 Don Quijote Haul

¥713 FamilyMart Haul

Total: ¥6,337 = ₱2,978.39

(Exchange Rate as of Nov 26, 2018 ¥1 = ₱0.47)


Day 6

¥1,060 Airport Train

¥130 Fanta Grape

¥328 FamilyMart

Total: ¥1,518 = ₱713.46

(Exchange Rate as of Nov 26, 2018 ¥1 = ₱0.47)

TOTAL: 16,743.28 PHP

Not bad, right?


I hope this will spark your interest in Japan and convince you to book your tix! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Feel free to leave comments or message via e-mail if you have any questions. If you like this article and want to see or know more about my #JaFUN trip, or other trips and tips, follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

xo,

dee signature text

JAPAN TRAVEL QUICK LINKS

11 Days in Japan With ₱30K Pocket Money

What Tokyo So Long?

A Day Trip to Yamanashi Prefecture

Experience Japan: 6D6N in Kansai

What You Should Know Before Applying for a Japan Visa

Quick Tips When Visiting Japan

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