Osaka: Kuromon Ichiba Market (黒門市場)
Must-go for seafood lover (me)...fresh scallops, giant squids, oysters, sashimi and more...fruits and beefs are plenty too.
Nearest train station: Nipponbashi St.
Tips: stay near this area if food is your thing 😉. Go in the morning or lunchtime as the stalls close around 4-5pm.
Osaka: Dotonbori (道頓堀)
Another great food heaven..plus shopping. 5-10 min walk from Kuromon market/ Nipponbashi St. We had the coolest dinning experience here at Kinryu Ramen (金龍ラーメン). No chairs provided, so we stood rubbing shoulders with the locals and tourists eating one of our favorite ramen in Osaka. Must try the free-flow kimuchi and scallions - really good👍! We saw at least 2 Kinryu Ramen in Dotonbori, one of them provide tables & chairs...but go for the chair-less one, just for fun.
Next is shopping, walk in any pharmacy with the word ”薬局” or just "薬" if cosmetics is in your list 😉. Ours are LION's 休足时间 and Kanebo's Suisai Beauty Clear Powder.
Oh yes, look for Pablo Cheesetart too, highly recommended by my colleagues...we missed that, too much food and had to surrender 😄.
Well, we did make a detour to Nara...which imho, should only be done if you are staying more than a day in Osaka. Many deers roaming freely here around the Nara Park and Tōdai-ji (東大寺）...and they are extremely friendly, more so if they knew you have FOOD!
Transport: To get to Nara, you could take the Kintetsu-Nara Line if you are not using JR Pass. If you are, then take the Osaka Loop Line from Shin-Imamiya St. (transfer at Tennoji St). The journey is about an hour from Osaka. Kintetsu Nara Line stops at the Kintetsu-Nara St. which is nearer to Tōdai-ji. JR train stops at Nara St. which is quite a distance away...walkable, but you could also hop on the bus.
Kyoto: Arashiyama's Bamboo Forest
Very crowded but we managed to find a quiet spot for this shooting.
Look out for the rickshaw hunks along the street
Found this little cozy cafe after the bamboo path to satisfy our caffein addiction Piece Hostel Kyoto: highly recommended stay -very clean, complete facilities (love the powder room 😍), friendly staffs, walking distance from Kyoto St. and affordable.
JP Scenic route along the JR Hida Line. Shirakawa-go: cute houses and lush greeneries...no snow yet, so didn't get to feel white magical Christmas.
Transport: buy bus ticket at the bus station next to Takayama Station. Be sure to check the timetable for return trip.
Must-try: Mouth-watering Hida beef Morning stroll and breakie at Miyagawa Morning Market and Takayama old town. Nice atmosphere, fresh fruits & vege, and many souvenirs shops.
JP View from JR Hida Wide View en route to Toyama Cycled from our apartment (Toolate guesthouse) in Toyama following the tramline to the serene Fuganungakansui Park north of Toyama Station, in search of スタバ – SUTABA, aka Starbucks. Bicycles were provided by the guesthouse foc, nice and friendly young owner (who told us he named his guesthouse 'Toolate' because he's always too late..🤔unusual for Japanese to be associated 'late' hehe). Must-do: The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
You could buy the option tickets from JR ticketing offices at several major cities in Japan (we got ours at Kyoto Station for ¥8500 one-way) . Check out the link below:-
• Set out earlier so you have plenty of times to explore the entire route.
• Use the luggage delivery service to have your luggage delivered to the destination, if you are traveling on one-way ticket. We had our luggages delivered to Shinano-Omachi Station from Toyama.
Check out the link below:-
Must-stop: Midagahara (弥陀ヶ原) at 1930m...the view? took my breath away...well almost. Must-must-stop: Murodō (室堂) at 2450m - imagine our excitement walking out the station into flying snow flakes. We saw school children having picnic outside the station...under the snow...so we wished we have hot bentos with us too😋 Descending to Kurobe Dam (黒部ダム), had our late lunch here before calling it a day. The water discharge from the dam is a spectacular sight, but imo the previous stops were better. Ōmachi-shi (大町市）: Woke up to this...wish we had more time here...need to catch a morning train to Kawaguchiko Station for our next adventure..Mt Fuji 🗻
Our Omachi airbnb guesthouse is in a remote mountain town nestled among the Northern Japan Alps. The air was so fresh and beckoning me to come back again...and come back I will.
JP Cute Thomas & Friends theme train on the Fujikyuko Line from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko. The front seat is reserved for lil kiddo driver. Stayed the night at K's House Mt Fuji, clean and spacious hostel within walking distance to Lake Kawaguchi (5 min walk)
Had our breakie in the hostel before setting off for Fuji-san.
Rented 2 bicycles (aka 公公脚踏车- grandpa bike) from the hostel (for 1000 yen per day per bike) for our Fujikawaguchiko exploration...best decision ever. Expect uphill rides, tunnel rides, highway rides and staircase 'rides'😅. Sorry Lan, I really thought that was a shortcut haha.
So we split into 2 groups, the other group of 4 decided on sightseeing bus. Tickets can be purchased at Kawaguchiko Station. Works best for those who prefer the comfort of seat and hop-on hop-off convenience. 1st bus starts around 9am.
Stopped by this cozy family-run restaurant at Lake Saiko (西湖) for Japanese udon while enjoying the view. Very friendly owner who kept talking to us in Japanese, I think we understood each other by the way she kept bringing out goodies to us 😄. My favourite spot for Fuji-san shooting at Lake Saiko...so the uphill ride was worth it after all. Now this is the best part. Ever heard of Aokigahara forest? Suicide forest? 青木原树海？自杀森林？Yes, that's where...at the foothill of Mt Fuji. Guess what, I've never heard of it until the night when we regrouped and shared stories of our adventure. Lan tried to stop me from setting foot into the forest few times, told me something about a movie she watched, someone went missing and committed suicide in some Japanese forest. That stopped me right at my track and since then I never looked back. Tiny top of Fuji-san, peeping at us...behind the lush forest and spreading against the backdrop of green field, boy can we ask for more?! After a cold long ride from Lake Saiko to Lake Shōji, this Japanese porridge tasted like heaven☺️ 太美了啦。。美女配美景。this is an unexpected find...on our way back, grabbed some coffee and snacks, went in search of a place to fill our stomach before heading home...and then we found this! Finally home...9-5. Sneezing all the way, but ask me again, I'll say yes, anytime! Back to the hustle and bustle of city life. The famous Shibuya Crossing viewed from Shibuya Station, now that's call 人山人海
Paste it somewhere!