Japan, known as the Land of the Rising Sun, which i consider as one of the most or should i say the most beautiful country in Asia. It’s in the topmost list of country to visit when you think of where you should go in Asia, aside from the Philippines of course. As far as my memory can remember i couldn’t think of anything negative or bad with my first visit to Japan, oh there’s one my friends didn’t join me on this trip which made me travel alone for the first time in my life on this new territory for me, but aside from that everything was just perfect. From Manila, Philippines i traveled alone to Osaka, Japan which is around 3 hours and 45 minutes long, and i have mixed emotions during those time which is a mixture excitement and fear, because it’s my first time to travel alone and it’s my first time to go to Japan and i don’t know how to speak Nihonggo and it was Winter during my visit. But the fear was all gone when i courageously approached this 3 ladies who is also travelling to Osaka and i asked them if i can join them and without hesitations and apprehensions they said YES, and all of a sudden i felt relieved and the excitement was just so high inside me to discover the beautiful city of Osaka and Kyoto for the next 4 days. When the plane finally landed in Osaka, Japan all i’m thinking was… “where is my hotel located?” “how can i get there in this freezing weather?” “where can i eat because i am just starving?” all of those questions and a lot more just keep popping in my mind, but with my new found friends all of those were answered and i am feeling more confident and excited for this trip. Since we are all hungry we’ve decided to eat already at the airport before heading to our respective hotels and all i can say was the food are just delicious, all of it! And after a sumptuous meal they helped me purchase my train ticket towards Namba Station and it was just freezing cold outside and i was thankful to have my jacket ready. Before we board the train, i was stunned! why? the train seats suddenly moved 360 degrees yes you read it right it just turned all of a sudden and all i said was “AMAZING” and as we sat on our respective seats the excitement just got into me and even it was already past midnight and i can’t see much view yet, i was just looking forward to the next day and see the beautiful city of Osaka, as it was our itinerary for that day with my new friends. As i wake up, the beautiful sunrise just flashed out my room window and see the beautiful surrounding outside my hotel and i just rush to prepare myself for my first day and have a city tour with the ladies. I will be sharing to you our itinerary which was prepared by Mye, one of my new friends.

DAY 1: Osaka Tour

Osaka Castle Park
Osaka Castle is the symbol & one of main Osaka attractions. The castle began construction in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the former site of Honganji Temple.
The magnificent castle was modelled after Azuchi Castle & was reputed as being unparalleled in the country.
Umeda Sky Building
The Umeda Sky Building is a spectacular high rise building in the Kita district of Osaka, near Osaka and Umeda Stations. It is also known as the “New Umeda City”.
The 173 meter tall building consists of two main towers which are connected with each other by the “Floating Garden Observatory” on the 39th floor. The observatory offers a great view of the city for a 700 yen admission fee.
The Takimi-koji restaurant mall, a replica of a Japanese street of the early Showa Period, can be found on the first basement floor. Offices occupy most of the building’s other floors.
Go to the basement and find KIJI SKY for Okonomiyaki
Sumiyoshi Taisha
Sumiyoshi Taisha also known as Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, is one of Japan oldest Shinto shrine. It enshrines three gods that have long been worshipped for protecting the nation, sea voyages and for promoting waka (31-syllable) poetry.
Minami (Namba) area at night for dinner (Dotonbori area)
KUROMON ICHIBA MARKET (Good eats here!)

Dotonbori is a large scale downtown with the entire area of Dotonbori is filled with an unbelievable number of shopping arcades, restaurants and amusement facilities. It is often selected as a scene in movies as the symbol of Osaka.

DAY 2: Kyoto Tour

Arashiyama (Tenryu-ji Temple, Bamboo forest & Iwatayama Monkey Park)
Arashiyama is a pleasant, touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons.
The Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama’s well known, central landmark. Many small shops, restaurants and other attractions are found nearby, including Tenryuji Temple, Arashiyama’s famous bamboo groves and pleasure boats that are available for rent on the river.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.

Higashimaya District

The Higashiyama District along the lower slopes of Kyoto’s eastern mountains is one of the city’s best preserved historic districts. It is a great place to experience traditional old Kyoto, especially between Kiyomizudera and Yasaka Shrine, where the narrow lanes, wooden buildings and traditional merchant shops invoke a feeling of the old capital city.

Gion District (Geisha)

Gion is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain.
DAY 3: Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi and time to go back homeMy Osaka trip was indeed one for the books and the most memorable travel i had in my life. Getting around Osaka and Kyoto was just surreal for me and every tourist spot we visited i was teary-eyed because i can’t believe that i am actually seeing this beautiful place/s righ before my eyes and i made the right choice of going on this trip despite the fact that i am alone. Another reason why you should come to visit Japan, well its people the Japanese they are just hospitable and they will help you the best way the can and they will assist you even if there’s a language barrier since i don’t know how to speak Nihonnggo, it’s not a problem with them and they just help me out especially as i locate my hotel. Now more Filipinos are visiting to Japan and it has been the newest/latest travel destination for my kababayans and indeed its a #travelgoal as of the moment. And as for me, i am excited to visit it again soon with my family this time around, because JaPan is JaFun!
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