Friday, April 6, 2018

Nagoya, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kyoto, Osaka 2018

Hi I'm back!

From my Japan trip and also a long long pause from blogging. Well, if you'll like to know my whereabouts and what's going on with my life, Instagram is a better place.

When I was in Japan, I had friends messaging me about my trip and whatnot so I thought, why not I just write it down here for you all to read.


Day 1: BWN to SIN

We landed Singapore at 2 in the afternoon and that gave us plenty of time to jalan-jalan and makan before we catch our next connecting flight to Osaka.

Day 2: SIN to KIX 

We reached KIX at around 8 something in the morning. Clearing immigration and claiming our baggage took more or less 30 mins (sibeh efficient these Japanese I tell you) and we're out.

We went to the JR office first to exchange our rail pass since we still had plenty of time before our bus to Nagoya. Took bus from KIX to Hotel New Hankyu (the Willer bus terminal is located at Umeda Sky Building (few mins walk away from Hotel New Hankyu) so instead of lugging our luggage up and down the platforms and interchanging at stations, bus seemed a better option. Had okonomiyaki for lunch at Kiji. 

Search for okonomiyaki in Osaka and the name "Kiji" will surely pop out because it is highly rated and recommended

Umeda Sky Building

The Willer bus's seats have this canopy in case you don't want people to see your sleeping face and also blocking out light

Arrived Nagoya 3 hours plus later, checked in our airbnb, dinner and called it a day.

When in Nagoya, eat all the tebasaki!!!! We tried both Furaibo and Yamachan because chicken wing is life.

Day 3: Me~Guru Tour

If you're taking bus in Nagoya from the Meitetsu Bus Center, you know you're near when you see Nana-chan

Such a steal for a one day ticket covering most places of interest in Nagoya. Fuss-free too, just hop on/off.

Went to Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, Noritake Garden, Nagoya Castle and lastly stopped at Nagoya TV Tower for Oasis 21.

Doc, is that chu?


Day 4: Osu Kannon Temple and Shopping street and Nabana No Sato (Winter Illumination)

Nagoya is also famous for their hitsumabushi and near our airbnb, there's one super duper good one! We waited hours for this and no regrets at all!Thank you Ichibiki!
(Yes we tried other unagi restaurant before Ichibiki for comparison and it was a hit and miss.)

A romantic stroll at Nabana No Sato
(Which Bobby kept saying it as "Havana oh nana")

Ogura toast and tea! Never thought red bean paste and whipped cream will taste so good on a toast for breakfast!

Day 5: Takayama!

Checked out airbnb in Nagoya, took Ltd. Expess Wide Hida to Takayama, checked in Ryokan Seiryu, walked around and eat-eat-eat-eat all the way. Dinner was Hida beef kaiseki and after dinner, went for onsen (dipped only for 5 minutes and done. We later concluded that we are not fans of onsen... Sorry)

The Sanmachi Suji District (which consists 3 streets in the heart of Takayama's old town)

 Takayama is super duper quiet at night to be honest. So quiet that even a cat's meow can be heard 9 streets away. (Okay lah I a bit kua-chiong but you get what I'm trying to say) The busiest place in Takayama is probably the train and bus station and the old town area.

Staying in ryokan for the very first time and having dinner in our room is quite an experience for us

Day 6: Shirakawago & Kyoto

Breakfast, went to the morning market, checked out Ryokan Seiryu, took the bus to Shirakawago. Spent 3 hours there and took the next bus to Kanazawa only to catch the train to Kyoto.

Hello Shirakawago. You are so beautiful!

I don't want to know where that finger had been....

Day 7: Arashiyama Bamboo Groove and Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)

Had a heavy breakfast before the long day. Crowds and crowds everywhere...

Tenryuji temple that we didn't go in

The infamous bamboo groove.
Thanis actually told us to be there as early as possible (he took the first train there) to defeat the crowd but Bobby and I snoozed the alarm and just went back to sleep and we're like.. "eff it, sleep first"

 So ya, it was Sunday and the crowd was super scary. The type that you don't walk people also can push you to move. We just simply snapped a couple of photo and escaped as soon as we can.

Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavillion from far.

Day 8: Nishiki market, jalan-jalan, Kyoto Station

We'd been to Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Yasaka Shrine and to be honest, we just wanna chilled and so day 8 after Nishiki market was just a carefree no agenda day.

We never miss this tako tamago when we see it.
Still a mystery how they fit the quail egg into the head tho...

Cannot tahan the crowd in Nishiki market and seeked refuge in this nice bakery (Heart bakery), eating their No.1 cheese bread.

Breads in Japan is so good that it had successfully lured me this non-bread lover to just wanna eat all the breads there.

When in Kyoto, eat everything matcha!

The interesting big stairs at Kyoto station

Day 9: Osaka! 

Okay, day 9 onwards we lagi tah carefree. Had crab kaiseki for lunch and kurobuta pork for dinner. Also went to the Crayon Shinchan official shop and what also wanna buy but my brain was strong enough to stop my heart.

My favorite from the crab kaiseki cuisine. To be honest, some of the dishes are hit and miss. The raw one is just too much for us to enjoy...

Went to Osaka/Umeda area for HEP 5 just to buy Crayon Shinchan's merchandises and also...

Daimaru's 14th floor for Tazumura's kurobuta pork! So tender~~~~~

Day 10: Eat Osaka cooking class, Shinsekai and more of eat and shop.

Because we weren't keen in joining the crowd for hanami in Osaka castle, didn't want to go to USJ as well for the very same reason (crowd, not going to take ride and we'd been to Warner Bros. Studio in London for the Making of Harry Potter). Therefore, a cooking class sounds perfect and we had the rest of the day eating more food and wandering around. 
Bobby's first time cooking a complete course!

Sesame spinach, egg roll, pickled carrots, miso soup, ginger pork and glutinous rice ball's Japanese cousin for dessert.

After the class, we went for a leisure stroll at Tennoji park to make room for.....

Yaekatsu's kushikatsu! Super lucky that we didn't have to queue up when we're going in. After eating, the queue became super long lah.

And..... we went to Harukoma to eat again.....

Look at that!!!!!

And now this!!! Look at that ratio of rice to tamago!!!!

And super happy that we ordered the premium eel for our tummies. Blissful~

Day 11: Bye Osaka

Checked out airbnb, left our luggage at Namba Hands-free center, Shinsaibashi and Dotonburi, night flight to Singapore

A5 Kobe beef to end our trip with a bang!

You may think we are super 舍得 (willing) to spend on food for the trip and yes, you're right. We went full on #eatnia and #yolo when we're in Japan. We actually took the $5 green note challenge last year and managed to save quite a bit to use it as our food fund for the trip. And this year we're doing it again, even though we have no idea what we gonna use the $5s for.
How can these be so good! Why lah Why Brunei don have!

Day 12: Back to Brunei

So yeah, that's the summary of my recent trip and I also have more tips to share with you all.


There's just a gazillion types of passes in Japan. Bus passes, Rail passes, rail + entrance passes.... It's just crazy to find that one pass to fit your schedule.So first thing first (before you go check out the types of passes you want), decide your destinations! Know where you want to go and how long you plan to stay there. Sure a 7 days JR pass seems perfect for everything but if you only plan to stay 5 days in Kansai area only, the JR pass is not going to worth the price you are paying for.

Here's a JR calculator to help make your life easier.

This time, we bought Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass because I wanted to go to Nagoya, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kyoto and Osaka and this 5-days pass was perfect for the trip.

The previous trip, I opted for 3-days Kansai Thru Pass for my day trips to Kyoto, Kobe and Nara.

Make sure you study the passes well so you know what routes are covered and what are not.

Time to arrive before taking train

Here's chillaxing while waiting for the next trip
We usually arrive at least 30 minutes early for trains especially when it comes to bigger station. You will need time to find the gate (JR, Kintetsu, Hankyu, even JR also have difference in them. JR East, JR West, JR Central and so on), then the platform, and then the car. If you arrive early, there's always yummy food and drinks for sale in the train station and also souvenir shops for you to kill time.

Takuhaibin and Hands-free centre

If you are traveling in a large group especially with elderly and young ones, I highly recommend you try the takuhaibin or luggage forwarding services. From airport, you can have your luggage delivered to hotel, between hotels and then to the airport again.

Another thing I want to share with you all is hands-free centre. Do not assume there's always empty coin locker in the train stations especially when you have medium to large size luggage. It's super tiring and disappointing to drag your luggage all the way just to find out that all the lockers are occupied. Do yourself a favour and google if there's any hands-free center nearby and just leave your luggage there.

The Namba hands-free center charges a flat rate of 500 yen for all size of luggage. Coin lockers for large size luggage is usually 600 to 700 yen. There's also tables and chairs, weighing scale in the center so you can still rearrange your stuffs after shopping.


Hyperdia - MUST HAVE
Google Maps (duh)
Google Translate (double duh...)

Couldn't live without these 3 apps when I was in Japan.

Don Quixote

My favorite place to shop! It's 24 hours, it has everything you want and need, souvenirs for your friends and sometimes, it's cheaper!

This is my favorite drink in Japan. Tea + Orange + Honey. So refreshing and light.
The bottled drink above was sold for 160 yen in the vending machine and it costs 88 yen only in Don Quixote! Another example, a box of 5 packs Ichiran ramen was sold for 2000 yen in the Ichiran Ramen store itself but cheaper in Donki for 1800+ yen! And then there's tax refund again. So please bring your passport with you always!

And that's it.

I hope my post will be helpful for those of you who are planning to go Japan, and for others, I hope it's entertaining at least. And dear husband, you finally have something new to read liao.

Love you all~