Thursday, April 20, 2017

Japan Trip - Part 3 (Kyoto, USJ, Nara & Kobe)

7/2/2017 (Day 8)


We decided to go to Kyoto today by shinkansen (bullet train). At first, we thought that our JR Wide Area Pass covered the shinkansen to Kyoto. Dah la masa sampai kat train station tu kemain kejar shinkansen tu. Tapi last-last bila kitorang nak keluar, kitorang dapat tahu pass kitorang tak cover pun trip tu since the slot of an automatic ticket gate had rejected our tickets. We were totally freaked out. Then only we knew that kalau nak ke Kyoto kena naik train biasa. OMG! Maka kitorang pun kenalah bayar denda. Burn JPY 1420 weh! I wouldn't recommend you guys to take the JR Wide Area Pass because it was freaking expensive. You better buy Kansai Thru Pass. Kitorang ni sebab dah terpengaruh dengan JTB agent tu la. Chaittt! So since then, nak pergi ke Arashiyama, and travel pergi mana-mana (USJ, Nara) kitorang just tunjuk je kat train station's staff instead of pergi masukkan tiket tu through the ticket slot sebab tiket kitorang tu macam kena block. Bila kat Kobe and Okoyama barulah ticket tu boleh masuk kat gate. Tragis betul!

So back to our story to Kyoto. Our first destination was Arashiyama Bamboo Groove. When we were walking to there, the snow started to fall. Omg! You wouldn't know never know how much my heart leapt with joy. We also met a couple of Malaysian students who studied in Quensland, Australia. They were the one who approached us first, asked me to take their pictures together. "Kak, boleh ambilkan gambar kitorang?" I was like.. gosh, am I that old? Geez. Tua dah rupanya aku ni. Bila tanya, memang diorang muda lagi pun. Pangkat adik-adik la budak laki berdua tu. 

Anyways, amazing display of huge, straight bamboo trees on this walk. Wonderful for taking photos. However it was way too much with crowds. If you mind the crowds, I would suggest you to go there early in the morning. Pro tip: Don't spend too much time at the first section taking photos because the middle and end sections are where the bamboo is more dense.

Route to Arashiyama Bamboo Groove


Foggy railway

Bak kata Fateh, acah-acah hipster habis lah ni

Camera in action before other tourists invaded this place

After that, we went to Kyoto Imperial Palace. Before that, I had agreed to meet Dzul, my high school friend when I studied in MRSM Gerik at the train station. Dzul studied in Nagoya and agreed to show us around Kyoto. So after the three of us met, we took a bus to Kyoto Imperial Palace. At first we thought it was closed (ah not again!), but wait... it was actually opened! Hahaha. And the moment we arrived there, the snow was started to fall heavily. The old buildings were well- maintained and nice experience to go around. It was free admission (yeah, we chose to go to those free admission places).The view was spectacular; with snowfall on the background? What more could you ask for?

The other gate, which we thought it was closed at the first place

Can you see the snow flakes?

Next, we took a taxi to Fushimi Inara Taisha. Well, being an awkward person, I let alone Dzul and the taxi driver talked together without even joining the conversation (I did talk few words and smiled little bit). Before we went to the shrine,we bought some mochi. It was a little bit pricey since it was sold at the main tourist attraction but it tasted good! The shrine itself was actually overcrowded at the base but the further you go up, the fewer the people. We took a short cut and didn't even go up to the top. For those who want a good exercise and picturesque view of Kyoto city as a reward, you can go and climb up to the top.


We had matcha, white bean & red bean. Yummy!

These torii were donated by Japanese businesses

Our next destination was Gion. It was quiet but the architecture was beautiful. You can also see many of people (mostly tourists) wear kimono here. Yup, there's a kimono rental here where you can go and walk around Kyoto area while wearing it. Pretty cool right? But the price is around JPY 3000 if I'm not mistaken (better you check it first because I'm not sure). There were also small streets near Gion corner that gave you the feel and vibe of old Japan. From what I've been told, at night, the real action would begin with fancy sushi restaurants, bars and night clubs, and the apperance of the real geishas. You also could see those expensive and polished cars would come over down the streets to enjoy the night life. Dusk is the best time to go, especially when they start lighting up the unique lanterns.

Not the typical blue & white Lawson store


Little back alleys for a better feel of the Gion

Matcha green tea

A little side note: Geisha/geiko is a traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses. Their skills include performing various arts such as classical music and dance. Apprentice geisha are called maiko. However, the fact that some people believe that geisha are prostitutes - it is not true at all!

After we had finished strolling around Gion, we agreed to meet Hana, a Japanese friend of Dzul. She brought us to this one restaurant which I couldn't recall its name to have our dinner. We had various types of the sushi like ebi, salmon and tempura. Hana-chan also explained to us from the proper Japanese etiquette at the dining table, how to use the chopsticks to the food. The sushi were totally delicious but I only managed to eat only 4 plates (my stomach just couldn't handle it anymore). They were the best sushi I'd tasted so far. Unfortunately due to the greediness and hunger that took control of my body, I didn't have any pictures of the sushi that we had ate. Sorry. According to Japanese culture, after they had their meals, they would go to the coffee shops or any cafe to drink coffee (kira macam mengeteh kat warung macam tu la). So after we had our dinner, we then went to the local coffee shop to have some coffee. We chatted along and didn't realise that it was almost 9 p.m. It was fun to meet Hana-chan. She was cheerful, nice and also kawaii! But who would ever thought a beautiful and nice lady like her like The 1975 and hard rock/heavy metal-kind of musics? Blimey! A true definition of do not judge a book by its cover. Lol. Paling epic rasanya bila aku ajar Hana-chan pasal slang LDR (long distance relationship). Bila fikir balik sekarang, apa pasal lah aku ajar pasal term tu? Punya la banyak slang lain kat dalam dunia ni. Hahaha. It was getting late and we bid farewell before headed to Kyoto station. At Kyoto station, Fateh and I took a train back to Osaka while Dzul took his train back to Nagoya. Arigatou Dzul & Hana-chan for the day!

Us at the coffee shop

Legendary cash machine. 

8/2/2017 (Day 9)

We actually planned to go to Nara and planned to go to USJ on the next day (9/2/2017) but after seeing the weather forecast and saw that it would be raining on 9/2/2017, we changed our plan and hence, off to USJ we went. We actually had bought the USJ Entry Pass earlier on in Malaysia before we went to Japan. The only thing that we didn't buy was the Express Pass. When we arrived there, we quickly lined up in a line to buy the Express Pass. In a simpler words, this express pass was a pass where you can save time to go on to some of the attractions without spending so much time queue up in a line. Kira macam potong barisan la. Prinsip dia sama je if korang pernah pergi USS, tapi USJ ada banyak lagi pilihan macam Express 4, 7 etc. We bought the Express 4. The place was humongous and filled with so many people. Compared to USS, there were a lot of  visitors here in USJ, hence the waiting to some attractions could be quite a problem if you didn't have lots of patience. Hence, I would recommend you guys to buy the Express Pass. As we both were Potterheads, our main purpose was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; which was the centre of attractions. To tell you the truth, this place was phenomenal. From Honeydukes to Hogwarts, everything was amazing! The only thing that was a little bit of disappointment was all the rides were in Japanese. Imagine Harry Potter talked in Japanese instead of British English. OMG! Otherwise, this place was great :)

Unfortunately we didn't ride this because the line was too long

Kau tengok oppa-oppa Korea ni pakai sedondon
#friendshipgoal sangat 

*Hedwig's Theme music played in the background*

Hogsmeade Village

Sebenarnya terkejut sebab bila nak amik gambar tiba-tiba asap tu keluar


A year supply of Bertie Botts

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

One of the staffs there voluntarily to took our picture. Wow!
Her skill was beyond our expectation!

Gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's Office



Marauder's Map

Top: Ginny's wand
Below: Luna's wand


Gryffindor's Quidditch Team

Hagrid's Hut


It was extremely sweet! I could even get diabetes.

Pokok yang bersempena dengan nama tokoh/selebriti popular

Titan! *played AOT theme song*

Came to this place again for the night view

Hogwarts at night

Hogsmeade at night

9/2/2017 (Day 10)

1) Nara

As for our second last day here in Japan, we decided to go to Nara and Kobe. We took a train to Nara. On our way to Nara, we could see that it was actually snowing at the outside. Nara welcomed us with a heavy snowfall. Subhanallah, it was just mesmerizing. We wanted to go to Nara Park to see the deers but the lady at the information counter said that along the way too we can even came across with the wild deers. She was right! On our way to Kofukuji Temple, we came across with the wild deers. Awww!

Kofukuji Temple Five Story Pagoda

Kofukuji Temple

That one kind of Lawson here in Nara

 2) Kobe

After that, we went to Kobe. Our first destination was Kobe Muslim Mosque. We prayed at there and continued our journey. We actually wanted to go to Mount Rokko but we cancelled it to the last minute. But after saw Fateh's friend who was having a great time sledding at there, we kinda regretted why we didn't continue our journey to go to Mount Rokko. I guessed at that time we were battling with the freezing cold weather and decided not to. Maybe next time perhaps?

Prayer Hall

Halal grocery store in Kobe

3) Okoyama

This one was an impromptu plan. We didn't even put it in our itinerary. Ni sebab gara-gara dah terkena beli JR pass tu la. JR Pass yang kitorang beli ni cover shinkansen dari Shin-Kobe ke Okoyama. Dah alang-alang beli yang mahal rasa rugi pulak kan kalau tak try? So, we took a shinkansen to Okoyama. We didn't explore that place much. We just had our lunch (jauh kan pergi makan lunch sampai ke Okoyama) and went back to Osaka since we needed to pack our things.

Red bean bread. JPY 85.

Harga makanan kat Jepun.
Btw, nombor dalam Jepun sama dengan Mandarin cuma sebutan je la lain

Our lunch - fish with rice set. JPY 1161.

10/2/2017 (Day 11)

On our last day at Japan, we had some troubles on our way to airport. First, we didn't check-in ourselves via online. I thought we might be able to arrive at the airport on time. I was wrong! The clock showed it was 8:50 a.m and all the trains were delayed. On top of that, we took a wrong train. We took the Osaka Loop line which basically we traveled around Osaka! Oh dear! When we asked the staff at the train station, he told us to take the right train at the first station, which basically where we came from. Geez! We were totally doomed. We silently prayed that we better made it on time, or else how we were going back to Malaysia? At that time, the time was around 9 am and our flight was around 11 am. And out of blue, we met a Malaysian whose fate was just like us (took the wrong train). Along the way to airport, we laughed at what had happened to us. The moment the train reached the airport, the three of us sprinted to our gate. If you wanna know how we looked like, just imagine like we were the Amazing Race participants. We didn't care how the others would see us. We just hoped that we could reach the gate before it closed. Alhamdulillah, we managed to check-in. Our lungs were totally out of breath after sprinting in the airport. Hahaha.

Alhamdulillah, we were safely arrived at klia2. I had so much fun during this trip and I wished that I could go to Japan again next time, insya-Allah. Big thanks to Fateh who willingly to go to Japan and made this trip a success! I couldn't imagine if I'd to go without you :) *cheesy*

without wax,
haniyahaya :)

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