Our 5th time in Japan and it never fails to amaze us with amazing views and great local food.
Who said travelling with your family of 8 is hard to travel around? It was our fifth time in Japan, second time in the city of Osaka, Kyoto and Nara, and first time to visit Himeji. We always enjoy going back to places we wandered because if you are already familiarised the place, you could maximize better the time you spend and take different perspectives and angles for pictures of places you've gone to.
It was an amazing short holiday as we were able to explore different locations in 5 days. Well technically, it was only 4 days, because our flight back home was at 10:00 in the morning on our last day, and you know us Filipinos, there is no FILIPINO TIME when it comes to flight schedules, we had to be at the airport 4 hours earlier. As a family, we really enjoy going back to Japan because of it’s weather, shopping, and never ending street food and Ichiran Ramen. Here's a quick guide on how we maximized 4 prefectures in 5 days!
Airbnb - settled in our airbnb in Dotonbori, we arrived 8pm. Kansai Airport to Dotonbori is approx. 50 min via train.
Ichiran - First thing's first. Ramen.
- Shinen Toji Temple (The #1 Temple in Osaka) This is where we shot this amazing photo of us that won a contest in Traveloka. <3 there wasn't much to do here but worth the visit to see this historic pagoda and a great kickstarter for the trip.
- Todaiji Temple, Nara - Second time to visit this Place. Definitely a must-see. This is one of the largest temples in Japan, and where the biggest Golden Buddha resides. Also what makes this place so special is deers are scattered all around. You can pet them and you can buy feed from the stalls also scattered around the area. Travel to Nara from Osaka is approx. 1 and a half hour via local train. We left around 2pm in the afternoon spent about 2 hours there then got back to Dotonbori around 7/8pm.
Day 3 (Tour) Kyoto
For our 3rd Day, we opted to get a tour package from TripleLights van/guide in Kyoto. It cost around USD 460 for 8 people. We decided to go with the tour than going around commuting, because our first time in Kyoto, the locations were really a big walkathon from the nearest stations, and my Dad really got tired easily from all the walking specially going to Arashiyama and Kinkakuji Temple. We rode a local train to Kyoto Station at 9am and that's where we met our Driver Mr. Han. This is our second time in Kyoto, but first time for my sister and brother in law. We only had 3 locations on our itinerary but we managed to squeeze in 1 more because our driver really wanted to bring us to Fushimi Inari Taisha. The driver/guide was really amazing because he himself is a good photographer and knows the best places to take pictures. Here are short descriptions of the locations and pictures of our experience with the tour!
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove - A Definitely must-see in Kyoto. Bamboo infested forest area and feels like were in a different place. PLENTY OF TOURISTS. Recommend to go early for better pictures.
Kinkakuji Golden Pavillion - Our pictures would not give justice to this majestic temple. Definitely should be on your list of bucket list in Japan.
Kiyomizu Dera - A Large Temple made from big logs of wood. Place is full of cherry blossom trees. Spring and Fall Season is the best to come to this place. Plenty of shops around the area. 4/5 stars!
Tori Gates Fushimi Inari Taisha - Thousand of Tori Red Gates going to the top of a hill. Iconic place in Kyoto, Japan but the 3rd best place to visit compared to Arashiyama and Kinkakuji. Would recommend renting Kimonos.
Day 4 (Last Day)
Cream of the crop of our trip to Japan, we've been to Osaka Castle our first time around in Osaka so we looked for a different place to go to that's near. Kobe was one of our choices but Himeji Castle looks way more worth it and it didn't disappoint. This spectacular castle is enormous you could spend the whole day exploring the ground and go up to the top of the castle for a great view of Himeji. Himeji is quite far from Osaka. It took us about 2 hours to get here via Train. But worth every minute. Need I say more about it? See photos below.
10am flight home via Kansai Airport.
Its quite hard to travel in a large group especially with your family with children, planning ahead ahead of time is really the key to make the most out of any trip. Always keep in mind that the energy level of your companions is also important to keep the mood of the travel happy and enjoyable.
It was fun for the Fifth time Japan, and we're pretty sure we'll be back. We haven't experienced spring and fall in Japan before so we're aiming to experience it next year. And of course Hokkaido is one of the bucket lists in Japan. See you soon!