"We travel not escape life, but we travel to feel and to enjoy life."
I guess that's one of the many reasons why I enjoy travelling. If only travelling doesn't cost much perhaps I've been touring around the world now. hahaha! 😁
It was planned early January that me and my husband will accompany my in-laws in there business conference which was held in Osaka Japan. It was known to them that my husband's probably dream country to visit was Japan. Since they knew this fact, we were the ones they invited to come with them and this was also a treat for us for doing our job for the last 2 months of the year. This really sounded music to our ears! Of course, we agreed. :)
First thing I did was to research on acquiring a visa. I was the one in-charge in preparing our visa application since all of us were first time travellers in that Land of the Morning Sun. I found it a little bit to detailed but it was obviously because of Japan's strict policies. I have carefully read and followed significant tips for us to be likely had our visas approved. I read that there are no guarantess whether you'll apply your visa in their accredited travel agencies since they weren't allowing personal visa application in their embassy.
So to cut the very long visa application do's and dont's, we submitted ours in Friendship Travels and Tours on Makati. We waited for I think 3 days, and they immediately called me that our Visas are already ready for pick up. I was a bit amazed that it only took us 3 days for waiting and the one who called me disclosed that our application has been approved contrary to most of the blog reviews I read stating that we would wait for a week and our waiting will be full of wondering as to our applications' status was denied or approved.
This is it! Japan Visa approved, flight tickets purchased via Cebu Pacific's promo and thus we flew to Japan. Yey!
So, we departed from Philippines at around 3pm and landed to Kansai International Airport at around 9pm. Their airport is nice and 'twas cold.. After immigration which really amazed me for their speed and their strict polices because they took our photos as screening as proof of our identities. It was so amazing! 👌🏼
We went walking to find the AREX train station for us to buy tickets. I observed some people buying it through ticket machines but since we are heading for Osaka and was about to ride an airport express train, we bought tickets from their ticket booths.. We bought tickets with reserved seats so that we can sit comfortably because my in-laws' would have been exhausted so that was my choice of train instead of the other one..
So here's our very first hours in Japan. 😁
Since it's my first time, it's forgivable to at least make mistake and to somewhat feel funny by observing people how to buy tickets. I made my mistake by watching some japanese used ticketing machine, only to find out that we should fall in line in a ticketing booth since we're gonna stop at the very last station of Namba. 😂 We then boarded the train and secured our luggages in a specific location for luggages. Nice! 😁 As soon as we secured our luggages and find our reserved seats, we took selfies. 😄 The train is really clean and nice, with comfortable seats and viewing area of course. 👏🏼 Drew already contacted a hotel staff for us to be assisted in going to our hotel which is strategically located in Namba Station. Really accessible! 👌🏼 Since we arrived late, we are really feeling hungry. Luckily there's this stall of dimsums which really look soo good (unknowingly it is one of the famous dimsum restaurant in Osaka). I though it's like one of those local dimsum carts in Philippines. 😉 This is their steamed bun (555 Hooray), when we tasted it, it made us want for more. It's not the typical siopao that we tasted. The bun is really delicious complimented by its filling which really taste awesome! We did eat without sauce as we used to. 😋 While my MIL and Drew managed to have us checked in, I found myself in full amusement as I look at this 5-star hotel 😆👍🏼👌🏼 Ok, can't resist having selfie. This fresh flowers welcomed us in Swissotel Nankai Osaka. I really wanted to see Cherry Blossoms thus, I took picture with those flowers wondering which one of those is the cherry blossoms. HAHAHA! 😂
As soon as we checked in, I took videos of our room which was very typical of Japanese' minimilastic side. We had 2 different rooms close enough for us (2 couples). It has a good spot of viewing the city with a traditional tatami floor (it's like a woven kind of thing locally called "banig" in our language) which acted as a heating element since winter is really cold there. :)
We did rest and although it's approaching 12mn we chose to at least explore the nearby area in the hotel. We have Dotonburi, where we got to see their kind of relaxation (beer drinking and girls) 😉
Can you see my FIL feeling VERY cold? Yes! Indeed it's cold, but being first time tourists in Osaka, we chose to feel their climate. 😁👌🏼 As we got out from Namba Station, they have their street performances. This one is singing while playing guitar. I guess if you did have fun then you can give some money. The other one we saw was completely ready with costumes as he made his magic. He even invites some of the passers by to have time with him. Nice! 😁👌🏼 Walking along Dotonburi's streets in the cold night. As we try to find something more "touristy" for us, we realized some of the stalls are preparing to close. It is mostly restaurants and drinking bars. I forgot the name of the lake in between the streets, amazingly it doesn't have a bad smell. 👌🏼 We passed by an unknown food truck resembling some food truck in Philippines, but since we didn't know how to read Japanese characters, we just based it in the picture it had. As I craved for something sweet, we did try this dessert. We had somewhat difficulty in ordering one since the seller doesn't know how to speak english, as much as I want to know the name and from what it's made, I haven't got the chance to do so. I just pointed the picture and told him 1 order and then we departed. 😉 This is Osaka's famous Takoyaki! We also have one in Philippines but since Japan is the origin of Takoyaki we decided to try these food stuff. Earlier, we did passed by it because of the long queue but since we are curious of the original taste of Takoyaki we decided to fall in line and try their best sellers which never disappointed us. 😋 Can you see we're having fun! The long line is worth the wait! The Takoyaki is really flavorful compared to what we tasted in our land. Indeed, we tasted the original one. From the topping itself, you'll know it's worth! Plus it has a pink sheets of ginger which really tasted good as per Drew 😋 By the way, this was the dessert we brought earlier. It doesn't taste really sweet but it's the sugar on top which was I think burned by a torch that gave its distinct taste. It's like a creme brulee with a twist. I find it nice though. 😁 I tried to have a nice picture from that large octopus behind me hahah Takoyaki Stall where we ate a delicious takoyaki 😁 Sushi now! I enjoyed sight-seeing these restaurants which seem to go the extra mile just to invite tourist-customers in their place by displaying extra huge 'logo'/ representation of their restaurants 👍🏼👌🏼 In between streets of closed food stalls and restaurants 😁 Yeah! buying ice cream in Japan is a lot easier and convenient with vending machines! wow! 😮🍦 a really huge octopus above me! 🐙 Gyoza for Drew this time 😆 I found the above cartoon characters cute! plus I wanted to see my first Osaka outfit with high-cut shoes which made my feet sore tsk tsk 😭 These crab claws actually moves! 👏🏼 As we head to hotel, we observe that taxis here are well maintained and disciplined. Such nice thing for Japan 👍🏼 Japan is famous for their unique flavors of Kitkat Chocolates. We passed by a convenient store as we head home from a Dotonburi walk and I automatically searched for unusual Kitkat flavors. Luckily, I found one! It's a raspberry-flavor kitkat chocolate. It's as good as souvenir now. heheheh The view from the common area of 26th floor as we are about to occupy the hotel's elevator. The view down there is Osaka's Namba Park filled with trees and flowering plants.
Today, we are about to use Japan's subway system as we head to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Minato. We went there despite of the rainy weather and the cold temperature of the place. brrrr! (I just worried about my in-laws since they might be feeling really cold)
Equipped with our jackets, we faced the cold weather. hehehe 👌🏼 Once we're seated, I asked Drew to take a photo of us inside the subway. ✌🏻️ "To travel is to Eat."
- Michelle Shappirio
As soon as we got off from the subway, we tried to look for restaurant near Osaka Aquarium. Fortunately, there's this humble restaurant not far from the station. It served us well as we waited the rain to at least weaken so that we can resume our walk towards Osaka Kaiyukan.
I have chosen this complete meal. Because of the cold weather, I really finished the soup first. It's Japan's famous Miso soup, but I forgot what's the name of my main meal. hehehe 😉✌🏻️ We need to have a photo shot first, it's where memories starts. ehem 👏🏼 My in-laws were hesitant to pose as I took their photo, but I told them it's their souvenir in Osaka. HAHAHA 😁👍🏼
We felt full. We walked against the cold weather, then we reached Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. yey! Finally! Osaka Kaiyukan is the World's largest aquarium, bet we're gonna make our eyes full by these ocean wonders. 👌🏼
Can you notice the fog? Mind you it is really FREEZING cold at this point. It prompted my in-laws to wear their gloves. As much as we wanted to have a picture of the famous Tempozan Ferris Wheel which was the largest in the world until London built theirs, we weren't able to do it. Sayang! It is indeed very cold plus the rain drizzles in this very spot plus the fog made us want to really go inside. HAHAHA This photo wasn't blurry at all. I just want to share the beauty of their receiving area which was decorated by these star-like lights. 👌🏼 Mommy posed behind these huge fish! It's like a gigantic size Tilapia (local fish in our country) I wasn't able to see a penguin in Hong Kong Ocean Park. Now, I already see some relatives of Happy Feet. Gee! hihi 😁👍🏼 Gross! I imagined a giang cockroach in front of me. Does your tummy tumbled? HAHAH These were like sea spiders. heheh Might be a relative of the sea crabs. But perhaps, not so good tasting as the crabs. These gigantic jelly fishes somehow brighten the gloomy day. hehe Daddy wanted to have a photo with these massive life size of shark. 👌🏼 This is a life-size giraffe made with Lego. I wonder how many hours took them to exactly created this "lego giraffe". Behind that was the famous Tempoza Ferris Wheel. :) Wee! such a gift! I just saw this weeks ago from facebook, but now I literally holding one! Pablo's Cheesecake! yey! Very yummy right? Pablo's Strawberry-Pistacchio Cheesecake. Between the two? I personally choose this one over the famed Pablo's Cheesecake. Saree hahah No wonder I feel beautiful. HAHAH
We plan to go to Tokyo that's why we check the forecasted weather only to find out that the place was a bit rainy so we will pursue with the original plan of going to Nara Park
The main reason of our Osaka travel was business. We are now heading to Hilton Osaka for Chowking's Franchisees Convention.
They tried the ticket vending machine in Namba Station as we purchased our subway ticket to Umeda Station. We're here! Hilton Hotel was the choses venue of this year's Franchisees Convention. My business-minded in-laws who let us accompany them in this luxurious event. Thanks to them :) We had this shot just because the hotel's decoration seems like floating sausages! HAHAHA
Part of the Franchisees' convention is the shop tour in Japan's famous Steam Bun known as the 551 Horai! (It is the same steam bun we bought right after we got off from the train. It was really delicious!)
The 551 Horai Staff are all accommodating, it's as if they're so welcoming to whoever will watch them while doing their famous steam buns. 😁✌🏻️
I noticed that they're using a paper thin bamboo instead of an actual paper to line the bottom of steam buns which may help to cook the buns in a natural way with the hint of the wooden bamboo sheets. :) The filling was I guess made of raddish, and some meat extenders but definitely soo nice to eat even without the sauce.
See how friendly they are! :)
Nearby 551 Horai is a flower shop to which I ask the sales lady if they happen to sell a Cherry Blossom plant which she says they have some flower on display. :) I am eagerly finding a Cherry Blossom tree. 😁
This is the cherry blossom the sales lady pointed at. I shouldn't miss a shot of this. HIHI A shot beside this cherry blossom trunk. 🌸 I happen to pass by their fruits, I forget its name by the way. I guess it's fruit by I found it more likely to be a vegetable ✌🏻️ "nakakamayaman na pose" of mine because of the hotel's classy and elegant ceiling decoration 😁✌🏻️ I chose to walk alone here in Namba Park just beside our Swissotel's location in the vwry Namba Station as my 3 companion really felt tired after the Franchisees' Convention and a Shop Tour in 551 Horai. I did it my way. HAHA! I walked alone in the middle of the cold afternoon hehe Once I made it to Namba Park's entrance, I took a shot of our hotel's view from here. The Winter season has just ended thus, the cherry blossom trees are just sprouting its new leaves.. Hope I can really find a Cherry Blossom Tree. We're kinda early for Sakura Season of Japan which is commonly happening on March (last week) and April (1st week) They have a mini garden situated in the center Namba Park's lower ground. It is such a cutie since the flowers are all positioned and held by a wooden cart which I guess has a seat option by the side (though I chose not to sit to.) 😁 Am I not beautiful with these flowery background of mine? I would take the stairs to visit the upper part of Namba Park which is a shopping mall (literally) inside a garden ☺️🌸🌹💐🌷🌻 I started to see some flowers not just sprouting trees hihi 😁 Brr! It's really cold and windy this time! As if they have their scent. HAHAH I feel beautiful in this shot. Obviously, I'm not in my home country. 😁 I thought it was already a Cherry Blossom Tree, but it wasn't. Tsk! I guess I have found early blooms of Sakura. ☺️🌸
My mother-in-law and I chose not to go in the evening program of the said convention. We only rested in the hotel and chose to kill our time by walking along Dotonburi, again we found this 551 Horai which happen to have its restaurant. So, we dine. 😋👌🏼
We had our girl date. It was my first date with Mommy. 😁 This uber friendly staff of theirs was very accomodating. He even managed to have his own selfie with my mobile phone. Funny! 😂 This was Japan's famous 551 Horai. 😋👌🏼 "Everybody deserves serenity once in a while. If you ask where it is, try travelling."
Our Nara Park Tour will be blogged in my next entry. 👌🏼