Konnichiwa Osaka, Kyoto, Nara!

The past days have been so bleak and dreary. I already lost count of how many days we’ve been cooped inside our home for the quarantine. So as an escape, I’ve just been using this time to edit long overdue travel videos to distract me from the news these days. Watching our family travel videos helps entertain us as a family especially since we’ve all been missing traveling. I honestly wonder how long it will take for us to safely travel again. But more than that, I just hope we can get through this ordeal safely and that the next days will be better for everyone around the world.

Anyway, the first one on my list of overdue blog posts and travel videos is — Osaka! Last year in the summer of 2019, we decided to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary in Japan. I booked a multi-city trip via Jet Star wherein we flew to Osaka on July 19, then flew home to Manila on July 24. So our itinerary was —
July 19: MLA – OSAKA
July 20: NARA & KYOTO
July 21: Shinkansen to TOKYO
July 22: TOKYO (Countryside Tour where we visited Tambara Lavander Field and also did peach-picking in Gunma)
July 23: TOKYO (DisneySea)
July 24: TOKYO – MLA

Our flight was the first one early in the morning at 7AM and we arrived lunch time in Kansai Airport. It was our very first time in Osaka so while we were excited with everything, we also had to figure out our way in the airport. Elian loved seeing the Nintendo decorations all over the airport. And we discovered that the food court there had yummy and very reasonably priced food. So we ate upon arrival before taking the train to the city.

Since we only had 3 days in Osaka already including our travel days and 1-day at Nara and Kyoto, we basically had only half a day to explore the city. Good thing our hotel, Sotetsu Fresa Inn Osaka Shinsaibashi, was just nearby Shinsaibashi Shopping Street and Dotonbori, so we were able to enjoy some yummy street food and a bit of shopping on our very first day. What we loved with our hotel is that it’s already very reasonably priced and it already came with breakfast. They also have a coffee bar in the lobby for free along with free toiletries, facial masks and other necessities for guests. They also give free pajamas for all guests so when you visit, it’s one thing less to think about when packing your stuff. So there’s more room for your shopping! 🙂

One favorite thing we discovered for the first time is Excelsior Cafe and it’s super duper yummy ice cream!!! Thank you to our friend Cams who joined us in this trip and introduced this to us. This is definitely my ultimate fave ice cream that I just had to have everyday (sometimes 2x a day) when we’re here. The cone is super soft (like our lengua de gato) and the ice cream super duper creamy. I miss it just thinking about it!

Here’s a short video of our time in Osaka. 🙂

The next day was our Nara – Kyoto tour day. Our friend, Cams, rented a tour guide, Keiko, who personally drives visitors around in her car. She picked us up in our hotel early and we first drove to Nara to see the deers. We went to different deer parks, fed them, had yummy ice cream and enjoyed walking around the beautiful scenery. Beware of eating near the deers because they will literally chase you when they see you with food. Elian didn’t like that very much. 😀

We then had lunch in Kyoto in Nishiki Market and then walked around the traditional Japanese houses, explored other food markets then spent the rest of the afternoon in the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, had coffee in Arabica, etc. Then headed back to Osaka for dinner.

It was a day well spent. We got to see a lot in a day with the help of Keiko our personal guide and driver. If anyone wants to book her, this is her number – +81 90 2352 0128. You can reach her thru Viber or iMessage. Traveling with a kid is definitely so much more easier with a car service and you can maximize the time as well.

In our limited time in Osaka, we were able to see the 2 sides of Japan — the busy, bright with lights, buzzing with energy city of Osaka and the zen and traditionally rich in culture and nature towns of Kyoto and Nara. Being the nature-lover that I am, I especially loved being able to visit downtime Kyoto and Nara and seeing more of the old Japanese culture. We especially enjoyed playing with the deers and I hear it’s more scenic during winter when there’s snow. So we definitely hope to be back during autumn season when the trees are red and colorful. I also wished we had more time to explore the sights and the shops along Kyoto. So next time we’ll go back, we’ll definitely need to say a night there in a traditional ryokan maybe. Osaka is perfect for shopping and just really enjoying all the food finds. This trip was a perfect mix of the old and new Japan and we thoroughly enjoyed and got to maximize our 3 days. Imagine seeing so much in such a short time! 🙂

For now, I leave you with our Nara and Kyoto video. Up next on my blog will be the continuation of this trip when we left Osaka to go to Tokyo and we took the Shinkansen bullet train for the first time. Our fun 7th wedding anniversary adventure to be continued in Tokyo in my next post! 🙂

Follow me on IG @ellenjoy.co for more real-time adventures! 🙂

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