Osaka 2018!

A few days ago, my family and I got back from Osaka, Japan. We stayed there from June 7 to 11, 2018—too short of a stay, if you’d ask me! Hehe. For this trip, I booked EVA Air (a 4AM-12nn flight, with a layover at Taipei for two hours) and excitedly counted the days ’till the big trip; I was especially excited for this trip because it would be my little sister’s first time in Japan!

Day 1

Airplane food.

Sunrise up in the sky!

Fast forward to noon, we finally arrived in Osaka! I quickly claimed our Nankai Line Airport Express tickets and our Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan E-tickets as well from the HIS counter at the airport. (I booked both of these, amongst others, through Klook.com!)

We rode to Namba in comfortable peace and enjoyed the sights. Forty-five minutes later, we got to our destination.

The train looks so cool + futuristic, hehe.

Would recommend riding the rapi:t train (you can purchase roundtrip tickets!) If you book it online or buy the tickets there, you can get reserved seating. We made our way to our hotel, Ibis Styles Osaka, dropped our things off, and headed for Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan!

If you squint, you could see my dad, my mom, and my sister photobombing my photo. Huhu.

The aquarium was just gorgeous. I would totally go back just to spend a lazy afternoon staring at the majestic creatures behind the glass. Just look at these photos (although, the photos don’t do enough justice for the actual thing!):

Why, hello there!

My spirit animal, haha!

This crab is HUGE, I swear.

This, in comparison, is a small crab.

Capybaras are so cute huhu.

Sea-sters. Get it? HAHA.

Family photo!

We stayed in the area until near closing time and headed back to the hotel for an early night in to prepare for tomorrow. 😉

Day 2

For our second day, we went to Universal Studios Japan! Yey! We didn’t have to line up for tickets anymore ’cause I bought them online in advance here. I also bought the limited event tickets/Cool Japan Event tickets here—of course, I had to ride the Final Fantasy VR roller coaster! My brother and I separated from the rest of our family members and immediately headed for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as soon as we arrived to beat the crowd. I immediately bought some Butterbeer Drops (I’ll post a Japan haul post soon!) and zigzagged our way around the area. We wanted to ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction as well, but the waiting time was 120 minutes (!) and our Final Fantasy ride had a timed schedule pretty soon.

Feels good to be home. (And, yes, I am wearing a Snoopy shirt—BUT I’m wearing Ravenclaw socks, HAHA.)

We left the WWoHP and stopped by Snoopy Studios really quick for a photo:

Then headed for the Final Fantasy ride! Yey!

Although I don’t look like it in this photo, I was excited/happy. Haha!

Months ago, I saw the trailer for this ride, and I had high expectations (plus the fact that I really wanted to ride a VR rollercoaster, hehe.) And, wow, the ride really went above my expectations! It was that good!

Souvenir photo opportunity before the ride!

Before we lined up for the ride, we were instructed to leave our things in lockers so I wasn’t able to get any photos of the ride itself. There’s just this thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen because you’re wearing VR goggles as you chase Chocobos and zip through all the action! I’m sad that this is a limited ride, but I hope that more similar attractions will open in the future! (Who knows? Maybe next year’s Cool Japan event will have something similar.)

Cactuar churro as a celebratory “wow-that-was-such-an-awesome-ride” snack, HAHA.

After that, we rendezvoused with our parents and Hannah (my little sister) for lunch—we decided to eat at Snoopy’s Backlot Café. This brings back memories when I first visited USJ three years ago and ate at the same place!

I got the Easter special pasta with an omelette on top hehe.

Finally got to try this, huhu.

After lunch, we got to go around Snoopy Studios and bumped into a familiar friend:

Heehee. I FINALLY MET SNOOPY HEHEHE.

Snoopy pointed at my shirt and hugged my little sister! Huhu, I love Snoopy very much. After saying goodbye to Snoopy, we spent some time around the area and the park before heading back to the Cool Japan area for the Monster Hunter attraction!

Haha. This was such a confusing “ride” for me, honestly.

As our last hurrah, my brother and I lined up for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride for an hour (hey, that’s an improvement from earlier!) and I’ll tell you this—that ride is one of the best ever things I’ve ever had the opportunity of experiencing. It was just amazing—my Potterhead heart was filled with so much joy after leaving.

Of course, we had to drink some Butterbeer (in this case, we got Frozen Butterbeer) before leaving the park.

For an early dinner/late snack, we went to Takopa—or the Takoyaki Park (formerly the Takoyaki Museum)—for some delicious takoyaki.

Kogaryu takoyaki! So tasty.

After a long and tiring day, we headed back for our hotel and hit the hay.

Day 3

Because of the hectic two days, we decided to switch up the itinerary for the rest of the trip. We had a slow morning and ate breakfast at the hotel:

—then spent the rest of the morning shopping at Tokyu Hands, Kawachi, and other shops in the area. We had a quick lunch break (I forgot the name of the place huhu) then rushed to Oyamazaki Station for the Yamazaki Distillery!

The Yamazaki Distillery was my mom’s special request—unfortunately, we were unable to book the tour (you have to book it online in advance and slots run out really fast), so we just went around the museum, the tasting area, and the shop.

Since the Yamazaki Museum was close to Kyoto (and since it was originally on our plans to go there), we headed for Fushimi Inari Taisha right after. We arrived late afternoon and headed straight for the street food area near the shrine. We arrived just in the nick of time, too! The stores and the stalls started closing around thirty minutes after we arrived.

One of my absolute favs: ichigo daifuku/strawberry daifuku with custard filling!

And ichigo kakigori/strawberry iced dessert!

All the street food was overwhelming and we tried our best to sample a little of everything. After hearty snacking, we headed for the shrine itself.

There were a lot of people near the entrance, but it thinned out the further I went.

It’s such a beautiful and serene place; I want to go back one day and try to climb to the top just to see the view and have a moment of peace. We stayed in the area until late afternoon and rode the Thunderbird train (kinda like the cheaper version of the shinkansen?) back and headed for the hotel to rest for a bit. Later that evening, I was craving for ramen, so we headed for Ichiran (a classic choice) and had some Cremia ice cream (one of the best!) for dessert:

First time trying it with cocoa powder, and it’s just delicious!

Hello, Glico Man!

The next day would be our last full day (which saddened me a lot), and I wanted to make the most of it! After having a peaceful walk around, we went back to the hotel and crashed.

Day 4

We spent the entire day shopping around Namba (again, I will have a separate experimental Japan Haul post up soon!) I didn’t take too many digital photos since we really just shopped around. I did buy a film camera a few days back, though, and as soon as the photos get developed, I’ll be sharing it in another blog post!

Before leaving Japan, I wanted to ride the Tombori River Cruise as a nice way to end our trip. I bought tickets early in the morning for the 8PM cruise (since this area was conveniently near our hotel, and tickets do get sold out at night.)

Boarding time! (We rode the yellow boat over there.)

Hello again, Mr. Glico Man!

After the interesting and calming 20-minute cruise, we got off the boat and went back to the hotel. We still had a lot of packing to do, so we couldn’t really hang around huhu.

Day 5

We woke up bright and early and made our way to Namba to ride the 8:30AM train to the airport. Again, we had a 2-hour layover in Taipei before finally landing in Manila at 6PM.

I’ve had such a great trip and I’m already looking forward to the day I’ll be going back to Japan (or, at least, travel again!) Thank you for sticking around to read about my trip! Oh, and as a bonus: if you’d like to see how the original itinerary was like/how I planned for this trip, you can find it here!

‘Till the next blog post,
Sophie.

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