Monday, 20 October 2014

Japan Adventure [Part 1/5] - Virgin trip to Japan

Fresh from my Australia trip, barely a week later, I was off to Japan on a working + extending 2 days for my own leisure trip.. As always, I flown Malaysia Airlines on my long haul trips where possible because I am proud to be a Malaysian..

I was in Osaka for 6 days 6 nights (first night was in flight), out of which half were spent meeting with some service providers and hotel sales managers, and the rest of the time I was rushing around getting as much sights as I can, being my virgin Japanese trip..

I flew out on MH52 departing Kuala Lumpur on 2-Oct around 11.30pm and arrive the next morning in Kansai International Airport at about 7am.. It was quite turbulent flying over Taiwan and the plane shook quite violently - I was awoken from my sleep! But the landing was sooooooooo smooth that, there wass no "drop" onto the tarmac, just smooth..

Upon reaching Kansai, as it is my first time stepping foot in Japan, I felt kinda lost not knowing whether I should take the train or the bus to Osaka because I don't have much cash with me (and it's damnit that tickets have to be paid in cash!)..

This trip packed 2 bags to go with my business attire and all

Truth be told, this is my first time flying business on any medium haul

Refreshment: Satay & fruits

Breakfast: Fruits & yoghurt.
Main course: Nasi Lemak (no pictures as I was too hungry and ate all before I realised I didn't take pic!

Flight Info

Kobe International Airport

5 seconds prior to landing in Kansai International Airport, Osaka

Kansai Airport railway terminal
Orange: Nankai railway line
Blue: JR railway line

I would say, planning really gives me headache, learning from both my Australia and Japan trips, no plan is the best plan.. Just go with the flow and do what's necessary.. Maps and directions actually do not make any sense to me at all prior to arriving..

So I sat near near the tourist desk (they provide tables and chairs and free WIFI; weighed my options, and bought a 3-days Kansai Thru Pass for ¥5200 in the end, I chose to take the Nankai Rail Express train.. I did not want to pay for the Rapit:a train because I needed a pass to get me around Osaka for my appointments and such..

Kansai Thru Pass allows unlimited travel on subways, private trains and busses (except JR and Shinkansen trains) anywhere in the Kansai region and included discounted coupons for use for attactions.. I used the pass to go to Nara, almost to Kyoto on another day and to Rinku Factory Outlet near the airport on another day.. The pass can be used on unconsecutive days but I used up in the first 3 days alone.. And I also utilised the pass for discount into Spa World (I will come to this later)

Kansai Thru Pass 3-Days

So I went straight to the hotel to put down my bags, get changed into a suitable business attire and rushed off for my first appointment in Osaka in the morning.. I stayed at Dotonbori Hotel in downtown Dotonbori and I give this hotel a 5-stars for facilities and services.. Nevermind the room size..

Dotonbori Hotel provides among others:
- free wifi in room and lobby
- free drinks (tea, coffee) from dispenser machine at lobby
- free massage (on massage chairs)
- free computer use, printing and laptop to loan
- free telephone calls to report safe arrival (5 minutes of international calls)
- free ice from ice dispenser
- free weather update information (which is very useful!)
- free loan of umbrella
- free daily bottled water (the housekeeping stuffed me with 2 daily!)
- free daily ramen at 2230hrs with free-flow Asahi beer, white and red wine
- washer and dryer on 5th & 7th floor
- weighing machines to weigh luggages
- postage service
- currency exchange service
- information and tourist desk
- breakfast optional
- toiletries

Note: they are so good that they are usually fully booked, and no advance booking is permitted, at most 3 months or so I think. 

The famous 4 heads of Dotonbori Hotel

Drinks dispensers (taller white one is free)

Glico... girl..
My room panorama

Single Room

View from my room


Washer and dryer machine with free soap

Library, drinks, microwave and ice dispenser

Banner advertising the free ramen

Free, and it's quite good!

Free flow Asahi beer, white and red wine

Staff preparing the noodles

Ramen on another day

It's a Glico GIRL.. LOL.. not a man!
But it's not lighted

The Dotonbori river front

Spotaka - a 9 stories building selling only sports merchandise!
The guy on the banner also quite hot....
The best part is the hotel is located very conveniently in Dotonbori area, just across the road from Shinsaibashi shopping street and the ever-famed Glico "man" (it was NOT a man that I saw!)..

Going through the underground Nanba station would be scary for most first-time visitor, so I opted to walk on the streets to get my orientation and sense of direction.. For the rest of my trip through Nanba station, I was underground most of the time, in fact, the hotel is just 2 mins walk from Exit 25 of Nanba station around the corner or Ekim North - but is in the other end from Nankai railway line kekeke... that's 15 minutes walk underground..

After my morning appointment, I changed back into my casual clothes (lol, I don't wanna look stupid wearing office wear to go to a park!) and rushed off to Nara to visit Todaiji Temple and Kofukuji Temple.. These are the must-see temples in Nara being UNESCO Heritage Sites.. Seen and touched base of Nara, I returned back to Osaka in the evening for my next appointment - a casual sit-down dinner meeting..

1,280 years old Kofuku-ji Pagoda

Part of the Kofuku-ji temple complex; a UNESCO Heritage Site

Some Japanese homes/shops

Some Japanese homes/shops

Golden Pavilion - I don't see anything golden? But it's really peaceful and quiet

Golden Pavilion

Ohmaigawd.. I'm loving the lush greenary!

I don't know what's this but it looks cute

Deers, deers, deers EVERYWHERE
Nara Park

All looking in the same direction...

Hello there!

At first I was thinking what the hell is it doing...
Then someone around mentioned the mother is milking its young...


Why so mean....

Todaiji Temple

Gate at Todaiji Temple

Classic Japanese gate

Nara Park information board

That grey thing in the middle is rock climbing!
HIPS Nanba
... to be continued ...

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