My Japan Diary - The last of 2014

Day 7 - How time flies, having been here for 6 days so far, it is time I do some reflection. What have we learnt about Japan that will be useful for you readers to know? 

1. Pachinko and slots? It's abundant here and basically they are for the elderly to pass time. 

2. Hotels here provide toiletries ranging from comb to shampoo so a lot of luggage weight and space can be saved.

3. Check out time ranges so it may not necessarily be at 12noon.

4. Transportation here cost >200 yen ($2+) even for one stop. 

5. There are many different transport providers supporting different train lines so you have to make sure you double check. We had to do many reroutes. 

6. Transporting luggages between cities and hotels can be done overnight so do send your luggages to the nearest concierge a day before transition. 

7.  English is more widely known amongst the Japanese but some words are in Chinese so you tend to be able to figure out something from a word or two you know.

8. Starbucks here is much cheaper! Do drop by one if you have the chance. 

9. Supermarkets here are the best place to grab takeaways. Daimaru, Takashimaya, Isetan, Hanshin, Hankyu are just some of the major ones. Discounts starts around 7.30pm.

10. Sunset at around 4.30-5pm in winter.

11. Avoid traveling during New Year ie 31 Dec and 1 Jan as most of the shops are closed. Supermarkets are closed by 6pm on 31 Dec and open on 2 Jan onwards.

12. ICOCA card can be used in Kyoto  and Osaka for trains and buses. Although the one day pass will be more worthwhile if you take a lot. 

13. There are more vending machines than dustbins here. We had a tough time getting rid of our rubbish. 

14. More to discover!!! 

Kiraku is closed today and we could not try our Okonomiyaki :(

Took a bus 203 in an attempt to visit some famous shrines and temples. Alighted and walked about 15 mins before arriving at Philosopher's Path. It is a stretch of shops and restaurants, somewhat similar to 九份 in Taiwan. 

Did not walk through the whole path because we thought of having some udon at the famous Omen. However it's also closed for the day! Known for their hot and cold noodles, and since Japanese celebrates their new year by eating noodles, we thought of trying it but... I took a pic to commemorate the unfortunate event. Haha!

Decided to head towards Nanzenji Junsei which is near Nanzenji temple itself. We used google maps which told us that we'd arrive in 25 mins but we took an hour! It was a long walk but we enjoyed the cool breeze and tranquility the place gives off.

We finally got to the restaurant at about 3.30pm. Luckily it was opened else we would be so frustrated for we walked an arduous journey to get there! It did not disappoint us. 

Ordered a Yudofu Tuki set (as shown below) since this place is famous for their tofu kaiseki. A portion of the set is for one pax.  We ordered one and several sides such as Yuba Tempura and Croquette Salad. Wanted a fried mashed taro but it was sold out. Do try it for me if you happen to go and eat it.

Altogether the meal cost only 6,300! A steal indeed because we had quite a satisfying meal despite our empty stomachs. The roasted rice tea also warmed us up quite a bit before we started to attack the food. The tempura was a sinful yet delicious choice while the simmered tofu whet our appetite with its collagen. The rice was purple brown rice instead of white rice so you can imagine how healthy the set is supposed to be. There's a grilled tofu as well which tasted a lot like taukwa. 

We walked to take bus 5 back to our hotel as it was raining. It's about 30mins ride because of the rain and sunset. 

Note: most shops and restaurants start to close from 31 Dec so we couldn't even get to the departmental stores in time. But fast food and convenient stores are open though. Temples and shrines will be the best place to go for 1 Jan. 


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