This was the much anticipated trip of the year!
We started planning for this trip very long ago, with the purchase of SQ Super Sweet Deals tickets. Planning went on and on and it was a pity that hubby was down with sore throat right on the day we were departing. Packed a number of medicine to bring with us and the next 2 weeks turned out to be medicine-full days…
But we were very lucky to be able to see 富士山 Mt Fuji from the plane!
Hubby noticed it first (before the pilots, haha!) and quickly whip out his iPhone to take a picture. Ms V and I unfortunately went to the toilet and missed the first sighting. When we came back, the pilot was announcing that passengers seated on the left could see the magnificent mountain, and we spared no time to get back to our seats and shoot! 🙂
The rest of the journey went on well, and I think it’s partly due to the sighting of 富士山 Mt Fuji!
A trip to 大阪 Osaka cannot be without a walk on 道頓堀 Dotonbori!
We idled for quite a while at a cafe in 難波駅 Namba Station before the skies turned dark and we reluctantly get up from the comfortable seats and made our way to 道頓堀 Dotonbori in the slightly drizzling weather.
The first thing to do was of course to take picture with the famous Glico Man, showing a giant athlete on a blue track as a symbol of the Glico candy (headquartered in 大阪 Osaka)!
We chanced upon this cafe that was projecting “Greece” and “come chill” to us… So we came here for a break between our walks in 黒門市場 Kuromon Market and 道頓堀 Dotonbori!
We settled for the Samurai Helmet Pancakes (¥1296 including tax), as well as Cafe Latte (¥378) and Matcha Latte (¥594 each). The latte had very lovely latte art, and the taste was not bad. Hubby was pleased 😀 The matcha latte here was excellent, without the cloying sweetness and with just the right amount of bitterness. The pancakes were soft and fluffy, and there were lots of strawberry slices and granola bits to complement it. As usual, plenty of fresh cream to go along too.
We really like the relaxed feel of this cafe, and spent close to 2 hours here, with hubby just chilling and us girls taking turns to rest and go shop around the nearby area. A good place to recharge before we start attacking 道頓堀 Dotonbori 🙂
- Location: Namba 1-Chome, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu, Japan 大阪府大阪市中央区難波1丁目
- Nearest Station: Namba Station なんば駅
- Direction: It’s just outside Exit 14 of Namba Station
- Website: wwalk.osaka-chikagai.jp/shops/detail.php?shopId=13
- Hrs: 10am – 10pm (Sun-Thu), 10am – 11pm (Fri-Sat)
We travelled from 京都 Kyoto to 大阪 Osaka and first thing we did after dropping our luggage with the hotel was to visit 黒門市場 Kuromon Market! This market has more than 190 years of history and tradition, and is often called “Osaka’ s Kitchen” because of the number and variety of food and products that it contains.
The market is a must-go whenever we are in 大阪 Osaka because we simply love the hustle and bustle of a very lively Japanese market. Or for that matter, any market in any vacation that we go!
The friendly shouting of the stall holders amidst the selling, the abundance of food for tasting, and the smell of the freshness of the produce made us instantly perked up, despite a very rainy day in 大阪 Osaka!
So this is our final night in 京都 Kyoto, and we just had to have a feast!
Hubby was looking through a magazine in our hotel and found an advertment that showed a しゃぶしゃぶ 食べ放題 Shabu Shabu Buffet with an affordable price, and so here we are!
This is an 180-years old establishment which has a very elegant Japanese garden at the entrance that instantly gave us a calming and welcoming atmosphere as we walked into the restaurant. We ordered the 上牛と特選豚すきしゃぶ食べ放題 Superior Beef and Special Pork Suki Shabu Buffet (¥3680+8% tax per pax with 10% discount from a coupon in the magazine 🙂 ) where we could enjoy both すきやき Sukiyaki (meat cooked in soy sauce broth) and しゃぶしゃぶ Shabu Shabu (meat cooked in clear broth) in the same pot!
We had chanced upon this pancake cafe because of the huge advertisement on its 3D latte art, and we decided that this would be a good resting point after our walk in the nearby Nishiki market.
We were really too full to try any pancakes, so we had カプチーノ Cappuccino, カフェオレCafé Au Lait, and チョコレートミルク Hot Chocolate Milk. Each of the drinks cost ¥680+ (including 3D latte art).
The drinks were just alright, but the latte art were so pretty that we were really careful in sipping our drinks, haha! The staff were also very friendly and helpful, and I managed to request for a less-sweet version of hot chocolate through our very broken Japanese.
We had the sofa seats on the first floor, and chilled for a good hour or so 🙂
- Location: 595-5 Uraderacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu, Japan 京都府中京区裏寺町595-5
- Nearest Station: Gion Shijo Station 祇園四条駅
- Direction: A short 5 minutes walk from the station.
- Website: cafe-elk.com
- Hrs: 9am – 10pm
So I have been wanting to relive the what I call 一蘭 Ichiran experience over again ever since I tried it in 福岡 Fukuoka many years ago. This is a classic とんこつラーメン Tonkotsu ramen shop that started from the 60s and have been dishing out ramen all over Japan over the years 24 hours a day.
The 一蘭 Ichiran experience starts from ordering your noodle and extra ingredients using a vending machine (or coupon machine). Then you wait in line for the server to assign you a cubicle. Yes you need to dine in a cubicle ALONE. Haha…
Once you are seated in a cubicle, you will face a wooden window where a server will appear from behind and collect your order. This is also the time when you can indicate your choice of thickness of noodle, hotness of sauce etc. Then you wait for the noodle to be served, again through the wooden window. This, my dear friends, is the 一蘭 Ichiran experience! 🙂
A first-time trip to 京都 Kyoto would probably be incomplete without paying a visit to 錦市場 Nishiki Market. Despite being a Wednesday, where some shops were closed, there were actually still plenty to see, and it was less crowded too.
We had fun strolling around, just looking at the merchandise, and also snacking along the way. The popular soy doughnut shop was opened, and we got ourselves some Soy Doughnut (¥300). A pity it was not piping hot, but still not bad. It certainly tasted different from the soy doughnut that we had at 嵐山 Arashiyama.
We went to check out the many Torii gates at 伏見稲荷大社 Fushimi Inari in the morning, and we discovered that there were now many more Torii gates compared to our previous visit in 2011, making it an even prettier sight. As we were entering the shrine close to 9am, we saw a few visitors leaving 😮 There were easily at least another 20 visitors making their way up at the same time as us, but most of them were quite quiet and orderly in their movements, so it was a rather pleasant walk. Despite the cold, we soon got warm as we slowly made our way up to the view point. Our journey to and fro the view point was about an hour. We were glad we came early; by the time we made our descent, it became really crowded!
Mr J recommended this place to us, and warned us about the long queues at the Kyoto Station outlet, so we were pretty excited when we found the main shop near our hotel! There was a little entrance next to Lipton cafe, and opposite Jeugia, a guitar shop, and we had to walk through a small alley before reaching the restaurant.
We were comparing the English and Japanese menus, and discovered that for the English version, the main pork dishes all come in sets (additional ¥300 for unlimited servings of barley rice), but since we wanted to minimise our carbohydrates intake, we ordered via the Japanese menu instead: