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Friday, June 21, 2019

11 Pro-tips for Osaka and Kyoto

Ohayo, our latest and long-awaited trip brought us to the land of the rising sun, among other things, such as its rich history, great sushi, and weird fetishes. Like many others, we faced the common dilemma of where to lose our Nippon virginity - would it be Osaka or Tokyo? We chose Osaka ultimately because it seems to be more cultural appealing, cheaper, and its close proximity to Kyoto and Nara. For now, to us, Tokyo seems just like another city, busy, crowded, albeit lively. So Osaka, it is.

If you haven't, click here to see my 1-week Osaka, Nara and Kyoto itinerary!

After visiting Japan, I understand why it remains a popular holiday destination for Singaporeans. In many ways, Japan is similar to Singapore, just that its cleaner and neater, the people are more friendly and courteous (arguably more beautiful), almost everything looks like an art-piece from their food to toilet seats. It's as if perfectionism seeps in their blood. Despite our existence on the same continent, here are things you should know before you arrive in Japan like a headless chicken. This post will focus on the cities of Osaka and Kyoto which we temporarily made "home" for a week.
See #10 for USJ tips!

1. Get your passes in advance.
There are a lot of different sites to do this, like Klook, Kkday, Changi Recommends, etc. The first thing you should do is to compare their prices and check out their existing promo codes. We went with Klook and got our travel passes (inter-city, SUICA, etc.), 4G SIM card, and attraction passes (USJ, Kaiyukan Aquarium, HEP5). Not only it is cheaper, it also saves you queuing time. You just simply flash the QR code, beep, and you are good to go.
Train leaves on time, just sayin'.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Japan: Osaka + Nara + Kyoto 1-Week Itinerary

Ohayo! Japan is one country that has been on our travel bucket list for the longest time (heck, I was even a huge J-fan before Kpop comes about), and we finally checked it off in May 2019. Because of our pregnancy and the early stages of caring for baby Olivia, it was the first trip we did in almost nine months (the last was Taiwan in August 2018). It wasn't exactly easy to leave our six-month-old baby to go on a holiday, especially for mummy who worried day in and out, but it was a much-needed break.

Here are 11 pro-tips if you're heading to Osaka and Kyoto!

Korea was one of our choices, but then decided to strike it off we have both travelled there in the past, and perhaps, friends have been posting lots on their recent Korea trip. Japan was an alternative, one that I'm glad we chose. It is timeless, and it is amazing how their traditions and cultures still seep deeply in the architecture and its people. It was late spring when we travelled - the warmth in the afternoons coupled with the cool evening breeze.
Read on for:
  1. Our full, actual itinerary (places of interests are marked in orange!)
  2. More travel tips to Japan's Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto districts.
  3. Budget breakdown