Not even a month had passed since I got home from the JENESYS 2.0 program I took part in, I booked a ticket to go back to Japan. My IDC officemates Jub and Emma had already booked their roundtrip tickets to Osaka, and I thought it would be fun to join them, but I had people who I wanted to see, so I made mine Manila-Osaka (Kansai) then Tokyo (Narita)-Manila. I would learn later that my fellow Jenesyst Neri and her brother Greg also planned to go. Unfortunately, Emma could not go with us. Hence, I was with Jub for the first part of the trip (Osaka-Kyoto) and with Neri and Greg for the second part (Tokyo).
Day 1 Departure and Osaka by night
Our flight to Osaka was delayed a bit, but nothing could dampen my excitement for this trip. Although I was going to Japan for the second time, it was my first time in Osaka and Kyoto. Jub and I intended to take not less than a thousand photographs each. I was only able to take about 900 (Gomen, Jub-san!) even if I wanted to take a shot of every nook and cranny. I was in so much awe that I was afraid that I would not be able to capture the moment.
To save on train fare, we got JR-West Rail passes. Such a pass can be issued to a foreign tourist under “temporary visitor” status and is valid for unlimited travel in the Limited Express “Haruka” and Local Trains operated by JR-West within the area indicated on the sheet. Since I would be going to Tokyo for Day 4, I got a Kansai Area Pass for 3 days.
We were booked at Hotel Taiyo, which is actually near the train station, but we took a wrong turn somewhere and ended at a police station! Nope, we did not do anything wrong. The kind elder we asked for directions does not speak English so he thought it was best to ask the police for help. They have a map of every neighborhood at the station, and the kind elder accompanied us all the way to the hotel. This was only the first among many of the kindness of strangers we experienced in Japan.
After checking in, it was time to look for food. It was already late, and most of the shops were closed, but we found this really good place to eat at:
This place uses a meal ticket machine. Just insert your money, press the button corresponding to your choice, get the ticket, and give it to the waiter.
After our simple but satisfying first meal in Osaka, we took a walk in the quiet neighborhood before going back to the hotel. The next day was going to be full-packed!