Friday, October 30, 2015

Adventures in Sushi-land: Days 6 and 7

I can't be alone in feeling more and more bummed when a good holiday comes to an end. But Days 6 and 7 dawned upon us anyway, and we intended to make the most of our last days in Japan. By then, I was getting a little antsy. There were still souvenirs I needed to buy, on top of the bags of Japanese snacks I had already gotten. Good thing we managed to squeeze in some shopping time these last two days. 

We still had Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe to cover, and anyone would tell you two days is definitely not enough. Which explained why we set out at the crack of dawn:

Day 6: Kyoto and Osaka

View out the hotel room

Our first stop of the day: Kiyomizu Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site located in eastern Kyoto.

You need tickets to enter the temple grounds. To be honest, I don't know how I feel about this. Temples to me are supposed to be tranquil, serene places for reflection. But the Kiyomizu Temple has become so commercialised and over-run with tourists and visitors, and everything from amulets to love stones are being sold. It's a lovely compound - I just wish it were more ... private.

Kiyomizu Temple also attracts loads of young singles in search of their love fortunes. The Jishu Shrine, one of the many shrines in the temple, is dedicated to Ōkuninushi, the god of love and fortuitous matches.

Like a scene right out of ancient Japan.

And this is how a new temple wing is erected.

The market in front of the temple was so crowded we had to squeeze through the throngs of people. But I managed to grab some souvenirs home!

Dammit, I should have grabbed a few of these fans. But they come at at upwards of 10SGD each, if I remember correctly.

We hadn't seen enough of Kyoto before having to rush to catch the train to Osaka, our next pit stop.


We arrived at Shinsaibashi, the teeming shopping district of Osaka, around late afternoon. This 600m long stretch contains indie and international boutiques including H&M, Uniqlo, and ZARA, as well as department stores like Daimaru. But really, who wants to visit chain stores when you can go nuts over the local ones that sell one-of-a-kind designs that will always remind you of Japan?

All raring to start shopping!

The decor for a shopping mall. As they say, go big or go home.

Pleased with some of my loot ... although this is hardly enough shopping!! Next time, I WILL bring a bigger luggage.

Neon lights and busy streets - everything you'd expect of Osaka at night.

Yes, this is how crowded it was.

Day 7: Kobe

Our last day in Japan! *insert sobbing emoticon* Can we not go back to reality yet?? But Day 7 proved to be the kicker in the entire trip with beautiful weather and scenery, starting with this:

Akashi Kaikyō, the world's longest suspension bridge, links Kobe to Awaji Island.

Don't be fooled by the glaring sun and jewel-blue waters. The sea breeze was nothing to sneeze at (pun intended)!

Harborland, a waterfront shopping district along Kobe's port, is a slice of heaven on earth. My dad and I just stood at the end of the jetty and turned our faces to the sun, taking in the crisp salty air as the wind flayed us.

Perfect - PERFECT - day for hitting the boardwalk.

Some outdoor activity that involved bicycle stunts drew a sizeable crowd on a Sunday morning. And the best part is, the weather was heavenly, with fresh sea breeze and warm sun.

Yes, I took a sneaky shot of a baby again. But look at those cheeks!!

Stopping for some popcorn while sight-seeing

My dad turned into a fanboy and asked for this photo when he saw this semi-replica of Ultraman in one of the shops.

We grudgingly left Harborland to hit the shops at Sannomiya after lunch.

This is how Kobe's streets are decorated.

Sannomiya shopping belt

Osaka was right in the mood for Halloween!

As the day got chillier, we headed up Mount Rokko to take in a scenic view of Kobe. TOTALLY worth the cold.

Our last stop for the trip, Rinku Premium Outlets, where my dad got excited at all the discounts offered by the likes of Banana Republic, GAP, Adidas, and more. I was more interested in standing out in the delicious cold (15-degree weather + wind = ) and checking out the Halloween decorations.

And with that, we were off to Kansai International Airport in time for our 11.30pm flight. Thanks for the lovely memories, Japan! Thank you for your graciousness and stunning visual treats, your beautiful weather and eye-opening culture. I will be back.

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