Kyoto & Osaka December 2015 Travelougue

December 4 – Osaka: Universal Studios Japan, DotonBori

The bus arrived in Kyoto at around 4:50AM. The drop off area is near Nishiyamatennouzan station and from this station, it’s just a train ride to Kawaramachi Station(closest station to my guesthouse). It took me 30 min to reach Kawaramachi station and another 20 min walk to Khaosan Theatre(my guesthouse). Unfortunately, it was still close so I had to go back to Kawaramachi station and leave my stuff at the station lockers. I took the Hankyu-Kyoto train to Umeda station in Osaka and it only took me less than an hour.
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I took another train from Umeda to Universal Studios Japan.
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The line at the USJ ticketing booth was really long and the fast pass was already sold out so the moment I entered the park, I immediately rushed to the time ticketing booth to get my tickets to Wizarding World.
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Before my scheduled entry, I went around USJ first to check out other rides. I’ve been to Universal Studio Singapore in the past and USJ is bigger but the rides are all in Japanese. After going around, I finally went to Wizarding World.  I was so obsessed with Harry Potter back in high school and until now Harry Potter is still my favorite book series and finally seeing the real life replica of the places in the book/movie is just very nostalgic. Wizarding World is divided into two places; Diagon Alley and Hogwarts. I went to Diagon Alley first and if you’re not familiar with the book/movie, it’s a shopping area where Hogwarts students buy their books, wands, clothed and other stuff. Aside from the stores, you can also see the Hogwarts Express.
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After Diagon Alley, I went to Hogwarts castle and  lined up for the Forbidden Journey ride. Since I don’t have the fast pass, I waited  for almost 2 hours but it was worth it!  It’s a 4D ride so it really felt like playing Quidditch game and it’s honestly the best ride I’ve ever tried. After Forbidden Journey, I went to a store inside the Hogwarts palace to buy souvenirs and butter beer.
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Before I left Universal Studios, I went around first and I was able to catch the characters’ parade.
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Because I didn’t do any research prior to this trip, I had a diffuclt time finding my way to Osaka Castle.I took the wrong train so I end up not going to castle and went to Doton Bori instead. It was getting late so I only took photos of Dotonbori river and the Glico Man.
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I took the same Hankyu-Kyoto train again to Tawaramachi. I arrived in Kyoto again at around 9PM and I was so surprised at how lively it is at night. I finally went to Khaosan Theatre and was greeted my a really kind staff. I checked in first and went out again to buy Starbucks Kyoto mug. I also went around Gion District and luckily was able to see a Geisha walking around. I then went back to my hostel to rest.
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Day 6

I first went to Arashiyama to finally visit the bamboo forest. From My bus to Nagoya will leave at around 3PM. After less than an hour, I finally reached the JR Arashiyama station. I had breakfast first at a nearby convenience store. I saw a bike rental shop and actually considered renting one but I wasn’t familiar with Arashiyama and I still need to navigate the place so I decided to walk.
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Arashiyama is such a very laid back place. If you’re the type of person who loves nature, you will surely love this place. I first went to  the Bamboo Forest and the part that I visited isn’t the same as what I’ve seen in photos or those photos were heavily edited already LOL. Anyway I also visited the temple JongYeon couple went to where they wrote their marriage wishes.
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After that, I went around Arashiyama and bought green tea Ice cream(another JongYeon related thing lol). I also went to the keychain shop they visited on WGM and bought my own 02 keychain.
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After Arashiyama, I went back to Tarawamachi station and took another train to Fushimi Inari station. While walking to Fushimi Inari, I saw a lot of souvenir stores, and food carts but I wasn’t able to check due to lack of time. Fushimi Inari probably has hundreds of tori gates but I only went to the first 3 set of gates. I went around for only one hour before I head back to Tawaramachi station to get my stuff.
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I took the train again to Nishiyamatennouzan station. I lost my train ticket but the guy at the station allowed me to exit without paying anything.   I waited for my bus at the pick up area near the station. It only took me 3 hours to reach Nagoya from Kyoto and and I still have time to make it to my 9PM flight back to Manila. After checking in and getting my boarding pass, I had dinner and walk around the airport.
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Traveling alone for 5 days wasn’t that easy but I am so glad there are lots of Japanese people who were willing to help me and made this trip a memorable and meaningful one. To be completely honest Japan is the best country I’ve visited so far(Korea is still my favorite J). Although this was a quick trip, I’m glad that I was able to visit 4 major cites.

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