I only have 4 important apps in my phone during my whole Japan trip:
1) AccuWeather - to check the temperature for the day so I can dress up accordingly, and bring my transparent umbrella if may rain threats.
2 - 3) These Tokyo and Tokyo Metro apps - to easily track train stops and stations.
4) Translate - an English alphabet to Japanese character translation app, whenever I look for something or request for vegetarian options.
Aside from these 4 pala, I also overused my phone's calculator dahil adik ako sa pag convert before making any purchase (x .37)! Minsan when you look at just the price tags, maooverwhelm ka sa Japanese Yen! One time I got the bill for my simple dinner, and it was around 3000+ Yen, kamuntikan na ako mahimatay hahaha! When I converted it, asa Php1k lang pala na mahal padin... But at least hindi 3k! ;p
We assigned Lawson as our official breakfast partner during our whole Osaka stay (hahaha), para mas matipid and mabilisan so we can start our day right away.
You have to take a laminated card for your coffee of choice, and hand it to the cashier for payment and your drink. I always get the 180 Yen basic brewed coffee. Cashing = Php 66.
The 148 Yen mojo potatoes are my favorite, I almost had them everyday. Cashing = Php 54.76.
Although super cold, we ate outside the convenience store, and hindi sadyang nakakapag people-watch. I always see students walking together to school with their small luggages, fancy ladies hopping off a cab, and employees in their bikes rushing to work. Some of them nagsastop-over sa Lawson for cigarette break or just to get food.
Our first stop for the day was at the Shitenno-ji Temple, the first and oldest Buddhist temple in Japan.
Dito ko din nakita the hileras of ukay-ukay where vendors sell old house displays, clothes, cameras, toys, eyewear, etcetera. Thrift shopping here is interesting because of the authentic vintage Japanese novelties.
While walking back to the train station, we saw this quirky house covered with so much plants and flowers, I can't help but take a photo:
We took the JR line going to our next stop. The rail transport system in Japan is complicated for me who is used to just 3 trains in the country (MRT, LRT, LRT2, hehe). They have the JR line, smaller local private railways, the shinkansen (bullet train), etcetera etcetera. The best part though is that they are all criss-crossed and connected so passengers can swiftly transfer from one line to the other.
In our case, we purchased the one-day Osaka Subway pass daily. It costs around 850 Yen (Php314) na sulit na sulit naman pag on-the-go ang tour mo. We buy single tickets nalang whenever we needed to take a JR train. Lahat naka vendo, but you can ask for assistance at parating may train guards naman na at your service so you'll know you're paying for the right amount and going to the right entrance / train. May time na hindi ako makalabas kasi mali ang binayad ko (kulang, haha), but you can just pay for your balance sa train guards and they'll assist you with the pending amount, and then let you out.
I saw Meets for the first and last time in one of the train stations that day. I love this store, 100 Yen Shop siya, so lahat ng paninda Php37 lang! Hindi pa ako nag hoard niyan though, ang aga pa for the day and even the trip. Sabi ko sa Tokyo nalang.
The beautiful Sumiyoshi Taisha stood out sa aming temple running in Japan. The place is beautiful and picturesque, and wala masyadong tao.
Purification water / chozuya:
My Ate standing on the rainbow-like but really steep Taiko Bashi Bridge, with a height of 4.4 meters na sooobrang nakakalula! Crossing the bridge is meant to symbolize a spiritual cleaning process as you cross a body of water, preventing evil from entering the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine.
There are a lot of symbolisms in a shrine, interesting details that you can learn about Japan, its culture, religion, and people. I find these things interesting to learn, minsan pagkauwi ko or may wifi access doon ko nalang nalalaman the little things and meanings.
Most shrines have Ema Prayers, or small pieces of wood hanging in one place. This is where people write their prayers to deity of that shrine. I also saw sake barrels, torri, ropes, and zigzag papers (shide, papers that mark the boundary indicating a sacred space). Lahat may story and meaning.
We witnessed a wedding at the Sumiyoshi Taisha Main Shrine Building, and I felt lucky to be there. This structure is also considered a National Treasure.
We spent a good hour or so in this shrine, before we rode back to this nice JR train na green ang theme. The emerald couch is fancy:
I was nervous the whole time because of the next activity in our itinerary, hehehe. I insisted that we eat lunch muna, and buti nalang Ate was hungry nadin. We saw this quirky-shaped mall and looked for food inside while I was trying to buy more time. Haha.
This was where we experienced the vendo ramen. Wala akong naintindihan, so pindot lang kami ng pindot, haha. Buti may photos, but sometimes hindi ko alam if spicy ba siya, chicken or pork, etcetera. Anyway, we received a number from the machine, which was called din in a counter. Food was still prepared by humans and hindi naman lumabas sa machine, but that would have been cool, haha.
Our cheap but super yummy authentic ramen! I love talaga the egg, iba siya. :p
Before we knew it, we were off to the activity na nagpakaba sa akin, haha....
...SPA WORLD! Hahaha. Ate told me she tried Spa World na before in Tokyo, which is a natural Onsen -- a Japanese hot spring or public bathing facility. Everyone goes in totally naked, so dun ako ninerbyos haha.
We got our tickets via vendo padin in the lobby. Spa World is HUGE! We paid 1200 Yen (or Php444) na mura nadin for a spa. Sabi ni Ate, "pag hindi ka comfortable or hindi siya clean, pwede naman tayo umalis. Also, the last time humiwalay talaga kami ng friends ko when we entered the bath house, para hindi awkward." After that, napanatag nako.
This was the last of my photos for Spa World because bawal ang camera inside, obviously. We first left our shoes in the lockers (key is naka-bracelet para hindi mawala), and then separate lockers pa for our clothes where we changed nadin (another bracelet-key). In the women's floor, provided ang pink mumu dress in different sizes, plus long but thin orange towels. We were able to bring just a thin towel each to cover our fronts inside the bath house. Walang naka underwear or bikini or anything, so di na ako nag attempt, hehe.
Interestingly, I super enjoyed my first Onsen experience. While talking to Ashley about this the next day, sabi niya eto yata ang secret ng Japanese for their smooth skin! Also, people are so used to this, you don't have to be embarrassed at walang tumitingin sayo! There were barkadas na as if gimmick lang nila ang Spa World, and even mother-daughter bondings!
Every month nag chachange ng area for men and women, and that time we were assigned to the European Zone.
The European Zone includes the following sections (thank you Internet!). As in you just hop from one room to another at your own pacing and preference, take a dip, and enjoy the paandars.
They have paid areas like for massage and for the restaurants, which you can pay later on before you exit. Everything's recorded through your locker bracelet, na may tiny gadget din pala that records your credits (cool).
Ang pinaka memorable for me are the gold bath (super cold!), Finland's barrel tubs, the tea pools, and Spain's outdoor pool with the waterfalls. But the Salt Sauna is my ultimate favorite! It is a heated room where people scrubbed away, taking fresh salt from a huge pile at the center. Upon leaving the Salt Sauna, may automatic cool water spray to wash all the scrubs and residues. After that, imagine just relaxing and maglublob sa hot milk and honey pool to moisturize. It felt so good not only to the skin, but also to my whole senses!
You don't have to bring anything to Spa World, everything's provided that you can go there spontaneously! After 2 hours, I headed to the bathing room to rinse. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are all provided in each shower section. They also have clean robes and towels, and then a room where you can freshen up with solo stations that provide each person a body lotion, cotton swabs, hair brush, hair dryer, tissue, toothbrush and tooth paste, etcetera. Meron pang hair moisturizer and facial moisturizer! Sobrang cool experience, and relaxing for a change. I'll definitely try another Onsen on my next Japan trip. Check out Spa World's website here.
Ate and I headed to Lucua after, the largest mall here in Osaka and one of the most recommended must-visit from my friends. Ang laki niya! And outside, super namangha nalang ako na mall ito.
But before heading in, Ate and I rushed across, to the Umeda Sky Building for the Floating Garden Observatory.
Saw a cinema while going up...
We rode a looong escalator going up, around 40+ stories to the ground! It was fast though, so hindi nakakainip. Umeda Sky Building is also known for being a pair of skyscrapers connected in midair.
...Just in time for Osaka's sunset!
We stayed there for a while, and checked out the whole vicinity. Wala naman atang garden, hehe, but we saw this area where may love locks paandar din like the ones in Europe and Korea. Naisip ko, ano naman gagawin ko dito diba? Haha! #Hugot
We strolled around, rested inside, and finally went out again just to check the night view of Osaka's 360. Admission is at 800 Yen lang (Php296).
When we went down, I saw a random Japanese band / street entertainers na parang may good following because of the forming crowd. Sayang hindi na namin naabutan ang performance.
We went back to Lucua just to explore the mall. I noticed that it holds a lot of Japanese brands like Emoda and Muji. Wala naman akong nabili maliban sa Muji tights and strawberry-chocolates. The other brands, although ang ganda talaga, medyo expensive din. :p
Nagulat ako sa Best Buy! Haha! Packaged ng pa-artsy, sinesell na ito ng mas mahal! :D
Tried Manneken when we saw a stall at the train station. Super recommended daw sabi ni Ate, so although pa-dinner nadin kami niyan, I got my own waffle para matry. Sakto lang naman, siguro better if na-heat or ganyan siya talaga?
Ok, so here's the place where I had the 3000 Yen meal, haha! Underground siya, literal, we just entered a random Japanese restaurant at super gutom nadin kami!
Free edamame while we were choosing our dishes:
One of the cool Japanese chef:
Ate and her Asahi beer:
I think I ordered a lot nadin naman? Haha! From tofu to tomatoes, I also had a special vegetarian fried rice and egg cooked just for me! Service is good, and everything's tasty, I can still remember my meal to this day. :p I guess the experience is worth the price!
Read more of my posts for: Japan 2015.