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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Family Travel to Osaka [2~8 December 2019]

I have been very quiet and neglected this blog space for almost a year. Last year was definitely a very busy year for me (due to work) since the start of the Covid-19. I have been wanting to blog about our 2019 Japan trip to Osaka but this post has been put on hold due to various reasons but now I really wanted to record it down for memory sake.
 
Looking back, we were considered quite lucky because we managed to bring the kids for an overseas trip before the dreadful Covid-19 started to spread in Singapore. Now, we don't even know when we can start to travel freely out of Singapore again. Anyways, this Osaka trip was quite impromptu because my mom wanted to sponsor air-tickets for us and we just need to cover the accommodation and other expenses. We decided to spend 6 days (our longest trip so far) and hope to give our kids more exposure about the culture and history of Osaka. Since hubby used to stay in Osaka for 2 years, we wanted to take the opportunity to bring them to see where their father has stayed before. It was a pity we did not have enough time to do that in the end.
 
YS was appointed to plan the trip's itinerary but we did not really follow through in the end because hubby decided to bring them to somewhere else. Also, it was my first attempt to book an Airbnb accommodation for the family but it turned out to be a disaster during our first night in Osaka. 

We took a red eye flight from Singapore and transited at Manila before we reached Kansai airport near noon time. We decided to take the train to the station located nearby our accommodation to dump our luggages in order to spend some time to venture within the city.
 
Big boy was tasked to buy train tickets for the very first time.

Weather was cool and great.

1st stop - Pokemon Center (5 min walk from JR Osaka Station)

We made our first pit stop here since the littlest was a big fan of Pokemon. He managed to buy some merchandise and gotten himself some rare trading cards.

Happy boy at his favourite place!

We went to Dotonbori to take pictures with the iconic Glico man on the billboard.
 
Our first dinner in Osaka (sushi & sashimi).

Enjoyed Japan's ice-cream in the cold weather.

Street food in Osaka.

We decided to go back to our Airbnb accommodation to rest for the night. However, we were quite shocked with the accommodation's condition (pictures can be quite deceiving on the website). In the end, we were scrambling for last minute hotel booking in the middle of the night and managed to check in at a nearby hotel with better facilities. Let's just say, that will probably be my last attempt to try booking any accommodation via Airbnb.

The next day, we brought the kids to the happiest place in Osaka. Its one of the "must go" places in our itinerary, Universal Studio Osaka. Luckily we bought our tickets will Klook App beforehand. We spent the entire day at this magical place and still felt energetic, I guess the cooling weather did help a lot.
 Great weather to start our day at USJ.


Harry Porter

We tried their warm butter beer and it was too sweet to our liking.

That very night, hubby decided to bring all of us to venture into Hiroshima the next day although it was not part of the itinerary. We woke up pretty early and bought a two way Shinkansen (bullet train) tickets to Hiroshima. It was our first experience and we were so impressed with the cleanliness and the design of their seating arrangement (because we were able to turn front to back and vice versa). We bought Japanese bento and drinks to eat on our way back to Osaka.



The littlest enjoyed a nice nap on the train.

Yes, Japan sells very nice and fancy bentos.

Hiroshima was not on our itinerary initially but last minute changes can be fun and adventurous. Hubby wanted the kids to learn more about the history so we decided to make an impromptu day trip to this historic city. We spent half day visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to see those exhibits left behind by victims during the A-bomb disaster which happened on August 6, 1945.

Many children died during the atomic bombing so the Children's Peace Monument was built to commemorate these victims.
 
We walked past a memorial monument.

 
The remains of the building which was partially destroyed by the atomic bomb is still around today. 

We decided to spend the rest of the day at Miyajima Island, a small island in Hiroshima Bay. Miyajima Island is known the "shrine island" and it is famous for its floating torii gate.  However, our anticipation turned into disappointment when we saw the torii gate was covered up for renovation works. 
 

We took a ferry to get to Miyajima ferry pier.  

There are deers on the island so don't be alarmed if these cuties approached you for food. 


 
We could not resist to stop and try some of their fresh oysters. 

Enjoyed our scenic walk on this island. 

 

We also spent a day exploring the beautiful city of Kyoto and went to visit more shrines and temples.

 

How could we not take pictures with their iconic torii gates?


We did not spend too long at the shrine as we decided to venture a few other places on the same day.

The kids wrote their wishes on wooden sticks.


We tried some yummy street food from those booths set up outside the shrine.

 
This place gave me a sense of serenity just like our previous visit (when we were just a newly wed couple) which was more than 10 years ago. 
Entrance ticket

Enjoying the majestic view of the Golden Pavilion.

We ended the day by taking a slow walk along the famous stretch of shops leading up to Kiyomizu-dera (part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site). The sky started to turn dark and we made our last dash to the temple before the closing time.

These shops were selling interesting souvenirs and local snacks.

Night view of the entrance.

Night view of three storey pagoda.

Osaka Castle is also known as Osaka-jo, it is one of the largest castles in Japan. The castle consists of 8 floors and everyone can enjoy a panoramic view on the observation deck.

Mandatory group shot on the bridge.

We saw a few boats which went around the castle.

Self-entertainment by playing with dried leaves.

First time seeing an owl pet sitting comfortably inside the pram.


YQ trying to climb the great wall of Osaka Castle...lol.

YS was trying to measure how big each stone was.

Appreciating the beautiful scenery of Osaka.

Majestic view of Osaka Castle.

We ended the night to do some last minute shopping. Yes...my kids bought a few K-pop albums in Japan coz its cheaper (according to them).


Spiderman "roaming" around in Osaka.

On our last day in Osaka, we brought the kids to learn about the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. The earthquake that caused the destruction to the port of Kobe was partially preserved for public viewing and educational purpose.

The destruction caused by the earthquake and many lives were killed and injured.



Factory outlets at Mitsui Outlet Park.
 
We did some retail therapy and had a nice dinner over there.
 
Overall, it was an enjoyable trip although the itinerary was a kind of rush on some days but it was worth it. The children got to experience a different culture and learnt so much about the history. We hope to come back to Japan again when the traveling ban is lifted.