After a few tries, I finally ended up visiting Istanbul! A few misadventures prior to that and unforeseen changes of plans that lead to cancel the trip once, this time I flew alone and I ended up having a memorable time in this ancient city! So memorable that I decided to split this article by days.
Nothing much to say about my last day in Tokyo, just that hangover can be a big mess! I had some plans for the day, and it isn’t pleasant to wake up with no will to do whatsoever when you are 9 hours timezone-away. But well, party is also part of the fun and vacations, nothing to regret!
Lazy day in Tokyo, nothing much to tell unfortunately. After the late night awake, I let myself sleep a bit longer. I left the house and I went to Shinjuku area to buy a new action camera for me, a new toy bought in Japan!
I have a very good bio-rythm, mostly when I am tense or even stressed. It is normal to me waking up a few seconds before the alarm rings, and this time was no exception. I had a train to catch, back to Tokyo!
All the usual stuff, packing, check-out and going to the train station. Since it was raining a lot, I decided to go to Tenma Station. Not the best option, since I had to change twice, but considering that I could avoid a lot of rain through the shopping street, which is under a roof, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.
Osaka Train Station is a nightmare! Huge, crowded and when in stress I took a while to find the correct platform. That was the first change, still in Osaka, I had to do, my goal was Shin-Osaka Station. But being ready and on time, I got to the right place with some time in advance 🙂 I used my trip to write some drafts on my blog, and a bit of relaxing time. The weather was looking really bad outside, perfect day to travel and not feeling bad to be missing great spots outside 😀
After dropping my luggage at Elma’s, I went for some shopping and souvenirs, I spent the afternoon not sightseeing! One thing I realized while in Japan, as a tourist, is that it isn’t easy to find a “souvenir store“, I don’t know why, that was my perception while there! I went to three places that I consider as a nice start for souvenirs, Oriental Baazar, Kiddy Land shop and the Takeshita Street.
The Oriental Baazar was my favorite place, three floors of things to buy, from clay objects to kimonos and yukatas, a lot of traditional Japanese things and not expensive. I bought most of my souvenirs there, the quality there also seems to be quite good, I recommend the place!
About Kiddy Land shop, it is the perfect place to buy toys! Most of them you’ll get the feeling you can buy them everywhere, but that’s not entirely true, some things there I doubt you can find them anywhere outside Japan! I didn’t buy anything there because I didn’t get the japanese thing with the toys there, whoever would get that as a souvenir would not relate that to Japan.
About Takeshita Street, I’ve mentioned that on a post before, it is a narrow street packed with people and stores! A lot to explore over there 🙂 After that I just went back home, I bought my dinner on the way and then I met with my hosts 🙂 Chatting a lot, and going to sleep late, not feeling the jet lag anymore 🙂 Until… Earthquake!!! A small one, but for me was quite strong! Impressive how big brother watches everyone over there, a few seconds later and all tv channels had information about the Earthquake with life-view of the port where they were expecting a tsunami! Nothing happened, but it was an interesting experience! I’ve been in Japan and I felt an earthquake while there 😀
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That feeling that things are getting back to normal, when I wake up at 8am and I know that I finally beat jet lag!! I meant to use this day for the waterfalls, but at the hotel they were quite convincing to avoid any where near the mountains, and mostly if traveling alone… Ok, time to improvise! Osaka is a big city, not much of history left due the Second World War, but for sure they have interesting stuff to see.
The day before the Australian guy recommended to visit the Aquarium, not much of what I would expect to visit when traveling to the other side or the world, but why not? I had a nice breakfast, and I went to the Aquarium that opens at 10am. I spent about 2 up to 3 hours inside, and during that time I took about 240 photos! Well, most of them are garbage, but I hope I can get a few good ones… The problem with these kind of places, is that they are also popular for primary schools to take kids there, and that can be a bit of a big spoiler… Though, also there I met a Scottish girl, I was quite proud that I recognized the accent the moment she spoke to me! After a few years in Ireland I already can get some accents even if they are not strong 😀
I am not sure why, but after the Aquarium I got a huge headache, I ate something around and then I went back to the hotel. Since I was on vacations, I couldn’t let the headache destroy my day, like if the typhoon hadn’t done it yet, so I text the Australian guy I met the day before for some food and drinks later that day. I arrived a while before, so I went to Tennouji area to walk around a bit, the area is quite nice but I didn’t have enough time to explore much, but enough time to get lost while trying to find the train station to Shin Imamiya! Another underground city in Tennouji!
We met, and then we went to Namba, were we ate octopus balls! Delicious thing and really hot too! We passed through Doguyasuji Street, another food/shopping street! Maybe a street food paradise! He had an exam the next day, so we didn’t stay longer, we went to Shinsaibashi Area for a small walk, and then we went both our ways, bot not before grabbing another set of octopus balls to take away! One of the most delicious things I ate in Japan!
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My initial plan for my last day in Koyasan? Wake up really early and go and see the monks praying.
What have I done instead? I woke up really early (for my usual time), and I went to the onsen one last time!
It sounds odd when I tell someone I spend a full afternoon at a graveyard taking photos, more strange when I say that I went to a remote place mostly because of that same graveyard, but yeah, that’s what happened!
After a restless night, people snoring, packing during the night, etc, it was my turn to wake up early and even a few minutes before the alarm went of. I packed everything and I double checked if I hadn’t left anything behind, and back to the train station! It was time to visit Koyasan, in the middle of the mountains!
Kōfuku-ji is another millenary temple in Nara and one of the eight Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site of the temple consisted of more than 50 buildings, though today just a few remain, one of them is the Five Story Pagoda that is also the second tallest in Japan and considered as a symbol of Nara.
Another day, and again, time to move! It was nice to stay a few nights without having to pack again, but it was time to move to the next city. Kyoto indeed it is a fantastic city, with a lot of history, cosmopolitan, a very good connection with nature! It was a strange first impact, but I fell in love and I honestly think I could live there for a while. But it was time to move, time for Nara!
Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Temple
Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Temple, the temple was initially a villa until one of his owners passed away and by his wish it was then transformed into a Zen Temple. The temple that we can see nowadays is a reconstruction of the original temple, that in 1950 was burned down by a novice monk.
Nine days since my arrival at the land of the rising sun, I was still jet-lagged! Honestly, I am not sure anymore if it was jet-lag, or if it was just tiredness forcing me to sleep earlier and therefore waking up earlier as well. Again, 6:30 and I was wide awake! I did my morning routine, and then I went to the living room to take a look at my still unplanned days. The transportation was mostly the issue, I wanted something central that I could take a option B and that I still had chance to do what I wanted to do. Though, the Nijo Castle was one of my priorities in Kyoto to visit!
It isn’t surprising that I woke up really early, after a long night resting, this was kind of expected. So, why not use that in my favor? If you want to enjoy properly a touristic place, the best is to go really early so that you can be there with fewer people around you. Jet lag can also be a good friend if one knows how to use it properly, and so I did it. My first destination was Inari, to explore the shrines hill almost all by myself!