After we left Mother Farm, we took a bus to Umihotaru where we stopped for a quick lunch before checking in to Shin Yokohama Kokusai Hotel and had dinner at the nearby Ramen Museum. In this trip, we would experience 5 different kinds of accommodations in 6 ‘hotels’ – Farm stay, hotel, home-stay, ryokan and theme park hotel. Each style is quite different from the other, and I think we all had fun with the various experiences!
The next day, we took started our 7 Day Japan Railpass and took the Shinkansen from Shin-Yokohama to Shin-Osaka. Shin-Osaka was our base for 4 nights. Being a home-stay, this is the only chance for us to do major laundry washing and drying. We had tactically planned this for the middle part of the trip so that we only have to pack half the amount of clothes for the 2 weeks trip. Brilliant!
Day 1 of our daily trips was to Dotonburi. This was a super touristy place – lots of shops and lots of (Chinese) tourists. Being not so into shopping, we spent the time eating instead. Gyoza, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, Pablo cheese tarts, macha ice-cream, and finally super yummy udon, wow, all the delicious authentic Japanese foods, we like~
On Day 2, we traveled out (of course by Japan rail pass) to visit the Golden Shrine, Bamboo Forest, had Tofu spread at Ine, and visited and the Red Tori Gates. As there wasn’t much travelling in between the places of interest on this day, Baby2 has her afternoon nap at the Tori Gates , while Baby1 went around taking photos on her camera with Papa. Good one-on-one bonding time between father and daughter. :)
Day 3’s morning plan was a bit messy and hectic. The initial plan was to go to the Mosaic Ferris Wheel near Kobe Harborland, then rush down to Kobe Sannomiya for some much-raved Kobe beef. At the Mosaic Ferris Wheel, we saw a long queue of kids entering the Anpanman museum, but finally decided just to visit the shops in search of Classmate J’s birthday present. By the time we reach Sannomiya, the designated restuarant was full (we didn’t make a prior reservation, sobz) and we settled at an over-priced and very average restaurant. For the second half of the day, we conquered the 6-storey Himeji Castle.
For Day 4, we took the rail to Nara. Nara is an area with many many many shrines. From our honeymoon experience, Dear1 and I concluded that all the shrines are more or less the same (keke), so we decided to just skip the shrines here and head straight to the fun part – deer feeding at Nara Park. Before we head over, we made sure that we are in queue for the awesome Unagi spread at Edogawa, the day before’s disappointment of not eating mouth-salivating Kobe beef still brews sorely for us. After a satisfying lunch, it was finally feeding, where the kids had much fun being chased by the hungry deer. Dear1 even got licked by one persistent deer, eeks!!
For the afternoon, we went to Yodobashi-Umeda and Hankyu shopping mall at Umeda. There were shops and shoppers everywhere, but we had long decided that lugging 2 kids along is never an enjoyable experience for us 4. However we have to join the Japanese crowd at (depachika) for dinner purchasing! You see all these people peering at the exquisite foods and wonder that they can’t all be tourists like us too!?? We joined the long queues and bought a wonderful spread of the local delicacies, some for dinner, and some for souvenirs to bring home. Coincidentally, today Dear1 realised that there’s a supermarket nearby our accommodation. What the!? We had been searching high and low for days for one, and only discovered this on our last city day, LOL. After dinner, we strolled over and stocked up with more local tidbits to bring home as souvenirs, just nice as we had to pack the luggage today too. This concludes the city-stay part, which means no more major shopping from this point on.
Setting off to Kinosaki Onsen tomorrow~