First time D and I went to Japan was in 2010. Our main destination was Osaka, and we figured since we were already in the area, we might as well grab the chance to visit Kyoto. Prior to that actual trip our only glimpse of Japan was during layovers in Narita, and so we’ve always been curious. But back then, plane fares to Japan were quite costly, and Filipinos are required a travel visa. Luckily when we applied for our visa, we got it really quick. So when CebuPacific had seat sale, I booked us the trip in a heartbeat. And it was one of the best decisions in my life.
The memorable places we went to in Osaka were the Osaka Castle, and food adventure at Dotonboti. We went to Universal Studios and I think we only had 1 ride – SpiderMan.
The highlight of the trip was our half-day visit to Kyoto. We got there by train and to be able to cover as much ground as we could, rented bicycles next to the Kyoto station. We were able to go to only two locations that were cycling distance away from the station: Toji, and Kiyomizu-dera. Toji is a Buddhist temple. What I loved most about this place was the tranquil garden and pond next to the five-story wooden pagoda. Kiyomizu-dera is also a Buddhist temple atop Mount Otowa. I loved the dramatic backdrop of the autumn leaves at the time.
In 2010, navigating was a bit more of a challenge, especially as we were holding on to an actual map while cycling around. And of course, in between the visit to the 2 temples, D and I had to have a good Japanese tempura lunch. I can still remember that quaint restaurant that we happened to find en route back to the station.
I look back to our to Osaka and Kyoto ten years ago. This was when we fell in love with Japan and what was to become the first year of our annual travels to this wonderful country. Sadly this year we’ll take a break. But that won’t stop me from ‘expoloring’ Japan. Luckily I was able to join an online experience tour of Kyoto in AirBnB. I’ll write about that in my next blog.
Mata ne, sayonara!