Click here if you would like to read an overview of my 3 months wwoofing experience in Japan
I arrived at Kansai airport and immediately bought a phone card from the vending machine. It cost me SGD$72 for a 3GB 60days usgage, which was pretty expensive for me. But since i'll be there for a long time, i thought that it will be more convenient. However, it was only my third week when i finished up the data (because my first wwoofing accommodation didnt have wifi), and i found out that it will cost me another SGD$50 over just for a 1GB data for 1 month , so i decided against it.
My friend connected me with her Osaka friend who was able to host me and my friend Watson, who happened to be in Japan, for a week. We were so grateful for her! She not only provided us a place to stay, but also prepared breakfast and dinner for us! So much kindness and generosity! Her house is at Nozaki, which was about half hour away from Osaka Station.
From Kansai Airport, you can easily take the JR to Osaka. It cost me SGD$18 to Nozaki, so to Osaka should be a little less, maybe about SGD$15. Try googling it! Google is so amazing.
Oh and you would want to purchase an IC card (which is their train card) from the train ticketing machine, for convenience sake. The deposit is 500 yen which you will be able to get it back at the end when you return the card to the counter (I have not done that yet, but i was told so).
Due to the very efficient transport system in japan, you can easily explore kansai area in less than a week (depending on how much you want to explore). My itinerary was:
Day 1 - Nara
Day 2 - Osaka
Day 3 - Hyogo & Kobe
Day 4 - Kyoto
I think staying at 1 location and do day trips was a right choice, because it's really tiring to keep packing and moving. I would love to spend another day in Kyoto but the transportation cost is way over my budget.
It took us about 1hr 20mins from Osaka to Kintetsu-Nara Station, costing about 740yen. We explored Nara by foot. We went to Todai-ji Temple (SGD$6.50 entance fee), Yoshiki-en Garden, Nara Park and Kasuga Taisha. Pictures in sequence:
We had a good time walking around, though it was freaking hot in Japan in August.
I didnt really explore much of Osaka as i should have, but i think i have my fair-share of fun, given my tight budget. The main places we went to were Osaka Castle, Shitennoji Temple, Shinsekai and Dotonbori, and we did all this by foot. haha. Transportation fee is really expensive in Japan, so i try to walk as much as i can.
We took a train to Ebisucho Station, walked around Shinsekai and then we checked out Shitennoji Temple.
We continued our way to Dotonbori which is a famous food street and had Yakiniku for lunch.
We then headed on to Osaka Castle. It was nice just walking around the castle, we didnt pay to enter because we wanted to save money.
Afer which, we walked all the way to Tenjinbashi area to have dinner at a very small but homely Okonomiyaki (Osaka's famous fried cabbage cake) store that Watson discovered previously. We had a good time chatting with the shop owner. I can't remember the name of the store, but it's on the same street of a Japanese curry restaurant that i found on google map (530-0041 Osaka-fu, osaka-shi, kita-ku, tenjinbashi, 6 chome-5-3.)
The picture above is a nice river that we passed by while walking from Osaka castle to Tenjinbashi. I love going on foot because there's always things to explore and see.
Hyogo & Kobe
The only reason why i went to Hyogo was for Himeiji Castle (entrance fee 1000yen), probably the most famous and gorgeous castle in Japan. It is pretty expensive to get there from Osaka, i was lucky that my Osaka friend's husband was going Hyogo that day for work, so i managed to get a lift. Otherwise i would have gotten myself a Kansai thru pass.
Himeiji Castle was indeed pretty but it was very crowded at the time i was there. Well i'm still glad that i went there.
I then took a train from Himeji to Kobe (970yen). Kobe felt like a very modern town to me.
There is a waterfall (Nunobiki Falls) in Kobe that i wanted to check out because i'm such a fan of waterfalls, but i didn't because it was hard to get there and i didnt have enough time. There is also some sakae museum which caught my interest but it closed pretty early. So, i only managed to go to Meriken Park, walk around the Motomachidori (shopping district), and tried some Kobe pudding. One thing that i kinda regret is not trying the Kobe beef, because i love steak, but it was way too expensive. Do try it if you can and tell me how good is it. :)
Everyone loves Kyoto because it's really so damn beautiful! It takes about 1hr 45mins from Osaka to Kyoto costing around 700 yen.
My Dutch friend and I started off with Arashiyama. I bet you have already seen lots of instagram photos about that bamboo forest, i've been wanting to go there, and it's really gorgeous.
We then took a train from Arashiyama to Fushimi Inari Taisha, another instagram worthy place. It takes about 1hr 15mins (yes, it's not that near, Arashiyama is pretty far off, that was why it was our first stop) and cost about 440yen. I really love how pretty that place is.
We then headed to Kiyomizu-dera by train, 30mins, 210yen. Pretty temple and it was also nice walking around that area.
Next was Gion Street where we had some fun spotting Geisha.
There's so much more in Kyoto that is worth exploring. I definitely would want to go back there again if i have the chance to.
That's about it for Kansai area. ;)