Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 Nov: Arrival at Kansai

I started preparing for this Japan trip (Nov 2012) last April 2012 (after my Langkawi-Singapore fun time).  I read Travelpack’s Osaka and Tuttle’s Japanese for Travelers, I studied Osaka and Kyoto maps – and initially, I must say that their train system will definitely be a challenge for me.

Flight 5J-828, I’m definitely going to Osaka, “Japan - the most awaited destination, before I go out of Asia”.  It took around 3.5 hours before we reach Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX).  Good that there is a connecting bridge to the terminal building and we did not walk at tarmac area at 6 degrees Celsius ground temperature.  Just follow the arrival signs and you will still take a monorail going to the Immigration section.  Wait for your turn, don’t be too agitated, and do not submit any necessary documents.  You just need to show the arrival form and the officer will get your photo and finger prints.  

It’s my first time to see arrival stamps which are actually stickers with bar codes; they will normally staple the departure card on your passport so you would not lose it.

I would always need local money upon arrival at the airport, our mistake is to exchange it immediately right after the gate.  We recommend that you go out of the building, take the bridge-way going the train tickets section. The currency exchange counter has better rates that inside the building.

Instead of buying single journey, I prefer to buy the ICOCA card. One ICOCA card is all you need to get on JR, subways, private railways, buses or in shopping in convenient stores.

At Kansai airport station, ICOCA is available inside the ticket office.  I’m not sure if he can speak English, but we have completed my transaction request by the help of a calculator, nice huh!

Since we are heading to Osaka, we took the Nankai gate. 

Glad that there is Airport Express (1090yen=545php, 2012) train waiting which is much cheaper compared to Limited Express with reserve seating (2500yen=1250php, 2012).
Limited Express with reserve seating
In Namba station, we have to change to Midosuji line to Shinsaibashi.  Exit 7 has elevator access to go the ground level and OPA Mall; it is also the nearest exit to our accommodation – Hearton Hotel Shinsaibashi.

More of my Osaka+Kyoto trip on my next entries, soon…

Summary of 5 days itinerary in 2012 Autumn Osaka, Kyoto Trip:

Places to see
Food and Restaurants
Where to Sleep
Day 1
Il Bar, Kyoto Station
Hearton Hotel in Shinsaibashi
Day 2
[Osaka] Universal Studios
Pasta Frolla, City Walk
Dinner in 3rd Planet
Hearton Hotel
Day 3
[Kyoto] Saga-Arashiyama: Sagano Scenic Railway
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Tofuku-ji Temple
Kennin-ji Temple
Snacks (sushi) in Sagano Station
Restaurant in Gion
Dinner in 3rd Planet
Hearton Hotel
Day 4
Lunch in Daimaru
European Market in Umeda Sky
Street Food near Osaka Castle
Dinner in 3rd Planet
Hearton Hotel
Day 5
Sacra Famiglia (Catholic Church) in Umeda

Hearton Hotel