Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Travelogue: Day Trip to Kyoto, Japan

During our trip to Osaka, Tim and I included a one-day stop at Kyoto, a neighbouring city of Osaka famous for its rich history and beautiful temples. 

We started our journey late in the day because we were both exhausted from USJ the day before and only departed from home at around 12pm. Had lunch at the station then off we go!

Train was too crowded that we couldn't stand together. QUESTION: How would you feel if you find your man looking at you like this through a crowd? 1) Sweet 2) Creepy LOL.

Sights on the way to the Fushimi Inari shrine. :)

I am a hardcore mochi lover so I couldn't pass on trying the roasted mochi! Loved the toasted crispiness on the outside and the chewiness of the inside. At the neighbouring stall we also had a wagyu beef skewer which was really tender and yummy. Each was ¥500 and worth the splurge! 


And then we were transported to another dimension. 

The Fushimi Inari is so beautiful. It was a nice windy day and perfect for a peaceful visit to a beautiful, brightly painted shrine. What would've made our visit even more enjoyable though? To visit earlier in the morning or later in the evening because you guessed it, it was just way too crowded with people! 

You cannot really see it from the pictures because we actually waited for the windows where there weren't people in front of us to take our pictures, for example:

Typical conversation while walking through the gates would be something like this:

"Walk slower, walk slower."
"Ok now. Go, go, go."
"I, 2, 3! *snap camera x100 as quickly as possible* Ok let's go."

Overall had nice pictures taken but I did not get a picture that I really love probably because of my outfit choice, which did not match with the yester-years ambience of the shrine. Kinda regret not renting a kimono for pictures. 

We then took the train and walked 2km to see the Ninna-ji Temple, which is both a national treasure and one of the listed world heritage sites! The garden surrounding the temple looks so beautiful and serene in pictures. Sadly for us, it was closed for the day when we reached *cries. We rested our tired legs and took some pictures outside the temple front gate before we left lol.

So to sum up our Kyoto trip, we visited one temple...

Our evening in Kyoto was lovely though! We went to the Shinkyogoku shopping area and had the famous Ichiran Ramen for dinner. :) 

We initially planned to have our Ichiran Ramen at the Dotonbori, Osaka branch. But while we were here, Tim googled and to our pleasant surprise, Ichiran Ramen has a joint here!

The queue to order food at the self-service machine

The queue for the seat

The display showing available seating
IMO this branch has a shorter queue compared to the Osaka Dotonbori joint! I've seen the line outside the Dotonbori joint, and it was crazy. So if you happen to be visiting both Osaka and Kyoto, you can opt to have Ichiran Ramen at the Kyoto branch instead.

Note how we were randomly seated at number 13, 14. In the Chinese language, 1314 sounds like "一生一世" which means a couple staying together for life. LOL I was so excited when I noticed it because what are the odds lol. I'm so corny someone please help me... 

My glorious bowl of Ichiran Ramen. The soft boiled egg and seaweed were of course musts! We also got to extra pork to share.

And even though one of the selling point of Ichiran is that you get to experience dining in solitude, we (read: I, the overly attached girlfriend LOL) removed the panel between us so we could enjoy the meal together. :)

The ramen was so good that Tim not only finished his broth, but mine too! 

After dinner we had a relaxed stroll around the area.

Then this happened.

HAHAH I LOVE IT. I'm so glad we did this. Didn't think he'd be up for it but as usual Tim was very sporting (one of the qualities I love about him). I designed the 3rd and 4th pic from the top and Tim designed the rest, and IMO it turned out so adorable! The picture is now framed and on display on his computer desk back home. :3

With all the love,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Travelogue: Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

My second day in Osaka was spent at Universal Studios Japan! However, this post is titled travelogue to Wizarding World of Harry Potter instead of Universal Studios Japan because only now I realise almost all of my pictures that day were only of Harry Potter World LOL.

I've been a fan of Harry Potter since the first movie. And It's been a forever dream of mine to visit the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando Florida. I am positive it will of course happen eventually! But as of now I do not see myself visiting the US for the near future. When I first heard Harry Potter World came to USJ, I was ecstatic

We woke up at 7am that morning, reached USJ by 8am and had Mcd breakfast there. Opening time was 830am and we were in queue before gates open. P/S wore my company's corporate shirt because it is the colour of Griffindor!

I did my research before I went! And as soon as the gates open, I ran to the Central Garden to get the timed entrance ticket to Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But to my surprise, timed tickets were not required that day due to lower visitor count! :D

Okay, okay. I know you do not need to see all our Snow selfies.

What happened was we first queued for the Hollywood Dream Ride Backdrop version. The backdrop is more popular than the front-facing one and we had to queue for about 2 hours for the 2-minute ride I think! Was totally worth the wait though! My point is, while waiting an advice would be to prepare some entertainment for yourselves. In our case, we ended up with an album full of Snow selfies LOL. And note how it was all taken by Tim... he was bored out of his mind I assume.


We took a trail through the Forbidden Forest to get to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and along the way we bumped into Ron's dad's flying Ford Anglia. Harry Potter themed music was playing the whole way, and it was so nice. :')

When we arrived I immediately burst into tears. :') We were first greeted by the snow covered cottages of Hogsmeade. Hogwarts Express was right around the corner, whistling loudly while releasing steam into the air.

After exploring Hogsmeade, we went for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, which is another ride with super long queue that took place inside Hogwarts itself. (Pic credits here and here!) 

It's a shame visitors were not allowed for a free walking tour around the castle but while in queue for the ride, the line would bring you through Hogwarts, the dungeons, Professor Dumbledore's office, past the staircases and moving portraits. It was also about a two-hour wait but I adored my surroundings every second. And the ride was super fun! Can't imagine having to do the whole ride on a broomstick though HAHA glad we were given the comfort of cushioned seats.

Butter beer is of course a must and Tim bought me the souvenir cup to bring home. It was so yummy! Butter beer with the souvenir cup is ¥800 and one in plastic cup is ¥600.

We had our lunch at Finnegan's Bar and Grill at New York area. Had their Christmas menu (¥2,300) and the unique onion rings, a whole onion shredded and fried, to share (¥1,140)

The two only pictures of the rest of the theme park (?) LOL. We visited all the parks and went on a many rides but honestly I did not really care for those if compared to Harry Potter World lol. Also probably 'cuz I mostly Insta Story-ed my experience and forgot to snap pictures. 

After the Jurassic Park ride Tim was drenched as the ride went plunging down into the water. As usual, I did not get wet from water rides... Not sure a blessing or a curse haha. The unexpected twist during the ride though! Let's not give away any spoilers here.

At sunset we (on my request of course) went back to Harry Potter world for more pictures.

Watched the Tri-wizard Tournament show as well. Hogwarts did not send any representatives though! And I long for the chance to the Beauxbaton's uniform! Doubt I'll look half as elegant and beautiful as them but still.

Had another round of butter beer and we were all set to head home. :)

Before we left the park we came back to Universal Wonderland to get our bags. 

TIP: Use the lockers here so you pay only once but can access them multiple times throughout the day! 

The weather was perfect the day at USJ. One of my dreams since a long time ago came true this year and I am so so thankful. :') And so blessed to have Tim to share this special day with me!

With all the love,