Osaka/Kyoto, Japan Trip w/ my mom and PruLife UK peeps

by - July 02, 2013


Towards the end of the first quarter of this year, I was able to travel with my mom to the country I wanted to visit the most, Japan, yes, the Land of the Rising Sun, and also of awesome Pocky pretzel sticks. Heehee. :)

We were given the opportunity to have this trip with the rest of the PruLife UK peeps when my mom qualified for two seats in PruLife UK's Protection Drive promo for 2013. It was no question among my siblings as to whom my mom would bring along with her; Japan, siyempre automatic ako na yan. :)

When I started working, I came to a point of putting aside every interest I had for Japan and its culture; thus, it was such a great blessing to have received this unexpected opportunity. This was also my first trip outside the country; san ka pa, unang tatak ng passport ko, Japan agad haha. I thank God for this coz it brought to life again my interest in things that I used to love but have allowed to die down because of all the mess that had happened to me. So, thank You God. Teehee. :)

It was a four-day trip, but only seemed to be a two-day since the first and last days were allotted for the travel time. We went there last March 13-16, specifically in the areas of Osaka and Kyoto. I think it's about a four-hour air travel. We landed at Kansai International Airport (KIX) at around 9 or 10 in the evening, and though it was supposed to be the start of the summer season, it was freakin' cold! Funny how our tourist guide described the weather in Japan during that time: "Today, it is VERY VERY WARM in Japan." and everyone had the same reaction; no, that was in no way warm for someone who lives in the Philippines.


We had our first dinner at Sakon BBQ Buffet in Osaka. Just think of Yakimix in a more Japanese cozy type of setting. Gaak, I enjoyed this night. I was so full, had scoops of different flavors of ice cream; yey! I love ice cream! :) Then we stayed at Imperial Hotel, also in Osaka. Sugoi, Google has the Nihon kanji characters on their website. Haha.


Second day and our destination was Kyoto. We departed for our first stop, the Kiyomizu Temple, which our travel guide booklet described it as "perhaps the most popular of the temples in Kyoto and is a fixture in the minds of Japanese people." Indeed, it was a collection of temples. We basically went to temples and shopping districts during the whole trip. O_o


Field trips were also conducted on the same day so we visited the temple together with elementary and junior high students. It's such an ecstatic and crazy feeling seeing an actual junior high student in Japanese school uniform; I suddenly remembered Sakuragi and the rest of the Slam Dunk characters. Thanks that I can still remember a bit of the helpful Japanese phrases I learned in college, we were able to take a photo with some junior high students. "Shashin o torimasu ka". Naintindihan naman nila. :)


Lunch time! We had our lunch at the Kyoto station which is also a shopping area. My mom and I had a bowl of ramen noodles for lunch. Yum! Since my mom and I are not really the shopping type of people, we had some spare time to just stroll around the area. We were able to find the 100 yen store, which apparently sells items at 105 yen XD.

Next stop was at Heian Shrine, which according to our travel guide booklet again, is "a Shinto Shrine built in 1895 for the 1100th anniversary of the Heian capital foundation." Need I say more?



Yes, another shopping district after a visit to the temple. I would have hoped that our itinerary could have allotted more on tourist spot destinations rather than on shopping areas. This time, our free and easy time was back in Osaka. My mom and I had tempura and katsudon for dinner at KYC resto together with tito Jerry, tita Teng, and their youngest child, Ivanka. Am not much of a fan of katsudon but that was the best katsudon I'd ever tasted. :) The resto crew was also very nice, it was just a challenge that most of them could not speak English, but good thing the manager could. We had a nice dinner for the day.

It was a tiring and freakish COLD second day, but a fun one.

My mom feeding fat, tasty pigeons.
Third day was up.  We were going to visit the Osaka Castle. But guess what, I never got to climb up the castle O_O. For some weird reason, they had to cut our time short, so were made to choose between climbing up the castle or visiting the plum garden that was at the lower end of the area. My mom's knees were not that strong, and I really prefered to see the garden over the museum, and indeed, no regrets for this choice, the plum garden was such an amazing view. And when I say it was an amazing view, it really was; perfect place for the soul-searching type retreats heehee. Plum blooms in three colors: white, pink, and red. We were able to spot all three.


Though we were not able to witness the full bloom of the cherry blossoms, we were able to chance upon some that were starting to bloom. They were indeed a must-see. Too bad we were the first batch. The second batch of the Japan trip was able to catch the full bloom of the cherry blossoms.


After Osaka Castle, we went to Shinsaibashi, a district in Chu-oku ward of Osaka and the city's main shopping area. Indeed, our tourist guide kept repeating the phrase "To help the economy of Japan" during our entire tour. That is why the latest news on Japan right now is the lifting of visa requirement for Malaysia and Thailand and allowing multiple entry for Philippines and some other southeast asian countries (still with visa req), to improve their tourism. "To help the economy of Japan".


Of all the shopping areas, Shinsaibashi was the one that my mom and I enjoyed the most. Yes, we both weren't the shopping spree type but we found useful stuff to bring back home, and my favorite, authentic japanese tea. Heehee. I love tea. :)

Some Japan loot.

Anata wa watashi no pocky!

The third day was also allotted for the awards night. PruLife UK would give recognition to the Kyoto Protection Drive qualifiers, which obviously my mom was a part of. Indeed, I had seen how my mom has been enjoying her stay with PruLife UK. She was able to travel a lot for FREE while doing what she loves. Her first trip with them was in London. Sowsyal ng nanay ko, lakwatsera LOL.



Here are some of my favorite selfie shots (yes, you have to be vain sometimes).


Fourth and last day. Goodbye Japan na and hello Manila again. Though I really enjoyed this blessing of a trip to Japan, there's still no place like home. Kahit na sobrang init sa Pilipinas, I still love it the most here. :)

Thank You, God.


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