Report from Muslim Travellers in Japan

OSAKA - KYOTO JAPAN TRIP - PART 1
[Itinerary]
KANSAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -- <Osaka> ABENO HARUKAS -- HERBIS Osaka -- Osaka Castle -- Osaka River Cruise -- Shinsaibashi/Namba -- NAMBA CITY -- Tsutenkaku Tower -- Dotonbori

Assalamualaikum…

Great to meet up with everyone again in Kak Pilla’s travelogue :) This time it’ll be extra special because Kak Pilla will bring all of you to Osaka and Kyoto. Japan is one of the must-visit countries in Kak Pilla’s wish list since ages ago. Been longing to visit Japan and experience firsthand its culture, food and the Japanese way of living.

Kak Pilla hopes that Kak Pilla’s entry on Japan will help those of you who plan to visit Japan and perhaps provide a clearer picture for people who haven’t been to Japan to experience the land of the rising sun :) There are endless discoveries that impressed Kak Pilla, opened the mind and somehow enlightening throughout Kak Pilla’s stay in the country. Not to mention sweet memories of course!! The best part is being able to taste the snow hahahah crazy awesome ;) This entry will be a most detailed entry because Kak Pilla really hopes to assist however possible for any of you who wants to travel to Japan, especially Osaka and Kyoto.


6th February 2015. Kak Pilla’s flight was close to midnight at 11:50pm departing from KLIA. Because it’s a Friday and in order to avoid traffic jam, we had to make a move fast. After work, quickly returned home to the kids with Atok and Wan, gave everyone a big kiss before we hit the road. Cried with no apparent reason maybe because worried about mum and dad’s wellbeing when Kak Pilla is away… wohoo so sad… We drove to Wan’s place as we had gotten the house key and we really wanted to pray before heading to the airport. Uncle Rosli and Auntie Rabitah sent us from Enstek to KLIA. Felt a bit down looking at a plane passing by.


If possible, go for web check-in. Otherwise, you can do it at the kiosk like how Kak Pilla did. It’s so convenient and you can get the boarding pass right away.


At that moment, both of us prayed for a safe journey to and fro for Kak Pilla and Pak Radie ;)

We reached Osaka Kansai International Airport at 6:50am local time. The time difference of Japan is 1 hour earlier than Malaysia. And the moment we touched down, we started looking for prayer room as Kak Pilla was informed that such facility is readily provided.


It’s simply a breeze to find the prayer room in this airport. It’s on the same floor as Uniqlo.


The Solat space was divided between male and female. The prayer room was indeed clean, spacious and definitely comfortable.


Even ‘Telekung Wakaf’ was provided for our convenience.


The place to wash up was just so nice. Kak Pilla sat on the seat shivering after washing with the icy water hehehe…
http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/index.asp

Ok, right after ‘Solat’ we met up with Idham (my agent/client) and headed straight for the bus station enroute tp our hotel in Osaka.


Here’s an important info. You guys can get yourself a Pocket Wifi at the airport over the counter that says Pocket Wifi. You may want to rent it because you might need Wifi throughout your journey in Japan to Google any important info. Heheeeee… For Kak Pilla it’s about updating her social media, right? Hahahaha that’s really important too you know. The rental is about RM30 a day. Definitely worthwhile for a group of 4 to 5 travelers where each can easily share the cost hehehe. Frankly, Kak Pilla did do some Googling with “Pocket Wifi” in Japan. There are a lot that you guys can rent online. That you have to Google your own ok, don’t be such a spoilt brat.


Japan is truly a systematic and well organized country, just that the number of stations especially train stations can be overwhelming. So much so that you’ll freak out hahahah… Ok you guys can search for this information board to check on the destinations and platform to take your train


Kak Pilla wanted to go to Sheraton Miyako Hotel Osaka. Look at the info board above, platform 7, complete with name of hotel and the fare.


OK passed. Getting ready for the bus at platform 7. This platform is at Terminal 1. Bus ticket can be bought there and then.


All the buses here come with a screen that shows the next station. The journey by bus took about 50 minutes from Kansai Airport to the hotel.


Bus ticket 1550 yen / person. Our money about RM47 a person.


Along the way to hotel, we saw a lot of what seemed like factory-port. All appeared so clean with no people loitering around. Hahahah… everything is just so organized.


We stayed at Sheraton Miyako Hotel Osaka for 2 nights. Anyone who has no clue which hotel to stay in Osaka can consider this, because the breakfast came with a Muslim section. Yaaay, eat with peace of mind :) and there’s one more thing, the hotel is just right next to the train station and bus stop to just about anywhere. We left our luggage with the hotel staff because we couldn’t check-in yet. With our luggage taken care of, it’s off to Abeno Harukas.


Going to Abeno Harukas by bus is simple hassle-free.


Ticket could be bought the moment we boarded the bus. Just 100 yen (RM3). How thoughtful and convenient for tourists like us. 100 yen is about RM3 and the whole trip took only 15 minutes from the hotel.


To disembark, simply insert your bus ticket into the machine, then you can say Arigatou Gozaimasu to the bus driver. Heheheh… Kak Pilla really likes the Japanese way of life. Everybody is so passionate, courteous, friendly and full of respect for the customers. Speaking of which, the bus driver’s voice was like the playback of a tape recorder. It seemed almost as easy as pressing the replay button hahaha. He even thanked every passenger who got off the bus by saying Arigatou Gozaimasu (terima kasih). Kak Pilla also showed her respect by bowing like the rest of the Japanese hahaha.


This is the Abeno Harukas. What’s that Kak Pilla, you may ask? Haaaa for your info, this happens to be the tallest building in Osaka. Going up the building will give you a spectacular view of the whole of Osaka all the way to Kyoto. The locals call it Harukas 300, which refers to its 300m height.


Before we continue, how about a selfie with Kak Pilla and Pak Radie hahahaha.


Tickets can be bought inside the building. Love to observe the staff over the front desk. So hospitable, waving her hands signaling people in the queue to approach the counter. No sign of exhaustion or resentment to entertain the customers.


The photo above is for you guys to check on the ticket price. Get it? 18 means adult, 18 and above, the rest refers to kids’ fare. So for adult it’s 1,500 yen per person.

Ok, let Kak Pilla take you all the way to the top at 300m and check out how big Osaka is.


Stunned for a while. The city is dense but looks kind of cozy don’t you think. Looks like the buildings are not really tall, all are low-rise but look, the whole scene feels like an ocean of real estates.


Can you see the shadow of Harukas 300? hehehe


Time for a quick snap for keep-sake.
http://www.abenoharukas-300.jp/en/


This is the Sky Garden, you guys can go outside and enjoy the breathtaking view from here. Stepping out to the outdoor open roof for a while and you’ll feel the chill hahaha must quickly rush back inside. Ok, we are done. Now let’s head to Herbis Plaza. C’mon, follow Kak Pilla’s lead.


Since train is the main transportation in Osaka, Kyoto and in fact the whole of Japan, buying this card is definitely your best option. You can buy and keep it hahaha. It’s reusable next time you visit Japan, just top up the amount and you’re good to go ;) This card is readily available from the machines at all the stations.


This is Kak Pilla’s routine throughout the entire Japan trip, going through gates like this hahaha.

From Harukas to Herbis Plaza, you guys should take the train at Tennoyuji Station and get down at Umeda Station. The fare is 280yen, and the journey is about 21 minit. Jot down the details guys. Kak Pilla teaches all of you like how a teacher teaches the students. Seriously all of you must go, it’s bestttttt!!! hahaha seems like forcing people.

Along the way from Umeda Station to Herbis Plaza was a simply pleasant walk with all sorts of interesting sights to discover.


What luck, there’s a samurai show here. Check out the crowd.


Seemed like a festival. There were all kinds of stalls selling foodstuff and drinks, fruits, even mini concert.


Yay, we have reached Herbis Osaka. While walking around its nice surroundings, Kak Pilla observed everything, even the building walls. Silly, right?! Hahaha. This is surely the descendent of Atok Braim, with one side of the pants up and the other down hahahah.


Yeehaaaaa hahaha… don’t worry, no one saw Kak Pilla jumped, only you guys haha.


Herbis Plaza is actually kind of like a high-end boutique. So you can take a casual stroll and perhaps check out the good looking people. How to shop if it will make a dent in the pocket?
http://www.herbis.jp/lang/english/index.html


You can see lots of vending machines along the roads in Osaka, and all of them are in good working condition, nothing is faulty ;) whether hot or cold drinks, everything is available.

Of all the choices, he picked Ikea as background.


Despite the cold weather here, the locals are used to go around town by train or on bicycles. For Kak Pilla however, travelling by foot already felt unbearably cold. Furthermore, these people seemed unaffected by the blowing wind when riding their bicycles. *Salute*


For your info, Kak Pilla was a prefect before. So wherever Kak Pilla goes, Kak Pilla likes to observe the way of living and the local’s culture. Respect comes to mind when we look at Japanese people’s level of discipline. There’s no self-centered notion. Everyone is courteous and well mannered. Take for instance, most stations have footprints on the platform floor. Sometimes you can catch the local standing spot on the footprint. Needless to say, Kak Pilla also stood on the following footprint hahaha. You will never see passengers who cut queue over here. How can we apply this in Malaysia I wonder? Wondering if there’s a way to to educate our society to be more disciplined and less self-centered hahaha… sounds like a minister, didn’t I.


Believe it or not it’s hard to find rubbish, over here the streets are all so impressively clean. Not that there are cleaners constantly cleaning the streets, but the fact remains that the streets are indeed litter-free. Rubbish bins available are like the one shown above. But there aren’t many rubbish bins along the roads, yet no liter. Kak Pilla suspects that the local always carry their own plastic bag to put away the rubbish and throw away when a rubbish bin is nearby. *Clapping hands again*


Ok, we shall continue with our journey. Now we are going to Osaka Castle. It’s a must-visit for visitors to Osaka. We returned to Umeda Station and took the Osaka JR Loop line, then to Osaka Jo Kouen heading to Osaka Castle. Don’t be surprised to see the huge amount of lines in the station… hahaha… what to do, just stood straight without a clue where to go.


Yaay… we have reached our destination. But where is Osaka Castle? It’s nowhere to be found. Apparently there’s still a looooong way to go. That’s Ok, staying in Osaka will likely help Kak Pilla shed a few pounds ;)


Awwww cute right? His bicycle comes with a baby carrier.


Not sure if this guy is performing a show here.


We have only reached the main entrance, after rushing like crazy because we need to speed off to other tourist spots… faint!


Someone asked, “Kak Pilla, are you Ok?” Of course Ok! That’s when Kak Pilla popped the question, “Where is the castle?” To which Idham replied "Thereeeeeeeeeee up there. " Gosh, almost choked on hearing that. Well, we got to reach there faster, so let’s run.


The face looked relaxed when we reached the place, right? The truth is, I was almost out of breath pacing non-stop uphill.


Here’s another show. See the guy flapping his leg heheh


You can buy ticket at the counter here. Admission fee to Osaka Castle is 600 yen per person. Did you know that Osaka Castle has an interesting story? The building was built in 1496 during Ishiyama Honganji Era. It was known by the name of Ishiyama (Osaka) Honganji. After which the name was changed a couple of times until it became today’s Osaka Castle Museum.


Surf up this site if you need more information
http://www.osakacastle.net/


C’mon let’s go inside. Sorry guys, most of the places here do not allow photography.


There are shops selling souvenirs.


The tiger and fish have tales of their own in this Osaka Castle.


In case you feel like flaunting it with a kimono, you can for 300 yen per person


All dolled up for a photo besides the castle background.


This is the scaled down model of Osaka Castle. With that much of space no wonder it’s a tiring walk to reach the castle.


We are now outside of the castle. There’s an old well with a depth of 33m.


The story behind Kimmeisui Well Roof.


Guys, you can take photo on your way up or down. Even at a rush, Kak Pilla couldn’t help but take a couple of photos because this place is just too mesmerizing :)


This piece can enlarge and hang on the wall hahahah, bit over right?!

After sight-seeing around Osaka Castle, why not try out the Osaka Aqua Bus just nearby Osaka Castle (walking distance).


Ticket price for adult is 1700 yen per person from Osaka Castle Pier to Yodoyabashi Pier. The journey takes 20 minutes and you can comfortably enjoy the view of Osaka :) and ya, please buy the ticket here.


People buying ticket, Kak Pilla busy navigating the ship. Cool right? Hahahah…


The weather was nice but crazy cold. Hands were almost frozen, yet still Ok. Wait till Kak Pilla tell you about what happened on the last day hahaha. Toungue grew numb, teeth quivering, having a conversation also felt like short of breath because of numbness hahah… funny.


Follow your seat number ya, don’t simple sit as you like.


Ok let’s go let’s goo.


It felt simply divine to sit in the Aqua Bus after the running and rushing. Being able to finally sit down actually made Kak Pilla almost fell asleep hahahah.


Remember to take the Aqua Bus for a casual spin around Osaka when you are here.


You can easily spot a few street artists in Osaka. This one is at Yodoyabashi Pier.


Ahhh pretty? Looks like the real thing doesn’t it?

Are you guys tired already? Well, don’t be. Kak Pilla is going to take all of you on a shopping trip. Let’s go to Shinsaibashi. This is one of the nice places Kak Pilla likes!!! We take a walk from this pier to Namba Station and take a train to Shinsaibashi Station.


You can find everything here. From expensive boutiques to affordable outlets, anyone who likes fashion should come and check out the local trends here.


According to Idham there are quite a number of Uniqlo outlets here, even the 8-storey type. Wow...


See this? ‘Selamat Datang’ ya. Kak Pillah feeling proud for a moment there hahahah..


Shops are lined left and right in Shinsaibashi. Look inviting enough. Some boots are to die for and really cheap. Yellow Timberland boots can go down to RM200 after discount. Crying out loud. The one Kak Pilla is wearing was a birthday gift from Pak Radie during the dating period, crazy long time ago.


Here all the transports are very ruly and disciplined. Every vehicle will stop when the green light for pedestrian is on. Same for the pedestrian. No one will cross when the red light is flashing even when there is not a single vehicle in sight.


Kak Pilla noticed that Japanese girls who like to style up themselves will more likely do so with their hair. The makeup isn’t heavy except the eye lashes hahah… their pinkish cheeks are just so adorable. Everyone must wear mascara or fake eye lashes.


Idham claimed that this is not really congested. Usually, it’s shoulders brushing shoulders.


Pak Radie simply loves seeing these boots. So c’mon and follow him. Just that the price is a bit out of our reach. With not enough money, all we can do is just window shopping.


Who is a Redwing fan? You guys can gang up with Pak Radie. Kak Pilla just glanced through the Redwing section compared to him who got all pumped up about the polish and all. Well, it’s still the same, just looking no buying hahahah… Ok, we are done with walking around Shinsaibashi. Next stop, let’s find a prayer facility.


From Shinsaibashi Station we went to Namba Station (2 minutes). The fare was only 80 yen. We took the exit towards Namba City B1. It’s not necessary to enquire about prayer room because the locals might not understand. Just ask the direction to Namba City B1, then just head straight to Information Counter to get an entry pass to the prayer room.


First, must fill up the form ya.


Then the staff will take us to the prayer room, only 45 minutes per usage.


Prayer room is clean and comfortable. It’s even equipped with pink color ‘telekung’ and ‘wakaf’ ;)

Guess what, time to hit the road again. You guys can manage still? Hahaha…
http://www.nambacity.com/foreign/


Kak Pilla paced to and fro the food section probably 3 times in Takashimaya. Hahaha… Kak Pilla and food are inseparable ;)


Japanese really know how to appreciate their foods. That’s why Japanese foods are very fresh, and equally important, the presentations are awesome! Japanese are the kind of people who will enjoy the food in their mouth with the eyes closed to really appreciate every burst of flavor.


So colourful. Lucky there’s no security guard following Kak Pilla around. Who wouldn’t get suspicious when they saw someone kept returning to the same section, staring at the foods and swallowing her saliva. And that’s just salad hahaha…


Japan also has Kimchi.


Ok enough Pilla. This has become a foodie’s blog hahahahahha…

Oh Kak Pilla has something cool to share. Did you know… well, Kak Pilla figures most of you would have known already but for the sake of sharing, Kak Pilla still wants to share hahahah. If any of you went to super awesome malls like Takashimaya or hotels, you would most likely find toilets with bidet like the one below. Syok ohhh… especially when you’re so cold, the warm seat makes you don’t want to get up hahah…


The flushing system is equally impressive. Let’s say you are using the toilet and you don’t want others to hear what you are doing inside, just press the flushing sound to conceal any embarrassing sound hahah… Guess people outside will keep hearing a non-stop flushing sound hahah. But if stop pressing other embarrassing sound will be heard instead hahahah…


Kak Pilla is most touched by any thoughtful consideration for mothers like us. Kak Pilla once had to use a toilet, during that time Kasih was with Pak Radie I think. Both Amaani and Aleesya were with Kak Pilla. Suddenly Amaani wanted to use the toilet. All three of us squeezed ourselves in. Then it’s Kak Pilla’s turn to use the toilet. Obviously Kak Pilla couldn’t ask a 3-year old Amaani to carry baby Aleesya. Just imagine the chaos during that time. So when I saw this, I was truly impressed. Mum can conveniently put her baby on the baby chair and use the toilet. Now she can goo-goo-ba-ba-chak with the baby while ermm ermm hahhaa. *Clapping hands in astonishment*

It’s not over yet. Kak Pilla wants to invite you all to Hard Rock Café Osaka. We will take the Yotsubashi line from Namba Station to Hommaci. The fare is 180 yen, only 3 minutes journey. Then, we take Exit 9 and walk to HRC Osaka. Do some searching yourself Ok!


Here’s the address of Hard Rock Osaka for your future use.


Kak Pilla is a fan of fridge magnet and HRC bear. So had to slot that in the itinerary. Depands on luck I guess hahaha…


We got these vouchers with a certain amount of shopping done. The validity period is very short. So we gave all to Idham. Kak Pilla thinks fridge magnet in Osaka is cheap, about 1,000 yen a piece, compared to about RM80 in HRC Melaka. Hahaha Kak Pilla could be wrong.

Ok guys, one more stop before we head for dinner. Our next destination is Tsuutenkaku Tower.


In Osaka, the locals will stand on the right side when using the escalator. The left lane is specially for those who are rushing for time, so please don’t obstruct ya. In Tokyo, if not mistaken, people line up on the left, the right lane is for those in a hurry. *Impressed. Clapping hands*


Queue up guys.

From HRC we take Midosuji line and get down at Doubutsuenmae Station. Then it’s up to you whether you prefer walking or calling a cab. Hahahah…


Idham points his finger, “See, it’s just nearby.” Kak Pilla happily turns around, “Where?” “There! The colorful one.” “That you call nearby????? Kak Pilla could amost faint!” We hurry to our destination in the cold weather. You want to know how cold? Fog comes out from the mouth when we walk. Eventually, we had to cover the mouth with a muffler, leaving only our eyes uncovered. Hahaha…


It’s fun to see all sorts of eateries along the road just like the ones we usually see in Japanese shows on the TV.


Walking hurriedly with the head looking to the left, sometimes to the right. Hahaha it’s fun to observe the locals’ way of life. They are always so organized.


At last, we are here. Here’s the tower that we want to climb. This Tsutenkaku Tower is one of the oldest towers in Osaka.


Kak Pilla was really worn out from the rush. So when told to stand beside this signboard, Kak Pilla struck a pose as if showing the height of the tower. The figures actually refer to the price of the ticket, not the height of the tower. *Crying* Kak Pilla’s gang was preoccupied with the thought of the crab restaurant cancelling our reservation because of late arrival. The mind thought of crab but the legs had to walk up the tower. Hahaha… Adult ticket is 700 yen per person.


In Abeno Harukas, we enjoy Osaka’s day view. Now from Tsuutenraku Tower, we can experience the unique night view of Osaka. Really captivating.


See that tall building? That’s the Harukas which we went to this afternoon.


Now let’s take the lift down. When looking up inside the lift, it’s a bit spooky.


This is a scaled model of the tower during the olden days. Oh ya, this tower is equipped with a giant clock. In fact, it’s the biggest in Japan. The LED lighting comes in 6 colors. The color will change depending on the season. During Kak Pilla’s visit to Japan in Jan and Feb, the theme was white, in line with color of snow. This time it’s purple. Classy, don’t you think!


At IG, everybody reminded Kak Pilla to take photos with the ‘Glico’ man. And these were the only ones Kak Pilla managed to take. “What’s wrong with your hands, Kak Pilla? That’s karate kid style.”


Kak Pilla quickly struck the correct pose after realizing she made a blunder. Pak Radie pointed out. Hahah… “What’s with the hands?” “Hahahah, shut up you!”


There are cafes here if you want to have a drink or a light meal.


For emergency situations where you really need to get a photo of yourself taken, you can do so at booths like this one, which are all over the place.


Kak Pilla noticed that Japanese like to put up the peace sign when taking photos, even selfies. Looks cute perhaps. Ok, let’s do it too hahahah… Kak Pilla’s stomach started to growl. Time to indulge a bit at the Crab Restaurant. From Tsutenkaku Tower we took a cab because we couldn’t stand walking in the cold weather. We got down at Shinimamiya Station. Then took the Nanki Takano line to Namba. The fare was only 150 yen. Reason why you guys should get the Suica Card or IC card as the locals call it. It’s so easy, just top up when the credit is low.


Strolling down this street is the best. The street is called Doutonbori and it has all sorts of shops here – eateries, shops with affordable stuff. But Kak Pilla was way too hungggggry to check them out!!!!

The name of our restaurant is Kanidouraku. Kani means crab in Japanese ;) Everything in the menu was crab based. This road alone already has 3 such restaurants. Let’s eat at Naka.


We were warmly welcome upon arrival by the friendly staff.

Ordering at this restaurant is easy because most of the items in its menu were set-meals. We went for Asahi Set which cost 4,968 yen per person (tax included) that’s about RM150 per person. Price aside, it was really satisfying and surprisingly filling. Although foods were served in small portions, by the time the last item arrived, we were completely full hahahahah.


We followed the Japanese dining style with our legs crossed. Sitting next to a window allowed us to enjoy the busy streets, so happening.


This was the first dish to arrive. The left portion was boiled vinegar crab, eaten by dipping into this yellow colored sauce. On the right was some raw crabs. Kind of hesitant at first because Kak Pilla wouldn’t want to suffer swollen lips due to allergy tonight. Hahahah… After all, this is a budget trip. Wouldn’t want people to think Kak Pilla went to Japan to do up her lips. Hahahah… Lucky everything went well ;)


He prepared chopsticks and corer for us.


First time tasting raw crab. It was insanely delicious. Couldn’t help but follow the Japanese’s style of eating with their eyes closed and truly enjoy their food. Hahaha, bit over.


Next, Chawan Mushi arrived. Yuuumy, it’s got crab meat inside.


Then came the baked crab in cheese. Simply marvelous!!


Must eat with the wooden spoon provided. Overdoing it hahahah… Having this in such freezing cold weather is simply divine… so creamy-licious indeed!


Tempura crab arrived after. The way the Japanese prepares tempura crab is not oily at all, really delightful.


Crab Sushi


Crab Soup

Followed by mouthwatering fruits. Too bad forgot to snap some photos. During the entire time here, TheKasihs couldn’t help but indulge in facetime hahah. Modern technology is truly remarkable. Now Kak Pilla could keep in touch with the daughters she misses so much.


Hahah this is funny.. asked little daughter "Kasih wants strawberry?" "Yes, it looks delicious the way mama eats it.” Then I told her, “Ok, open your mouth and let mama feed you.” Hahahah… Kids nowadays are so adorable. They even fought over who gets to put her face up against the iPad screen. There was even a grumbling session among the girls because Kasih kept papa and mama to herself.


Kak Pilla is used to things like this. Kak Pilla likes to write in order to remember.


Goodbye Naka Restaurant. Kak Pilla will definitely drop by again for the irresistible crab next time Kak Pilla visit Japan.


Meet my agent, Mr. Idham. Thanks for helping Kak Pilla shed a few kilos from the walking and running.


C’mon it’s time to go. Emm, Kak Pilla felt proud to see KLCC and the Malaysian flag here :)

We took a taxi and made a quick stop to buy lip balm.


Isn’t Pikachu simply adorable?! Just love to see the local’s myriad of fashion ;)

Now it’s back to hotel for a good night’s sleeeeep, tomorrow got to wake up early!!

Guys, look out for the next entry ya, Kak Pilla will feature photos of Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Osaka and the trip to Kyoto, Ok ;)

Meanwhile, if you are interested to find out more about traveling to Japan, just log on to http://muslimguide.jnto.go.jp/eng/