Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kansai Diaries, Day 0: Arrival

November 22, 2016
7:55 PM

Touchdown Kansai International Airport. I follow my fellow passengers out of the plane, into the train that would transport us to the main building, and tail them through the airport hallways until we reach Immigration.

The queue at Immigration isn't long. Either our flight's the only one that arrived within the last 15 minutes or so, or their immigration procedure is really efficient. The immigration officer stamps me through and smilingly informs me that I could stay for 30 days (how I wish my wallet and I could!). Immigration, baggage claim, and into the Arrivals Lobby in just a few minutes (ah, yes, they are extremely efficient).

Before proceeding to find the train that will take me to Osaka, I search and find the Tourist Information Booth where I collect some brochures and buy an Osaka Visitors' Ticket, a ticket for unlimited rides on Osaka's municipal subway, tram, and buses, which I plan to use on my the last day of my trip. Why buy it this early? So that I wouldn't have to go and hunt for the Tourist Information Center in Shinsaibashi in Osaka City.

I mentally go through my things to do and still have two items on my list: (1) buy a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket to be used the next two days, and (2) buy a Kansai One Pass, an IC transportation card to be used for getting around Kansai. I buy these two at the Nankai Airport Station. The man at the counter asks me questions (Koyasan World Heritage Ticket? How many? For when?) and repeats them, making sure we understand each other correctly. I pay and thank him and carefully stuff my Koyasan World Heritage Ticket in my bag and hold my Kansai One Pass, ready for its first use on the Nankai Airport Express to Osaka City's Shin-Imamiya Station.

I arrive in Shin-Imamiya Station in 45 minutes and soon I am rolling my bag along the dingy but clean sidewalks of Osaka, passing by wobbly drunk gentlemen, towards tonight's accommodation: Hotel Raizan. I check in and find my room at the end of the hallway on the nth floor. I take snapshots of my tidy tiny room and send it to my family WhatsApp group, letting them know I have arrived safe and sound.

My little room in Hotel Raizan

Know Before You Go
Single Entry Tourist Visa for Japan
Roam Around Japan with a Swagger
An Ignoramus in Japan: Vending Machines
An Ignoramus in Japan: Bathrooms and Toilets
An Ignoramus in Japan: Manhole Covers
I Spy With My Little Eye: Japan's Fashion Contradictions
I Spy With My Little Eye: On the Go in Japan

Kansai Diaries (2016)
9D/9N | Wakayama, Nara, Kyoto, Osaka
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kansai Region
Osaka: Day 0: Arrival (you're here!)
Osaka Accommodations: Hotel Raizan, Hotel Mikado
Wakayama: Day 1: Going to, Sleeping in, and Eating in Koyasan
Wakayama: Day 1.5: West Side of Koya Town
Wakayama: Koyasan Sidewalk Shorts
Wakayama: Days 1.75~2: Okunoin, Three Times
Nara: Sleep, Eat, and Explore Nara City
Nara: Day 3: Horyuji, Hokkiji, and Some Japanecdotes in Ikaruga Town
Nara: Day 3.5: Yakushiji, Toshodaiji, and Heijo Palace Site in Nara City
Nara: Day 4: Early Morning at Nara Park
Nara: Day 4.25: Naramachi Walking Tour
Nara: Day 4.5: Todaiji, Yoshiki-en, and Kofukuji in Nara Park
Kyoto Accommodations: Guesthouse Wind Villa, Shiori Yado
Kyoto: Day 5: Rainy Day in Uji City
Kyoto: Day 5.5: Tofukuji, Kawai Jinja, Shimogamo Jinja
Kyoto: Day 6: Ginkakuji, Ryoanji, Ninnaji
Kyoto: Day 6.75: Gion Night Walking Tour
Kyoto: Day 7: All Day in Arashiyama
Kyoto: Day 8: Last Day in Kyoto
Osaka: Day 8.75: Dizzying Dotonbori
Osaka: Day 9: Osaka, Over and Out

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