Japan 2013
Kyoto-Osaka-Nara-Koyasan (Aug 29-Sep 8)
Thursday, August 29 – Bangkok
7:00 pm
Check-in at Thai Airways (ROP : X...
Day One
Friday August 30 – Central Kyoto
9:00 am
Take Haruka Express JR direct to Kyoto (77 mins), Go up to Level 2 (Arriv...
Friday, August 30 (continued)
14:00 pm
Take a one-hour guided tour at Kyoto Imperial Palace.
(京都御所, Kyōto Gosho) it used t...
Friday, August 30 (continued)
17:30 pm
Move on to Pontocho (先斗町, Pontochō), one of the Kyoto's most atmospheric dining are...
Day Two
Saturday, August 31 – Western Kyoto-Arashiyama
8:00 am
Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the Hot...
Saturday, August 31 – Sagano (continued)
12:00 pm
Have lunch at the local restaurant. Near Tenryuji
temple, there is a goo...
Day Three
Sunday, September 1 – Eastern Kyoto
7:00 am
Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the Hotel
8:00 a...
Sunday, September 1 – Eastern Kyoto
(continued)
13:00 pm
Walk along the canal at the bottom of the Keage
Incline until you...
Day Four
Monday, September 2 – Northern Kyoto
6:30 am
Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the Hotel
7:00 a...
Monday, September 2 – Northern Kyoto
(continued)
11:30 am
Take the train to Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden
Pavilion) is a Zen temp...
Friday, August 30 (continued)
17:00 pm
Move on to Pontocho (先斗町, Pontochō) is one of Kyoto's most atmospheric dining areas...
Day Five
Tuesday, September 3 – Southern Kyoto-Nara-Osaka
7:00 am
Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the ...
Tuesday, September 3 – Southern KyotoNara-Osaka (continued)
12:00 pm
Return to Kyoto and stop by Nishiki Market (錦市
場, Nis...
Tuesday, September 3 – Southern Kyoto-Nara-Osaka (continued)
17:00 pm
Take the train back to Osaka (Depart at Namba using ...
Day Six
Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya
7:00 am
Get up early in the morning and have breakfast at the Kuramoto Hotel (...
Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya
(continued)
9:30 am
Use Sarutto Thru Pass to travel roundtrip from
Osaka-Koyasan. Take...
Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya (continued)
12:00 pm
Check in at Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin (Confirmation number : XXXXXX...
Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya (continued)
Torodo Hall (Hall of Latterns is open from 6:00-17:30 pm, admission is fre...
Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya
(continued)
17:00 pm
Return to Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin for Check-in.
Get relaxed and e...
Day Seven
Thursday, September 5 – Mount Koya-Osaka
6:00 am
Observe the prayer by the monks.
8:00 am
Breakfast is served. P...
Thursday, September 5 – Mouth Koya-Osaka (continued)
10:30
Check out Garan, The two most prominent buildings of the Garan ...
Thursday, September 5 – Mouth Koya-Osaka (continued)
14:00 pm
Upon your arrival at Umeda or Namba station, please look for...
Day Eight
Friday, September 6 – Aquarium
8:00 am
Get up and have breakfast near hotel and get ready for Full-Day Tour
9:30...
Day Nine (Last Day)
Saturday, September 7 – Osaka
9:00 am
Get up early, enjoy morning breeze. After breakfast,
give it a G...
Travel Tips
Recommended Restaurants in Kyoto
1. Tenpura Yasakaendo (Komatsucho, Higashiyamaku, +81 7-5551-1488): This plac...
Travel Tips
How to get around in Kyoto

!

26
Travel Tips
How to get around in Osaka

!

27
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Mock-up Itinerary (kyoto, osaka, koyasan)

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After searching in-depth info about Kansai area, I have drafted my own itinerary based on 9-day trips. Hope this will help you get started from transportation to accommodation and dining info. Enjoy.

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Mock-up Itinerary (kyoto, osaka, koyasan)

  1. 1. Japan 2013 Kyoto-Osaka-Nara-Koyasan (Aug 29-Sep 8) Thursday, August 29 – Bangkok 7:00 pm Check-in at Thai Airways (ROP : XXXXXX) Ticket Number: ETKT XXXXXXXX (Seat 14 KN) Reservation Code: XXXXXX TG622: BKK-KIX depart at 23:30 pm from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Kansai International Airport of Osaka-Terminal 1 at 07:00 am. Remark: Things to do at the airport- Get Universal Adapter with USB, Check-in Royal Silk Class Lounge, Activate/Deactivate AIS Data package (*129*1# call) (*129*2# call) Friday, August 30 – Kansai 7:00 am Arrive at Kansai International Airport, Terminal 1. Upon arrival, Pick up Luggage & Buy ICOCA with Return ticket of Haruka (Reservation Number: : XXXXX) 4000 Yen and Kansai Thru Pass (3 day ticket) for 5000 Yen Note: Depending on length and destination of your stay. JR-West Pass is best that you travel from town to town within Kansai (4 days max), Kansai Thru Pass (by Nankai Railway) is best when you want to cover deeper areas and want to use subway as well) ! 1
  2. 2. Day One Friday August 30 – Central Kyoto 9:00 am Take Haruka Express JR direct to Kyoto (77 mins), Go up to Level 2 (Arrival Terminal is Level 1) 11 am Upon your arrival at Kyoto station, Go to Tourist Information to get city map and bus routes & time tables, it is located at the second level next to Isetan. It is advisable that you buy one-day subway pass at 600 Yen. You can get it from here or at the vending machine near ticketing office. Drop bag for Early Check in at New Miyako Hotel (Confirmation number : XXXXXXXXX) 12 pm Visit Kyoto Imperial Palace booked at 14:00 pm (Permission Number: XXXXXXXXX) Kyoto Imperial Palace is a ten minute subway ride from Kyoto Station along the Karasuma Subway Line. Get off at Imadegawa Station. OR Take a bus from Karasuma Imadegawa Station, 10 Minutes Walk to the Imperial Household Agency Office and the entrance gate of the Imperial Palace. (Meet at Seisho-Mon Gate) Remark: Don’t forget to bring your Passport and Notice of Permit with You (It is a free guided tour, ! is recommended that you apply online beforehand. The permit is granted by lucky draw) 2 it
  3. 3. Friday, August 30 (continued) 14:00 pm Take a one-hour guided tour at Kyoto Imperial Palace. (京都御所, Kyōto Gosho) it used to be the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until 1868, when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. It is located in the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park (京都御苑, Kyōto Gyoen), an attractive park in the center of the city that also encompasses the Sento Imperial Palace and a few other attractions. Sento Imperial Palace (仙洞御所, Sentō Gosho) is a secondary palace complex across from the Kyoto Imperial Palace in Kyoto Imperial Park. It was built in 1630 as the retirement palace of Emperor Gomizuno, and became the palace for subsequent retired emperors. 15:30 pm Vist Nijo Castle (二条城, Nijōjō), it was built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). The architecture of Japan's feudal era made this castle a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. The entrance of Nijo Castle is a short walk from Nijojo-mae Station along the Tozai Subway Line. From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and transfer to the Tozai Line to Nijojo-mae Station. (Take Exit 1, you will see the castle right in front of you) The whole trip takes about 15-20 minutes and costs 250 yen. Alternatively, the castle can be reached from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus numbers 9, 50 or 101 (15-20 minutes, 220 yen one way) or from Shijo-Kawaramachi by Kyoto City Bus number 12 (15 minutes, 220 yen one way). Nijo Castle can be divided into three areas: the Honmaru (main circle of defense), the Ninomaru (secondary circle of defense) and some gardens that encircle the Honmaru and Ninomaru. ! Please note that Nijo Castle is open at 8:45-17:00 pm, last admission is at 16:00 pm. (Admission fee is 600 yen) 3
  4. 4. Friday, August 30 (continued) 17:30 pm Move on to Pontocho (先斗町, Pontochō), one of the Kyoto's most atmospheric dining areas. (Kawayuka dining) A narrow alley running from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori, one block west of the Kamo River, it offers a wide range of dining options, including inexpensive yakitori, traditional and modern Kyoto Cuisine and highly exclusive establishments that require the right connections and a fat wallet. The closest bus stop to Pontocho is Shijo Kawaramachi, which is served by numerous bus lines, including lines 17 and 205 from Kyoto Station. The closest train stations are Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line and Shijo Station on the Keihan Line. 19:00 pm Check in New Miyako Hotel, Take a good rest and get ready for tomorrow Kyoto trip ! 4
  5. 5. Day Two Saturday, August 31 – Western Kyoto-Arashiyama 8:00 am Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the Hotel 9:00 am Visit Arashiyama (嵐山), a pleasant touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons. The Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama's well known, central landmark. Many small shops, restaurants and other attractions are found nearby, including Tenryuji Temple, Arashiyama's famous bamboo groves and pleasure boats that are available for rent on the river. The fastest access from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama is provided by the JR Sagano Line (Platform 31-32). The one way ride to Saga-Arashiyama Station takes 15 minutes and costs 230 Yen. From SagaArashiyama Station, central Arashiyama can be reached in a 5-10 minute walk. Go to Togetsukyo Bridge (15-20 minutes walk) to enjoy the view of Hozu River and then proceed to Tenryuji Temple, the main temple of this city (60 minutes walk) Ranked among Kyoto's five great Zen temples, Tenryuji is the largest and most impressive temple in Arashiyama. Founded in 1339 at the beginning of the Muromachi Period (1338-1573), the temple is one of Kyoto's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition to its temple buildings, there are attractive gardens with walking paths. (Please be noted once you get off the temple, you may not return) One of the most enjoyable and convenient ways to travel around the Sagano area is by rental bicycle, (320 yen for an hour, 420 yen for two hours and 1000 yen for the whole day). Cycling through rural residential areas and past fields while traveling between temples can be one of the most enjoyable parts of a visit to Arashiyama. (OR You may opt for Rickshaw ride, costing over 5,000 Yen) ! 5
  6. 6. Saturday, August 31 – Sagano (continued) 12:00 pm Have lunch at the local restaurant. Near Tenryuji temple, there is a good ice-cream place (sesame is recommended) 13:30 pm From Tenryuji Then head into the Bamboo Groves (30-minute walk) behind temple. Turn right as you get to the entrance of Okochi Sanso and continue toward Jojakkoji (This temple is beautiful during autumn, visitors can get a good view of downtown Kyoto), the admission is 400 Yen. (recommended) Visit Gioji Temple and Daikakuji Temple (they are rather small and not interesting) (Admission is 300 yen each) Further down the walking path, you will approach Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple (another good place to visit, but a bit too far for walking, bicycle is OK) 17:00 pm Departing from near the JR Kameoka Station, the Hozu River Boat Tour is a leisurely two hour trip that takes passengers down the winding Hozu River to the Togetsukyo Bridge. The trip passes by the forested mountainsides along the river. The boats seat 25 people and are heated in the winter. (Admission is 3900 yen for two-hour trip, operating from 9:00 to 15:30 (hourly departures) The departure point for cruises is a short bus ride (160 yen) or ten minute walk from JR Kameoka Station (20-30 minutes, 400 yen from Kyoto Station). Alternatively, the pier is a 15 minute, 300 yen bus ride from Torokko Kameoka Station, the last stop on the Sagano Scenic Railway from Arashiyama. If you don’t want to travel that far, try the boat and cruise services near Togetsukyo Bridge 18:30 pm Travel back to Kyoto station and have dinner in vicinity area ! 6
  7. 7. Day Three Sunday, September 1 – Eastern Kyoto 7:00 am Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the Hotel 8:00 am Visit Ginkakuji (銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion), a Zen temple along Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama). Ginkakuji can be accessed by direct bus number 5, 17 or 100 from Kyoto Station in about 40-45 minutes and for 220 yen one way. From Kyoto Station, take Exit #6, wait for the bus at Platform A1 (Ginkakuji is open from 8:30-17:00, Admission fee is 500 yen) 10:00 am Continue walking to The Philosopher's Path (哲学の道, Tetsugaku no michi), a pleasant stone path through Kyoto's Higashiyama district. The Philosopher's Path runs between Ginkakuji and the neighborhood of Nanzenji, at least 30-minute walk from Ginkakuji or 10-15 minute walk north of Nanzenji’s main temple buildings. (OR else take the bus to save your time) 11:00 am Visit Nanzenji Temple (南禅寺), whose spacious grounds are located at the base of Kyoto's forested Higashiyama mountains, is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan. (It is open from 8:40-17:00, admission fee is 500 yen for the main hall, 500 yen for the garden and 300 for the temple) 12:00 pm Lunch at JUNSEI Yudo Fu (Tofu Restaurant) http://www.to-fu.co.jp/en/food.html Address: 60 Kusakawa-cho, Nanzenjimon-mae, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto +81 75-761-2311 Recommend: Hana Set (3,000 yen)-Simmered tofu, skewered, sesame, simmered dish etc. ! 7
  8. 8. Sunday, September 1 – Eastern Kyoto (continued) 13:00 pm Walk along the canal at the bottom of the Keage Incline until you get to a huge torii gate. Turn right and head to Heian Shrine (平安神宮, Heian Jingū) 14:00 pm Take bus #100 to Kiyomizudera, (清水寺, literally "Pure Water Temple") is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. (It is open from 6:00-18:00, Admission fee is 500 yen) 16:00 pm From Kiyomizudera, walk through Higahiyama Streets, Continue past the Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka Steps, there are many interesting things to see along the path including Ryozen Kannon (bodhisattva). Walking through Maruyama park, you reach Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社, Yasaka Jinja), known as Gion Shrine. 18:00 pm Gion ( 園) is Kyoto's most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain. Watch performance at 18:00 and 19:00, Admission is 3150 yen (2800 yen with online coupon OR 2500 yen for summer discount) 19:00 pm Have dinner in Gion area and head back to hotel by bus or train (the closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line) Try Tsujiri ice-cream-famous green tea soft cream and famous desserts in town ! 8
  9. 9. Day Four Monday, September 2 – Northern Kyoto 6:30 am Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the Hotel 7:00 am Head toward Kyoto Station for Shugakuin Imperial Villa tour at 9:00 am 9:00 am Visit Shugakuin Imperial Villa booked at 9:00 am (Permission Number: XXXXXXXXX) The closest station to Shugakuin is Shugakuin Station on the Eizan Railway Line, from where the villa's entrance gates can be reached in a 10 to 15 minute walk. From Kyoto Station, take the JR Nara Line to Tofukuji Station (3 minutes) and transfer to the Keihan Line to its terminus, Demachiyanagi Station (10 minutes). From there, take the Eizan Railways to Shugakuin Station (7 minutes). The entire trip costs 720 yen and takes about 40 minutes. OR Take bus #5 at Platform A1 (220+160 yen extra). Prepare 20 minutes walking from Shugakuin station (Eizan railway) OR 15 minutes walking from bus stop Shugakuin Rickyu-Michi. Meet at the entrance gate 20 minutes before the tour. (Use taxi if required) Remark: Don’t forget to bring your Passport and Notice of Permit with You. Like many other imperial palaces, this palace requires permit granted by Imperial Household Agency. 10:30 am If time allows, Explore Manshuin (曼殊院), one kilometer from Shugakuin Imperial Villa and Enkoji (圓光寺, Enkōji), a temple of the Rinzai (you may skip this part, it’s very time consuming to walk in this suburban town) ! 9
  10. 10. Monday, September 2 – Northern Kyoto (continued) 11:30 am Take the train to Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Kinkakuji can be accessed from Kyoto Station by direct Kyoto City Bus number 101 (Bus stop B-2) or 205 (Bus stop B-3) in about 40 minutes and for 220 yen. Alternatively, it can be faster and more reliable to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 250 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, around 900 yen) or bus (10 minutes, 220 yen, bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205) from there to Kinkakuji. From Shugakuin Station, take the bus or taxi to Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station..... 13:30 pm Have lunch at local restaurant 14:30 pm Continue to Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺, Ryōanji), the site of Japan's most famous rock garden, which attracts hundreds of visitors every day. Ryoanji is a five minute bus ride (Bus number 59) or 20 minute walk west of Kinkakuji. (open from 8:00-17:00, admission fee 500 yen) Walk a few more hundred meters to Ninnaji Temple (仁和寺), one of the many great temples in Kyoto which are listed as World Heritage Sites. (This is the temple I love the most) Ninnaji is a ten minute walk west of Ryoanji Temple and just a few steps from Omuro Ninnaji Station on the Keifuku Kitano Line, a small, tram like train, which connects Arashiyama with the Kitano district. (open from 9:00-17:00, admission fee 500 yen) 16:30 pm Head back to Central Kyoto for dinner or even do some shopping in the Department Store ! 10
  11. 11. Friday, August 30 (continued) 17:00 pm Move on to Pontocho (先斗町, Pontochō) is one of Kyoto's most atmospheric dining areas. A narrow alley running from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori, one block west of the Kamo River, it offers a wide range of dining options, including inexpensive yakitori, traditional and modern Kyoto Cuisine and highly exclusive establishments that require the right connections and a fat wallet. The closest bus stop to Pontocho is Shijo Kawaramachi, which is served by numerous bus lines, including lines 17 and 205 from Kyoto Station. The closest train stations are Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line and Shijo Station on the Keihan Line. 19:00 pm Check in New Miyako Hotel, Take a good rest and get ready for tomorrow Kyoto trip ! 11
  12. 12. Day Five Tuesday, September 3 – Southern Kyoto-Nara-Osaka 7:00 am Get up early in the morning and have breakfast near the Hotel, Prepare a back-pack for 2 nights (one in Osaka and the other for Mount Koya) 8:00 am Check out from New Miyako Hotel & Drop luggage to be delivered at Hotel Monterey OSAKA on or before September 5, 2013 (It cost around 1,200 Yen by JP Post service) 8:30 am Take the bus or JR to Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha), an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line (5 minutes, 140 yen one way from Kyoto Station, not served by rapid trains). The shrine can also be reached in a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line. (It is always open, no admission fee, spare at least 2-3 hours for walking) ! 12
  13. 13. Tuesday, September 3 – Southern KyotoNara-Osaka (continued) 12:00 pm Return to Kyoto and stop by Nishiki Market (錦市 場, Nishiki Ichiba) for lunch. It is a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen" The Nishiki Market street runs parallel to Shijo Avenue, one block north of Shijo Avenue. It can be reached on foot in less than five minutes from Shijo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line (4 minutes, 200 yen from Kyoto Station, Take Exit 1) (Don’t go there at night, the shops will be closed by the every evening) Try Gogyo Ramen (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ Restaurant_Review-g298564-d850055-ReviewsGogyo-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html) 13:00 am Continue using JR to Nara (JR Pass) or Get back to Kyoto Station to get on Kintentsu Line (Kansai Thru Pass). Once you reach Nara, take Exit #5-7. Go to Tourist Information Desk for help on how to get around in Nara. (nearby train station) If you don’t want to walk, wait for the bus #2 at Station #1 for 5-10 minute ride (1.7 kms from Kintentsu Line) Visit Todaiji (東大寺, Tōdaiji, "Great Eastern Temple"), one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. Temple visitors will also encounter some deer from the adjacent Nara Park, begging for shika senbei, special crackers for deer that are sold for around 150 yen. (It is open from 7:30-17:30, admission fee 500 yen) There are some other interesting places to visit if time allows (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2165.html) ! 13
  14. 14. Tuesday, September 3 – Southern Kyoto-Nara-Osaka (continued) 17:00 pm Take the train back to Osaka (Depart at Namba using Kintetsu Railways) 18:00 pm Check in at Hotel Kuramoto (Confirmation number : XXXXXXXXX) 19:00 pm Have dinner and browse Dotonbori area. (The heart of Osaka nightlife, this area is filled with theaters, restaurants, cafes, bars, arcades and nightclubs.) Recommend Mizuno specialized in Okonomiyaki (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviewsg298566-d1664126-r149609002-Mizuno-Osaka_Osaka_Prefecture_Kinki.html) 21:00 pm Have a good sleep in a Japanese style inn-Ryokan ! 14
  15. 15. Day Six Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya 7:00 am Get up early in the morning and have breakfast at the Kuramoto Hotel (included in the package). If possible, prepare lunch box to have it along the way to Koyasan 9:00 am Check out from Kuramoto Hotel and head to Mount Koya in Wakayama by train Mount Koya (Koyasan) is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), one of Japan's most significant religious figures. A small, secluded temple town has developed around the sect's headquarters that Kobo Daishi built on Koyasan's wooded mountaintop. It is also the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum and the start and end point of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Kobo Daishi began construction on the original Garan temple complex in 826 after wandering the country for years in search of a suitable place to center his religion. Since then over one hundred temples have sprung up along the streets of Koyasan. The most important among them are Kongobuji, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism, and Okunoin, the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. Koyasan is also one of the best places to experience an overnight stay at a temple lodging (shukubo) where you can get a taste of a monk's lifestyle, eating vegetarian monk's cuisine (shojin ryori) and attending the morning prayers. Around fifty temples offer this service to both pilgrims and visitors. ! 15
  16. 16. Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya (continued) 9:30 am Use Sarutto Thru Pass to travel roundtrip from Osaka-Koyasan. Take Nankai Railay (Koya Line) from Namba to Gokurakubashi Station, Take the cable car to Koyasan Station. From there it is a ten-minute bus ride to the Keisatsusho-mae stop, and one minutewalk from the bus stop. Note: Purchase Koyasan World Heritage Ticket at Major Nankai railway stations and travel agencies in the Osaka area (Regular two consecutive days ticket costs at 2,780 yen, with limited express at 3,310 yen) OR http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_012.html Purchase Surutto Two Day OR Three Day Ticket covering wide area in the Kansai region (Surutto Kansai 2 day ticket costs at 3,800 yen, 3 day ticket costs at 5,000 yen) ! 16
  17. 17. Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya (continued) 12:00 pm Check in at Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin (Confirmation number : XXXXXXXXX) Note: It takes 2 hours from Osaka-Koyasan. Regular check-in is at 15:00 pm and check out at 9:00 am, the place is between Tokugawa Mausoleum & Tourist Information Center 12:30 pm Walk to Tourist Information Center (Senjunbasi Bus Stop) and get map and combination tickets 13:00 pm Start Koyasan Tour to Okunoin, the site of the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai) The Ichinohashi Bridge (first bridge) marks the traditional entrance to Okunoin, and visitors should bow to pay respect to Kobo Daishi before crossing it. Across the bridge starts Okunoin's cemetery, the largest in Japan, with over 200,000 tombstones lining the almost two kilometer long approach to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. Wishing to be close to Kobo Daishi in death to receive salvation, many people, including prominent monks and feudal lords, have had their tombstones erected here over the centuries. A second, shorter approach to Okunoin, which is used by the majority of visitors these days, starts at the Okunoin-mae bus stop and cuts the walk to the mausoleum in half (to slightly under a kilometer). This alternative route leads through a more recent addition to the cemetery with modern tombstones by individuals, associations and companies, including some surprising ones, such as a pest control company's memorial to all the termites that their products have been exterminating. Regardless of which approach you choose, both paths meet up at the Gokusho Offering Hall (open from 8:30-16:30 pm, admission is free) which lies near a row of statues depicting Jizo, a popular Bodhisattva that looks after children, travelers, and the souls of the deceased. Visitors make offerings and throw water at the statues, known as Mizumuke Jizo (Water Covered Jizo) to pray for departed family members. The Gobyonohashi Bridge crosses a stream behind the Mizumuke Jizo that separates the innermost grounds of the temple from the rest of Okunoin. Visitors should again bow to Kobo Daishi before crossing, and photography, food and drink are forbidden beyond this point. To the left of the bridge are a group of wooden markers placed in the stream as a memorial to unborn children. A few meters past the bridge on the left side of the path lies the Miroku Stone, housed in a small cage. Visitors are challenged to lift the stone from the cage's lower platform to an upper platform with only one hand. It is believed that the stone feels lighter to good people and heavier to bad people, and that it can provide a connection to the Miroku Bodhisattva. ! 17
  18. 18. Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya (continued) Torodo Hall (Hall of Latterns is open from 6:00-17:30 pm, admission is free) is Okunoin's main hall for worship, built in front of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. Inside the hall are more than 10,000 lanterns, which were donated by worshipers and are kept eternally lit. In the hall's basement are 50,000 tiny statues that have been donated to Okunoin on the occasion of the 1150th anniversary of Kobo Daishi's entrance into eternal meditation in 1984. Behind Torodo Hall is Kobo Daishi's Mausoleum (Gobyo), the site of his eternal meditation. Visitors come from all over to pray to Kobo Daishi, and it is not uncommon to see pilgrims chanting sutras here. Some guidebooks suggest visiting Okunoin's graveyard at night. A night time visit indeed provides a special atmosphere that is quite different from that of a day time visit, but note that some parts of the path are poorly lit. It is possible to venture all the way to the mausoleum during the night, but neither the Torodo Hall nor any of the the other offering halls are open. Also, please behave respectfully and keep in mind that photography, food and drink are prohibited beyond the Gobyonohashi Bridge. The Ichinohashi Bridge is a 10-15 minute walk or short bus ride (140 yen) from the Senjuinbashi intersection at the town center. From the bus stop, it is about a two kilometer walk to the mausoleum along the traditional approach through the graveyard. Okunoin-mae bus stop is the final stop of the main bus line that connects Okunoin with the town center (Senjuinbashi) and the cablecar station. The bus ride takes 20 minutes and 400 yen from the cablecar station or 10 minutes and 210 yen from the town center. There are 2-3 buses per hour. From the bus stop, it is about a one kilometer walk to the mausoleum through a newer part of the graveyard. ! 18
  19. 19. Wednesday, September 4 – Mount Koya (continued) 17:00 pm Return to Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin for Check-in. Get relaxed and enjoy the facility. This ryokan offers a distinctly traditional experience. Its three gardens, designed by famous landscape artist Mirei Shigemori, and the cedar forests covering the area around this temple inn instill a sense of serenity. The natural hot springs of Koyasan are available only here and are open 24 hours a day. 20:00 pm Vegetarian dishes featuring seasonal ingredients are served, and the meals are painstakingly planned and prepared by the head chef with a different course every month. Dinner is available only until 8 p.m. and will not be served later. ! 19
  20. 20. Day Seven Thursday, September 5 – Mount Koya-Osaka 6:00 am Observe the prayer by the monks. 8:00 am Breakfast is served. Pack the stuff and get ready for a half-day tour 9:00 am Check out 9:30 am Kongobuji was originally constructed in 1593 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to commemorate the death of his mother. Later it was merged with a neighboring temple and reorganized into the head temple of Shingon Buddhism, the sect introduced to Japan by Kobo Daishi in 805 and headquartered on Koyasan. (it is open from 8:30 to 17:00 pm, admission fee 500 yen, combination ticket for 1500 yen to cover other sights on Koyasan) After entering the building, taking off their shoes and paying the admission fee, visitors will first come across the Ohiroma Room which was used for important rituals and religious ceremonies. The room's gilded sliding doors (fusuma) are adorned with cranes painted by Kano Tanyu. Next to the Ohiroma Room are the Plum and Willow Rooms, named after the paintings on their sliding doors. Toyotomi Hidetsugu committed ritual suicide in the Willow Room as ordered by his uncle Hideyoshi. ! 20
  21. 21. Thursday, September 5 – Mouth Koya-Osaka (continued) 10:30 Check out Garan, The two most prominent buildings of the Garan are the Kondo Hall and the huge Konpon Daito Pagoda. The Garan lies in central Koyasan's town center, about a five minute walk from the Senjuinbashi intersection, and just a few steps from Kongobuji Temple. Continue to Reihokan Museum and Daishi Kyokai and Daimon Gate (you may skip these two) 11:30 From Diamon Gate, take a local bus to Koyasan Station. Use Kansai Thru Pass to get on Koyasan Cablecar and ride Nankai train from Gokurakubashi Station back to Osaka (2 hours ride) Note: Please check bus and train schedules so you don’t have to waste time waiting for the next train to arrive in almost an hour ! 21
  22. 22. Thursday, September 5 – Mouth Koya-Osaka (continued) 14:00 pm Upon your arrival at Umeda or Namba station, please look for Tourist Information Center to get a map of Osaka and bus routes. It is highly recommend that you purchase Osaka Unlimited Pass (1day pass costs for 2,000 Yen, 2-day pass costs 2,700 Yen). With this pass, you can get on/off buses and trains freely all day long plus you can enter 28 facilities for free i.e. Osaka castle, Giant Frerris Wheel, Cruise ship Santa Maria, Observatories...& More) Note: Once you use the pass, the date will be stamped at the back of your card. It is advisable to use it on the following day to enjoy full benefits. 14:30 pm Have lunch either in Namba or Umeda area 15:00 pm Check-in at Hotel Monterey OSAKA (Booking number : XXXXXXXXX) Note: Normal check-in time is 15:00 pm, check-out time is 11:00 am. Take JR from Namba to Umeda Station. 17:00 pm Do some shopping and dining in Shinsaibashi Area Save your stomach for Famous Cheese Tartlet, Pablo (http://www.pablo3.com/) 21:00 pm Have a good sleep at the hotel ! 22
  23. 23. Day Eight Friday, September 6 – Aquarium 8:00 am Get up and have breakfast near hotel and get ready for Full-Day Tour 9:30 am Get on the subway using the pass to get to Tempozan Market Village (Use Chuo subway line, get off at Osakako station, Exit 1) 10:00 am Get on Tempozan Ferris Giant Wheel (using the coupon), to enjoy the scenic view of Osaka’s bay area. The ride lasts in 15 minutes. 11:00 am Get on Santa Maria Cruise Ship (using the coupon) for 45-minutes sightseeing. 12:00 pm Have lunch at Fugetsu Okonomiyaki/Yakisoba (within Tampozan Market Place) 13:30 pm Within the same area, you can visit Osaka Aquarium, also known as Kaiyukan (海遊館, Kaiyūkan), It is one of Japan's most spectacular aquariums. It introduces various forms of life inhabiting the Pacific Rim in a well organized and impressive way. (Aquarium is open from 10:00 am to 20:00 pm, Admission fee 2300 yen, No discount) 17:00 pm Take subway to Osaka Prefectural Government Sakishima Building Observatory (using the coupon) to watch sunset (Get off at nanko Port Town Line Trade Center Mae Station, Exit #2). 18:00 pm Enjoy dinner and go back to hotel for the rest ! 23
  24. 24. Day Nine (Last Day) Saturday, September 7 – Osaka 9:00 am Get up early, enjoy morning breeze. After breakfast, give it a Grand tour of Hits & Misses in Osaka 10:00 am Early check out from the hotel, Drop the baggage (if necessary) to be delivered to airport before 8 pm. 11:00 am Visit Osaka Castle & Osaka Park (It is open until 17:00 pm, Admission fee 600 yen, closed on Mondays) The recommended approach to Osaka Castle is through subway, the closest station is Tanimachi 4chome Station along the Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line. The closest JR station to Osaka Castle is Osakajokoen Station on the JR Loop Line, a 10 minute, 160 yen ride from JR Osaka Station. 12:00 pm Enjoy lunch at one of the best local ramen shop “Ramen Kiou Tanikyu”, this place is spealizzes in salt tonkotsu soup ramen topped with melt-in-yourmouth tender Char Siu. (Take subway to Tanimachi 9chome station, Exit #1 or #2) 13:00 pm Depending on your interests, you may visit some more observatories such as Floating Garden Observatory in Umeda (recommended), HEP Five Ferris Wheel, Tsutenkaku Tower OR Museums (science, history, fine arts etc.) OR try Spa World Onsen From around the world 17:00 pm Last minute shopping around Umeda or Namba Station 20:00 pm Check-in at Thai Airways Royal Silk Class Ticket Number: ETKT 217 2440639988 (Seat 14 KN), Reservation Code: I283YN ! TG673 depart from Osaka at 00:30 am on Sunday, September 8 and arrive to Suvarnabhumi Airport at 24 04:20 am.
  25. 25. Travel Tips Recommended Restaurants in Kyoto 1. Tenpura Yasakaendo (Komatsucho, Higashiyamaku, +81 7-5551-1488): This place is good for Tempura Kaiseki “Gion”, quite expensive, the place is not far from Kiyomizu-dera 2. Wabiya Korekido (Gion-machi, Higashiyama-ku, +81 7-5532-3355) : This place is good for Yakitori 3.Tenyu (324-1, Ebiyacho, Nakagyo-ku, +81 7-5212-7778): This place is also good for Tempura 4.Kagizen Yoshifusa (264, Gionmachikitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, +81 7-5525-1818): This place is good for Japanese dessert 5.Gogyo Ramen (Yanaginobamba, Nishiki Market, +81 75-254-5567): This place is good for Ramen. Average price is around 700-1000 yen, special lunch set is available. 6.Tsujiri (573-3 Gionmachi, Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, +81 7-5561-2257) Must-try dessert (parfait) in Kyoto, green tea restaurant, average price is 1000-1250 yen, 400 yen for soft cream cone Recommended Restaurants in Osaka 1. Kiji (1-1-90 Oyodonaka, Kitaku, +81 6-6440-5970): This place is good for Okonomiyaki (From JR Osaka Station, West Exit 15 minutes walk, there you find Umeda Sky Building and adjacent Westin hotel, Descend to Level B1 in the Sky Building and look for the simulated old-style Japanese restaurants) 2. Tsuruton Soemoncho (3-17, Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, +81 6-6211-0021) (1-1-19, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Kita-ku, Sonezakishinchi, +81 6-4799-1111) : This place is good for Udon 3.Mizuno Okonomiyaki (1-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, +81 6-6212-6360) 4.Sushisei (Damaru Department Store, Umeda, 14th Floor OR Daimaru Shinsaibashi, 8th Floor) 5.Baton d’or (Hankyu Umeda Department store, B1, Takashimaya Department Store, B1) 6.Pablo (Shinsaibashisuji) ! 25
  26. 26. Travel Tips How to get around in Kyoto ! 26
  27. 27. Travel Tips How to get around in Osaka ! 27

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