Friday, April 19, 2019

Japan Travelogue Day 8: Getting to Osaka (without JR pass), Kaiyukan Aquarium and Tempozan Ferris Wheel!

It's time to move on to the second part of this Japan travelogue. For the next couple of posts, i will be covering on Osaka and Kyoto! But before i go on, let me just share on the planning process for this transit from Tokyo to Osaka. The easiest and the most convenient way to travel from between Tokyo and Osaka (or anywhere else in the region as a matter of fact) would be to get the popular Japan Rail (JR) pass.

There are a lot of different JR passes available and it can get really confusing but it really depends on the regions you want to visit to decide which is the most suitable pass to get. The most popular pass would be the all-in JR pass which cost SGD$358 for 7 days validity, SGD571 for 14 days validity and SGD$731 for 21 days validity. My first thought was - Gosh, the airfare and accommodation is already quite a sum and now i have to pay a few more hundred dollars to travel around? How much is this trip going to cost??

Me being me, i decided to research intensively and read articles after articles online, using the JR calculators available online and found out that the expensive JR pass would be worth it IF ONLY you are traveling to and fro Tokyo - Osaka because the 2 way trip cost would have amounted to almost the cost of the 7 day JR pass. Most people would fly in and out of Tokyo via Narita or Haneda airport so getting the JR pass will make sense. BUT if you book a multi-city trip like me meaning - flying into Narita and out from Osaka, you then only need to buy a one way train ticket!

*Did a quick search on Singapore Airlines and it cost SGD$808 to fly in and out of Tokyo and SGD$821 to fly into Tokyo and depart from Osaka. That's only 13 bucks difference.
The next thing now is, how much are you willing to pay for your one way ticket? The fastest would be via the Nozomi train - 2.5 hours at ¥14,450 (SGD$175) or the slower Platt Kodama - 4 hours at ¥10,500 (SGD$127) I chose the latter because for an additional 1.5 hours on the train, i saved SGD$48. If you make the effort to take an early train, the 1.5 hours shouldn't matter much and that $48 that you saved can be used to offset some other things like your meals or attraction tickets. (Not forgetting that you are also just paying $127 instead of the $358 JR pass by getting the multi city air ticket!) So proud of myself. *flicks hair*
It's important to read up on Platt Kodama train as well because there are certain conditions to fulfil and you have to make a trip down to 1 of the 4 JR offices to purchase the train tickets at least one day before use. Oh! Your train ticket also come with a drink voucher which you can exchange at the train station. Cheap thrill, lol. For more info on Platt Kodama, here's the official website -

*I'm not sponsored by JR or any entities for the information above.
The lovely AirBnB that we stayed for the entire week in Osaka.
The owners were very friendly and we communicated via line to send us directions and weather information even before we arrived in Japan. Not only that, they waited patiently for us at the apartment and made sure we were comfortable before they left. There were snacks on the table and even a folder full of information on Osaka, attractions and even eateries around the area! On the last day, they offered to hold our luggages at their own place as our flight was at night. So thankful to James and Tammy! :)
First lunch at a restaurant beside our AirBnB - my favourite Katsu with egg! 
Because we took the early Platt Kodama train at 7.30am, we arrived in Osaka at around 1pm which leave us ample time to explore Osaka on our first day! First stop was to visit the famous Kaiyukan Aquarium!
I'm a HUGE fan of zoo and aquarium and i was particularly excited to visit Kaiyukan because they host a couple of WHALE SHARKS. Whales are like spirit animals and it's in my list to see them in real life (preferably in the wild but this will do for now. lol) I was so so so mesmerised by these gigantic creatures. 
But i have to be honest and say that i was a little underwhelmed by their size. I mean i always expected whales to be huge (Well, technically these are sharks but still.) These whale sharks are huge but i expected them to be even bigger. Like the size of a bus or something, lol. Not complaining since i spend at least a good 30 mins alone staring at these majestic creatures swimming round and round in the aquarium.
One day i will visit Cebu and swim with them. Also, i can't wait to go out to the sea to whale watch when i'm in Sydney this coming august! I hope i see something amazing!!! *cross fingers* Please please please.
Bought the admission ticket bundle which comes with a ride on the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, one of the world's largest Ferris wheels. The skies was already dark by the time we exited the aquarium. (The skies tend to turn dark really early in Japan) The sight of the Ferris Wheel lightings is just wow. So pretty!
The entire ride is about 15 mins. Enough to take photos and enjoy the amazing view of Osaka.
Would you prefer the day view or the night view from attractions that allow you to see from a height?
We decided to head over to the famous Dōtonbori, the main tourist attraction to get our dinner. Not gonna cover much on this place (yet) because i'm quite sure it will be covered in one of the new few posts. In fact, we didn't walk much because we decided to head back to your AirBnB for an early night because the next day is... highly anticipated UNIVERSAL STUDIO JAPAN!

Right on track,