Japan, for the most part, has always been known as a nation that values discipline and color. To a lot of onlookers, Japan seems like such a systematic haven with rules set in place and motion. For those who grew up admiring Japanese culture, perhaps from anime or movies, you may be well aware of of just how colorfully eccentric Japan can be. And true enough during my visit with my family, I could say that Japan has found the balance of these two seemingly opposing elements.
I could go on and on how their trains are efficient and on time, or how people strictly adhere to walk and stand lanes of an escalator, but what enthralled us the most is the adventure that comes with Japan.
We started off our vacation by shopping at Rinku Premium Outlets—around 20 minutes from Kansai Airport. There is a wide array of brands, ranging from sporty labels like Adidas and Nike, to more casual footwear like Crocs, and to more premium brands like Armani. We had such an amazing time that we barely had time to take pictures!
We, then, went to one of Osaka’s deeming landmarks—Osaka Castle Park. With grounds covering more than a hundred hectares, the park houses around 600 cherry trees, along with other colorful plants. Although the park opened in 1931, the castle remains to be well maintained.
One of the highlights of our trip is our visit to Mt. Rokko Kobe. The kids found the adventure especially fun! We all tried to learn how to ski, and it’s definitely much harder than it looks like! For those that like the calmer past times, there are numerous activities that don’t involve too much athletics. There are lounges where you can have a warm cup of coffee while you take in the whiteness of the view. A cable car is available for those seeking a bird’s eye view of the mountain. The climate was, of course, very cold, but it was quite bearable without the daunting winds.
A favorite destination for tourists is the deer-filled Nara Park. While at first the deer may seem intimidating because of their relatively bigger size compared to dogs, they are actually very endearing creatures. The park has no entrance fees, and the only payment to be made is if you want to feed the deer. Be careful though, as they would flock you, and perhaps eat any exposed paper from your bag!
The deer of Nara have a rich history behind it. In the area lies the sacred grounds of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, where the deity Takemi Kajichi no Mikoto is said to reside. Thousands of years ago, she had ridden a deer to arrive at the shrine. In turn, deer have been considered sacred animals that are close to the gods. Hence, Nara Park is considered as a national landmark.
While Osaka’s foods have proven to be delicious by our Filipino palates that have grown to be accustomed to the Japanese flavors, Ichiran’s ramen stood out the most. The broth and noodles are like none that I’ve tried. You’ll definitely know that it’s a well sought after ramen house when you see the long line awaiting outside the restaurant. Ichiran can be found in Namba Walk. Should the lines be too long, the stretch offers numerous options for you to try.
Our trip to Osaka was short, but, indeed, fun! But our Japan adventure doesn’t end there. We’re off to Tokyo next! #JuanderWithUs on our next blog as we get to explore Tokyo.