Japan

日本 (Japan)

Japan: Kansai Region


It’s my second time in the Kansai Region—where Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Kyoto are located—and this time round I got a JR West Rail Pass (Kansai-wide Area Pass) that costs ¥10200. You’d think I’d make full use of the JR Pass to go sightseeing, but over the years, my style of travelling has changed and it seems like I’m less focused on ticking places of attractions off my list these days. Instead, I look forward to outdoor activities and random aimless walks around the city. And as a foodie who (according to my friend) eats 58 meals a day, I find joy in using Google Maps to find restaurants and/or eateries with good reviews near my location. Gone are the days where I read travel blogs for information on where to go and what to eat. It’s all about spontaneity.

For this trip, I was forced to travel light because I didn’t want to pay $45 for 20kg of checked baggage, so that meant I couldn’t bring my beloved Fujifilm XT2 with me and the whole trip was documented on my iPhone 8. I wish iPhone 12 would come soon and with camera features like that on Samsung S20 Ultra so I never have to feel sad about travelling without my camera again.

All photos are taken with and edited on an iPhone 8 using VSCO and Lightroom. Photos are taken either with the native iPhone camera app or shot in RAW with Moment.

Next up, my obsession with railway and train stations.

Also found on my Instagram stories:

In one of those trips, I made a day trip to Tottori, where I did nothing but enjoy the journey on the train. It was snowing heavily in some of the smaller towns along the way, and the trees and houses were covered in beautiful thick white snow.

Himeji Castle and Kokoen Garden were probably the only sightseeing that I did on this trip.

I’m not sure I would recommend entering Himeji Castle, especially not for people with bad knees as there were many steep steps within the castle. The interior and views from the castle aren’t all that unique if you’ve been to other castles and places of interest in Japan, so unless you’re really into history and architecture, I think it’s good enough to just look at it from far. If it’s your first time to Japan, however, I do think it makes for a pleasant 2-hour walk on a day with cool weather.

Smell influences taste, so you can always trust someone who has an acute sense of smell when it comes to food. Or at least that’s what I’d like to believe.

Name of restaurants can be found in the captions.

Last but not least, atas cakes from HARBS. Pictures not allowed in the restaurant, so here’s one just outside it. I tried 4 different cakes, namely, Chocolate Custard Cake, White Chocolate Cake, Mille Crepes and Irish Cream Cheesecake, and I absolutely loved the last two.

And with that, I conclude my spontaneous week-long trip to the Kansai Region in late winter 2020.