5 Days in Kansai (Wakayama, Hyogo, Osaka) – Day 1 & Day 2

    DAY 1 (OSAKA + HYOGO)DAY 2 (HYOGO + TOKUSHIMA)DAY 3 (WAKAYAMA)DAY 4 (WAKAYAMA)DAY 5 (OSAKA)
    MORNINGArrival to Kansai International Airport

    JR Train to Osaka Station
    Cafe Style Breakfast @ Tokyu REI Hotel

    Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

    Awaji Highway Rest Area

    Nojima Scola, Awaji Island

    (Optional): Hokudan-cho Earthquake Memorial Park

    (Optional): Yumebutai Garden
    Breakfast @ Hotel Sunroute Tokushima

    Nankai Ferry from Tokushima Port to Wakayama Port

    Wakayama Marina City

    Kuroshio Market
    Breakfast @ Kisyu Minabe Royal Hotel

    Senjojiki (Rock Plateau)

    Engetsu-to (Sea Cave Island)

    Shirahama Beach

    Sandanbeki (Cliffs) + Sandanbeki Cave

    Hashigui-iwa Rocks (Uniform Rocks Formation)

    Kushimoto Marine Park

    (Optional): Wakayama Castle

    (Optional): Saki-no-Yu Public Onsen
    Breakfast @ Hotel Urashima / Katsuura Gyoen

    Depart to Kansai International Airport (Luggage Storage)
    LUNCHWestern Muslim-friendly lunch @ Granvia OsakaJapanese Set Lunch @ Uzunokuni, Uzushio Roadside StationBuffet / BBQ Seafood @ Kuroshio MarketFood Court @ Kuroshimoto Marine ParkFood Court @ Rinku Premium Outlets
    AFTERNOONTakoyaki making experience @ Tako no Tetsu (Osaka Station)

    Train to Motomachi Station (Kobe)
    Naruto Whirlpools - Uzunomichi Whirlpools Observation Deck

    Onaruto Bridge Memorial Museum and Whirlpool Science Center
    Blueberry Picking (June-Aug) @ Asai Farm, Hirogawa

    Daimon-zaka Slope

    Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine
    Shopping @ Rinku Premium Outlets

    Departure to Kansai International Airport
    EVENINGSannomiya Centre Shopping Street

    (Optional): Nankin-Machi (China Town)
    Awa Odori Experience @ Awaodori Kaikan MuseumFactory Tour + Soy Sauce Ice Cream @ Yuasa Soy Sauce Co., Ltd.Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple

    Nachi Waterfall
    DINNERKobe Beef @ Aka Noren (Sannomiya Centre Shopping Street)

    (Optional): Night View @ Kobe Port

    (Optional): Night View @ Mt. Rokko / Mt. Maya
    Omakase (Local Tokushima Food) @ Tokushima-HamaiJapanese Buffet Dinner @ Kisyu Minabe Royal HotelJapanese Buffet Dinner @ Hotel Urashima / Katsuura Gyoen
    STAYTokyu REI HotelHotel Sunroute Tokushima (Public Onsen)Kishu Minabe Royal Hotel (Public Onsen)Hotel Urashima / Katsuura Gyoen (Public Cave Onsen)

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    We never know the diverse Kansai region is actually beyond Osaka and Kyoto. During our first trip to Kansai, we have visited both Osaka and Kyoto, so does every other tourists. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed every bit of our trip. KampungBoy’s second visit to Kansai region is a charm; as he managed to cover Wakayama and Hyogo (Kobe)  prefecture too. Thank you Kansai International Tourism Promotion Centre for this great opportunity.
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    Tourist Information Center

    Upon arrival to Kansai International Airport, tourists can quickly arrange for everything that they need need at the Tourist Information Center. All types of train passes (i.e. Kansai Thru Pass & Osaka Amazing Pass), hotel reservations, Shinkansen and JR( Japan Railways) ticket, intercity bus tickets, bus tours and more are available here. Do not worry about language barrier as multilingual consultants are ready to serve you!

    For more information, please visit http://www.tourist-information-center.jp/kansai/en/
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    First stop – Osaka!! It is only a short 50 minutes away from the airport.
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    Western Muslim-friendly Lunch at Fleuve, a modern & classic French Restaurant in Hotel Granvia Osaka

    All the ingredients used are Halal certified and the soy sauce and other seasonings used contain no alcohol. Even the cookware, kitchen utensils that are used exclusively for Muslims are kept apart from non-Halal food to avoid contamination. However, alcoholic beverages are being served in the restaurant.

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    Vegetable Potage + Salad Saison (Seasonal Seafood and Vegetables) + Fish of the Day with Laver Seaweed Sauce + Rice + Coffee or Tea. This set costs about JPY 3,500 (inclusive of tax + service charge).

    Reservation is required for all Muslim-friendly menus (as least 4 days in advance).

    Address: Hotel Granvia Osaka, 3-1-1 Umeda Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0001, Osaka Prefecture
    Phone: +81 6-6344-1235
    Hours: <Lunch> 11:30 am – 4:00 pm; <Dinner> 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm
    Website: http://www.hotelgranviaosaka.jp/dining/french-restaurant-fleuve.htm
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    Takoyaki Experience at Tako No Tetsu, Osaka Station

    You get to experience the traditional way of making  takoyaki using the typical Teflon coated grills used in many households in Japan. Step-by-step guide is available and the staffs are always ready to guide you. One tray of 12 takoyaki balls costs you only JPY 700 (inclusive of tax) and you get to choose the combination of pork, squid and chicken.
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    Trust me, you will enjoy it and feel extra tasty to eat your own creation!
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    Address: 1-9-20 Umeda, Kita-ku, B2F Osaka Maru Building, Osaka 530-0001, Osaka Prefecture
    Phone: +81 6-6345-0301
    Hours: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm

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    Sannomiya Center Shopping Street, Kobe

    Next stop: Kobe!! The main shopping street is two minutes walk from Sannomiya Station, Kobe. This large shopping arcade is located in the Sannomiya Shopping District, stretching from east to west from Flower Road to Koigawa-suji Street. Here you can enjoy every possible genre of shopping goods.

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    You can also visit China Town (Nankinmachi) which is located in between the shopping street.
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    Aka Noren, Kobe

    Aka Noren has been established for more than 100 years since 1906. They are a pioneer in serving Kobe beef.
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    Kobe beef refers to beef from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture according to rules set out by Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association. The meat is a delicacy renowned for its flavor, tenderness and fatty, well-marbled texture. <Wikipedia>

    Kobe beef is not being exported to Malaysia, so do try it when you are in Kobe!
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    Our set of Kobe beef (chuck and sirloin) costs about JPY 7,000 per person, inclusive of starters and dessert. The “fat portion” of the marbled meat melts when heated and loosens up the muscle around it to make the meat tender and pleasant to the palate!

    Address: 3-9-5, Sannomiya-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0021, Hyogo Prefecture
    Phone: +81 78-391-2154
    Hours: <Lunch> 11:30 am – 3:30 pm; <Dinner> 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
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    Kobe is an international port town with both a retro and modern feel, boasting highlights like the former settlement area and Port Tower.
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    Kobe Motomachi Tokyu REI Hotel

    What we love about the hotel is the free drinks (coffee, espresso, latte, oolong tea and etc) at Lounge Area (open from 3:00 pm till 12:00 am) and the café style breakfast!

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    Address: 1-2-35. Sakaemachi-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0023, Hyogo Prefecture
    Phone: +81 78-327-0109
    Website: http://www.tokyuhotelsjapan.com/en/hotel/TR/TR_KOBEM/index.html

    DAY 2
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    Good morning! Cafe style breakfast like this is bliss!
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    Great weather at Kobe town

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    Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

    Our itinerary for today centred around Awaji Island, an island in Hyōgo Prefecture. To get here, most people drive across the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, a two mile suspension bridge, the longest of it’s kind in the world.

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    Awaji Highway Rest Area (Matsuho Anchorage Park)

    A viewing point for the nearby Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. Highway and Tourist information is available, local products are on sale, there are restaurant facilities and also an Akashi Kaikyo Bridge themed outdoor area.
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    There are many attractions in Awaji Island, such as a sake brewery, shrine, castle, beaches and a natural phenomena – whirlpool.
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    Nojima Scuola

    It is a school turned restaurants. It houses a café, an Italian restaurant, a BBQ restaurant (open from April to November) and a local dairies and vegetables market.

    You can also have nice sunset view on the third floor of Scuola!
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    Visitors can try out some famous dairies product while they are here – such as this milk pudding.

    Address: 843 Nojimahikinoura, Awaji 656-1721, Hyogo Prefecture
    Phone: +81 79-982-1820
    Website: http://www.nojima-scuola.com/

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    Japanese Set Lunch @ Uzunokuni, Uzushio Roadside Station

    Uzhushio Roadside station is a rare spot where you can comfortably see the whirling tides from the land. Here, you can source for the most delicious onions harvested. There are plenty of products that feature those onions at the Uzushio Roadside station.

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    We had our lunch at Michi-no-Eki restaurant which is located inside the station. You can admire the view of the Onaturo Bridge and Whirlpools (if you are lucky enough) from here.

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    Our slightly premium set lunch cost us JPY 2,000 per set (inclusive of tax).
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    This is the best seller salad dressing at the roadside station, Ganso tamanegi wafuu dressing oil, an original Japanese-style dressing made with Awaji onions.

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    Uzushio Roadside Station house another famous burger kitchen, Awajishima Burger Onion Kitchen.

    Awajishima Onion Beef Burger (JPY 600) served at Awaji-shima Onion Kitchen won first prize at the Local burger grand prix. Do try their Onion-flavored soft serve ice cream (JPY 300) too! 😀

    Address: 947-22 Hei Fukura, Minamiawaji 656-0503, Hyogo Prefecture
    Phone: +81 79-952-1157
    Hours: <Lunch> 11:30 am – 3:30 pm; <Dinner> 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
    Website: http://eki.uzunokuni.com/

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    Naruto Whirlpools – Uzunomichi Whirlpools Observation Deck

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    Naturo whirlpools are tidal whirlpools in the Naturo Strait, a channel between Naruto, Tokushima prefecture and Awaji Island, Hyogo prefecture. The Naruto whirlpools are created by the large amounts of water moving between the Pacific Ocean and the Inland Sea between high and low tide, combined with the unique underwater geography of the narrow strait.

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    According to the change of tides, the whirlpools occur roughly every six hours and can typically be seen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for an hour or two. The whirlpools vary in size, depending on the intensity of the tides. They tend to be larger in summer than in winter, and are largest during spring tides, which occur every two weeks.

    Under ideal conditions, whirlpools of up to 20 meters in diameters can be observed. On the other hand, there is not much to see on calm days or outside of the peak times. Therefore, it is of great importance to check the whirlpool schedules before making a visit to Naruto.”

    (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7852.html)
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    The whirlpools can be observed from ships or from the Uzunomichi Whirlpools Observation Deck. The observation deck is an enclosed walkway built under the Onaturo suspension bridge to allow visitors to view the swirls through side and floor windows. The entrance fees is JPY 510 for adult.

    Remember, there is no guarantee that you will see great whirlpools as shown in the picture. Good luck!

    Address: Fukuike Tosadomariura, Naruto 772-0053, Tokushima Prefecture
    Phone: +81 88-683-6262
    Entrance Fee: <Adult> JPY 510
    Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (close on 2nd Monday of March, June, September and December)

    Website: http://eki.uzunokuni.com/
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    Onaruto Bridge Memorial Museum and Whirlpool Science Center

    The museum is devoted to the construction of Onaruto suspension bridge, the strait and its whirlpools. Amongst its displays are videos and exhibitions designed to teach visitors about the inner workings of the whirlpools and construction of the suspension bridge.

    Address: Clement Plaza 6F, 1-61 Terashima Honcho Nishi, Tokushima 770-0831
    Phone: +81 88-687-1330
    Entrance Fee: <Adult> JPY 610
    Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
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    Awa Odori Experience @ Awa Odori Kaikan

    We left Awaji Island to Tokushima to enjoy Awa Odori, the most famous and largest dance festival held across Japan during the Obon season (annual Buddhist event for commemorating ancestors) in mid August. Awa is the former name for Tokushima Prefecture while Odori means dance.

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    Awa Odori Kaikan has a performance hall which can accommodate 250 spectators for the year-round daily Awa Odori performance. It features Festival Awa Odori dance (40-minute performance) by Awa no Kaze dancing team on daytime and Ordinary Awa Odori dance (50-minute performance) by Yumeiren Dance Troupes at nighttime. The performance also will highlight the history of the dance as well as the music instruments used in the performance. Best of all, audience are invited participate in the Awa Odori dance too and the best performer will be awarded!

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    Awa Odori Kaikan also serves a ropeway station for a gate to the summit of Mt. Bizan in Tokushima Prefecture.

    Address: 2-20 Shinmachibashi, Tokushima, Tokushima Prefecture 770-0904
    Phone: +81 88-611-1611
    Entrance Fee: <Daytime Dance> JPY 600; <Nighttime Dance> JPY 800
    Website: http://www.awaodori-kaikan.jp/
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    Omakase (Local Tokushima Food) @ Tokushima-Hamai

    We were so lucky to be able to experience raditional local Japanese fine dining. Omakase means I will leave it to the chef, and the chef will prepare special courses using only the best and freshest ingredients.  Our omakase course costs us JPY 4,000 (inclusive of service charge + tax).

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    Address: 1 Chome-14 Tomidamachi, Tokushima, Tokushima Prefecture 770-0915
    Phone: +81 88-622-5148
    Hours: <Normal Day> 11:00 am – 10:00 pm <Sunday & Holiday> 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
    Website: http://tokusima-hamai.com/

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    Hotel Sunroute Tokushima (Public Onsen)

    The hotel conveniently located at the center of the Tokushima City. 1 minute walk from JR Tokushima Station.

    The hotel also has a natural hot spring pool (free entry for staying guests) located on the top of the hotel floor.

    Address: 1-5-1 Motomachi, Tokushima, Tokushima Prefecture 770-0834
    Phone: +81 88-653-8111
    Website: http://www.sunroute.jp/english/hotelinfo/chugoku_shikoku/tokushima/

    To be continued…

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