Why Travelling to Osaka Japan is a Terrific Adventure

Written by Dennis Pabelico

In celebration of my 10th year at John Clements Consultants, I went on a trip to Japan with my wife (Daisy) and daughter (Katrice). Since our company is very much into learning and development, my family decided to travel to a country with a rich culture and a totally different language; in short, there is so much to learn. And since we are now in the age of digital technology, we chose to travel without a package tour or a tour guide and simply relied on our smart phones.

We initially had to choose between Korea and Japan, and since we got a good deal for Japan, then Japan it was! After securing our visas, renting travel WiFi, purchasing our luggage, booking a place using Airbnb, and exchanging our Peso for Japanese Yen, we were all set for our destination — Osaka, Japan.

Before the trip, the mom of Katrice’s friend, who stays in Osaka, volunteered to meet us upon arrival. She worried that we might not find our way to our Airbnb place — and so she did. At around 9:00 PM, we arrived at Kansai airport, where Evelyn warmly welcomed us. We took a train at a station within the airport to get to another train station near our booked place.

We arrived at the Namba train station and went straight to Dotonbori, one of Osaka’s principal tourist destinations. Dotonbori is a popular shopping and entertainment district, which is also known as a food destination. This was where we were treated to a scrumptious Japanese dinner.

After dinner, still with our luggage, we went around Dotonbori on our way to our place, which was just a 30-minute walk away. What a way to spend our first evening — to think we haven’t even settled in yet!

We arrived at our destination feeling happy with our surroundings. Aside from Family Mart and Lawson stores nearby, there were a lot of vending machines around the corner.

The Airbnb we booked was a condominium, which is called a mansion in Japan. Since we did everything digitally, with the use of our smart phones, we never met the owner of the unit we rented. Not a single soul was present at the lobby so it was important that we followed the instructions we were given. It’s amazing what technology can do — just by pressing buttons and entering passwords, we were able to get keys to our unit and, of course, the lobby door.

We proceeded to our unit, which was located on the fourth floor of the building. Curious of the toilet, we checked the bathroom as soon as we entered! With all its buttons labeled with Japanese characters, it looked techie and complicated at the same time. The bed was a space saver; it’s the pull-down kind, which you may choose to set against the wall when not in use. It was perfect, it even had its own kitchen. Evelyn decided to stay the night since it was already late. After checking the place out, we laid our heads to get ready for the day ahead.

Here are six wonderful places we visited in Japan.

Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. Dotonbori is for eating and Shinsaibashi is for shopping. These are main tourist attractions in Osaka, both situated in the Namba district. Since Osaka is known as a gastronomist’s town, Dotonbori has an unbelievable number of restaurants. This was where most of our money went — to delicious Japanese ramen and takoyaki.

Nara Deer Park, Nara National Museum, and Todaiji Temple. Nara was just a train ride from our place. The deer park, which was a 30-minute walk from the train station, is home to hundreds of free-roaming deer. Nara’s deer are surprisingly tame, but can be aggressive if they think you will feed them. Deer crackers are for sale around the park and some deer have learned to bow to tourists in order to be fed. After visiting the park, we went straight to the Todaiji Temple and Museum.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. It is located in the Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka’s bay area and is one of Japan’s most spectacular aquariums. If you love sea creatures, you would really enjoy and marvel at the world under the sea.

Universal Studios Japan. There are four Universal Studios in the world, two of which are in the U.S. (Florida and California), one in Singapore, and one in Japan. What makes this one different among the rest? The House of Hello Kitty! A lot of exciting attractions also made us feel like kids again. We enjoyed Spiderman and Harry Potter the most — all speaking in Japanese, too.

Osaka Castle. This castle has so much history in it. The castle was constructed in 1583, destroyed during the war in 1615, and rebuilt in 1620. In 1665, it was struck by lightning, which burned the main tower. It was finally re-constructed in 1931, survived the war thereafter, and now in its new and shining glory. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and trees, our visit made Sunday relaxing and peaceful.

Kyoto. Rich in culture and history, Kyoto is located in the island of Honshi. It was once the capital city of Japan. Buddhist temples, wooden houses, and geisha — this is the traditional Japanese experience.

This trip will definitely be etched in my mind and in my heart. Among all the countries I have been to, nothing can compare to what I have experienced in Japan. It was an exclamation point to celebrate 10 great years of service to John Clements. Aside from the vacation, it was a great learning experience for me, especially with our transition to robotics and AI. This country is in the forefront of it all — a blend of the rich culture of the past and the technology of the future. And the Japanese have great fashion sense, too! All I can say is, I LOVE YOU JAPAN and I WILL BE BACK!

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About the author:

Dennis is on his fifth year as a business development consultant at John Clements Consultants, where he previously worked as the Naga City site head for five years. He also has a 15-year experience in pharmaceutical sales from Abbott Laboratories and a four-year experience in branch banking operations from PCI Bank.