Japan Travel Blog: Fushi Inari Taisha Shrine, USJ, Bamboo Forest, DisneySea & Fluffy Pancakes

Osaka

A Happy Pancake · Tako No Tetsu Tsunoda · Dotonbori · USJ

Kyoto

Fushi Inari Taisha Shrine · Tenryu-ji Zen Temple · Bamboo Forest

Tokyo

Aaliya Café · 5 eating & shopping districts · DisneySea

Osaka

A Happy Pancake

1-11-9 Nishihommachi, Nishi-ku | 1F Okamoto Kosan Bldg, Osaka 550-0005, Osaka Prefecture (Across the road from Starbucks, down the basement)

Click here to view their website.

Happy Pancake (top) – 1,100¥

With Manuka honey and whipped butter

Black Tea Milk Pancake (bottom) – 1,350¥

With tea milk sauce and granola

Soft, fluffy and simply delectable. You really don’t need a knife to eat this! I suspect a lot of eggs were used to create this moist, fluffy texture on the inside of the pancakes, but I’m not complaining. While I only tried 2 of their pancakes, their ‘Black Tea Milk Pancake’ is definitely to-die-for! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a bit more adventure, fragrance and crunch.

Just a heads up: One plate might be too much for one person to finish, so you might consider sharing it with someone. To give some perspective, 3 of us shared 2 plates.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tako No Tetsu Tsunoda

1-10 Kakudacho, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture (Umeda station, near ‘HEP FIVE’ Shopping Mall)

Beef and Squid Takoyaki (12pc each) and Squid Okonomiyaki – 1,300¥

Traditional Takoyaki is filled with octopus, but anything similar would taste just as amazing! There are many Takoyaki Houses that you can dine at in Osaka, but if you want a more fun, DIY experience, try this. Here’s how it went:

1. Order using the available English menus

2. Grease the Takoyaki maker with the oil and oil brush provided

3. Fill the maker with batter, filling and garnish

4. Heat and wait slightly over 10 minutes. Use the picks provided to get those Takoyaki balls into shape – it’s not as easy as it seems!

5. Enjoy!

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Gyoza

Dotonbori (also spelled, Dotombori). A 5-min walk from Namba station.

Pork Gyoza (6pc) – 450¥

Being the first set of gyoza that we’d tasted in Japan, we were rather disappointed as it tasted like something you could get in Singapore.

We later tried cheese gyoza in Tokyo, which is absolutely amazing! You might want to try it if you get the chance.

Rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Genrokuzushi

Dotonbori (also spelled, Dotombori). A 5-min walk from Namba station.

Starting from the left:

Despite being lean, the Tuna Nigri was soft and sweet and the meat easily came apart with one bite.

The Ika (Squid) Nigri was chewy, but extremely viscous and creamy underneath to an almost velvet-like texture.

The beef was tender, though I have to admit that the sweet Terriyaki sauce gave it a lot more flavor.

I was never a huge fan or raw tuna and even less so for squid, but can say that the Tuna and Ika Nigri were life-changing! Our meal amounted to 1,500¥ per person, which gives you a choice of about 10 plates.

I strongly encourage you to drop by Genrokuzushi if you happen to be in Osaka. Not only is their sushi affordable, but extremely fresh. Just keep an eye out for its massive sushi icon!

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ichiran Ramen

〒542-0084, 7-18 Souemoncho Chuo-ku Osaka-shi Osaka-fu (By the river opposite GIRAFFE CLUB).

Click here to view their website.

Ichiran Ramen – 1,000¥

Ichiran Ramen, a joint renown for having the best ramen had a single type of ramen available. That’s right folks. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you! The unique part about Ichiran is that you get to customize your ramen according to the level of seasoning, spiciness and broth consistency that you’d prefer.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Universal Studios Japan

Transfer from Nishikujo station to Universal City along the Yumesaki Line.

Click here to view their website.

Thrilling, exciting and creative – the Flying Dinosaur was the first ride that we took and it positions you facedown so that you get to literally fly like a dinosaur. It’s amazing!

Next, we went for the JAWS boat ride, which recently reopened. Each boat has a captain who would narrate the story of JAWS and not that I understood a word that she spoke, but she was an amazing storyteller nonetheless!

Subsequently, we hopped over to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (a 4-D ride) but not after queuing in the rain and cold for more than 2 hours. However, I could say that it was worth the wait as it captured some of the most iconic scenes in Deathly Hallows and was incredibly thrilling.

We ended the night with a ride at Hollywood Dream, which had stopped operating for most of the day due to the horrible rain. But it reopened when USJ was about to close! So we ran for our lives, queued, and decided we would ride the backward roller coaster. This ride goes both ways and we loved it!

Kyoto

Before we jump into the highlights of my time in Kyoto, I highly recommend Riverside Arashiyama as your choice of stay for several reasons:

1. Most shops and restaurants close at 6pm in Kyoto, so make sure you stay in Kyoto for a few days to experience Kyoto.

2. Riverside Arashiyama has amazing facilities, affordable rates, excellent service and is located in the heart of Kyoto’s most visited attractions, such as Tenryu-Ji Temple and Bamboo Grove.

To find out more about Riverside Arashiyama, click here.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

68 Yabunouchi-cho, Fukakusa, Fushimi-ku (Directly outside Inari station)

The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is the main Inari shrine among 30,000 others that were built in worship of Shinto god, Inari, who is also known as the god of rice. It is also one of Kyoto’s most popular tourist destination due to its endless number of beautiful Torii gates. You will see many statues of the Kitsune (foxes) as they are believed to be the messengers of the Shinto deities.

A glimpse down its food street, situated to the left of its entrance:

Rice Cakes – 500¥ per stick

Comes in plain and matcha flavor.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Soft tofu – 400¥

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kitsune Udon – 700¥

Comes with sweet beancurd.

Rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Tenryu-ji Zen Temple

〒616-8385 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Ukyō-ku, 嵯峨天龍寺芒ノ馬場町 6 8 (A 10-minute walk from Hankyu Arashiyama station or JR Saga Arashiyama station)

Click here to view their website.

For almost seven decades since it was established, Tenryu-ji Temple has braved many fires and undergone several reconstructions to maintain the beautiful landscape which we see today.

There are two separate entrance fees to view certain parts of the temple.

The Hojo (living quarters) & Sogen Pond Garden – 800¥

Sogen Pond Garden – 500¥

Bamboo Grove

Accessible through Tenryu-ji Temple.

On your way to Bamboo Grove or Bamboo Forest, you would most likely meet many rickshaw drivers. The average ride would cost more than 1,000¥.

You could spend hours just walking in the forest, which has little huts along the way. However, it gets dark very easily near sunset, which can make place you in a not too ideal situation.

During our walk, we came across an adorable Shiba Inu and had to stop to pat and take pictures with this little fella.

Tokyo

Cafe Aaliya

〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 3 Chome-1-17, 山本ビル (Beside Venus Cafe, down the basement)

Click here to view their website.

If you thought Happy Pancakes was as soft and luscious as pancakes could be, Café Aaliya would prove you wrong, and they are well aware of that! They didn’t bother providing any knives – just a fork and jam spreader.

The toast was incredibly creamy, soft and oozing with goodness. Despite its small serving of 2 small pieces of toast, it is very thick and will likely satiate your hunger very quickly.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tokyo

Shibuya, Shinjuku and Shimokitazawa

Places to visit:

1. Sukiyaki Buffet at Nabezo

2. Shop at Shibuya’s 3-storey Disney Store

3. Shop at international brands like LUSH and American Eagle

4. Hunt for affordably priced shoes at factory outlets like ABC Mart

Harajuku

Tokyo’s iconic crepes are a must-try. You can most probably find a little food van selling the crepes in a ton of different flavors.

To find out more, click here.

Ikebukuro

This image does not belong to me.

Even if you’re not a fan of anime, make sure you visit their Animate Flagship Store for the experience. But if you love anime, there should be no issues with this. Click here to find out more.

Close by is also the largest Pokémon Centre in Tokyo, situated at Sunshine City. Click here to find out more.

DisneySea

Transfer from Maihama station to the Disney Railway.

Click here to view their website.

Photo 13-3-18, 4 06 50 PM
Arabian Coast (Aladdin).

Upon entering Disneyland and DisneySea, you’ll realize that everyone would be wearing or holding something that is Duffy-related. Duffy and is best friend, Shellie May are teddybears that you can purchase for 2,500¥ at the main store. They are quite exclusively sold, so it might be hard to find them outside Japan.

Anyway, I should warn you that long waiting hours for a short ride is a norm, so be mentally prepared for that! In our case, we queued for 3 hours for a short 2-min ride. However, fast passes are available for certain rides.

Another thing about DisneySea is that they focus on their overall aesthetic more than their rides. In other words, don’t expect extremely thrilling rides. However, what you don’t want to miss are their parades. It was 8pm when we caught the Fantasmic! parade performed over the water and it was amazing!

Some useful phrases and final tips before you go:

“Sumimasen”, which means ‘excuse me’.

“Arigato gozaimasu”, which is a formal way of saying thank you.

“Gomenasai”, which means ‘sorry’.

“Osusume wa nandesuka”, which can be used to ask people what they would recommend.

Keep right on the escalator in Osaka and left in Tokyo.

Speak softly or not at all in the trains, subways and any enclosed spaces. They generally observe silence in such places.

Avoid eating outside a food joint, unless you’re travelling on long train rides like the Shinkansen Bullet Train. The Japanese prefer eating where designated.

Experience Japan’s convenience stores, such as Life, OK Mart and 7-Eleven! They will change your life.

If you’re in Osaka, visit the arcades like Round One.

* * *

If you made it this far, I would like to say a big THANK YOU and I hope that my blog was useful to you in some way.

Published by Megan

If granted three wishes, I'd choose to fly, have 25-hour days and a weekly taste of the best medium-rare steak.

4 thoughts on “Japan Travel Blog: Fushi Inari Taisha Shrine, USJ, Bamboo Forest, DisneySea & Fluffy Pancakes

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