My wife and I had always wanted to visit Japan but the cost of a trip to the land of the rising sun has never seem to be within our affordability range. The flights are often more expensive than destinations down under, the hotels are always expensive and the exchange rate most of time does not favours Ringgit. I have always perceive a Japan trip would be too expensive until Malaysia Airlines had this wacky 24-hour sale on a couple of their destinations including Osaka which offers return tickets for as low as RM800 all inclusive. It is true that I still have to pay for the expensive hotels, etc but the flight tickets are too low for me to ignore. After all it’s Malaysia Airlines and not a low cost carrier.
Within a couple of hours, we googled to get a bit more info on Osaka (and through this we found out about Kyoto and its awesome attractions) and immediately made the flight bookings online. Another impulse buying, good news for the airlines, not so good for our bank account.
Thanks to various websites especially Lily’s blog, planning for the trip was quite a smooth and fun experience. Our plan was simple. 2 days in Kyoto for Sightseeing , 2 days in Osaka for Sightseeing and 2 travelling days. 6 days are never enough for a first time trip to destinations like Kyoto and Osaka but we had limited time and budget so we just had to go with the flow.
November 1st 2013 – KL International Airport, all set for yet another holiday Alhamdulillah.
One of the many crucial/must-have tools for travellers to Japan is a portable wifi. You can actually rent these devices upon arrival at major Japanese airports including Kansai but since Global Mobile based in Malaysia is having a promotion, we rented it at KLIA which turns out to be cheaper by few ringgit. Check out this website for more details.
The device. Useful for GPS/Google Maps + Facebook.twitter.instagram #sinyu #showoff #updates
All set for the flight.
Late night meal. I had pre-ordered the Low Calorie Meal option (note: tergedik lebih masa booking). The not so tasty meal. Healthy though and good for late night food.
Capturing the sun rises at the land of the rising sun. Subhanallah.
Breakfast was served 90 minutes before arrival, this time the low calorie meal option was much better.
Seconds away from landing at the ‘artificial island’ Kansai International Airport. More about this airport on my later blog post.
As the aircraft taxis to the gate, I noticed this ground crew waving and bowing to the plane. Something unique.
Arrival process at Kansai International Airport is quite similar to any major airports out there. As we had entered our day 1 of Kyoto/Osaka tour, we were glad that the arrival process was fast. Within less than an hour, we had our bags with us heading to our first quick stop within the terminal which is the KIX Lounge.
We were going to spend the whole day touring Kyoto on “day 1” so a nice warm shower and fresh set of cloth is what we needed after the 6-hours flight. The lounge offers “all inclusive package” but we were on a tight budget so we opted for the shower only option which costs us 500 yen.
We had to wait for a while as the 6-7 shower cubicles were all occupied but that gave us a chance to catch a breather and charge our electronic devices although we were not allowed to use other facilities at the lounge.
The private rooms in the lounge, for meetings or anyone wanting some privacy.
Here’s a quick tour of the coin operated shower booths.
The cubicle. Strictly one person per cubicle.
A small “grooming” area at each cubicle. Big enough to fit my luggage.
A few steps away is the actual shower.
It is coin operated, the 500 yen paid enables passenger to enjoy 10-minutes of shower. Long enough. When I pressed the red button, both the shower and countdown on timer stop. So in reality you have more than 10 minutes.
Toilet facilities can also be used although it is not in the same area as the shower cubicles. I had my first ‘jakun’ moments using the Japanese toilet.
After the refreshing shower, we were all set to head to Kyoto. Another quick stop at the Tourist Desk where we purchased our 3 different passes. We actually do not need all three but we had reasons why we got these passes which I will explain in upcoming posts. Convenience vs Savings.
On the Haruka train to Kyoto.
Day 1 tour of Kyoto will continue in the next post…. In the meantime check out the teaser video here.