The last stop in our Japan itinerary is Kyoto – the former capital of Japan that has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and over 2,000 religious buildings all over the city. It’s amazing how Kyoto remains awash with remnants of its past glory. Being in Kyoto is like experiencing the cultural yin to Tokyo’s yang, but with a sprinkling of modernity. Every one of Japan’s refined cultural arts blossomed from seeds that were planted here, including the tea ceremony, Kabuki theater, Zen, and Tantric Buddhism. Definitely, Kyoto is the perfect place to experience the Japanese culture that the modern Tokyo cannot provide.
Pokemon Center Osaka
One of the places I was looking forward to visit in Osaka was the ultimate Pokémon fan’s paradise – the Pokémon Center! Pokemon Center Osaka is located at the 13th floor of Daimaru Department Store in Umeda. There are other Pokemon Centers located in Japan but this was the only one in Osaka, which opened in 2010. I used to play Pokemon way back before when the hype was all about getting your hands on the new GameBoy system. I must say I was amused with catching Pokemon creatures in the game – I even had a Pokemon-themed party for my 7th birthday!
Spending the day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is magical, but Universal Studios Japan in Osaka offers more than just the Harry Potter experience. Before, I thought USJ just offers the usual Universal Studios rides but I am mistaken. In fact, I even enjoyed the attractions in USJ more than those of Tokyo Disney Resort. Universal Studios Japan did a really great job in making Universal Studios rides unique by blending it with the Japanese culture, which creates a really fun and exciting experience!
“Expecto Patronum!” Over the years, I’ve become quite a Harry Potter fan. I grew up anticipating for Harry Potter sequels every year (that was 8 movies for 8 years) like most other kids my age back then. One of the reasons why I really wanted to go back to Japan is to visit the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Osaka (more of my USJ experience HERE). This is Japan’s version of the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter found in Orlando. Hearing the news for the first time that a Harry Potter world has opened in Osaka got me (and my sister Kyla) really excited as we have always dreamed of touring a real-life Hogwarts Castle. Visiting the real world of Harry Potter was truly ‘magical’ for a ‘muggle’ like me!
If you are planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort, you are in for a rare treat. Exploring two of the best Disney theme parks in the world is such a rewarding experience that you’ll definitely want to repeat. Sometimes, you just need to find time to be a kid again and escape from all the stress of the adult life even for just a day. Since we only allotted a day but wanted to visit both parks (DisneySea and Disneyland), I bought a 1-Day Passport for DisneySea (Y6,400) and After 6 Passport for Disneyland (Y3,900). For the After 6 Passport, you are allowed to enter the park 6PM onwards. This is a good choice if you are after the Dreamlights Electrical Parade (exclusive attraction of Tokyo Disneyland) and not the Disneyland rides.