Date of Travel: 02/02/2012
The first order of the day was to obtain the second JR Kansai pass which we were going to use to get from Kyoto to Kobe. Once this was done, we took a detour and walked over to Toji Temple, home of the tallest 5-storey pagoda in Japan. Unfortunately, many of its buildings were under renovation. In addition, the sun was located right behind the pagoda, making it very difficult to take good pictures. Inside the pagoda, we were able to see the wood work which went on in the foundations which was an amazing sight. Shortly after, a tour guide spotted Brownie (the only non-asian of our travelling group) and tried to explain the history of the grounds to him. Whenever she struggled to find the words, she would speak it in Japanese to the other two of us. We would just nod our heads, pretending to understand what she was saying. Once she found out that we were completely clueless, we all had a good laugh! We arrived back at the train station shortly after to take a train to Kobe. It was a local train with no toilets on board, and it was a 1.5 hour journey to Kobe. Due to my anxiety issues, my bladder decided “hey, let’s pretend you need to take a piss!” We hopped off the train in Osaka so that I can quickly hit the bathroom. I had accounted for the possibility of this but it didn’t really matter since the next train was coming in a few minutes…or so I thought. For some reason there was a large delay, and the next train only came about 45 minutes later! Go figure.
As it was close to lunchtime, we decided to get off at Sannomiya station to have some Kobe Beef at Kobe Steakland. Unfortunately I left the map at the hostel, so I asked the nearby information desk for directions. Turns out they were absolutely clueless, and we ended up on the wrong street. Going by my memory, we managed to find it just 5 minutes later thankfully. And boy was it worth it. While I was the only one who went for Kobe Beef, all of us were satisfied with our lunch. After the filling lunch, onwards to the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (longest suspension bridge span in the world at the time we visited) we went. We struggled to walk from the train station to the information centre due to the extremely strong wind. At one stage, Jay-C tried jumping up, only for the wind to blow him backwards several feet! But none the less, the bridge was an amazing sight to behold, though once again the sun was in the wrong place.
On the way back towards Kobe, Jay-C wanted to take a detour to have a look at the Tetsujin-28-go (Gigantor) statue which he had spotted from the train. It was fun trying to take photos of it in creative positions. After about 15 minutes of photo taking, we went back towards Kobe for one of the attractions I really wanted to go – the Earthquake Museum…which to my dismay was closed just several minutes before we arrived! It was due to struggling to follow really badly written maps and underestimating the distance between the train station and the museum. But at least the exterior was beautiful! Luckily I managed to drown my sorrow with plenty of omurice and taiyaki at a neighbouring mall.
We decided to end the day by visiting the Kobe Harbour area, and I was wanting to use a subway to get there (since the subway entrance was right in front of us). Instead, Jay-C wanted to use the JR trains since we have a pass for it. In the end, it took about another 40 minutes to find the train. By the time we got to Kobe Habour, my feet were killing me. Still, we managed to walk around half the habour area before my feet decided that enough was enough. We spotted a few interesting things along the way (e.g. a random Elvis statue in the middle of nowhere playing “Suspicious Minds”), but we still had washing to do and hence hopped on a train back towards Kyoto, but not before taking plenty of pictures around the habour (including the red bridge used in the Fate series). Once we got back to the hostel, Jay-C and I did the laundry while Brownie fell asleep while holding his bible! As we were too lazy to find a place to dump his clothes, we just dumped it onto him! Don’t think he realized till the next morning. Either way, it was perhaps our most tiring day of the trip thus far and filled with some disappointments, but overall still a very good day!
JR Kansai Area Pass – 2000 yen
K’s House Kyoto (Triple private room) – 2,900 yen
Breakfast from convenience store near Kyoto Station – 135 yen [Croquette and omelette bun]
Lunch at Kobe SteakLand – 2,985 yen [Kobe Beef Lunch set]
Dinner at mall across the street from Earthquake Museum – 1,291 yen [Hamburger steak and omurice]
Taiyaki snack at the same mall as above – 100 yen
Toji Temple entrance fee – 800 yen
Souvenir at Akashi Kaikyo Bridge – 368 yen [Magnet]
TOTAL (cost for whole trip in brackets)
10,579 yen (157,738 yen total)