Monday, April 7, 2014

Osaka, Kyoto, Nara & Kobe Trip Itinerary

Hello everyone! We are back from our 11-day vacation from Japan. I can't wait to share all my trip kwentos and photos with you. Because you all know how I love to DIY, this trip was of course not an exception... shempre kailangan DIY din ang itinerary! Teeheehee! The trip had a relatively relaxed pace because we did an independent tour. We do not particularly enjoy tour groups the few times we joined. We do not like that the tour schedule is always too packed and we do not have the opportunity to really get to know the place.

When the husband and I agreed that we will travel to Japan, we knew we would enjoy doing an independent tour.  C wanted to explore the Kansai region thoroughly, so we just stuck to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.  I wanted to take the Shinkansen to Tokyo, but C could not be swayed.  Tokyo will be done on a separate trip in the future, then. :)

I asked the kids and hubby what places they wanted to visit, and I was also able to tailor-fit the pace of our trip just right for my family.  The kids and I researched about the sights which were of interest to us and I made our itinerary based on it.  Meanwhile C did the research about how to navigate and what train and subway to take.  I will share with you in a later post what sites and apps we used to plan for our trip.

Traveling to a country where English is not spoken as much is really no trouble if a thorough research was done prior to the trip. Although there were quite a number who could easily converse with us in English, we also encountered a few who could not really understand us.

During the early stages of planning, one of the few things I requested from C is that we time our trip during the cherry blossom season.  I wanted the kids to see the cherry blossoms!  And I also wanted to take them to a hanami picnic.  In my early teens, I spent some time in Japan as a foreign exchange student, and I remember enjoying the cherry blossom season so much.  I used this cherry blossom forecast to guide me.
Hanami Picnic at the Osaka Castle grounds
It took me several days to research for our trip as I only had a few hours in the morning to devote to that.  In between, mommy and home-making duties call. I found it challenging initially since I had to take in consideration the geographical location of each attraction so I could group them together in one day.  I am not really good with remembering locations so it was an arduous task at the beginning.

After days of research, I was finally able to draw up our working itinerary, which I am going to share with you below. It is quite extensive since I also included a short write-up about the place since there are no tour guide to tell us about the attractions.  The two younger ones are very inquisitive, and it's best that I have some quick answers about the place, in the event they ask.  Although prior to the trip, I had also asked each of them to research about the places we were going to visit and write a short description in their travel journals.

We all know that there are variations and changes that come up last minute, but we were able to generally stick by it, with a few minor changes here and there.  Obviously, the time written on the itinerary were not observed. Our hotel beds were so comfy that it took maximum will-power to get out of bed. teeheehee! But it really helped that we had a solid itinerary to guide us. It provided some structure, time-wise, otherwise the trip would've gotten too relaxed and easy with everyone tempted to wake up at any time they wanted.

In case anyone of you is traveling with older kids for an extended length of time in the Kansai region of Japan, then I hope my itinerary would be of help to you when you plan for your own trip.


I will be posting more about our trip in the following days, but in the meantime, time for this mama to go to the grocery to replenish our pantry.:)

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