Friday, June 30, 2017

Hotel Review: Osaka's Airport Hotel - Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport

It was an early morning flight out of Kansai to Manila for us; And the worrier Mama in me (too scared to be late for our flight), made me decide to book our last night in Osaka at the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport

This hotel is a full service hotel, connected to Kansai Airport Terminal I.  It is near impossible to miss your flight from here (And if you are a sound sleeper, you can make use of a wake-up call just to make sure)From Kansai Terminal I, building take the lift to the 2nd floor and take Exit D or E.



Hotel Nikko will just be in front of you,



And directed to the hotel lobby on the ground floor.

Check in was easy.  It took me only a minute or so and was immediately handed out our room keys.



Our room for our last night in Osaka is a Super Triple Room about 29sqm in size.

It fits three semi-double sized bed and comes with an air-humidifier and flat-screen TV.  There is also a complimentary wifi, but I prefer using the one I rented via Klook, which was a lot faster than the complimentary hotel wifi.




Bathroom amenities were very good too...
The sachet facial wash and cleanser made their way to my hand carry bag.





Most of the available channels were in Japanese though, but that was fine since we were only there for the night and will be leaving early the next morning.  Besides, we were too exhausted from all the walking we did in Osaka (80+kms according to my eldest who was monitoring our walks) to even bother watch something on TV.


Look what's on TV... "Pokémon".
(Note: My eldest did a bit of Pokémon hunting in Osaka and was fairly happy with his catch).


After check-in, we got to tour the airport department stores/outlets for last minutes shopping ideas.  Although I ended buying most of my take home stuffs from inside the restricted area (after airport check-in).  I have compared prices and it was cheaper to buy stuffs inside.


Dinner was at  KYK Tonkatsu which was one of the best Tonkatsu I have tasted.   
Food is really so good, it deserves a separate write-up and a wonderful way to end our tour of Osaka's tasteful cuisine.

Breakfast which was part of our hotel package was at the Brasserie.   It was nice that breakfast was spread as early as 5am, giving us ample time to prepare for our 9am flight.


Breakfast was buffet-style and consists of Japanese and Western dishes using domestically produced ingredients.  Food is wonderful.  I love that everything is fresh and nicely prepared. 



We had awesome stay at Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport and could only wish for at least another day's stay. 

We will definitely miss Japan.
 
For booking inquiries, visit Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport website:
HOTEL NIKKO KANSAI AIRPORT


For travel tips, please check and follow our Osaka
and Tokyo adventure: 

>>>OSAKA JAPAN - SAYING HELLO TO TAKOYAKI
>>>TOKYO JAPAN - HELLO JAPAN


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hotel Review ~ Hotel Keihan Universal City


Hotel Keihan Universal City is one of the 6 Official Hotels of Universal Studio Japan (USJ).

We have decided to stay here for a night on the day of our USJ visit. I figured we would be too tired after touring the park and staying at a nearby hotel would be convenient.

I booked Hotel Keihan Universal City via Agoda, I scored a good deal as there was an ongoing promo at time of my booking.

We love staying at Official Theme Park hotels, the nearness and convenience is worth the extra bucks.  Hotel Keihan Universal City is located at the Universal Studio Walk and is literally just a few steps away USJ's main gate.  


(See here our USJ escapade: UNIVERSAL STUDIO JAPAN)


Hotel Keihan is a Hollywood-Cinema themed hotel. 


The check-in counter resembled a movie ticketing box (cool!).



The check-in was fast and easy, we were in-and-out the hotel lobby in 5 minutes (We just dropped our luggage and headed to USJ). 
We left our luggage here.
When we got back from our day frolicking at USJ, we only needed to claim our room keys. Our luggage were already sent up to our room.



Even the hotel's carpet screams movies night ...


We reserved a Standard Quadruple Room. 
They've set up 4 single beds for us, which made the 35sqm room a bit crowded.  It was fine though as we loved the extra bed space after hours walking and running about in the park. 



There was a 37 inches Plasma TV showing Universal Movies.









I love Japanese toilets (so hi-tech!)


For added comfort they also provided us with pajamas and slippers.




Breakfast was at the World World Buffet the following morning.  There were a lot a guests at that time and some had to be re-directed to a makeshift dinning area (us included). 

We had an option to wait for a better sitting area, but since our time is more important,  we were fine at the make-shift area.  They were serving the same menu anyway so that should be fine.

Food was good, but nothing special, although I had repeat servings of their pastries.
I would recommend checking other dining options at the Universal City Walk (just outside the hotel).




If you are looking for a hotel with easy access to USJ, then incude Hotel Keihan in your list:
Perfect location, clean hotel and efficient personnel.




For additional information about Hotel Keihan Universal City, please check out their webpage

Address: 6-2-78, Shimaya, Konohana-ku, 554-8585 Osaka - Japan
Phone: 81-6-6465-0321 Fax 81-6-6465-0987         




Saturday, June 24, 2017

DAY 6 ~ Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Kaiyukan is one of Japan’s most spectacular aquariums, world-renowned for its innovative presentation of aquatic animals in large tanks recreated natural environment, such as:
  • Japan Forest
  • Aleutian Island
  • Monterey Bay
  • Gulf of Panama
  • Ecuador Rain Forest
  • Antartica
  • Tasman Sea
  • Great barrier reef
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Seto Inland Sea
  • Coast of Chile
  • Cook Straight
  • Icy, snow-clad Antarctica.



Easiest way from USJ going to Kaiyukan is via the shuttle ferry Captain Line. The Captain Line dock at the Universal City Port is about 5 minutes walk from USJ.  Travel time from the Universal City Port to Kaiyukan would take another 10 minutes. 








Mandatory pictorial with Kaiyukan's Giant Ferris Wheel



The long line of tourists queuing for Kaiyukan Entrance Tickets... so glad we bought ours at Captain Line boarding gates.

My youngest went wild talking photos and videos of the aquatic animals inside the park.  He was amazed to see different extrinsic animals. This place is on top of my family's list in Osaka.





Here are some of the videos we took at Kaiyukan:


















TIP: If you are coming from USJ, get the "Kaiyukan and Captain Line Economical Package" and save about Y300 on ticket prices.  Also the ticket lines at the Kaiyukan gets pretty long and you would be happy to skip the ticket box queue.




For more information about Kaiyukan Osaka Aquarium please visit their website at

Kindly follow the link below for more Osaka Japan travel tips









DAY 5~ Universal Studio Japan (Saying Hello to Mr Harry Potter)



The moment I have confirmed our flight to Osaka ~ I have allotted a day for Universal Studio Japan (USJ).   Me and hubby were so excited to see Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWHOP), but alas our 2004 and 2008 born children cannot seem to understand our enthusiasm and fascination of the WWOHP.

So, we got busy and introduced to our kids ~ Harry Potter the child who lived. We bought the complete DVD and book collection of the well loved wizard boy.
 
Our mission was a success as we've managed to convert our tweeners into HP fans in no time.



Universal Studio is 25 just minutes away by train from the AirBnb Naniwa-ku condominium we were staying at. We thought travel would be easy ~ thinking we finally got the hang of Osaka's intricate subway and train system. Oh yeah, real easy until we've realized we boarded the wrong platform and were heading the opposite direction (haha, it added about 30 minutes to our travel time). 



We were so thankful, there was this sweet father and daughter locals heading to USJ who helped us finally get to our destination. 

  

We alighted at the Universal City Station at about 830am and dashed to Hotel Keihan Universal City (which is our accommodation in USJ, will write about our Hotel Keihan stay in a separate blog) to deposit our luggage.   



Hotel Keihan ~ finally!

Hotel Keihan is just outside USJ. Location is perfect after a day of gallivanting inside the park.


Welcome to USJ!





USJ TRAVEL TIPS: 

1. By all means necessary avoid coming on a Japanese holiday. We got lucky (nah!) as our USJ trip coincided with a Japanese holiday (lol, someone forgot to do a research before completing her booking). 


Bloggers who have written about USJ's long queues were not joking.  Lines were really long (about 40-60+ minutes waiting time and longer for major attractions). 


2. Come prepared.
>>We pre-bought our USJ tickets online via Klook >>> click here to check for USJ tickets.  

>>We also got Express Pass to ensure we get to enter WWOHP.  We also got this via Klook.  I was really happy I found this site, since it is English.  The USJ site on Express Pass was in Japanese. Klook made buying Express Passes easy. If you are visiting on a peak day, get an Express Pass (PLEASE) ~ don't waste time waiting in line. Paying extra was all worth it.

3. Come in early ~ we arrived about 30 minutes before USJ gates opened.  We had enough time to rush to get afternoon timed entry tickets to the WWOHP.  We already have entry tickets included in our express pass, but a re-entry after dusk is much welcomed: to buy souvenirs, take more photos and drown one's self in butterbeer.




My eldest bought a butterbeer with a souvenir mug.  He took it home and told me its the best mug ever :P

I have read many bloggers dislike the taste, but my boys seem to like it very much and bought additional rounds each after their first butterbeer.


4. Have your photo taken by the Hogwarts Express. The Station Engineer is a wonderful man ~ very accommodating.
 

And the Weasley's Flying Ford Anglia




5. The best place to take a picture of the Hogwarts Castle is by the queing stand beside Ollivander's. 


6.  Upon entering the WWOHP, we went to Ollivander first to watch the Wand Show and buy a Magic Wand for my youngest who was itching to do some magic. 

After which we rushed our way to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey for our 10am scheduled ride.  We were thankful we have express tickets, waiting time at 10am was already 60 minutes when we reached the Forbidden Journey gates. 

From there we went straight to Three Broomsticks for lunch. 

7. Take note that there is Castle Tour queue, right next to the Forbidden Journey ride. The Castle Tour is mostly for express pass users who skipped the line and didn't get a full view of  Hogwarts Castle. 



8. Souvenirs are quite expensive inside USJ, more so inside WWOHP, but it you do decide to get one, I would recommend a Gryffindor sweater.  My eldest got one and uses it in school.



My youngest, however, got himself a magic wand. It does actual magic in USJ but was useless when we got home.  It is now sleeping inside his drawer...






My son's turn doing some magical spells.


We kind of skipped the other attractions, except for the ones included in our Express Pass.  We have been to Universal Studio Singapore and some of the rides were fairly similar to USJ's.   We would rather spend our time inside the WWOHP.











We left HP at about 2 pm, but returned after for the Light Show.


While waiting for the Light Show we used our Express Passes at:



The Amazing Adventure of Spider Man Ride 4K-3D







And Terminator 2-3D 


Our 4th ride is the Flying Dinosaur, but after seeing what it does... I begged out - for fear of our dear life (lol!)

We visited the Minion Park, which recently open ~ and saw swarms of Japanese going crazy over everything Minions.

Minion Park is rocking cool!
Everyone is present :P





And the longest I have waited inside USJ was for the love of my son...

Yes a Popcorn Stand - but not just any popcorn stand.  It is a Minion Popcorn Stand :P


Finally the finish line - Oh and I consider myself lucky as this Popcorn Minion Tumbler ran out a few minutes after I was served!


I got to frame this buddy :P
My feet aches - I am glad our hotel is right outside the park.

Please follow the link below for more travel tips on Osaka Japan.