Sunday, April 16, 2017

Kyoto - Sagano Romantic Train - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest - Osaka - Instant Ramen Museum - Dotonburi Street

Hello readers! Our day 4 in Kyoto, we start our day by deciding to take the Sagano Romantic train for the scenic views. It is a sightseeing train line that you will need to transfer from the normal JR line. For us we take the JR Sanin line (Sagano line) our nearest station from our airbnb was hanazono so it was a direct line for us to take this JR Sanin line and alight at Umahori station before walking over to the Kameoka torokko station. This sightseeing train will pass by the Hozugawa river between Arashiyama and Kameoka , in fact , you can opt for the Hozugawa cruises as its the same route to get to some of the tourist attraction that we were planning to visit such as the Bamboo forest etc.

Some history on this scenic train, originally it was under the JR sanin line before it was replaced by the faster and direct route in 1989, since then they have preserved this scenic railway route and the nostalgic trains with wooden benches and has been operating as one of the scenic attractions for tourists.

To get to Kameoka torokko station, you will have to exit from the umahori station and walk about 5min. There are many ways to taking the Sagano romantic train but we have decided to board from Kameoka torokko so that we can alight later and visit the Arashiyama Bamboo forest.

Usually, you can purchase the sagano romantic train ticket at the kix airport as well, we didn't bought our tickets in advance so we didn't get the seat ticket but was lucky there were still standing tickets available. 

The station has three levels and since there was some time before the next train arrival, we were exploring around. Just outside the Kameoka Torokko station, you will see a setup that allow you to feed the horses for a small fee.

They have these cute rabbit barricade, and you can experience horse-riding, 1 pax @ 500 yen however with a weight limit of 50kg. i guess its more for the kids.

If you want to experience sitting on the horse carriage, they have specified timing.
I look so fair here! Hahahaha.

Couldn't open my eye properly because of the sun~
The station has three level, for 2nd level, they have the food corner and souvenir corner. To purchase the tickets, you will have to proceed to level three, to the ticket counter and also the platform for you to board the train too. At level three, they have more souvenir for sales too. I bought some postcard and this cute chocolate milk packaging.
While waiting for our sagano romantic train. Hahahaha. It a rather cute name they give, romantic train. Not exactly romantic when its full of tourists in the train. Haha

I have been complaining about Jeremy bad photography skills and only realise he is good at taking selfie stick than asking him to use the phone to take photo of me.

Finally ok with the quality of photo that he take of us when he use the selfie stick.

 There were many people standing at the platform and everyone including me started taking their camera/smartphones out to take a photo of the train when it is approaching the station.

This is suppose to be the last station for passengers to alight as they board the sagano train from other stations. We bought a one way ticket instead of a round trip.

 After majority of the passengers has been seated and the train was about to depart, there was a man which i believe is one of the staff wearing this amusing mask walking around.

 We was standing all the way which was alright for us because we was able to look at the scenic views as well and it was not really a long journey too.

 I didn't really take much photos as i wasn't quick with my camera and i choose to admire the views so this are the few that i managed to take. Along the route, we manage to see tourist taking the Hozugawa cruises and the tourists on the boat was waving at us and we was waving back at them HAHAHA.

We decided to alight as we was approaching the station that we can walk to the Arashiyama bamboo forest.  Outside the station, there were some stalls selling some snacks and matcha ice-cream

As was was following the crowd to the arashiyama bamboo forest, i saw trishaws around and it seems you can engage the trishaw driver to ferry you around instead of walking by foot.

Please don't get it wrong, you will never find this kind of view in the bamboo forest. This was one of the photo that i had edit the lighting to look something like the above.

Actual reality is the photo below. Hahahaha. As much as its a popular season to visit Japan during the cherry blossom, it also mean there are many tourist visiting Japan as well. There were many group tours when we reached the bamboo forest.

Ok but if you are lucky with the correct timing or the correct sunlight in the bamboo forest, you might still get something like the one below, which i didn't do any touch up on the photo.

Versus the touch up of another photo taken below.

Arashiyama bamboo forest are one of the top sights in Kyoto, mainly because it has a very long walkway and standing amid these tall bamboos feel surreal to you. 
But that kind of surreal won't get to you if you are visiting during the crowded peak season. Haha

It was not easy trying to find an angle that you won't get photobomb by others. Hahaha we took alot of photos before filtering the nicest one for me to post!

As you explore the Arashiyama bamboo forest, there were a few temples that is located nearby as well. We was simply exploring around even though we wasn't sure where we are. Hahaha.

When i was telling Jeremy to retake as i was looking for my right angle. hurhurhur

Take 1.
Take 2

Take 3 to get the most satisfied shot!

Somehow, Jeremy take this shot that make my leg look super long! Hahaha

Matcha ice-cream is common in Kyoto but so rare when we went back to Tokyo!

We didn't stay long to explore the entire place as we was rushing to Osaka as part of our day trip program for the day.

From Arashiyama, we was changing some trains and it was an hour plus journey to Osaka as we was heading to the Instant Ramen museum! As mentioned in my previous posts, we didn't use the railway pass to get to Osaka. As Japan has too many railway company, it is rather common to see different type of trains. Like this! I remember us reaching Osaka and trying to change line to the ramen museum, eventually it was too complicated to figure out ourselves, so i asked the train officer and he direct us to by following the number of the platform to board the train. 

So i think the best easiest way is to ask the staff if you are lost. Osaka is too huge.Changing a line to another line is not exactly as near as you imagined us Singaporean changing green line to red line at cityhall. In Japan, it might takes u 10 minutes to walk from one station to another to change line!
This is the hankyu line and they have very beautiful trains if you are taking this to the instant ramen museum. Haha

From Osaka station, you will need to walk to Umeda station before taking the hankyu takarazuka line and alight in 5 stops at Ikeda station before it is walking distance to the instant ramen museum. 
Even though GPS mentioned it's a 5min walk from the Ikeda station, but i feel it takes at least 10 min by foot to the museum!

 The interior of the train.

And here we are at the instant ramen museum!

The museum talks about the invention of instant noodles back in 1958 where Momofuku ando invented the world first instant noodles after his years of research. He realised the need to popularize instant noodles through his innovative ideas that create the form of 'Cup noodles'.  Since then he has successfully transform made in japan cup noodles into a global food.

This museum is different from the usual typical exhibitions beside providing more info on its history and its display of their cup noodles timeline. It allows visitors to create their own cup noodles for a fee further enhancing the overall experience while visiting a museum.
 Look at the different type of cup noodles display in the museum!

We had to queue to purchase the cup and it was a very systematic process.
It cost 300 yen per cup to customise your own cup noodles!
There were step by step guide for eg, after you have make the payment of the cup noodles, you had to sterilize your hands to ensure safe handling of the cup noodles.
Afterall, you will be eating the cup noodles when you bring back home.
We waited for the staff to usher us to an empty table and she was showing us this cute picture that gives us idea on how we want to decorate our cup noodles!

Jeremy and i was designing our own cup noodles and his was so funny! He choose the small chick that is kicking the soccer ball. The real case of expectation vs reality. Hahahha, i couldn't stop laughing when i saw his drawings. so funny but so cute.
This was the other side of his cup noodles, it was suppose to be the chick that is kneading some dough.

 I think mine is not so bad right! Hahahaha

After we have finish designing our own cup noodles, we get a hands on session by passing our cup to the staff and we are required to turn this machine to store our noodles inside the cup! 

 Next, we get to choose a few toppings for our own noodles.

After the toppings, the cup noodles will be sealed up by another machine.

 And here we have our own customised cup noodles!

Took a boomerang of our customised cup noodles! Hahaha

For visitors who have kids below 6 years old, they are able to sign up for their kids in the chicken ramen factory where they learn how to make chicken ramen.

To know more details, visit their website HERE

We was hungry after our visit at the museuem so we was walking back to the station as i remember seeing some restaurants located near the station. Eventually we settled for this!

We used this machine to place our order and simply pass the ticket to the staff to get them to prepare our food!
This was my order, but i have forgot the name of the dish.

 After our late lunch, we was shopping around as there were some cheap 100 yen shop around. HAHAHA. these containers were selling each @ 100 yen! These containers is sold in Singapore for around $3-4 depending on the sizes. but all these are selling in japan @ 100 yen regardless of the size!

We went to the Dontoburi street in Osaka as it is well known to have the entire area of Dontoburi filled with restaurants and amusement facilities. You will never go hungry when you visit Dotonburi, but more of trying to choose one of the many restaurants available for your meals.

The area will be filled with  advertisement boards, billboard so you know you are at the right place when you start to see all this signage of each restaurants.

We went to try our luck in this claw machine because pink doraemon is so cute! But didn't managed to get any. 

There were too many restaurants that we couldn't decide what to had for our dinner, so eventually i remember many was saying this is one of the must try ichiran ramen. In fact, they had many outlets around Japan so when we saw one in Dotonburi, we decided to try it, as there were a long queue, we went on separate queue with me queuing for takoyaki and Jeremy queuing for the ichiran ramen.

Even though it doesn't look appealing from the look of this takoyaki, but this is actually very nice! When it was finally our turn, we was being ushered inside the ichiran restaurant first, while waiting they give us a form to indicate the ramen that we want, in terms of its soup base, spicyness level etc, As we entered the restaurant, we would have to order through the ticket selling machine before we are being seated in private booth separated by wooden panels.

Ichiran ramen unique selling point of dining is more focused on solo dining with minimal human interaction as possible. You can still order while sitting at the separate booth, and the small shutter will opens in front of you to pick up your order after you press the call button, and when it opens again, they will serve the ramen in front of you.

It's probably more for diners that doesn't prefer human interaction

And the verdict of the ramen is, it was not exactly a 'must try' ramen leh for us! Hahaha, everyone was raving about it but both Jeremy and I thought it's just normal ramen. meh. Not sure if its because we didn't choose the right seasoning or spicy level. But i don't think its that nice for me to try it again. Ippudo ramen is nicer than this!

Just beside the Ichiran store in Dotonburi, there is a store that sells all kinds of snacks,

Their fruit beer is nice and i regret not buying more back!
Even though this can be found in Sg but the price is generally at a higher cost.

The busy street at Dotonburi.
I visit one of the restrooms that i visited has a separate cubicle for ladies to touch up their makeup etc.
With that, i shall end this post for now.
Till then!