Tag Archives: japanese

Taipei All Over (Day 3: Chia Te, Yayoi Teishoku, Airport Lounge)

Our last day in Taipei was a quick one. Our flight was scheduled around 8 in the evening which is why we wanted to leave by around 4 PM so we can still go around Taoyuan Airport

We headed to Chia Te located just outside of Nanjing Sanmin Station to buy some pineapple cake goodies! This by far is the only pineapple cake brand that we purchase to bring home. I suggest that you order their original pineapple flavor as well as the variant with egg inside.

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Afterwards, I spotted this Japanese teishoku restaurant called Yayoi just a few steps away from Chia Te. Since we did not really plan where we would be having lunch that day, we decided to give this restaurant a try.

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The first thing I noticed is the self service option where you can order straight from the screen on your table. Given that we were first timers here, we were eager to give it a try!

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Again, let me just re-iterate how good Taiwan’s Japenese cuisine is. Their pork tonkatsu rivaled some of the premium tonkatsu places available here in Manila. Price was also very affordable!

After, we headed to Sogo located in Zhongxiao Fuxing to buy some last minute goods in the supermarket. Likewise, we also went back to Zhongxiao Dunhu to visit a store called Hot Dog Toyz where I purchased a few items for my brother.

When we arrived at the airport, it was still quite early. I was expecting a quick check-in so we still have a lot of time to go around. Unfortunately, we had to wait for almost an hour before the counter opened. There were already quite a few number of people in line waiting earlier than us. Good thing was we were the first to line-up in Business Class.

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We had about an hour to go around Duty Free to buy some last minute items. Most of the high fashion brands are offering 50% off on select items. After we rushed around to look for some last minute purchases which included a necktie, some facial cream and a bottle of Japenese liquor, we spent our last 30 minutes in Taoyuan’s airport lounge.

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I would definitely want to come back to Taiwan for the 3rd time this year if there is an opportunity to do so. Until next time!

 

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Osaka, Japan (Day 7 & 8: Ichiran Ramen, Yakiniku Icho)

After some good drinks with great company last night, I woke up in the afternoon already. This was our last full day in Osaka but I just couldn’t muster myself for a final day push. Instead, I decided to slow the pace today.

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For lunch, I had to try out some ramen before we left Japan. We decided to try Ichiran Ramen located in Umeda district. They have 3 branches in total around Osaka.

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While waiting to be assigned a spot, you can already get your side orders (through a stub) from the vending machine. Likewise, there’s a form containing your ramen preference.

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When it was finally our turn, each one of us was assigned to one of these cubicles. Someone from the booth will get your order stub and form. Wait a few minutes and they will serve your order. You barely even interact with the restaurant staff at this place. It was my first time to experience something like this.

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As for the ramen, it’s probably one of my favorites in terms of taste and overall experience. You should also order their cold tofu which can be eaten before or after your ramen.

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The rest of the afternoon was allocated for last minute shopping. We spent most of our time in the supermarket.

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For dinner, we wanted to make sure we ended our trip on a high note. We decided to have dinner atYakiniku Icho located in Umeda.

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Just look at the marbling…

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Our last supper in Japan did not disappoint!

As the sun rises the next morning, I cannot believe that this trip is coming to an end. I guess it’s just a matter of time when I return to this wonderful country.

Thank you Japan! ありがとうございます!

– The Tourist Pao

Osaka, Japan (Day 4: Nara, Kyoto, Cherry Blossoms)

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We’re almost halfway through our trip and there’s still so much to see in Osaka. For today, we will be heading to nearby Nara and Kyoto. Travel time was around an hour or so before we reached our first destination.

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Our first stop was Nara. As a whole, Nara’s historical sites are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The first temple we visited was the Kasuga-taisha shrine. From the moment you step foot on the grounds, you will be greeted by dozens of deer roaming around freely. You can actually feed them if you want. They sell goodies specific for deer feeding. Be careful though as some of them become aggressive if provoked.

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From Kasuga-taisha, we walked along a pathway leading to Nara Park. There were more people here (and more deer). We were not able to spend time in the park grounds since we were time constrained on our tour.

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From Nara Park, we were welcomed by  large gate heading towards Todaiji Temple. This was my favorite temple during our tour.

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Walking towards the temple was just splendid. Wait until you get near and you will be amazed with how massive this temple is. It’s also built from wood and was burned twice. But here it is, beautifully restored. Amazing!

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When you enter the temple, locate the column that has a hole on it’s foot. You will easily spot this column as visitors line-up to pass through the hole. It is said that if you’re able to pass the small hole (which is larger than it looks), you will reach enlightenment. I was able to!

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Likewise, there’s a wooden statue to your left when you exit that is said to heal any ailments. I had a bad ankle sprain two weeks prior to this trip so I tested my luck out. Not sure if it worked but the pain did not bother me for the most part of our trip.

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At this point, It was already early in the afternoon.

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It was time to say goodbye to Nara… Next stop, Kyoto!

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Our first and only stop in  Kyoto was Kinkaku-ji (also known as the Golden Pavilion). By this time, most were too exhausted and wanted to return to Osaka. My enthusiastic touring vibe was to no avail – everyone wanted to head back. We were in a group of around 15 during this trip.

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It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to see the other must-sees in my list such as Fushimi Inari ShrineKiyomizu-dera Temple and Nijo Castle. I guess, that just means another trip to Kyoto for me in the future!

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When we returned to Osaka, we still had one last stop. One of the few places left with cherry blossoms still in full bloom was at Japan Mint Osaka. We were lucky to catch a glimpse of this wonderful flora during the time we visited.

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We stayed there until sundown then we headed back to Umeda for dinner. Though we ate some Korean food, it was still very good. I don’t even remember having a bad meal in Japan.

Speaking of food, head on to Osaka, Japan (Day 5: Kuromon Market, Den-Den Town, Shinsekai and more) to see where we ate for lunch and where we went afterwards.

– The Tourist Pao

Osaka, Japan (Day 1: Umeda District)

Last April 2014, I finally traveled with my family to one of my dream destinations – Japan. For the most part of the trip, we toured around Osaka with the inclusion of a day tour around Nara and Kyoto.

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Our flight was around noon time so we arrived in the afternoon at Kansai International Airport. We initially had problems communicating with our pick-up from the airport so the delay did not give us much time for the rest of the day.

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We went straight to Umeda district to check-in at Hilton Osaka.

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At night time, we just strolled around the nearby area. The weather was still cold and breezy during the time that we visited. We were so delighted (which we later regretted) with the cold weather in contrast with the hot summer back in Manila.

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For dinner, we just passed by Daimaru (in Osaka Station).

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We were able to pass by the supermarket as well. This was a “teaser” for what’s in store for us during the rest of our trip.

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I can’t wait to wake-up the next morning and start touring the rest of Osaka. I came prepared for this trip!

Head to Osaka, Japan (Day 2: Shinsaibashi, Dotonburi)

– The Tourst Pao

Hong Kong 2014 (Food, Sights & Sounds)

Every year, I make it a point to travel to Hong Kong. Even though there’s always a sense of familiarity when I return, this place is ever changing. There’s always something new to visit or some place that’s always been there but I haven’t been to. Last 2014, I tried to visit some of these places with the busy schedule we had.

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Our first line of business was to attend two International Fairs that was held annually in Hong Kong. We pretty much spent the first two days (from morning until afternoon) at AsiaWorld-Expo and HK Convention & Exhibition Centre. I will stop from this point…Who wants to talk about these things right?!

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Now for the leisure part, we did an afternoon check-in at Marco Polo Gateway in Tsim Sha Tsui. For the countless times I have been to this city, this was my first time to stay in the Kowloon area. The hotel is situated right inside Harbour City – one of Hong Kong’s largest malls.

(Tip: They also have a pillow menu where you can choose from 12 different pillows)

The Food

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When in Hong Kong, you eat! Our first meal was a quick one comprised of xiolongbao. We also visited a restaurant called M&C Duck at Harbour City. As the name suggests, their menu is loaded with duck dishes like peking duck. The food was great! Portions were enough if you’re in a small group.

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Even the food at the convention centre was appetizing.

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We also tried several Japanese restaurants like Inakaya at ICC and Hip Katsu at Harbour City.

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Inakaya is more of an upscale Japanese restaurant which features teppanyaki tables if you’re into those. Situated at the 101st floor, you get great views of the Hong Kong harbour. The latter is more of a mainstream katsu place situated inside the mall.

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The highlight of our dining experience however was trying out the Michelin 3-Star restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon located at The Landmark (in Central). The place was not packed when we visited which was a good thing.

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The highlight of the dinner was probably the scallops. It was cooked to perfection!

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The Sites

We were supposed to visit the Sky 100 observation deck at ICC. However, the weather was too gloomy. The receptionist was kind enough to advise us not to go since all we will be seeing would be fog. Money saved!

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From ICC, we walked towards the nearest MTR station. We ended up walking farther and reached the Austin Station. The stop looks fairly new and there was a lot of construction ongoing around the area.

(As I am writing this post and have gone back to Hong Kong just last week, the Blue MTR Line now extends to three more stops after Sheung Wan)

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We also visited the Hong Kong Museum of Art. There was no entrance fee on the day we visited! However, you still had to pay if you would like to visit the special exhibits.

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After, we walked further to reach the Avenue of Stars. This area is probably one of the most visited places for first-timers in Hong Kong. I finally saw the Bruce Lee statue! Yes, it’s my first time to visit this place. The weather was getting gloomy…and it rained eventually.

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Our last stop was Prince Edward. I was looking for a shop which I thought was situated in Mongkok. We ended up reaching the next MTR station. There’s a happening in every street opening we pass by through the overpass.

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This wraps up my visit to Hong Kong last 2014. The city’s bustling sound is music to my ears. I’ll be back again for sure!

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Cheers,
The Tourist Pao