My friend, Aini told me that Osaka is a very beautiful city, so I can't wait to find out for myself. Since Japan is a very expensive country to go, we have to plan our trip itinerary carefully to avoid going overboard where budget is concerned. Why? Because transportation cost is quite high, and unlike in Malaysia, Japan has a lot of private railways and their travel pass options can be mind-boggling too!

So depending on our itinerary, the travel pass should only cover the places we want to go or it will be under-utilized. We also have to decide the period of the travel and compare between the daily and the certain period travel passes (e.g. 2, 3, 4 and up to 7 days railway pass with different range of price, of course) to decide which one is more cost-effective. It could even be a combination of both! *dizzy!*

Like I previously mentioned, Japan was totally out of my radar, so I had no inklings of tourist attractions in Osaka. Heck, I didn't even know that Japan's Universal Studios are in Osaka, I thought it is in Tokyo! That to sum up how much ignorant I am about Japan.

Luckily, in this Internet age, information is abundant - all we need is to Google it up. Furthermore, Japan Tourism makes it easy for would-be tourists to do their research before their trip. I stumble upon which gives very useful info for would-be tourists like me:

Many useful info can be found here
Much of our itinerary covers places outside of Osaka since we'll be staying in Fukui for the first few days (where my sister is currently studying & living). However, once we are in Osaka, we are planning to go to these two places:

1. Osaka Castle
The photo shown in the website snapshot above is Osaka Castle during winter. A lot of websites and blogs say that this is a must-visit place, so visit we must. 
Admission fee (to the museum): 600¥ / adult (below 15yo is free), total budget for 3pax: 1800¥
Stop: Osaka Station (JR Osaka Loop Line)

Note: Not sure whether we want to go into the museum... I was thinking of just taking photos from the outside of the castle or the castle ground (Osaka Castle Park). I don't want to risk my kids breaking anything in the museum!

2. Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street
Dubbed the longest shopping street in Japan (2.6km), there are various kinds of shops here and the street itself looks fascinating! So this goes into our bucket list as well.
Stop: Temma Station (JR Osaka Loop Line)

3. Kaiyukan Aquarium
One of the biggest aquarium in the world. Since I'm travelling with the two girls, our itinerary also includes activities for them. The girls enjoyed their Aquaria KLCC experience, so I think they will love to go to a giant aquarium to see an even bigger fish, the whale shark!
Stop: Osakako Station

There is a special travel pass (price: 2550¥/adult) for Kaiyukan (Osaka Kaiyu Ticket) which bundles the train ride to Kaiyukan area with the admission fee to the Aquarium (admission fee: 2300¥/adult, 600¥ for preschool age 4-6). Basically, it offers unlimited entries to the aquarium (within the day), discounts at the Bay area (Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel discount 100¥/adult, normal fee: 800¥/adult) and unlimited rides on Osaka municipal transportation network (subway/new tramlines/city bus in Osaka City) on the same date. 

Note: Most likely, we will buy this Osaka Kaiyu Ticket since JR railway does not run through this area (total budget: 7650¥).
4. Universal Studios Japan
This is the ultimate of our Japan trip! I think I'll be more excited than my kids going here LOL! My must-visit area shall be The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Hopefully there's not so many people during our visit, since they shall enforce timed visit if there is a huge crowd.
Admission fee: We managed to get birthday rate (since the girls' birthday is this month) and total ticket prices (in RM) for 3 adults & 2 kids are just RM800+ (if there's no discount, the normal price is about RM900+).
Stop: JR Osaka Station

5. Other locations
Since we have limited time once we reach Osaka (only two days!), I might squeeze in a trip to Osaka fish market (Osaka Central Wholesale Market). I just want to soak up the experience of being in one of the busiest fresh produce market and of course, watch the tuna fish auction (but I read we have to be very very early as in 4am if we want to catch them in action!

Another place to put in my KIV bucket-list is Dotonbori area, the spectacular Umeda Sky Building and there's a shop called Asoko for all the creative lifestyle products (yes, I love these unique merchandises and Japan is not short of unique ideas!)

Next entry, I'll list down top food items I want to try in Japan :)


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