Saturday, May 14, 2016

(Japan Feb 2016) Day 2: Visit Iga and Osaka.

(Day 2) 18 Feb 2016: Visit Iga and Osaka. Stay at Osaka

Brief schedule for this day:
Osaka to Tsuruhashi via JR Osaka Loop line (16mins, 180yen)
Book the Ltd Exp train tickets from the Kintetsu counter at Tsuruhashi station.
0813-0912 Tsuruhashi to IgaKambe via Kintetsu Ltd Exp train (59mins) 
0914-0939 IgaKambe to Uenoshi via Iga Railway (29mins) 
Visit Iga Ninja museum
Walk around the park near Ueno castle
1403-1427 Uenoshi to IgaKambe via Iga Railway 
1533-1628 IgaKambe to Tsuruhashi via Kintetsu Ltd Exp train
1700-1830 Dinner at Zauo Fishing Restaurant (B1F, Namba Washington Hotel Plaza)
Stroll along Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi shopping street
2115-2130 Namba to Umeda via Subway Midosuji line (9mins, 240yen)
Shopping at the Don Quijote store between Umeda station and our hotel (opens 24hours)
Buy supper from the convenience store

Number of steps walked on this day: 19045

I've always wanted to visit the Ninja museum at Iga, however I didn't really had the time to do so at previous trips.  Therefore we planned a visit to Ninja museum on this trip.

Although the Kintetsu railpass lasts 5 days (we got the 3800yen version, not the more expensive Wide version), but by taking Ltd Exp train to and fro between Osaka and Uenoshi, the railpass will be slightly more economical (just by a few hundred yen actually).  This Kintetsu railpass also covers Iga Railway that goes from IgaKambe to Uenoshi too.  
Without Kintetsu Railpass, the train fares would be 1970yen (reserved seat) for Osaka's Tsuruhashi to IgaKambe, and then 360yen from IgaKambe to Uenoshi. 
That's why, even though we were only utilizing 1 day of the Kintetsu railpass, yet we still decided to get this railpass.

If you are using Kintetsu railpass and are taking the JR Osaka Loop line to Tsuruhashi station to transfer to Kintetsu's Tsuruhashi station, you'd have to exit the JR Tsuruhashi station first, and then using your Kintetsu railpass to enter Kintetu's Tsuruhashi station instead of using the transfer gates that directly links both station's train platforms.  That's because JR and Kintetsu are 2 different train operators.   
Also, please note that if you are using Kintetsu Railpass, you can only take up to 3 Ltd Exp train journey's within the 5 day period, and you have to make the seat reservations at the Kintetsu station counters before you board the Ltd Exp train.  So, plan your Kintetsu's Ltd Exp train journeys carefully.

Anyway, back to our day 2 of the trip.

The Kintetsu Ltd Exp train.  There's toilets onboard this train.
 Since there's only like 2 mins for us to do the train transfer at IgaKambe station from the Kintetsu Ltd Exp train to the Iga Railway train, so I didn't had the time to take photos since we had to dash.
The train frequency for Iga Railway's train on this route is about 1 train departure every 30mins or so.  Some trains on this route have a ninja theme (which we took on our way back later in the day)

On board the Iga Railway's train
 There are no toilets onboard this train, and from what I can tell, not every station along this route have toilets either.

Saw 1 of the Ninja themed train going the opposite direction.

After about 30mins onboard the Iga Railway train, we arrived at Uenoshi station, which is the station nearest to the Ninja museum.
At Uenoshi station

we initially walked the wrong direction and ended up at this mini shopping street (most shops were still closed since it was pretty early in the morning I guess).

From Uenoshi station, it's about 10mins walk to reach the entrance of the park where the Ninja museum is located at.

Park's map

Entering the park

Toilet signs.  Nothing interesting in the toilets itself though.

 Arrival at the Ninja museum.  

Admission fees

There's a ninja demonstration (extra fees chargeable, can't remember how much though) which was interesting.  Since they forbid photography and videography during the demonstration, so I only managed to take this photo before it started.

After the demonstration, audience are able to try flinging the ninja shurikens.
 There are some interesting Ninja exhibits too.  There are English descriptions too.

After our visit to the Ninja museum, we headed for Ueno castle that's about 5mins walk away.
This Ueno is not the Ueno at Tokyo though, since this place is at Iga-Ueno at Mie prefecture.
So don't go to Tokyo's Ueno park and look for a castle. :)

Plum blossom I think

There's a small eatery near the castle while we were walking towards the park's exit.
 We headed back to Uenoshi station area, and bought some snacks from the small convenience store from the building just across from the station.
There's a cafe on the 2nd floor of this building opposite Uenoshi station, and a small convenience store at the 1st floor.

My husband eating some sort of bun while waiting for the train.

The ninja themed train which we took from Uenoshi to IgaKambe.

There's just a small window of time to catch the transfer at IgaKambe from Iga Railway to the Kintetsu Ltd Exp train, so we missed the train we originally intended to catch since there were too many people at the station's counter window since we had to get the Ltd Exp train's tickets.
So, we had to spend around 1 hour at IgaKambe while waiting for the next Ltd Exp train. 
There's nothing at the area around IgaKambe station, so we just spent most of the time sitting at the station and munching on the snacks which we bought earlier on.
Nothing much at IgaKambe
 There are a few vending machines at IgaKambe station though.
I bought a Tonkatsu bun from this vending machine at IgaKambe station.

Spent around 1hr here while waiting for the train.

The tonkatsu (pork cutlet) bun which I bought from the vending machine. 
 We finally arrived at Osaka, and from Kintetsu's Nippombashi station, we walked towards Namba Washington Hotel for the Zauo Fishing Restaurant.  
 I've visited the Tokyo branch during 1 of my previous trips, and this time, we will be visiting their Osaka branch.

Cousin R and her hubby PW


Look at cousin R who's trying to fish with a rod at each hand. lol.

Some other people managed to catch a fish within 5-10mins, whereas my husband and PW finally managed to catch a fish each after about 40mins of fishing. 
 You can choose to either order the fish from the menu, or catch yourself.  Although you'd still have to pay for the fish which you caught, but it will be cheaper than if you ordered the same fish straight from the menu. Plus, fishing is fun (and somewhat frustrating for me, since I didn't catch anything).

To be honest, we didn't really liked the fish, even though it's fresh.  Oh well, we enjoyed the experience though.

After dinner, we had a stroll through Dotonbori, and headed towards Shinsaibashi.
Check out these cute loose powders :)
 Strolling through Dotonbori.  

I really liked the kushikatsu from this place, where we visited on a previous trip.

Saw Arashi's Ninomiya on 1 of the billboards at Dotonbori :)
 Entering Shinsaibashi shopping street.

3coins is a store that sells their items at around 300yen, and they have many outlets across Japan.
We spent some time shopping at this outlet along Shinsaibashi and bought some stuffs.

 We then took the subway back to Umeda, and spent some more time shopping at the 24hr Don Quijote store near our hotel.  Yes, I know there's also another 24hr Don Quijote store at Dotonbori, but I don't really like to visit that outlet because it's usually packed with foreign tourists and gets pretty chaotic there. I prefer to shop at my own pace in peace. :)

The Don Quijote store at Umeda near our hotel
There are many Don Quijote outlets across Japan, and many usually operate past midnight or 24hours.  The stores are also known as "donki" stores.
Here's their official website where you can find a list of their stores nationwide.  
And no, I'm not paid to do advertisement for them, I just happen to like shopping at Don Quijote stores. :)

It was around midnight by the time we were done with our shopping at Don Quijote.
So we went to a nearby convenience food to buy some supper back to our hotel room to eat.

 Here are our purchases for the day:
Bought these from Don Quijote

Bought these from the convenience store

Bought these from a shop around Dotonbori.

These mags costs nearly twice the price at Singapore. :)

These are storage boxes with lids, 300yen each from 3coins.  I bought 3 of these.

End of Day 2.

Go back to Day 1 Osaka

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