lavish travel

Japan 7D6N Self-Drive Trip

After our short trip to Khao Yai and Bangkok, we are going to Japan with our friends. However, after getting all excited and all prepared for our trip, we faced with a dilemma due to Covid-19. After much consideration and due to the low number of cases across Kyoto and Osaka, 5 of us decided to proceed. Besides that, as certain places were closed, we changed our itinerary slightly which removed Universal Studios Japan (USJ).

Day 1 – Osaka to Uji to Kyoto

After a tiring night flight as I couldn’t sleep well, we reached Kansai airport.

Kansai Airport Station

As there were initially 7 of us, we booked a car via Times Car Rental. Below is our ride in Japan:

Nissan Serena for self-drive in Japan

If you are driving in Japan, there are few things to take note of:

  1. You can get the ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) card from the car rental which is like a SmartTAG for easy passing through tolls. There are discounts on certain times of the day and week. You can also get expressway passes which you can read about it here
  2. If the rental car comes with a GPS, you can use this website to search for the location’s mapcode. Once you have it, key into the GPS and voila. If you are using Google Maps or Waze, you may use the postal code in an address but it is less accurate
  3. Some traffic lights do not have green lights for turning. Therefore, you may turn if there are no vehicles or people using the crossing line once the only green light is lit
Silver lining in Japan
Silver lining greeted us when we turn out from the airport

Uji – The Town of Matcha

Osaka to Uji is almost a 2 hour drive. And once we reached there, the first thing is to find parking. You will see signs like below which states the pricing. And being able to read Mandarin definitely helps in Japan.

Parking pricing sign in Uji, Japan

The sign states that from 0800-2300 the price is 300 yen for 20 mins while 2300-0800 is 100 yen for 30 mins. However, the price in red states that the maximum price after 2 hours is 1400 yen (Mon-Fri) and 1600 yen (Sat and Sun). As a rule of thumb, if there are prices in red or large font size, those are usually the max price. And if there are multiple prices, left or top would be for Monday-Friday; while weekends (some may include Friday) is on the bottom or right side.

Street in Uji, Japan

After walking through the street above, we reached a Starbucks Coffee surrounded by a nice, Zen environment.

Starbucks in Uji

Sakura milk latte (495 yen inclusive tax)
Sakura milk latte (495 yen inclusive tax)

After our short rest at Starbucks, we went to Byodo-in Temple which is just opposite this Starbucks.

Byodo-in Temple (平等院) – Recommended

The main attraction of the temple is the Phoenix Hall (鳳凰堂) below, which is featured behind the 10 yen coin.

Byodo-in Temple

You will need to pay an additional fee to enter the Phoenix Hall besides the entrance fee of 600 yen (adults).

At most famous temple, there will be a counter for you to collect a seal known as goshuin (御朱印) which is specific to each temple.

Goshuin explanation

However, the seal will only be stamped on special notebooks known as goshuin-cho (御朱印帳) which have different patterns and designs like below.

Goshuincho of Byodo-in Temple

Address: Renge-116 Uji, Kyoto 611-0021, Japan

Business hours: Daily 8.30am-5.15pm

Entrance fee: Adult 600 yen


After visiting Byodoin temple, we went back to the street to find our breakfast. We stumbled upon the sign below and decided to try.

Tanakamaru Shoten (田中九商店) – recommended

Uji matcha gyoza in Uji, JapanTanakamaru Shoten in Uji, Japan

Uji matcha gyoza
Uji matcha gyoza (450 yen)
Matcha noodles sauce soup spicy ramen with boiled egg
Matcha noodles sauce soup spicy ramen with boiled egg (1060 yen)

The gyoza taste like normal gyoza but with a tinge of matcha flavor. On the other hand, the texture of the matcha ramen is slightly rough due to matcha powder but it tastes great with the broth. Not too flavorful which is just nice for us. For those that want a stronger matcha taste, you can order matcha powder at 100 yen.

Address: Renge-99-2 Uji, Kyoto 611-0021, Japan

Business hours: Daily 11am-6.30pm


Next, we head to Tsujirihei Honten Uji which is some distance away from Tanakamaru Shoten.

Tsujirihei Honten Uji (辻利兵衛本店) – recommended

Entrance of Tsujirihei Honten in Uji, Japan
Entrance of Tsujirihei Honten
Interior of Tsujirihei Honten
Interior of Tsujirihei Honten

We ordered the following:

Fresh jelly made from Uji green powdered tea with rice flour dumplings
Fresh jelly made from Uji green powdered tea with rice flour dumplings
Matcha parfait
Matcha parfait
Hojicha latte
Hojicha latte

The matcha taste is really strong and perfect for matcha lovers. However, the Hojicha latte is slightly sweet to our liking. They sell a lot of other fancy looking products as well which you can see it here.

Address: Japan, 〒611-0021 Kyoto, Uji, Wakamori−41

Business hours: Daily 10am-5pm, closed on Tuesdays


After that, we went back to retrieve our car and the steps are really easy. There will be a payment machine like the one below at the parking lot.

Parking machine in Japan

Next, identify the spot that you parked. In our case below, it is spot number 3.

Parking in Japan

Key in the number in the parking machine and pay the required amount. Then, the lock will be released and you may drive out.

Next, we head to Nishiki Market.

Nishiki Market (錦市場) – recommended

Nishiki Market in Kyoto, Japan

Daifuku (大福)
Daifuku (大福)
Large, succulent scallops
Large, succulent scallops
Variety of fresh seafood
Variety of fresh seafood
Japanese desserts/sweets
Japanese desserts/sweets

Snoopy tea house

Melonpan shop
Melonpan shop
Vanilla Ice Melonpan
Vanilla Ice Melonpan (400 yen)
koe donuts with unique interior decoration
koe donuts with unique interior decoration
koe donuts
koe donuts
Shrimp stick
Shrimp stick

Shrimp sticks

A great place to eat nice food and shop til you drop.

Address: 609番地 Nishidaimonjicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8054, Japan

Business hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat 9am-4.30pm, closed on Sundays


After Nishiki Market, we check in to our cozy Airbnb.

Kyoto, Japan Airbnb Kyoto, Japan Airbnb Kyoto, Japan Airbnb Kyoto, Japan Airbnb

We then head to a shop nearby our Airbnb to have dinner. As we had quite a lot of nice food at Nishiki Market, we are quite full so we asked the waitress if they are ok for us to share our food. This is because in most food establishments that you dine in, you are likely required to order 1 item per person. However, the employees allowed us to share our dinner and they are kind and attentive to provide us plates for sharing without us asking.

Unagi bento set in Kyoto, Japan
Unagi bento set

Day 2 – Nara to feed the hungry deers

We started day 2 by driving to Nara for 2 main things – Nara deer and mochi.

Nakatanidou (中谷堂) – recommended

You might have seen a guy pounding fast and furious at a green mochi in social media. If not, you may watch it here.

Below is the shop where you can see the ‘performance’ anytime from 11am-4pm. However, it is done at random timing everyday and you need some luck to be able to watch it.

Nakatanidou, Nara, JapanNakatanidou mochiPricing of Nakatanidou mochi

Nakatanidou mochi
Nakatanidou mochi (150 yen)

The mochi can be sweet for some but for a sweet tooth like me, the sweetness is just fine.

Address: 29 Hashimotocho, Nara, 630-8217, Japan

Business hours: Daily 10am-7pm

Kofuku-ji (興福寺) – recommended

We walked along the same street where Nakatanidou is situated and up some flight of stairs would be Kofuku-ji.

Kofuku-ji in Nara, Japan

Kofuku-ji Central Golden Hall
Kofuku-ji Central Golden Hall (500 yen)
Lady posing with Nara deer
As it is near to Nara park, there are a lot of Nara deers in this area
Selfie with Nara deer
Selfie with Nara deer

Before heading to Nara park, we simply went to a restaurant along the way and the food was nice. It seems that no matter which food stall or restaurant that you go into in Japan, the food will have a certain standard.

Hamburg steak with salad in Nara, Japan
Hamburg steak cooked to perfection

Nara Park – recommended

After a nice lunch, it’s time to feed lunch to the Nara deer.

Nara deer with love-shaped butt
Nara deer is similar to corgi where they have love-shaped butt
Deer biscuits
Deer biscuits (200 yen)
Stalls selling deer biscuits
There are stalls like this in Nara Park that sells biscuits for the deer

It is important for you to take note of the warning sign below. You might think that the deer are polite if you have seen those videos that the Nara deer bow for food. However, due to Covid-19, the tourists to Nara Park reduced substantially and they are hungry for food. Therefore, they get aggressive if you have food in hand.

Warning sign in Nara Park

I was bitten and knocked by the deer as seen by the video below:

While walking to Todai-ji Temple (東大寺), we saw a tree with pink flowers.We thought we were lucky to be able to see sakura in early March. However, we realized that the tree below is not sakura tree after we went to Osaka Castle. We will revisit this later.

Plum blossom at Nara, Japan

We did not enter Todai-ji Temple which is photographed below. It costs 1000 yen to enter The Great Buddha Hall and Todai-ji Museum while 600 yen for entrance to The Great Buddha Hall only.

Todai-ji Temple in Nara, Japan

We then head to Isetan opposite Kyoto Tower to have dinner.

Kyoto Tower in Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto Tower was closed due to Covid-19 so we didn’t get to go in
Omurice set at Mollette in Isetan
Mollette Plate at Mollette in Isetan (1430 yen inclusive tax)
Reflection of Kyoto Tower
Reflection of Kyoto Tower

There was a light show at Kyoto Station Building’s famed ‘big stairs’.

Graphical Illumination light show timetable
Spring sakura theme light show

Grand stairs or big stairs of Kyoto Station Building illuminated with lights Grand stairs or big stairs of Kyoto Station Building illuminated with lights Grand stairs or big stairs of Kyoto Station Building illuminated with lights

Day 3 – Kimono at Fushimi Inari Taisha and Gion

We purchased the Klook voucher for Kimono rental before coming to Japan. If you do not have a Klook account yet, sign up here and you will get RM15 discount.

We typed in the postal code of 600-8106 into Grab app and it brought us quite near to the location. There is no Grab in Japan but you can use it as they partner with taxi operators in Japan. However, it is only available at Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo, Nagoya, and Okinawa as of now.

Rows and rows of zori
Rows of zori to be chosen from
Hairstyling area
Hairstyling area with lots of hair accessories
Kimono for women
Lots of kimono selection for women
Kimono for women
More kimonos for women
Kimono for men
Limited selection for men though

As there are a lot kimonos for women, my girlfriend had a hard time picking the right one. For me, it took me less than 1 minute.

Men wearing kimono
First experience wearing kimono

A tip for you if you are trying out kimono. While the person is adjusting the kimono for you, don’t suck your tummy in or else it will be uncomfortable for you. Besides that, if you are wondering if you can go to toilet with kimono, the answer is yes with a little bit of work.

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) – recommended

Donned with kimono, we head to Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Lady in kimono at Fushimi Inari Taisha, Japan

This place is quite big if you look at the map below. We stopped at Kumatakasha (熊鷹社) before heading back to the entrance.

Map of Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan Torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan Lady with kimono posing with torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha Lady with kimono posing with torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha Lady with kimono posing with torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha

There’s a lot of hiking here but the higher you go, the lesser people there are for you to take nice shots of the torii without the need to photoshop people out from your photos.

Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

Business hours: Daily 24 hours


Next, we went to Gion (祇園).

Gion in Japan

Do take note that you cannot take photographs or videos on private roads in Gion.

No photography on private road in Gion

We then head to Sohonke Nishin-Soba Matsuba which is opposite of Gion-shijo Station (祇園四条駅) of Keihan Railway.

Sohonke Nishin-Soba Matsuba (松葉) – highly recommended

Sohonke Nishin-Soba Matsuba in Japan

I ordered the tempura cold soba as below.

Tempura cold soba
Tempura cold soba (1650 yen inclusive tax)

Firstly, you put the sliced green onion into the soy sauce. You can also put the wasabi as needed. Then you dip the cold soba and slurp away like the Japanese do. You may or may not dip the tempura into the soy sauce based on personal preference.

I would recommend ordering cold soba as the refreshing cold soba and the sweetness of the soy sauce makes it a perfect combination.

Address: 192 四条大橋東入ル川端町 Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0076, Japan

Business hours: Daily 11am-9.30pm but closed on Wednesdays


We then went to Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺) but we didn’t went inside.

Kodai-ji Temple in Japan

The entrance fee is 600 yen for Kodai-ji only or 900 yen for Kodai-ji + Entoku-in (圓徳院).

We then stroll along the area before returning our kimono.

Totoro shop entrance in Japan
Totoro shop
Camouflaged Starbucks Coffee. Despite Covid-19, it is full house inside
Hokan-ji Temple aka Yasaka Pagoda
Hokan-ji Temple (法観寺) or more famously known as Yasaka Pagoda (八坂の塔)

While heading back to our car to return the kimono, we passed by a house with a tree fully bloomed with sakura. And this time it is truly sakura as there is a split in the petals which we will revisit later.

Sakura tree Fully bloomed sakura tree

We then head to Honke Daiichi Asahi (本家 第一旭) to try their ramen after reading this. It is a 5 mins walk from JR Kyoto Station.

Honke Daiichi Asahi (本家 第一旭) – recommended

When we reached there, we were shocked to see a queue in front as we never expected it to be so crowded.

Long queue in front of Honke Daiichi Asahi
As you can see, there is a long queue in front of the shop
Interior of Honke Daiichi Asahi
Inside the shop

They only have 5 choices in their menu as below.

Menu of Honke Daiichi Asahi

Honke Daiichi Asahi's special noodle
Special noodle

The special noodle is very huge in portion. If you want smaller bowl, opt for other ramen. The ramen is like yellow noodle which I would personally prefer the ramen from Ichiran or Ippudo instead. However, the pork broth is light and not too salty. In addition, do give the sake a try. It is my first time trying Japanese sake and it is not what I had in mind. The sake is so smooth and doesn’t give a burning sensation which I thought it would. The sake brand is Hinodezakari (日出盛) which we tried finding in a few places in Kyoto and Osaka but couldn’t find it.

Address: 845 Higashishiokoji Mukaihatacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8213, Japan

Business hours: Daily 6am-1am, closed on Thursdays


Day 4 – Kinkaku-ji, Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera

The next day, we start off by visiting Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺) or more famously known as Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺). The entrance fee is 400 yen for adults and the ticket looks like an ofuda (御札) or paper talisman.

Entrance ticket of Kinkaku-ji

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

We then drop by Tenryu-ji (天龍寺):

Tenryu-ji sign Tenryu-ji (天龍寺) in Japan

And Nonomiya Shrine (野宮神社):

Nonomiya Shrine (野宮神社) in Japan

Before heading to Arashiyama (嵐山) for the bamboo forest:

Arashiyama bamboo grove Arashiyama bamboo grove

We then head to Ozuru to try their soba for lunch.

Ozuru – highly recommended

Entrance of Ozuru
Entrance of Ozuru
Udon noodles with yuba (bean curd skins) and namafu (gluten rice cakes)
Udon noodles with yuba and namafu (1089 yen inclusive tax)

I ordered the cold udon noodles with yuba (湯葉) (bean curd skins) and namafu (生麩) (gluten rice cakes). I’m not a fan of udon but this is almost perfection. The cold soba is quite chewy, added with the smooth, soft bean curd skins, and the gluten rice cakes, they make the best combination. And like soba, I would recommend to go for the cold version.

Address: 22-4 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8385, Japan

Business hours: Daily 11am-8pm


We then head to Arashiyama Station (嵐山駅) as there is a kimono forest which are light poles with kimono designs. 

Arashiyama Station Kimono Forest in Japan Kimono forest in Japan Kimono Forest in Japan

The light poles will lit up at evening time but we didn’t wait for it. Instead, we headed to Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) for our final destination in Kyoto.

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) – recommended

The entrance ticket is so pretty you can use it as a bookmark.

Entrance ticket of Kiyomizu-dera

After seeing all the goshuin-cho (御朱印帳) in the temples and shrines that we visited, I finally bought mine at Kiyomizu-dera.

Goshuin-cho of Kiyomizu-dera
Goshuin-cho of Kiyomizu-dera
Goshuin of Kiyomizu-dera
Goshuin of Kiyomizu-dera
Kiyomizu-dera in Japan

There is a waterfall in Kiyomizu-dera known as the Otowa Waterfall (音羽の滝) where each streams answer different prayers. Based on this website, the right one is for longevity, middle one for success at school, and left one for romance.

After that, we went to look for our dinner.

Okonomiyaki Kinoya – not really recommended

Okonomiyaki Kinoya

We ordered okonomiyaki and yakisoba. For okonomiyaki, you will be given a bowl and asked to mix it.

Okonomiyaki raw ingredients

And then the person will pan fry it.

And lastly, the okonomi sauce will be added on top of the okonomiyaki and ready to be served.

The okonomiyaki is quite bland but the yakisoba is quite good but nothing too special about it. My friend who came to Kyoto a few times said that we can have better okonomiyaki elsewhere.

Address: Japan, 〒604-8042 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 裏寺町通四条上る中之町607

Business hours: Daily 12pm-8.30pm, closed on Tuesdays


Day 5 – Of pufferfish and cherry blossoms?

We start off the day by visiting Kuromon Market (黒門市場).

Kuromon Market (黒門市場) in Japan

There are quite a few shops that sell pufferfish or fugu (河豚). Initially I planned to try it out at Guenpin Fugu via Klook voucher. However, as no one wants to try it with me, I decided to just try it out at Kuromon Market. I’ve seen comments in the Klook voucher page that the fried fugu is delicious. Therefore, I try it out at the stall below.

Minami in Kuromon Market for fugu

Fried fugu stall
5 pieces for 1000 yen
Fried fugu with fugu decorations
The owner decorated the area with fugu for me to take photo

The fried fugu is chewy but it tastes just like normal fried fish. Not satisfied with it, I went to another store to try the fugu sashimi for its original taste. As they place live torafugu (虎河豚) or tiger pufferfish for sale, I asked if the sashimi is of torafugu and they said yes. Torafugu is the most prestigious edible species but is also the most poisonous.

Torafugu or tiger pufferfish Fugu sashimi

To taste the most original flavor, I eat a slice of the fugu sashimi without any sauce. Contrary to many people saying it is tasteless, you can actually taste some slight sweetness brought by the freshness of the sashimi. However, the chewy part is true, and it is much chewier than the fried fugu.

The best part of eating the fugu sashimi is when you mix it with the sauce. The sauce is a combination of soy sauce, sliced green onion, and chili paste (the chili actually tastes somewhat like those bright orange chili you get when you order chicken rice). When you dip the sashimi into the sauce, the freshness and sweetness of all the ingredients is in harmony and it’s a taste you can’t find in other sashimi. If you dare to try fugu, don’t disregard sashimi.

Osaka castle – recommended

After striking pufferfish off my bucket list, we went to Osaka Castle.

While walking to Osaka Castle, we passed by an area with a lot of flowers which we thought it is sakura so we happily take a lot of photos.

Plum blossom near Osaka Castle Lady posing with plum blossom Lady posing with plum blossom Lady posing with plum blossom

However, we later passed by a directional sign and it states Plum Forest. So we Google and below is a simple photo that I gotten from SoraNews24. So you can actually differentiate between sakura, plum, and peach based on their petals.

Differences between sakura, plum, and peach
On the left is a sakura as it has a split in the middle of the petals; the middle is plum as it has rounded petals; on the right is peach with pointy petals

Osaka Castle in Japan Osaka Castle in Japan

You can take a lot of nice photos here when the flowers are all blossomed. In fact, the Osaka Castle Park is a famous hanami (花見) or flower viewing spot.

Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan

Business hours: Daily 9am-5pm


After that, we checked into our Airbnb in Osaka.

Airbnb in Osaka, Japan Airbnb in Osaka, JapanAirbnb in Osaka, Japan Airbnb in Osaka, Japan

Dotonbori (道頓堀) – recommended

After that, we head to Dotonbori for dinner and shopping.

Kani Doraku
Kani Doraku, there are a few branches in this area
Kinryu Ramen in Japan
Kinryu Ramen

Street with bright signboards in Dotobori, Japan

Ichiran Ramen
Ichiran Ramen

We head inside Ichiran Ramen and there is a vending machine where you place your order.

Ichiran Ramen vending machine
Ichiran Ramen vending machine

Before you head into the dining area, there is a vacant seat information panel where you can see the empty seats that are available.

Vacant seat information panel
Vacant seat information panel
Dining area of Ichiran Ramen
Dining area of Ichiran Ramen

You will be given an order sheet to specify the strength of the flavor and noodle texture etc. I decided to try the strongest flavor.

Order sheet of Ichiran Ramen
Order sheet of Ichiran Ramen
Place to hang jackets
There is a place behind you where you can hang your jackets and put your bags etc
An egg in a bowl
Ordered an extra egg to go with the ramen
Ichiran Ramen
Personalized Ichiran Ramen
Refill sheet
You can order additional items via this order sheet
Packets of Ichiran Ramen
You can also purchase the packet Ichiran Ramen as souvenir

However, if you were to purchase the packet Ichiran Ramen, you can get it at Donki (Don Quijote) at slightly cheaper price. Besides that, I would recommend to purchase the top left long-boxed type as it is the real ramen instead of instant noodle.

Rolls of toilet paper in Ichiran Ramen
Rolls of toilet paper in Ichiran Ramen
Notice in Ichiran Ramen toilet
The reason Ichiran prepared so many rolls of toilet paper is to make sure you will never run out of toilet paper

After our satisfying dinner, we walked around the area for food and shopping.

Large Asahi Signboard
Large Asahi Signboard
The famous Glico Running Man
The famous Glico Running Man

Street with bright signboards in Dotobori, Japan

Kukuru Takoyaki in Dotonbori, Japan
Kukuru Takoyaki
Kukuru museum set + bacon & cheese ball
Kukuru museum set + bacon & cheese ball

Kani Doraku at Dotonbori, Japan

As we are quite full from our dinner, but at the same time we wanted to try Kani Doraku so we ordered 1 pack (900 yen) to try.

BBQ crab leg
BBQ crab leg

BBQ crab legs

Day 6 – feeding the calf and tasting Kobe beef

The next day, we went up Mount Rokko (六甲山) in Kobe to visit Rokkosan Pasture (六甲山牧場).

Rokkosan Pasture (六甲山牧場) entrance sign

Goats in Rokkosan Pasture
Goats in Rokkosan Pasture
Sheeps at Rokkosan Pasture
The sheeps here are free to roam
Queuing up to get the milk to feed the calf
Queuing up to get the milk to feed the calf

At the counter, they will ask if you want to feed the left or right calf. Depending on which you choose, you will be given a different colored bottle cap. The left calf will be a white cap while the right calf will be a yellow cap like mine below:

Timetable and pricing sign
There are 2 time slots for the feeding session. Each bottle costs 200 yen
Guy feeding a calf
Me feeding the right calf

Cows at Rokkosan Pasture, Japan

Sheeps grazing
This scenery is as though we were in New Zealand
Ponies at Rokkosan Pasture, Japan

Horse stable in Rokkosan Pasture, Japan

Horse riding experience sign
You can ride a horse here at Rokkosan Pasture
Rokkosan Pasture ice cream
I tried their ice cream which is like Family Mart cheesecake ice cream but lighter and less sweet

After that, me and my girlfriend had lunch at Miyako while my friends try Kobe beef as my girlfriend cannot eat beef due to religion.

Miyako in Kobe, Japan

We ordered soba and oyakodon (親子丼). Based on the price we paid, the food is nothing to complain about.

Soba with tempura and bean curd
Soba with tempura and bean curd

After that, we meet our friends at where they had Kobe beef at Yazawa Kobe Beef (八坐和) Main Branch.

Yazawa Kobe Beef – highly recommended

My friend mentioned that each mouthful of the beef sends him to heaven so I decided to try the Kobe beef sushi as they have half price promotion for everything until 3pm.

Kobe beef sushi at Yazawa Kobe Beef
Kobe beef sushi (880 yen inclusive tax)

The Kobe beef sushi has a slightly rough texture and it does not taste like beef. However, the beef is really juicy and worth trying, especially when they have half price promotion.

Address: 650-0021 2-3-1 , Sannomiya-cho , Chuo-ku , Hyogo

Business hours: Lunch from 11am-3pm, dinner from 5pm-10.30pm


After that, we head to the Kobe Harbourland.

Kobe Harbourland umie

Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower
Mosaic Big Ferris Wheel
Mosaic Big Ferris Wheel (800 yen)
Kobe Brand's Kobe pudding soft cream
Kobe Brand’s Kobe pudding soft cream (400 yen inclusive tax)

To end our trip in Japan, we headed to Kura Sushi for our dinner.

Once you enter the shop, you use the machine below to take your number by keying in the number of adults and children.

Kura Sushi

All of the plates here are 100 yen unless stated otherwise.

As I like to try weird, unique things, I ordered cod milt with Ponze Gelee in bamboo not knowing what is cod milt. My friend Google it and told me it is the sperm sacs of an adult cod which is also known as shirako. The texture can be too soft for some but if you eat it with the Ponzu Gelee, they balance out each other.

Cod milt with Ponze Gelee in bamboo
Cod milt with Ponze Gelee in bamboo

To end this blog post, below are some of the food that we brought back for our friends and family.

Souvenirs from Japan

What is the most memorable food that you had in Kyoto or Osaka? Feel free to share in the comment section below.

(10) Comments

  1. Hi, can I know did you have your rental car the whole trip duration? Did you drive to all destinations or did you take public transport (example in kyoto)

    1. admin says:

      Yup, we had the rental car for the whole trip and we drove to all the destinations mentioned in the post so we didn’t take any public transportation there.

  2. Cherie says:

    Hi thanks for sharing your itinerary. May I know if it’s difficult to find parking especially in Kyoto and Dotonbori? Which areas in your trip are the hardest to find parking?

    1. admin says:

      Hi Cherie, there was no issue finding parking in Kyoto and Dotonbori although I remember we have to walk slightly further for Dotonbori. So far all of the places that we went are quite easy to find parking but some places might need to walk further to the destination.

  3. VanLim says:

    Hi, chance upon your blog and will like to ask you how’s the traffic in Osaka and Kyoto? Is it difficult to drive in both places as we also planned to rent a car for our upcoming trip too, thank you.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Van, it’s easy to drive there cause they are also driving on the left side of the road. Just remember to get the international driving permit (IDP) and also the ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) card from the car rental company so you can pass through tolls conveniently.

      Although it was Covid time when I was there, there are quite a lot of traffic on the road but no heavy traffic jams.

  4. Steven says:

    Hi, we (family of 6 adults) planning to visit Osaka, Nara, Kyoto & Kobe in the early of this coming December, in your opinion, is more cost effective & save time to self-drive or using public transport?

    Or any other things else should we put in consideration to choose self-drive or using public transport?

    1. admin says:

      Hi Steven, as the price of Japan Rail Pass will be increased significantly starting October this year, I think it would be cheaper to self-drive for 6 adults. Driving in Japan is quite easy as we drive on the same side of the road. Just remember to apply and bring along your international driving permit (IDP), and getting the ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) card from the car rental company.

      The driving distance between the places that you are visiting is doable with just 1 driver so there is no need to add on additional driver which will help to save some cost (both on car rental and getting IDP), unless the other adults in your family would like to try driving in Japan.

  5. Hi,
    What are the speeding limit and traffic condition during your trip ?
    Can you share the cost of the car rental, toll and parking charges for the entire trip ?
    Does the Airbnb or accomodation you booked provides parking (free or self paid) as well?
    Thank you.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Sze, the speed limit is 60km/h for normal roads and 100km/h at highways. However, you will see cars go past the speed limit especially on highways. During our visit, it was Covid time so the cars are lesser. But it’s hard to say for now as tourists are still flocking to Japan.

      Apologies but I didn’t keep the record of our spending. I checked at Times Car Rental and if you are looking at the same car type for a week (with ETC and without insurance), it will be around RM3.9k.

      Our Airbnb doesn’t come with free parking on site. Therefore, we will usually go 1 round around the accommodation to see which parking is cheaper.

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