Osaka is the loud, brash counterpart of its quieter neighbour, Kyoto. We’ve been here thrice in the past 2 years and stayed at Swissotel Nankai every time because of the great location in the southern hub of the city, Namba.

The hotel is also located within the major train station so it provides unbeatable access around or out of the city as well. About all we do here is pretty much just shopping and eating. :)

(Incredibly long post alert!)

By sheer chance we happened to arrive in Osaka right smack in the middle of the massive Toka Ebisu festival centered around the Imamiya Shrine (十日恵比寿、今宮神社) in Namba. Apparently about a million people visit the shrine over the 9th, 10th and 11th of January annually to pray for the prosperity of their businesses.

It was really cool because the surrounding streets were lined with stalls and stalls of festival food and games too. Think Chinese New Year in Chinatown times like, ten.

The shrine itself was pretty small but packed with so many people the police had to control the numbers allowed in at a time. Literally everywhere you looked in Osaka, people were carrying these fronds of bamboo around because everyone flocks here to receive the leaves that are decorated with lucky charms.

We joined the crowd to enter the shrine as well and I thought I was going to die in there. Sooo freaking packed and hordes of people were just throwing money in the general direction of the center offering stage. A whole lot of crazy but very fun.

den den town (osaka’s akihabara)

the doutonbori food street (道頓堀)

family favourite, kani hotpot

On our second last day we took the train to Koya san (高野山) and it was snowing ceaselessly. Everything was blanketed in white and I thought every temple ground or shrine that we happened to stroll in to was the most beautiful, tranquil place I’ve ever seen.

a pilgrim

sooo cute

the strange cable car that takes you from the train station to koya san

The following are shots snapped by my lca+ and they pretty much capture the gaps where I did not bother to take out my fat camera.

Miyajima Island

itsukushima shrine (厳島神社)

Fushimi Inari shrine

Akame shiju hattaki waterfalls (赤目四十八滝) in Mie prefecture

the most pristine and beautiful place ever, with not a soul around

my boots destroyed from traipsing through this forest/valley/mountain

Tokyo

harajuku

omotesando

shinjuku

Arashiyama, Kyoto

at the awatayama monkey park

spot the primate

arashiyama’s bamboo forest

tenryuji temple

Osaka

stalls leading to the imamiya ebisu shrine

Koya san

nankai airport express

Phew so that’s about all the photos from this trip. Sorry about the visual diarrhoea, heading to Thailand tomorrow morning till 3rd Feb so there will be more to come! Majorly psyched because I’ll be meeting up with some of my closest friends from Sydney in Bangkok and then head on to Koh Samui.

I think it’s going to be pretty awesome hoho. Thanks for reading :)

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