Japan Diaries 4: Week 11

Week 11: January 10-14, 2022

Winter Vacation Week 3

Since this week is jam-packed with travel, most of the days here have their own special article. Please click on the links to read more about each article. 

Day 70: January 10, 2022

Monday - A Trip to Wakayama

Hey guys! Today, my Japanese family and I are heading to Wakayama Prefecture. Mr. Toshi's daughter Akiko and her friend Ms. Kumi will be joining us on this trip. 

We visited the following places in Wakayama:

Kominka Cafe Restaurant Hatsuhana at Iwade City
Marina City - Wakayama City

Kominka Cafe Restaurant Hatsuhana with Mr. Toshi and family

Wakayama Marina City - Porto Europa 

AEON Mall Wakayama - Wakayama City

Before going home, we drove to AEON Mall Wakayama to buy some groceries and omiyage. From there, we drove back to Tsubasagaoka in Sennan City, Osaka but before we did, we bid farewell to Ms. Akiko and her friend as they drive back to Suita City.

You can read more about this trip 👉<HERE>👈.

Day 71: January 11, 2022

Tuesday - Mie Road Trip Day 1

It's another beautiful day here in the Kansai Region. Today, I'll be going on a 2-day road trip to Mie Prefecture with my Japanese family. 

Here's our room for the night - Room 601

Oedo Onsen Monogatari Ise Shima
The view of Ago Bay from our room

Although we originally planned to visit Toba Aquarium today, we postponed it for tomorrow as we won't be able to check in on time at Oedo Onsen Monogatari Ise Shima in Shima City, Mie Prefecture. It proved to be the right decision as we got to enjoy the different amenities of the hotel like the onsen, table tennis, and massage chairs without rushing. 

Dinner at Mikuri

We also got to eat a buffet dinner at Mikuri which was the hotel's restaurant. It was a sumptuous meal indeed. I pigged out on sashimi as it looked very fresh. 

Oedo Onsen Monogatari Ise Shima
I played table tennis with Mr. Toshi, Ms. Sawa, and Ryo

Before calling it a day, Mr. Toshi and I did our usual nighttime chats and drank beer that we bought from the vending machine in the lobby area.  

You can read more about this trip 👉<HERE>👈.

Day 72: January 12, 2022

Wednesday - Mie Road Trip Day 2

Another beautiful morning guys, I took the opportunity to take an early morning stroll to the nearby town of Hamajima. I visited the Hamajima Seaside Park before heading back to Oedo Onsen Monogatari Ise Shima for breakfast. 

Watched the beautiful sunrise from the window of Room 601

Hamajima Seaside Park

Check out my breakfast for today

Speaking of breakfast, the hotel's restaurant prepared a buffet meal with choices of Japanese and Western cuisines. During breakfast, I think I consumed almost a gallon of yogurt... (I know, I know, it's too much of something good is still bad 😓.  

After breakfast, we checked out of Oedo Onsen Monogatari Ise Shima and then drove to Toba Aquarium in Toba City, Mie Prefecture. Our trip to the aquarium was fun and educational. I particularly enjoyed the penguin show and the area where bizarre and fascinating creatures are displayed. 

Off to Ise City

From Toba City, we then drove to the City of Ise in the central part of Mie Prefecture. Here are the historical places that we visited in the city:

Our visit to Ise City was very memorable as I had always wanted to see Ise Grand Shrine. I made sure to avail of the goshuin or shrine stamp from both the Ise Grand Shrine Geku and Ise Grand Shrine Naiku for my goshuin collection. 

Tsuchiyama SA

Akiko-san's home in Suita City

From Ise City, we drove back home stopping at several service areas for toilet breaks and then lunch. Once we reached Osaka Prefecture we had to stop by Ms. Akiko's house in Suita City to pick up Yomo, the family dog. We arrived home at around 9PM officially ending our 2-day Mie Road Trip

You can read more about this trip 👉<HERE>👈.

Day 73: January 13, 2022

Thursday - Rest Day

Good day everyone! After our 2-day Mie Road Trip, we decided to spend the day resting. Although that does not mean that we would just stay home. Mr. Toshi and I drove around Kumatori that morning. One of the places that we visited is the scenic Eiraku Dam which was actually one of the first places that I visited in Osaka during our first trip to Osaka way back in 2014.  

Driving around Kumatori with Mr. Toshi

Driving back home for breakfast

Okunishi Dental Clinic

During breakfast, Mr. Toshi helped me book an appointment with a dentist. Thankfully, the dentist was available today before lunch. When we arrived at the dental clinic, I was the only patient around so after accomplishing the paperwork, the dentist immediately worked on applying tooth filling to the tooth that broke during quarantine in Keio Plaza Hotel. After the procedure, I realized that this dental clinic, Okunishi Dental Clinic, was the same dental clinic that treated my wife on the 20th day of our 2018 Japan Trip.  

We enjoyed the film Color Me True

That afternoon, Mr. Toshi and I did a back-to-back Ayase Haruka film viewing. We watched the 2018 film (今夜、ロマンス劇場でColor Me True followed by the 2008 film (僕の彼女はサイボーグ) Cyborg She

Kumatori Exchange Center Rengakan
Dinner at Poudol

Thank you Kameyama Family for the dinner treat

After the second film, Mr. Toshi told me that we'll dine out. Together with Ms. Taeko, Ms. Sawa, and Karin, we drove to Poudol which is just beside the Kumatori Exchange Center Rengakan. It was the first place where I experienced my first illumination festival way back in 2014.

We toured the Kumatori Exchange Center Rengakan before heading back home.

The dinner today at Poudol was my first fine dining experience here in Japan. The food was pricey but good. When we got back home, Mr. Toshi and I had our usual late-night chats before calling it a day. 

Day 74: January 14, 2022

Friday - Kyoto x Osaka

While watching the news early in the morning, I saw that Kyoto was blanketed by snow. Although I have been to Kyoto numerous times, this was the first time that I'd see it covered in snow so I won't miss this opportunity to see it with my own eyes. 

Kumatori Station

I informed Mr. Toshi of my plan and he was very supportive. As a matter of fact, he drove me to Kumatori Station so that I could catch a train to Kyoto Station. 

Bus to Kinkakuji

When I reached Kyoto Station, I boarded the subway going north to see how some UNESCO World Heritage temples looked with snow. Here are the places that I visited in Kyoto:

The Backpack Adventures revisits Kinkakuji

The Backpack Adventures visits Ninnaji

Heading back to Osaka via the Kyoto Station

From there, I rode a bus back to Kyoto Station. My adventure did not end there though as I decided to explore Osaka City before going home. I left Kyoto Station on a Rapid Service train bound for Osaka Station. Here are the places that I visited in Osaka City:

Arrived at Osaka Station

First stop - Umeda Sky Building

Ordered okonomiyaki at Kiji for dinner.

Before heading home, I ate okonomiyaki for dinner at Kiji located at Takimi Koji. The food was great and the owner was super friendly. I even got a photo of him. 

Heading back home

From there, I rode a train back to Kumatori Station where Mr. Toshi picked me up. When I got home, I made sure to disinfect my stuff and immediately take a bath to protect my Japanese family from the threat of Omicron. 

Before calling it a night, Mr. Toshi and I again had our nightly chats as he was really interested in my trip today. I wanted to explore Osaka more and probably go to Hyogo but I just remembered that today is my last full day here in Osaka as I would have to fly back home to Hokkaido tomorrow. 😢 

You can read more about this trip 👉<HERE>👈.

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  1. I like your pictures of the Umeda Sky Building.

    1. Thank you. Please check out my article about Umeda Sky Building. I have more photos there.


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