Day Four to Six: Osaka/Kyoto (Arashiyama, Tenryu-ji Temple, Dōtonbori)

After Gamcheon, we stopped by the hotel to pick up our luggage and headed to the Busan international airport. We arrived in Osaka close to 10. Most restaurants are closed, so we asked folks at the front-desk about where to get food at that hour, and they recommended the restaurant right in front of the hotel. It looked good, but I couldn’t really place an order because no one at the restaurant spoke English. So…., it came down to the most basic form of communications – pointing at pictures. We got Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and some dish I don’t know what’s called. They were yummy!

restaurant Food

The next day, we headed to Kyoto via bullet train to visit Arashiyama.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

I wanted the kids to have a chance to take a bullet train from Osaka, so I picked Kyoto, which is about 12 minutes via a bullet train. And when in Kyoto, you have to go to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, which is probably the most iconic place in Kyoto. I’ve looked at photos online, and it looked serene with bamboos all around like below.

Arashiyama EARLY IN THE MORNING

However, when I got there, there was nothing serene about the place. There were just way too many people. We moved along with tons of people. Later I found out that you have to go really early in the morning to have the place all to yourself.

bamboos next to bamboos

Tenryu-ji Temple

After a short stay, we went to Tenryu-ji Temple, which was right next to Arashiyama. It was a nice temple, and just like Arashiyama, it was crowded too.

old painting side pond

Subway

When we first arrived, we really had hard time figuring things out. Japanese subway systems are huge and complex, and Osaka stations (there are two because of two different lines, but their respective stations are close but not the same building.) are HUGE. But once we figured out, buying tickets was a breeze.

Other photos of Japan

Police car
alley 1
alley 2
old house

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Trip to Korea and Japan

I recently took a trip to Korea and Japan with my two teenage kids. It had been 14 years since I left Korea after leaving Samsung, and at the time my oldest was three-years-old.

I had basic itinerary for each day, and it turned out to be quite ambitious. We ended up doing one or at most two things on the itinerary, and it was good.

One thing kids complained the most was the amount of walking. Even when you take taxis everywhere, you will end up walking a lot, so you should make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

The followings are itineraries. Click on a link below to see specific post.

Pre-paid SIM card

One thing that I regret not getting in Korea was pre-paid SIM card. I have T-Mobile in the US, and my plan allowed unlimited data and text in both Korea and Japan, but only at 2G speed. It was SOOOOOOOO slow. Don’t make the same mistake.

Where do you get a pre-paid SIM card?

The easiest place to get it is at the airport.

If you didn’t get one at the airport, you can also get one at a convenience store (like GS25, 7-11, or CU). However, not all of them will carry one. And the clerks there didn’t understand pre-paid SIM card. Ask for “USIM” (Universal SIM) card. The only place I was able to find was in Gangnam area.

Another place to get one is at a carrier store (like KT). However, you can only buy it at a carrier store, not at an authorized reseller. There are a lot more resellers than carrier stores, and it was very confusing to me which was which.

Best bet is at the airport. Just get one at the airport.

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