Singapore, Day 2: Universal Studios

Since there were four of us, we decided to just take a cab going to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE instead of the train. We got a bit lost when we were trying to look for the entrance to USS but still managed to find it thanks to the help of friendly Singaporeans. We bought our USS ticket online because we also availed the Express Pass, which saved us time.

Singapore, Day 1: Gardens By The Bay

First stop was the FLOWER DOME and when we saw that it was an enclosed space, we were not quite excited because we initially thought it would be hotter and more humid inside. But to our surprise, the place was cool!

This is the largest greenhouse in the world and it showcases hundreds of flower types from different regions. Here are my favorites from the first portion of the Flower Dome:

Singapore, Day 1: National Gallery

We decided to go to NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE based on C’s recommendation. The place was absolutely huge and we most likely saw thousands of artworks.

We spent the whole morning going around the whole gallery. My friends know that I am not a big fan of art but here are some of the artworks that I really liked:

Japan, Day 11: Osaka

J and I woke up early to go to Osaka Central Fish Market. We read that ENDO SUSHI is located there, which is considered as one of the best sushi restaurants in Osaka.

Taxi driver dropped us off near an intersection and pointed to the direction towards the fish market. So we walked and avoided some transportation carts in the area… Less busier than Tsukiji but still needed to exercise caution while walking.

Japan, Day 10 (PM): Ise-shima

After braving the strong wind, we finally saw the famous MEOTO IWA (“Wedded Rocks”). It is said that the larger rock represents the husband while the smaller one is the wife, and this couple is actually a representation of Izanagi and Izanami, the gods who created Japan.

It may not look as majestic as the ones in photos seen online, but they say that the best time to go here is during high tide and sunrise – get to see the sun rising between the two rocks.

Japan, Day 10 (AM): Ise-Shima

Last day trip outside Osaka before we head back to MNL. Our destination is Ise-Shima, mainly because I want to go to Ise Jingu which is dedicated to the sun goddess, Amaterasu. Hence, it is considered as the holiest Shinto shrine in Japan. I read before that locals wish to visit this place at least once before they die.

Japan, Day 9: Universal Studios (Osaka)

Hello UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN! Good thing we already bought our tickets online + Express Pass Standard 4 because the lines were loooong. We were able to buy ours online, with the help of my cousin who can read Japanese.

Note that Express Pass cannot be bought using the English website of USJ so it helps if you know someone who can read Japanese. This is very helpful particularly during days when USJ has high volume of crowd.

Japan, Day 8: Nara >> Osaka

NARA KOEN was our first destination but we were confused where to get off (while on the bus) so we chose a random stop. Apparently, the park was huuuge and all of the places we wanted to visit were all there. We looked for a quiet spot first to eat breakfast – and away from the deer!

Japan, Day 7: Himeji >> Osaka

Our 2nd daytrip was in Himeji, almost 2 hours away from Osaka by train. From Himeji Station, we rode the Himeji Castle Loop Bus which looked like an old-fashioned bus.

Our main stop here was the famous HIMEJI CASTLE (UNESCO), which is also known as “shirasagi-jo” or “white heron castle”. It was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century and during our visit, a portion of the castle was undergoing restoration – goes to show how Japan highly values their history and puts great effort in preserving this.

Japan, Day 6: Kobe >> Osaka

Time for our daytrip in KOBE! After about an hour and a half of train ride, we reached Kobe-Sannomiya Station. We bought onigiri and bread for a quick breakfast before walking to our first destination – MAIKO MARINE PROMENADE.

It is an observatory located right under AKASHI KAIKYO BRIDGE, the world’s longest suspension bridge. Basically, it offers a beautiful view of the sea and it even has a small section where you can walk on the glass floor and see the waters below.