a night in Shin-Osaka

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We usually plan our trips at least 6 months ahead.  I book our hotel rooms as soon as I have the plane tickets.  My original plan for this trip was to proceed to Kyoto upon arrival, and spend a couple of nights there.  However, a month (or 2) before our trip, as I read more about Okayama I became more interested in it, so I decided to forego Kyoto and proceed to Okayama instead.  Our flight arrives at night, and since we were taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) the next day, I figured Shin-Osaka would be the most convenient area to stay at.

We did the same thing last year when we went to Kanazawa.  We stayed at Remm Hotel then.  I wanted to stay there again, but the only rooms available were 14-sqm small double rooms.  There was no way the three of us would fit in a small double bed!   The room also costs about Php 6,500 per night (which would’ve been okay if it was a twin room). The other hotels in the area that had twin rooms charge about Php 8,000/ night. It’s important that we all have a good night’s rest because we’re travelling the next day, but I didn’t want us to spend that much when we’re leaving early the next day anyway.

The best option that I found was Hotel Consort.  It’s a kilometer away from Shin-Osaka station, which meant we still had to take a cab.

I booked 2 single rooms.  One for hubby, and one for Julian and I.  We paid Php 2,000/ room.

This is the street of Hotel Consort at night.  The hotel’s façade is across the street.:

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This is how a 10-sqm room looks like.:


There’s no closet.:


Hubby’s room was just next door and it looked exactly like ours.

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It’s tiny, but it’s clean.  And at least there’s a view!: :)


There was Family Mart and 7-11 across the street.  We had breakfast in the room, and we were out by 9 a.m.

We took a cab to Shin-Osaka station and it only took abut 10 minutes.

Here’s our bullet train to Okayama, the Sakura.:

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The Sakura is the fastest train to Okayama.  The trip takes 56 minutes from Shin-Osaka. :)


Written by Camille Palomera- Joven

July 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

our 15-day Japan trip

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Konnichiwa! :)

I know!  This has been long overdue.  Every time I get the urge to blog about our Japan trip,  I get overwhelmed when I start sorting through the thousands of pictures that I want to share! :)

Anyway, I have to start somewhere, so here goes…

We were in Japan from April 26- May 10, 2014.  I, originally, booked a 20-day trip when there was a 1-peso Cebu Pacific sale.  We were so happy when our airfare came out to only Php 6,000/ per person, roundtrip!  I started planning our trip and booking our hotel rooms.  I always book our hotel rooms through Booking.Com.  They don’t charge your credit card right away, and there’s free cancellation.  Anyway, one day, I thought of reading the fine print of our Japan visa, and to my horror, I found out that we can only stay in Japan for 15 days!  I also checked the Japan Immigration stamps in our passports from our previous trips and it did say that you can only stay for 15 days!

I emailed the Japanese Embassy about our predicament, and I mentioned to them that we were already issued a 3-year Visa and that we already have plane tickets.  They promptly replied to my email, and we were told that if we want to stay in Japan longer than 15 days, we should write a letter of request addressed to them, and file another Visa application  through their accredited travel agencies.  We were also told that we would have to give up  our 3-year Visa!

I discussed this with the hubby and we both agreed that we didn’t want to spend on another visa application since we were already issued a 3-year Visa!  I prayed and lifted everything to God.  Lo and behold, I chanced upon another CebuPac sale (not 1-peso, though), and booked a one-way ticket that would cut our trip to 15 days.  Our total airfare (including the wasted one-way ticket) came out to about Php 9,000/ per person, roundtrip.  Still  a great deal! :)

I love planning for a trip!  I enjoy researching about destinations; reading travel books and maps; and going through hotel reviews. :)

It helps a lot that I also have the perfect travel buddies! :)

It’s such a pleasure traveling with hubby and Julian!  They let me plan everything, and they just go with it! :)

When hubby and I decided to get a 14-day JR Pass,  I organized our itinerary according to my planned highlights of our trip, namely: Naoshima Island, and the Shibazakura Festival in Mt. Fuji.

This was our itinerary:

April 26 – overnight at Shin-Osaka (Hotel Consort)

April 27 – 30 – Okayama (Daiwa Roynet Okayama Hotel)

(28- day tour at Kurashiki City)

(29 – day tour at Naoshima Island)

(30 – day tour at Korakuen garden)

April 30 – overnight at Nagoya (Meitetsu Inn Nagoya)

May 1 – 5 – Tokyo (Hotel Asia Center Of Japan)

May 5 – 6 – Fujikawaguchiko (Kawaguchiko Station Inn)

(5 – day tour at Shibazakura Festival)

May 6 – 8 – Nagoya (Hotel 1-2-3 Nagoya)

(7 – day tour at Takayama)

May 8 – 10 – Osaka (Fraser Residence Nankai)

(9 – day tour Arashiyama)

We purchased our JR Pass from Universal Holidays in Dusit Thani Hotel.  We got it on March 26, 2014, 5 days before Japan raised their taxes, so the price of our JR Pass was still at  Y45,100 per person.   Julian’s pass is 50%-off.  I believe the rate now for a 14-day JR Pass is Y46,390.

We were issued vouchers and we’re supposed to exchange this to JR passes in JR ticket offices when we get to Japan.

This is the voucher:


This is the actual JR Pass:



We were traveling on Golden Week which is one of the busiest travel seasons in Japan, so we pre-booked all our train rides as soon as we got the JR Passes, to secure seats.  It’s so convenient!

With all the Shinkansen and local train rides that we took, we saved, at least, Php 7,000 per person using the JR Pass.  You can view the train schedule and rates at Hyperdia.com.  Oh, and we even booked reserved seats, which are more expensive than regular seats. :)

We enjoyed this trip so much, that I’m already planning for our next 15-day Japan trip next year!  We loved all the Shinkansen rides, so for sure, we will be getting a 14-day JR Pass again! :)


Written by Camille Palomera- Joven

July 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

our new Japan adventures

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We’re  back in Japan!  We got here last April 26, and this time we’re staying for 15 days! :) We are on day 5 of our trip, and we are now in Nagoya.  I can’t wait to share some of our photos from the past couple of days! I didn’t bring my laptop so the photos here were taken using my phone.

Kurashiki: IMG_20140428_143409 Korakuen garden in Okayama:


Yayoi Kusama pumpkin at Naoshima Art Island:


Written by Camille Palomera- Joven

April 30, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Nara and some street food

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On January 2,  Julian and I went to Nara with my brother’s family.

This is our third time in Nara.  You can read about our previous trip to Nara here, here, here, here and here.


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My niece, Charlie! :)

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Cutie-pie! :)

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“Mommy I don’t want to pose with the deer!”:

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I didn’t see these food stalls before.:

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Candied fruits!:

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Angela and I couldn’t resist these.  I got the grapes, she got the strawberries.: :)

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I only tried one.  It’s too sweet for me.:

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My brother with his family, and Angela’s cousins.:

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There were so many people!:

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More food:

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Dani tried this:

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I wanted to try this, but I didn’t.: :)

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At around 1 or 2 p.m., Julian got tired already.  He wanted to go back to the hotel  so we said goodbye to the others, and off we went….

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It was a looong walk to the train station!

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Written by Camille Palomera- Joven

April 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Sale season in Osaka and happy bags

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This was our last full day in Osaka (Jan. 2).   Julian and I went to Nara in the morning with my brother’s family. On the way there, I saw “Sale” signs everywhere!   Apparently, January 2 is the start of their sale season! :)

Good thing Julian wanted to go back to the hotel earlier  because I could hardly wait to get to the mall myself!

Julian and I left Nara at around 2 p.m.  As soon as we got back to the hotel,  I settled him down,  left him with his cousins, then  I ran to the mall! :)

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This is my favorite store in Namba Parks, KuLaSu.  I can stay there for hours!: :)

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I noticed that all the stores had “happy bags”! :)

It’s so cool!  You purchase the bags, but you don’t know what’s inside.  That’s part of the excitement.

This happy bag in KuLaSu costs Y 3,150.

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There are 7 items inside and the actual worth of the goods is Y 15,000!:

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Here are the other “happy bags” that I saw.

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I checked out the sale in Muji and I was surprised to see that their shelves were almost empty!  They still had a lot of their “happy” package, though.:

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I tell you, it took a lot of willpower to stop myself from buying any of those “happy bags”.  It was so tempting!  But I figured, I didn’t want to end our trip with buyer’s remorse (in case I don’t like what’s inside).

Written by Camille Palomera- Joven

April 25, 2014 at 5:49 pm


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