Kami Watch Over Me Series - Table of Contents
|Entry||Notable Places/Events||Start of Day||End of Day|
|Day 0 – Thursday, Oct 20 2022 to Friday, Oct 21 2022||Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo||Edmonton||Tokyo|
|Day 1 – Saturday, Oct 22 2022||Saitama, Ikebukuro||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 2 – Sunday, Oct 23 2022||Autumn Reitaisai 9, Shinjuku||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 3 – Monday, Oct 24 2022||Akihabara||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 4 – Tuesday, Oct 25 2022||Hakone||Tokyo||Hakone|
|Day 5 – Wednesday, Oct 26 2022||Kamakura, Enoshima Shrine||Hakone||Kamakura|
|Day 6 – Thursday, Oct 27 2022||Hanno||Kamakura||Hanno|
|Day 7 – Friday, Oct 28 2022||Shinkoiwa||Hanno||Tokyo|
|Day 8 – Saturday, Oct 29 2022||Akihabara, Matsudo City||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 9 – Sunday, Oct 30 2022||M3-50, Moto-Yawata||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 10 – Monday, Oct 31 2022||Akasaka, Shimo-Kitazawa, Shibuya Halloween||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 11 – Tuesday, Nov 01 2022||Shinjuku, Sophia University||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 12 – Wednesday, Nov 02 2022||Sophia University, Kabukicho||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 13 – Thursday, Nov 03 2022||Shinjuku Loft||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 14 – Friday, Nov 04 2022||Shinjuku, Hanazono/Asakusa Tori no Ichi, Sensoji||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 15 – Saturday, Nov 05 2022||Nagano, Zenkoji||Tokyo||Nagano|
|Day 16 – Sunday, Nov 06 2022||Ueda Sanada Festival, Ueda City, Sanada Shrine||Nagano||Nagano|
|Day 17 – Monday, Nov 07 2022||Zenkoji, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward||Nagano||Kyoto|
|Day 18 – Tuesday, Nov 08 2022||Otsu, Omi Jingu||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 19 – Wednesday, Nov 09 2022||Fushimi Inari, Kashoji, Tofukuji, Shorinji||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 20 – Thursday, Nov 10 2022||Ohara, Sanzenin, Arashiyama||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 21 – Friday, Nov 11 2022||Kiyomizu, Ryozen Kannon, Yasaka Shrine||Kyoto||Kyoto|
|Day 22 – Saturday, Nov 12 2022||Heian Raku Ichi Market, Osaka, Juso||Kyoto||Osaka|
|Day 23 – Sunday, Nov 13 2022||Sukunahikona Shrine, Namba||Osaka||Osaka|
|Day 24 – Monday, Nov 14 2022||Kobe (with Ran)||Osaka||Osaka|
|Day 25 – Tuesday, Nov 15 2022||Maibara, Toyosato, Nagoya||Osaka||Nagoya|
|Day 26 – Wednesday, Nov 16 2022||Osu, Banshoji, Naka||Nagoya||Nagoya|
|Day 27 – Thursday, Nov 17 2022||Obara Shikizakura Festival, Rurikozanyakushi||Nagoya||Nagoya|
|Day 28 – Friday, Nov 18 2022||Okayama, Kurashiki||Nagoya||Kurashiki|
|Day 29 – Saturday, Nov 19 2022||Kyoto (with Xuanjie), Autumn Okayama Momotaro Festival||Kurashiki||Kurashiki|
|Day 30 – Sunday, Nov 20 2022||Okayama, Sunrise Izumo||Kurashiki||Sunrise Izumo|
|Day 31 – Monday, Nov 21 2022||Minowa, Enoshima Shrine, Ameyoko Market||Sunrise Izumo||Tokyo|
|Day 32 – Tuesday, Nov 22 2022||Shibuya, Taito City||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 33 – Wednesday, Nov 23 2022||Akihabara||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 34 – Thursday, Nov 24 2022||Shinjuku (with Yaoxiang), Harajuku||Tokyo||Tokyo|
|Day 35 – Friday, Nov 25 2022||Sensoji, Narita Airport, Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton||Tokyo||Edmonton|
|Final Thoughts||Final Thoughts|
Sunday, Nov 13 2022 (Day 23)
I really like the Juso area. The mix of shops in the shopping streets here is just right, independent and eclectic without being too run-down and on the verge of shutting down. The various covered shopping streets in Japan reminds me of Singapore, with how there are some malls that are full of personality and odd shops, sometimes themed after a certain product or culture, and then there are other malls that are very sterilized and whitewashed. I talked about this back in my Singapore Day 6 post, about a quarter of the way down the page.
Japan seems to have a similar but weaker parallel version of that, with some shopping streets being full of safe, big-name businesses like phone shops and convenience stores and supermarkets and dollar store chains and expensive jewellery and clothing shops, whereas other shopping streets have independent markets and small dollar stores crammed full of weird things and stores dedicated to random things like bicycles or handmade glasses. And then some of those independent malls seem to fail and are nearly dead with every other store seemingly shuttered. It’s really interesting to see.
Or maybe I just like this area because one of the streets plays 80s English music, which I like, over their loudspeakers.
Anyway today was a somewhat quiet day, because it was raining! The first day that it actually rained heavily where I am since I’ve arrived in Japan. This was also the day that I was supposed to meet Ran and her friend, so I had kept this day free, but at around 11 am today she said that she/they couldn’t make it today after all — partly because of the rain in the forecast, which scuttled plans to walk somewhere and take in a nice evening view, and partly due to other personal reasons on her end. I never did get to talk or meet this other person in the end, but that was fine, as Ran was who I was here to meet anyway! That did mean that today was a bit of a lost day though, due to rain and the late cancellation, as was the next day, due to the meeting itself. And as these were my two full days in Osaka, it meant that I didn’t really get to visit a lot of places in Osaka.
That’s not such a bad thing though, this just means that I get to visit the place again someday!
After the cancellation and amidst the falling rain, I had to pick something to do on the day. I had heard that there was a special goshuin that one could get at a particular shrine here in Osaka, specifically when it was raining heavily enough that one had to use an umbrella, so that seemed like a good thing to try. But uh, I didn’t have an umbrella. And although my previous (and next) rented rooms came with umbrellas for the guest, this specific one didn’t for some reason. So what to do?
For starters, my current rental was close enough to the covered shopping street, which itself joined up with the train station, so it wasn’t really an issue getting to the station. The shrine’s main building along the way also had the tiniest bit of cover against the rain due to the direction the rain was falling from, so all in all I spent maybe 45 seconds in the rain getting to the station, cut into two halves of 20-something seconds each. To get to this shrine, I’d have to use several new train lines that I had not touched yet, but they weren’t terribly long ones — one stop east from Juso Station to Awaji Station along the Hankyu-Kyoto Line, and then south from Awaji Station along the Hankyu-Senri Line to Tenjimbashisuji 6-chome Station (which apparently has the longest shopping street in Japan, but I didn’t know that before I left Osaka), and then staying on the train as it turned into the Sakaisuji Line and went three more stops.
Due to confusion about where the train was actually headed though, since there were several options that the train could have branched off into and the names were confusing, I somehow ended up getting off a couple times because I wasn’t sure if I was on the right traine. Eventually made it there okay though. The stops included Awaji Station for the transfer (and with a weird, intriguing staircase at the end of the platform):
and then Ogimachi Station:
and Minami-Morimachi Station:
Two stops and one stop before my destination itself, Kitahama Station. Not that I really minded, I just had to wait for the next train each time, and the longer I waited the more of a chance that the rain would die down, I figured.
I wonder why this sign was needed:
Was falling onto the tracks such a common thing on this particular Sakaisuji Line? I also saw that sign at other train stations too. Kitahama Station was just a bit more curious in particular because there were platform doors that were supposed to come out of that wall above and close off the passage to the tracks when there were no trains there, but they were stuck open.
Lunch and Sukunahikona Shrine
Once I got to my destination, Kitahama Station, I found out that the rain was pouring down as strongly as before. There was a 7-11 across the street from the exit I came out of, so I hurried there through about 20 more seconds of rain, and found that that place had tables to eat at. So I decided to eat there, marking this as the first time I ate lunch (a Meat Ball and Gyoza Bento) entirely in a konbini, or convenience store, using the in-store microwave and then sitting down at a table there. It wasn’t the first konbini that I’ve seen tables at, but they weren’t terribly common either, only maybe every one in five or one in ten or so came with tables to eat at.
The place was mostly empty — there were a couple workers in the store, a schoolgirl who was seated a couple seats away doing her homework, and the occasional visitor to the store who wandered in with their own umbrella. However, there were also several umbrellas out in the umbrella holder in front of the store, more than the number of people actually in the store, so I figured that at least a couple of them were abandoned. After quickly looking up the etiquette of taking umbrellas online, and getting a mixed response between “I hate it” and “everyone does it, they’re tools”, I decided to borrow one, hurry to the nearby shrine, and then hurry back here to deposit the umbrella!
The shrine was about a minute away, so after gingerly borrowing one of the clear umbrellas that were ubiquitous here, I muddled my way across a traffic crossing to the shrine and asked for a goshuin. There were apparently three on sale, one for 500 yen and two for 300 yen, so I requested the 500 yen one, but it wasn’t until much later on that I realized that the special rainy one was a completely different one, and I’m not sure why it wasn’t offered to me, as the rain was definitely still pouring down in buckets at the time. Maybe I had to specifically request it or something, but it’s weird that neither shrine maiden manning the office even brought it up when I was trying to make the purchase. It’s fine though, this one has a tiger, so at least Tigey likes it.
It’s a silver glittering stamp in the top left so it’s a little difficult to see, but it’s there. The shrine maidens also said I could take pictures of the stamps and stamp books that they had, despite the no pictures sign, so I did so.
I then went back to the 7-11 to deposit my borrowed umbrella, and then scurried back across the rain without an umbrella to Kitahama Station.
I took the train from Kitahama Station and headed further south along the Sakaisuji Line to Nippombashi Station:
And then west one stop along the Sennichimae Line to Namba Station. I realized at this point that the downtown area contained a train loop along different lines that was basically a big rectangle and that I would be completing the rectangle when I took the train home to Juso Station that evening.
The Namba area was where I was originally going to meet Ran that day, but since she turned out to be indisposed, I went myself. It started out as a large underground mall area connected to the train station, with connected shopping streets and small shops and large malls above ground. Very big, and also very packed, possibly due to the rain. Kind of upscale for the most part, though there were areas with some smaller, independent shops too. I had no idea what area melded into what other area, this was one big blob of shops to me and I spent a couple hours here until the rain stopped altogether. There was also a nearby market, Kuromon Market, that I wanted to visit, but I found out through looking it up that they were closed on Sunday. Oh well.
Anyway, that was my day today, short and sweet and lots of window shopping. I did end up buying a couple CDs, one from the Wake Up, Girls! group that completed my set of their “Best of” albums (three of them), and one from C;ON, one of the groups that I had watched back in Shinjuku Loft on Day 13. They were the group that performed on stage and were the best group there in my opinion, but they apparently have been around for a while, and used to have a slightly different group name as well, with a slightly different member lineup. The members involved on this CD are apparently the same ones in the current lineup that I saw though, since it was released in June 2022.
To complete my “square” of railway stations, I took the Midosuji Line from Namba Station to Umeda Station, walked a short distance to Osaka-Umeda Station, and took the Hankyu Takarazuka Line from there back to Juso Station. Six different train lines and none of them were Japan Rail owned, so I couldn’t get a discount using my JR Pass! Phooey.
For dinner, I went back to the supermarket and grabbed a few more groceries to compliment what I had left over.
I also picked up some snacks, specifically the umaibo sticks on the left, as Ran had introduced me to those when she came to Canada two years ago, and although I had found them (pricey) at one of the Asian supermarkets in Edmonton, and also found them here in bulk (330-ish yen for a pack of 30 or so in a dollar store, far too many for me), I hadn’t found them piecemeal until I wandered into a store in the Jūsō shopping street area. They were 12 cents a stick, so I bought one of each flavour, along with a Calpis drink for 59 yen.
The list of groceries looked something like this, from left to right, bottom to top (best guess, as I’m really not too sure what some of the things I bought were):
ට Wild Vegetable Mix (Tsuda Sansai Mix) (90 yen)
ට Warabi (Tsuda Warabi) (90 yen)
ට Chicken Wings (for use in Chicken Bone Soup) (Soup ni! Gara Soup you) (47 yen)
ට Miso Soup with Pork and Vegetables (Tsuda Tonjiru) (178 yen)
ට Burdock Root (Sosogi Gobou) (90 yen)
ට Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl Sauce (Maruha Nichiro Oyakodon) (115 yen)
ට Konjac (Otegaru Chibi Series Konyaku) (90 yen)
The Pure 13 supermarket apparently has a storewide 10% discount sale on Sundays, so that was nice, and my grocery cost came to 700 yen, 756 yen after tax. I still had leftover stuff from the day before, and the Oyakudon thing was for the next day’s meal, so the cost was even lower. Everything else I consumed tonight.
Dinner looked like this:
And was great! But the kitchenette came with two pots and one detachable handle to share between them, and that detachable handle for the pot didn’t really work on that big pot, not when it was full of soup anyway, so I spilled hot water onto the stove at some point when the handle gave way. Thankfully that was before cooking anything and I didn’t hurt myself doing so. That, along with the fact that this kitchenette came with a cutting board but no scissors or knife, so I had to break the meat apart in the pot using two forks as it was being cooked, was annoying.
Shinkansen Running Total
I have a 21-day JR Pass that kicked in on Nov 05 and should last until the end of my trip on Nov 25. It cost $568 CAD, which cost around 61,769.08 yen, as per Google as of the first writing of this section. So I was curious and wanted to keep a running total — was this thing actually worth it?
That’s what I hope to find out with this section. For the full explanation blurb on this, check this corresponding section of the Day 15 blog post.
ට Nov 05 2022 – Asama 611 (Tokyo to Nagano) – U: 7810, R: 8340
ට Nov 06 2022 – Hakutaka 556 (Nagano to Ueda) – U: 1470, R: 2790
ට Nov 06 2022 – Asama 615 (Ueda to Nagano) – U: 1470, R: 2790
ට Nov 07 2022 – Kagayaki 509 (Nagano to Kanazawa) – 8920 (reserved seats only)
ට Nov 07 2022 – Thunderbird 24 (Kanazawa to Kyoto) – U: 6490, R: 6820
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Kosei Line (Kyoto to Otsukyo) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Kosei Line (Otsukyo to Kyoto) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Nara Line (Kyoto to Inari) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 08 2022 – JR Nara Line (Inari to Kyoto) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 09 2022 – JR Nara Line (Tofukuji to Kyoto) – 150 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 10 2022 – JR Sanin/Sagano Line (Saga-Arashiyama to Kyoto) – 240 (unreserved seats only)
ට Nov 12 2022 – Super Hakuto 7 (Kyoto to Osaka) – U: 1230, R: 1760
Unreserved: 28,560 yen
Reserved: 32,590 yen