5-Days Tour to Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima: Warm Hospitality at Each Place
Osaka, Kyoto and Kansai
This time, we would like to share a story of two guests, Ahmed and Mohamed, who traveled in Japan for five days. Eight different host travelers from Huber supported the guests, and while traveling, they had no difficulties finding Muslim friendly foods in Japan.
The first day, Ahmed and Mohamed came to Osaka and were welcomed by two host travelers, Yukiko and Shiori. The plan was to meet the guides at Osaka Station, visit a limited-time Ghibli (Japanese animation company) Exhibition in Kobe, and head back to Osaka to have an Okonomiyaki dinner. First, when they met at the station, Yukiko and Shiori helped Ahmed and Mohamed pick up their JR Passes. They then headed to Kobe. While on the train to Kobe, they talked about this trip and themselves to get to know each other as guides and guests, and at the same time, as friends. At the Ghibli Exhibition, Ahmed said “we couldn’t enjoy here without you” to Yukiko and Shiori. Often, they found some information only available in Japanese, and their host travelers helped them understand the contents by translating and telling their stories. As they started to head back to Osaka, known by locals as the kitchen of Japan, everyone was ready for dinner. The dinner venue the guides were planning to take them to, serves a favorite local food called Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza-like pancake). Thanks to their previous discussions on Huber Chat, they already knew foods Ahmed and Mohamed could not eat. After dinner, Yukiko and Shiori saw Ahmed and Mohamed off at their hotel. Afterward, Yukiko and Shiori shared the guests’ preferences and the story of the trip with Ahmed’s other guides who would be playing host traveler roles for the rest of the guests’ trip.
The second day of the trip took place in Kyoto. The guides for the day were Yuki and Karin. The plan was to go to must-visit places in Kyoto including Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Fushimi Inari Taisha, and Gion district. When they visited their first destination, Yuki and Karin had to find a place that serves Muslim friendly foods, which they knew thanks to the information from the previous guides. They went into a restaurant, and the guides helped them carefully choose what to eat. Ahmed and Mohamed expressed their gratitude and said, “we are relieved to be able to rely on someone who speaks the local language.” After eating, they walked around the Gion district while wearing rental kimonos. Yuki and Karin showed them around the district and took a lot of pictures. As the end of their trip approached, the time they spent together made them feel more like friends than guides showing around and explaining every spot. Both guides said “Having the same goal between a pair of guides had us working together and trying our best to make the guests’ trip more enjoyable” and continues, “we all became good friends at the end.”
After Ahmed and Mohamed arrived in Hiroshima, they kept one day free to relax. On the fourth day, their host travelers were Keiko and Kana, and the plan was to visit Miyajima, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and the Peace Memorial Museum. Their first destination was Miyajima. While most travelers only go to Itsukushima Island, the four also took the ropeway to go up Mt. Misen. There is an observatory area where they could enjoy a beautiful ocean view of Miyajima. Coming back to town, Keiko and Kana took them to an okonomiyaki restaurant. Hiroshima’s okonomiyaki is very different from the okonomiyaki in Osaka/Kyoto. This time there was no difficulty in finding the right food options for the guests because of stories and information shared by the previous host travelers. After lunch, they headed to the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Museum. At those places, they all learned what happened in the past and saw things which were left after the bomb dropped. Ahmed and Mohamed had a great interest in the area’s history and asked the host travelers many questions. As their trip came to an end, Ahmed told them “I like Hiroshima the best,” and he bought lots of Hiroshima souvenirs for his family and friends.
The last day was a trip to Universal Studios Japan (USJ)! Visiting USJ was another Huber experience with the first being with host travelers in Tokyo. When they came to Japan for the first time, they used Huber’s guide service and visited Tokyo Disneyland with cheerful host travelers and had a great time with them. The guides this time were Yuko and Shingo. However, there was a challenge. USJ doesn’t have facilities or restaurants specifically for Muslim people. However, Yuko did research before meeting the guests, so she knew where to find Muslim friendly food. With Yuko’s help, Ahmed and Mohamed were able to enjoy themselves without having to worry about food. They had a fun time even when they were waiting in lines for rides by sharing snacks and having exciting conversations. While Ahmed was a bit nervous about going on the rides, the guides found out that he enjoyed the movies and characters of the movies the rides were based on. On the other hand, everyone found out that Mohamed enjoyed the rides a lot. After knowing these facts, both guides worked together to make sure both of them enjoyed their time in USJ to the fullest.
Ahmed and Mohamed enjoyed their time without wasting time or worrying about their plans. A total of eight host travelers communicated and helped each other online to make the guests’ trips in Kobe, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka more enjoyable and memorable. Some of them still keep in touch and continue communicating with each other online until they revisit Japan. With the host travelers being united in supporting and offering guidance to one another, the entire trip was a successful and precious memory for everyone.
A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!
Image courtesy of Tomomarusan
The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!