Okay so my bro who works in the Osaka area of Japan and I were crazily and pointlessly talking over the Viber app about touring Japan (which we did not know would really happen at that time) two weeks ago when he sent me this photo he has taken when he went to the Gion area of Kyoto.
I don’t really know why but I was startled and amazed by the photo that I immediately told him I would go there as soon as I can to experience the rich and extremely deep, perfectionist, complicated, disciplined, and beautiful culture of Japan. Thankfully, with all the plummeting fuel prices, budget carrier Cebu Pacific Air had was running a promo at that time on top of the no-fuel-surcharge-since-fuel-is-cheap-now rule, I was able to book a round trip ticket from Manila (MNL) to Osaka-Kansai (KIX) this coming March for only Php 8,700 (around USD $197). Regular prices from Manila to Japan range from Php 18,000-28,000 (around USD $400-650), but still I know of some buddies who were able to get a way more cheaper fare than I did (though they’d have to book a year in advance for those – I’m more of a spontaneous guy).
Of course, for us Filipinos, we have to go through the tedious process of obtaining a Japan visa (see my article here for the simplified process & requirements). So there I was, furnishing my itinerary as required and researching different hotel options online on Expedia when I stumbled on below worth-a-second-look deal right after typing “cheap hotels near Osaka airport” in the search box.
I was literally shocked I didn’t know what to do. I really wanted to experience staying at a Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inn) even for just a night although it is extremely expensive (you pay a lot to experience culture and authenticity). Do I buy it right that second? I was only planning to stay at my bro’s apartment to save on costs, but. I. really. cannot. miss. on. this. big. one!!! I though it was a too good to be true deal at first since it will only be my first time trying Expedia, but right after checking on the reviews of the hotel, I couldn’t help but book the deal before it goes and before I went out for lunch.
I paid a total of USD $72 via credit card. Total includes USD $8 for the authentic and detail oriented breakfast as I read from the reviews and USD $5 for the local tax. When I was about to get home from work, I checked on the price to see if they really are serious when they say ‘last minute deal’. The only downside in using Expedia is that it is very easy to execute a payment transaction, however after the sale, they do not have a telephone number that can be contacted by Philippine customers if every they have issues or concerns. They only have email. Sad thing is I left them an email the day I made a booking, and it’s been a week now and I still haven’t heard anything from them.
I’m really looking forward to taking scenic pictures and trying out their onsen and ‘outstanding’ service. Anyway, I’ll be the judge of that. LOL! I’ll let you know how my Ryokan experience goes right after I come home from my trip.
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