Osaka free and easy-peasy
Travel booking platform Klook helps you organise and make the most out of your Japan trip
Osaka was declared Japan's new tourist hot spot for Asian visitors by Bloomberg last week, and it is not difficult to see why.
The country's second largest city after Tokyo has something for everyone.
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) and Osaka Castle, which dates back to the 16th century, are less than an hour away from each other by train, and Osaka is also home to plenty of museums.
Interested in nature? Check out the Museum of Natural History.
Into art and intricate details? There is the Museum of Oriental Ceramics.
Want to see wildlife? Visit the whale shark at the Kaiyukan, one of the world's largest aquariums.
Having so much to do can be overwhelming for first-time visitors or even the seasoned traveller, and that is where Klook comes in.
Launched last year in Singapore, it touts itself as Asia's largest travel experience booking platform, offering access to more than 30,000 attractions, tours, activities and services in more than 120 destinations.
Klook helped me sort out my five-day itinerary earlier this month, from a train pass and attraction tickets to a portable Wi-Fi router (from $4 a day).
Collecting the router from an office in Singapore means hitting Japanese ground running, perfect for the Instagram-ready tourist.
After I touched down at Kansai International Airport,it was a quick visit to the travel desks opposite international arrivals to pick up the other things I had ordered through Klook.
The Kansai Area Pass (from $25) ensures unlimited use of most JR trains within a designated area, and I immediately put it to use for the Haruka train to the city centre.
To use the pass, simply show it to the staff by the automated gates. Take the opportunity to confirm with them the route you have in mind. That is always a good idea, given the complicated rail network.
I got to Dotonbori, of street food and neon signboards fame, just after the sky turned dark.
My eyes adjusted to the flashing billboards and moving commercials in time to catch an animated Merlion - alongside the famous Glico Man, of course.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
It was time to work my other senses: I tried snacks native to Osaka - takoyaki, kushikatsu (deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables) and okonomiyaki. You can get them sizzling from street-side stalls or at one of the many restaurants.
Cannot do without ramen? Look up and out for Kinryu Ramen's signage - a giant model of a dragon - and join the queue.
The nearby Shinsaibashi roofed arcade is the city's biggest and main shopping area. Upscale boutiques and chain stores are packed side by side along the 600m-long street, making it the perfect place to walk your dinner off.
For family-friendly fun, visit USJ. The journey there, via an offshoot on the Osaka Loop Line, is covered by the Kansai Area Pass.
Armed with a 1 Day E-Ticket ($92) and VIP Wristband, both through Klook, I headed to the private entrance.
The wristband gives a good enough head start to be first in line for a must-do ride. You can also shave significant waiting time off popular attractions with the Express Pass (from $48).
The highlight of USJ was undoubtedly The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can sip Butterbeer, munch on Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and buy Voldemort's wand.
The attention to detail is unparalleled, bringing to life Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. An escape while already on holiday? Now that is magical.
The wristband was sold with a ticket to Harukas 300 ($36), the observatory on Japan's tallest building. On the 60th storey, take in the unblocked panoramic view of the city.
Aside from Hogwarts, another castle to visit is Osaka Castle.
It is a long, slightly uphill trek in, but it is worth it, and I ended my time in the city with ice cream, sitting on the stone walls and enjoying the feeling of being dwarfed by the majestic icon.
Mr Eric Gnock Fah, president and co-founder of Hong Kong-based Klook, said: "We take care of everything, from negotiations to launching activities. Customers can save as much as 60 per cent off regular prices.
"We also have in place strict fraud protocols to safeguard users' interests and secure payments.
"Plus, we constantly review the quality of our experiences based on over a million authentic reviews, which we encourage customers to leave after completing their activities."