Saturday, May 7, 2011

Japan - Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo 9D8N

Day 1: Osaka - Namba, Dotonburi, Ame-mura

Despite all the negative support from our friends and family, we decided to go ahead with the trip that we have planned since last year.

We departed on 15th April 2011 (Fri) night, took ANA flight at 10+PM to Haneda. I have heard that some flights taking off from KL one week ago was not even 1/
4 full. Well, i wish that were true, that would mean more space so that i can slp on the plane. But, our flight was more than 3/4 full. -__-

After a 6 hours sleepless flight, we finally arrived at Tokyo Haneda airport at 5.30 AM in the morning.

First thing we needed to do, is to head to a JR office to exchange ou
r JR pass. Thanks to advice from Tripadvisor, we understand that the JR office in Haneda only open at 11 am, that means we will be stranded in airport from 6 am to 11 am.

Thus we decided to head to Shinagawa station (JR station opens at 9am) to change for our pass at our own cost. Costs us 400Yen via Keikyu line.

These tickets are magnetic. So you can slot them into the machine.

Using the machine for the first time can be quite challenging.

We pass by a few JR office, but this is the one that you can change ur pass at. Its some walk from Shinagawa subway station.


The office at Tokyo Station opens at 7:30, and the one at Shin-Yokohama at 5:30. However, we were told its more convenient to go to Shinagawa as there is a direct JR line to Shin Osaka. But if you are heading to Tokyo central, i guess the other 2 options will be better.

The office was opened by the time we reach, but for some strange reason, they can only do the exchange from 9 am onwards.

So we decided to explore the vicinity.

It was spring. Not hard to find beautiful flowers everywhere. :)

Most of the shops were closed cos it was still early in the morning so we pop into a convenience store in search for some snacks.


Very yummy. Opens up my expectation for the food i am going to eat for the next one week. :)

Loiter till about 9 and we went back to change our JR pass. At the same time we asked the counter staff to help us reserve seats for the next train to Osaka.

How to use your JR pass:

1. Pass is not magnetic so u cant scan or slot but you will have to show the guy at the station at the side of the gantry so that they will let you pass/open the gate for u.

2. Bring along your passport when you need to travel on JR, sometimes they will ask you for your passport to ensure you are tourist (Locals are not eligible to buy JR pass)

3. Note that the expiry date for the pass is printed in Japan Era Name:

23. 4. 22 means: YY.M.DD. Year 23 in this case, corresponds to the number of years the current emperor has been on the throne. Simply put, add 12 to 2011, it will be "Hensei 23". So if u see the year is wrong, do not panic :)

It is recommended to reserve ur seats for long distance journeys so that it will ensure that you will have 2 confirmed seats. There are different cabins for reserved and non reserved seats.

The Shinkansen is very spacious and have ample leg space and overhead compartments for your luggage.

There will be service attendants pushing push carts down the train selling light snacks and drinks so if you are hungry, u can get some of those. Eating is permitted on the train.

Please keep your reserved seat tickets with you because after every stop there will be ticket conductor walking ard to check if you are seated at the correct seat.

After about 3 hours, we arrived at Shin-Osaka JR station, whereby we have to change to subway to Namba Station, via Midosuji Line 御堂筋線.

Note: There is a Namba JR station but it was more convenient for us to take subway cos our Hotel is nearer to subway line :)

Shin Osaka - Namba. 270 Yen.


We put up in Hotel Dotonburi for 3 nights. The hotel is very impressive for a budget hotel.

- 3 mins to the subway, 10 to JR station
- 5 mins main shopping street, Dotonburi & Sennichimae.
- Walking Distance to Amerika-mura
- 8 mins to Takashimaya
- Free international calls at the lobby & free use of computer
- LAN cable for high speed internet provided in room
- Multi purpose phone charger.
- Free umbrella and bicycle rental etc


Rested for a bit before we headed to Dotonburi for late lunch. Stomach was protesting by then =/

Main dotonburi street. Cant miss the giant crabby.

Attracted by the colorful display, we decided to let this be the first meal of the trip!

Sorry not quite sure of the name of the place, but theres branches in Osaka & Tokyo.

I ordered the set below while he ordered the set above. Each set cost 1,970 Yen (~29 SGD). Very worthwhile!

Happy face!

Very fresh sashimi.


After filling up our stomachs, its time to SHOP!!

But er.. we are distracted by snacks. lol

Freshly made 人形烧 stall. cute looking and tasty. 300 Yen for one bag.

Cant miss this shop in Dotonburi, a good place to get your Omiyage (sourvenirs)

Sennichimae street runs perpendicular to main Dotonburi street. Lotsa fashion shops. You can find Amos Style lingerie here too! My gf recommended that their bras are v pretty and good!

Found this snack at Sennichimae street in a small shop. Not common in Osaka from what i see. Its 2 takopachi balls sandwiched between 2 crispy prawn crackers. Absolute yums! 150 Yen.

Yes, we keep snacking after our lunch. but everything just looks irresistable! cant blame us!

As you may be aware, vending machines are aplenty in Japan.

Witness a demonstration. Something about the Nuclear plant.


Headed to ame-mura after that. The 20 mins walk was very interesting. saw plenty of interesting sights along the way.

Shrine that was closed for the day. The floor was covered with fallen cherry tree leaves..

Ame-mura is an American town in Osaka. Quite a good shopping place but the place is not really my kind. :)

Gotta take a pic w the landmark. :)

Watched this Taiwanese gourmet program 食尚玩家 before i embarked on this trip.

The following was one of the item in my must eat list after watching the program. Tried to google for it but surprisingly there wasnt much information on it. Thought it must be really hard to find, but we just stumpled upon it as we enter tha main street of ame-mura. lucky us :)

Its looks ordinary. But it makes sucha good dessert! Soft serve ice cream made from Hokkaido milk in fried hot dog bun. whats not to like. ^^

We shared one. but i m quite sure i can eat 2 by myself cos its not too sweet. lol.

Ever since i came back from Japan, my appetite have been monstrous. :(

But, he is right, if i were to put on weight, i better make sure all the food i eat is worth it i.e good food! Gotta be Japanese food then!


Walked ard ame-mura for abit, before deciding its not really a place for us. And decided to head back to Dotonburi side for dinner! yes i know, eat eat and eat.. haha.

And en route back, we encounter a lil surprise.

We saw the whole entourage of race cars on the road, like scenes from Tokyo Drift, damn cool!

One of those very fancy cars
Vroom vroom vroom!
Back to Dotonburi area
Shinsaibashi 心斋桥. Another famous landmark. Glico neon signboard. There is a H&M outlet nearby :)

Time for dinner!

We had Kinryu ramen 金龙拉面. There are a few branches in Namba. Not hard to find. Tried the one at the main Dotonburi street.

Shop front with a huge green dragon.

First of all, gotta pourchase your food ticket from the machine. Such methods are very common in Japan, where u have to purchase the tickets with specific orders and later pass it to the chef.

Soup is very light, not salty. taste abit different from the other ramen i had.

Tonkotsu is chewy and lean. nice! You know how some of the ramen soup base taste very heavy? This is definitely not that way, feels like i can eat it every day~!


Finally to end off the day, we packed a beef bowl from Yoshinoya! hahaha. There is a Yoshinoya shop just opposite Dotonburi street.

yum yum. the bowl was on promo and cost 390 Yen. (~5 SGD). Its nice, but i think our yoshinoya have great beef bowl too! this is prob the only thing i can find in SG that can be comparable to Japan's standard.

Thats it for Day 1. As we were quite tired from the flight we didnt venture out much of our hotel vicinity.

Back to hotel to recharge for Day 2!

1 comment:

Ben-G said...

awesome post! so detailed n easy to read!