Sunday, May 15, 2011

Japan - Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo 9D8N

Day 2: Osaka - Dotonburi, Osaka Castle, Umeda

It was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon!

Had ample of rest the night before is a good way to start the day!

First off! Must be brunch!

Was walking along Dotonburi street and we smell something heavenly. We follow the smell and ended up at this Ramen shop:


大阪府 大阪市中央区道頓堀1-8-26

Price range: 900 - 1800 Yen.

Its located on the main street of Dotonburi, not far from the Giant crab. Supposedly around for 47 years.

Dig in!

I am soooo glad & grateful & thank god we followed our glutton's instinct and decided to try this.

This is now ranked top of my list for Ramen. Its the best ramen i EVER had.

Although we had this for breakfast, we finished the entire bowl. both of us. ;P But i guess ramen is a very subjective dish, some like it salty, some more particular abt the soup base, some prefer thick noodles etc.

For me, it was ranked top because on the whole, it taste perfect. Flavourful soup base, tonkotsu that melts in the mouth, chewy noodles. i am salivating now while i type. ..

can i fly back now? withdraw all my savings and spend a few months in japan? plss?? :(

dream on.


We are lucky because when we book for our trip, we were not expecting to see any cherry blossoms since mid April could be a little late, however, due to the weather condition, the bloomings were slightly later this year.

Osaka Castle is one of the most popular hanami spot during the cherry blossom seasons.

Costs us 230 Yen from Namba to Higashi Umeda station and change to Tenimachi line and arrive at Tenimachi 4 Chrome station.

Take Exit 1B. Its a 10 mins walk to Osaka Castle.

Thirst quenchers! Lipton honey milktea is nice!

Park entrance
Beautiful weeping willows.

Still full bloom!

Hokoku Shrine

Osaka Castle

It was a beautiful afternoon! walking around with the locals and enjoying the colors of spring. Dont think it is considered as crowded given its a Sunday afternoon.

We spent about 3 hours having relaxing walks in the park and castle, taking small breaks in between. Any time less than that may be abit short to explore the entire area.

It is free to enter the park up till the bottom of the castle. However, if you wish to go up to the Castle, entrance fees is 600Yen.

Box sushi. 1000 yen for this box. nice but nothing fantastic.


From Osaka Castle, we walked to Temmabashi Station (天満橋駅). It was a longgg walk, about 20 mins, under the hot sun. Will recommend to actually walk back to Tenimachi 4 Chrome station.

200Yen from Temmabashi station to Umeda Station. Next destination is Umeda Sky Tower.

Enroute to Umeda Sky Tower.

We lost our way :( Took us about half an hour by foot to finally reach Umeda Sky Tower.

Greeted by lovely flowers.

It is free to go up to the Umeda tower, however, to access the open-air viewing gallery, admission is 700 Yen. Personally i think the experience of the glass lift from Level 2 to 38 floor is enough already.

In fact, i think this place is too inaccessible, so if you don intend to visit the open air viewing gallery, i would suggest you give it a miss.

View from 38th.

After the slightly disappointing visit to the sky tower, we need to look for food. Anyone realised we haven ate much for the whole day? hahaha.

While trying to make our way to this Oden place we had on our list, we chanced upon this little playground. Took many nice picture at this place. Our little find. :) right behind the Umeda Sky Tower.

Its quite hard to find the right words to describe how beautiful it is...

Spent some time at the little park then went around the area with no plan and aim and ended up at....

Fukushima 6 Chome.. haha. Apparently theres a section near Umeda named Fukushima.

Finally found the Oden place! but it was closed! And we went the wrong direction in search for way back to the subway station.

Famished. Passed by a few Izakaya, but they dont have English menus for us (usually we wouldnt be bothered , will just take the Japanese menu and point to picture, but as there were no customers in those places, soo...) and most of them were not open yet. It was about 5+ pm?

After some aimless walking, we spotted this place and decided to give it a try!

i was attracted by this picture outside the shop. I am sucha sucker for tamago. A pity, the actual item is somewhat different from the pic. lol.

You have to order & wait for your food. Some food they will cook on the spot, while otherslike the Oden, we will have to use the microwave available to heat it up.

The overall taste of the food was not too bad. Not fantastic but comforting after a long aimless walk.

And after feeding our grumbling tummy, we decided to head back to Namba.

This time, we managed to find the right way to the subway! Maybe cause we can think better with a full stomach. haha.


Back in Namba.

Something we bought from vending machine to quench thirst.

We decided it was still early to head back to hotel so we decided to check out the Izakaya at Dotonburi area. Picked the following out from the lot amongst the side alleys of Sennichimae.

They do not have English menu but we decided to be adventurous!

Had a hard time trying to decide what we want from the full Japanese menu, but it helps that we can read Chinese. It is like knowing half Japanese.

And we ended up w these:

Chicken Soft bone. very yummy.
Sapporo beer for the uncreative & Chi-Hi w Soda for me! Chi-hi is a type of sho-chu. You can choose with or without soda. It have v fragrant fruitty after taste, definitely my pick for alcohol :)

A cosy bar with 2 levels, serve little bites to go along w your drinks as well as main courses like pasta.


Temple located in the alley of a buzzling shopping district? U gotta be kidding me.

But i kid u not, Osaka is full of lovely surprises. Open your eyes big when you walk along the district, you will never be sure what you will find.

The temple is another 5 minutes walk from the izakaya, located at 法善寺橫町. Really beautiful by night, definitely must check it out.

Hozenji 法善寺. For a moment it feels as if i was tranported to olden Japanese era.
You can use the water from the spring the 'bathe' the buddha. Its supposed to bring you good luck.
Meoto Zenzai Cafe 夫妻善哉.

This shop sells Red bean soup and is rather famous. We didnt try because it costs 1200 Yen for 2 bowls :( But if u are interested, it is located just next to 法善寺. Not able to miss it once you are in this alley.

Eateries & izakayas are aplenty in the alley.

Its our second night in Osaka & we have yet to taste their famous Takopachi!

Thus we decided to go hunt for one before we end the day.

Theres dozens of Takopachi stores in Osaka. You will be spoilt for choices. Not tempted by those with long Qs at the main street of Dotonburi, we went to the back of the street and found my voted no. 1 takopachi!

I dont think this is famous? Because i tried googling for this but the results that came out are those thats situated on the main Dotonburi street :(

Nevertheless, i still want to recommend this! It is located along the river, BEHIND the buildings on Dotonburi street.

I think he turned around 100 times for each ball. seriously. thats why each ball is soft and fluffy!

Cute chef who wanted to pose for me when i whip out my camera.

One box of 8 pieces cost 400yen.Lotsa spring onions!
Each piece is warm and fluffy. slightly charred on the outside, but mushy in the inside!

No wonder Takopachi are famous in Osaka, the standard of any random store there is wayy better than singapore's standard. SG ones are usually v hard and not fragrant, more of like using mayo, sweet sauce to make the balls tasty.


If you are not an early sleeper, go for a walk at Shinsaibashi at night. Other than the usual stuff mentioned yesterday night (H&M, Glico neon sign), you will be able to see those guys dressed in black suit standing on their street touting business for their girls. very interesting lol. bright neon lights, cool looking japanese guys etc.

But lets say if you are not interested in those, you can always pop by Don Quijote which is their discount store (somewhat like our mustafa), selling almost ANYTHING you will need ranging from costmetics, to costumes and even branded goods. The best thing is they closes at 5 am!

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