Saturday, August 4, 2018

{Travelog} Osaka in 3 days 大阪三天两夜自由行

【Travelog: 3D2N Osaka 大阪自由行】

Osaka city was the 4th stop, day 9 of our family Japan trip, our itinerary summary is as below, each link will be updated once the Travelog is up & ready:

↬Itinerary Overview↫

↠↠ 4D3N Tokyo City Exploration
↠↠ Day Trip to Kawagoe Little Edo (Facebook)
↠↠ 3D2N Winter Wonderland - Shirawakago & Takayama 
↠↠ 3D2N Cultural Kyoto Free & Easy or just the Food of Osaka
↠↠ 3D2N Osaka Free & Easy (this post!)

↬Day 9↫
Kyoto  Osaka
• Dotonbori 
• Fugu fish 河豚 & seafood sukiyaki  

We traveled from Kyoto to Osaka via the JR line and arrived rather late - around 6:30pm and by the time we settled down at our Airbnb apartment it's already7-ish, so we headed to Dotonbori direct, which is only 10min away and most of the shops there operate till late, real late.

We were spoilt with choices for food.. Dotonbori was practically jam packed with young and trendy crowds, mixture of local Japanese and foreigners alike. From food to fashion to cosmetic products and electrical appliances, you can really find them all here. 

The signature Dotonbori running man that could not be missed.

As we walked, we tried the famous Takoyaki, grilled squid balls with dried fish. Kukuru is one of the most popular stores and basically any popular restaurants in Dotonbori would require queuing - from wagyu beef, okiyaki, Ramen to sushi.

It's really chilly as it was 2°c and the winter wind is making it worse. So i requested to have something warm, and we decided to have... fugu fish on hot pot, fugu is a popular cuisine in Japan but it is deadly poisonous and can only be served by certified chef. The set cost ¥1,980 per person and the fugu fish was actually delicious; the texture is someone more firm compare to normal fish, but it tasted naturally sweet like cod fish. We ordered another 2 sets of seafood hot pot set and soba, so was just right amount for the 4 of us.

Fugu fish for us

For the kiddo

Dessert time..

Kanda Fugu & seafood hot pot 
2-1, Namba 1-Chōme, Chuo-Ku, Osaka, Osaka 542-0076
Cost: ~¥2000/set

↬Day 10↫
Osaka City
• Osaka Castle & museum
• Hep Five ferries wheel
• shopping at Shimsaibashi 心斋桥
• Umeda Sky Building & Observetory deck
• Tombori river cruise
• Shopping @ Dotonbori (Namba station)

The next morning, we purchased the Osaka Amazing Pass at the subway and began our journey to tour Osaka.

I would recommend getting the Osaka Amazing Pass pass if you are visiting Osaka for the first time, it comes in 1 day or 2 day pass and it allows you subway access and free entry to many of the local attraction, including Legoland.
Cost: ¥2000/pax/day. Free if under 6yo

First stop, Osaka castle. Its easy to spot - a White Castle with golden tiger and dragon / fish on the roofs guarding the castle.  It's actually rebuilt few times with the last in 1952, after it was destroyed during the air strike, the miniature model in the museum would show how big the compound of the castle once was. We spent about 40 minutes exploring the exterior of the castle and another 20 minutes in the museum - we only covered 3 floors of the total 6 floors.

The Osaka Amazing pass includes free boat ride around the castle mout but we skipped it since many trees we bald and there were not many colors. I suppose spring or autumn would be better time to visit the castle.

Admission: free with Osaka Amazing Pass

Last of the autumn view on the street..

Our favorite snacks at Lawson

• Hep Five Ferris Wheel
There are 2 ferries wheels in Osaka city but this red ferries wheel is the most well known and is located near the Osaka City station, nearby to many shopping malls. We spent sometime walkabout the shopping malls and admired the Christmas deco within the malls.

Admission: free with Osaka Amazing Pass

We stopped by the Osaka mall for our lunch break and did some window shopping, the Christmas decor was really beautiful and enchanting.. the duo were checking out each and every display windows.

To our surprise, the Tourist Informstion counter at the Osaka shopping mall offer free kimono / Yakuta for indoor photoshotting fun. So I took one too 😁

• Umeda Sky Building & ObservatoryDeck 
This tower is located about 800m away from the Hep Five ferries wheel and I would recommend to visit right before sunset. The night view was quite amazing as it is surrounded by many sky scrapers and the walking path is lighted with ultra violet flight. We spent about 20 minutes in the lounge to admire the night view of Osaka city.

Admission: free with Osaka Amazing Pass

The giant Christmas tree that was setup in front of the mall, along with the Christmas market.
• Tomborri river cruise
We planned to take the river cruise to view Dotonbori only to be informed its fully booked for the day, and it was only 630pm then! How unfortunate.. so we went to have some dessert (green tea macha again) and shopping for cosmetic products before heading to have our dinner. 

• Dinner @ M Matsuyama Yakiniku Hanare branch
This restaurant was recommended to us by a friend and we checked that it has good review on Tripadviser, so we made our reservation on the first night as it was full house on our arrival. We ordered the Premium set with 4 selections of M beef and premium beef sushi. The Shoulder meat and the beef sushi were really good, but I still find Hida beef is the best.
Cost: ¥3700-5000/pax depending on order 

Kids portion

↬Day 11↫
Osaka  Tokyo
• Kuromon Ichiba Market 黑门市场 (nipponbashi station)
• Skin care shopping
• depart to Tokyo 

After packing our luggages, we departed for Kuromon ichiba market, it has wide selection of food and fresh food is obviously the selling points here. We sampled many of the food and let me share few of the must-tried..

• Fresh sushi
Kuromon is actually a market, so they have many fresh seafood on sale here. Many of the sushi here are ordered and served on the spot. A worthy try but we skipped that as we have had quite a lot of sushi meals

• Grilled seafood
Scallops, giant crabs, large prawns, sea urchin, unagi, octopus... you name it, they have it! Just choose your seafood and they have them grill on the spot.  The scallops were so fresh and I really loved the soft her chewy texture.¥800 for 3 large scallops, pretty decent.

Due to allergy, I didn't try the shellfish nor the prawns, what a waste, I know... but there are enough other food to keep me fueled so don't feel sorry for me! :)

Unagi.... my absolute favorite!

Fresh scallops!

Just pick your own!

Lots of seafood stalls around..

• strawberry mochi 大富 
Cost ¥300 each and but the mochi is soft and filled with generous amount of red bean paste, when mix with the soft glutinous skin it makes a great combination!

• Fresh strawberries 
They don't come cheap (7 of these large strawberries selling at ¥1000-1200) but they sure are sweet and juicy.

• Okinomiyaki  
Okonomiyaki is one of the popular street foods in Osaka, it's similar to Takiyaki but comes in a round cake shape, it has flour, eggs, onion, and other fillings of your choice such as octopus, squid, Pork, crab.. and top with loads of dried fish flakes.

And more...

With our tummies filled, we finally made our way to Shin-Osaka station and boarded the Shinkansen they take us dir cf to Tokyo station. The ride takes 156minutes and we actually had a clear full view of Mt Fuji.

Before boarding, we bought the railway bento from the  shops outside, only cost around ¥850-¥2,000 for each of these yummy selections,

Before leaving for Tokyo, I did my beauty shopping at the local pharmacy, it's a must for this trip and look at my load!

Highly recommend the Elixir series (especially the tightening gell), suits our Asian skin really well.

With that, we ended our 3 days 2 nights in Osaka and finally ready for Tokyo Disneyland next!

And who would have guest that we got the best view of Mount Fuji while on the thunderbird rail to Tokyo... simply magnificent!

Other places to consider:
There are several other places we didn't manage to cover this round and would like to visit should we re-visit Osaka next time: Universal Studio (since we are going Disney), Nara deer park, Kiddy Land

Tips to traveler..

  • Remember to bring along your passport with you when purchasing tax free items, and in most cases you have to purchase >¥5000 in order to be entitled to the 8% tax deduction. 
  • Most of the mega stores employed Chinese speaking employees (not so much of English speaking thou) so don't feel shy to ask for help / recommendations. It will certainly cut short your shopping time. 
  • If you are traveling with young kids, buy your Shinkansen or Suica tickets over the counter in order to be entitled to kids price (50% discount)

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