Thursday, November 2, 2023

Japan 2023 ✈ Osaka

We had originally planned to visit Japan in June 2020. Over the last 3 years, we had cancelled and rebooked this trip multiple times as Japan was one of the last few countries to reopen its borders to tourism post-Covid. After waiting for 3 years, we were glad to finally make this trip happen this year! This trip has been 3 years in the making and I must say Japan certainly lived up to our anticipation!

20 Apr 2023 (Thurs): Ichiran Ramen Umeda - Namba

After wrapping up our sightseeing in Kyoto, we headed back to Osaka and decided to have lunch at the same Ichiran where we came on our first day in Japan. Gotta savor another round of Ichiran before we leave Japan. The Disruptive Behavior sign is definitely for the tourists...please do not have bad!!

We waited about 10 minutes to get seated and the staff handed us the piece of paper for us to select our preferences while we waited.

As always, Ichiran ramen did not dissappoint. We each ordered an Asahi to toast for this smooth and enjoyable trip. The total cost for our meal was ¥3,540 ($26.50).

We enjoyed Ichiran so much that I even made a video just for Ichiran...hahaha!!

After a satisfying lunch, we took the subway to Namba station to collect our Osaka Metro 1-Day Pass which we bought on Klook for ¥820 ($4.85) per pax. We would be sightseeing around Osaka the next day so this pass would cover all our transportation within Osaka.

There are ticket machines in each metro station but they are mostly cash-only. It was easier to purchase on Klook since it costs the same and we could use our credit card. By the way, the many many signs on the ground at the metro stations show how Japanese follow instructions strictly.

After collecting our metro pass, we walked around Namba and went to Surugaya and Super Potato for game boy's video game shopping. 

Stopped at Family Mart on our way back to buy their famous Famichiki, sandwich, cup noodles, and drinks for dinner in the hotel.

Called it a day earlier as we were both tired and had to start packing.

21 Apr 2023 (Fri): Osaka Castle - Shitennoji - Dotonbori - Ippudo Ramen

Our final day of sightseeeing started later at 10am so we had more time to enjoy 'brunch' in the hotel. Day 5 of the same food options and I'm still enjoying it...haha!

Love how orderly everything is in Japan...perfect place for people with!

Our first stop of the day was not a tourist attraction. The game boy wanted to 'visit' Capcom's headquarters and unsurprisingly, visitors are not allowed. Hubby even tried to ask the security guard if he could go in and look around. The security guard couldn't understand English but was nice enough to take out his phone to use the translation app to converse with hubby...poor thing have to entertain this crazy gaijin...hahaha!

After a quick photo stop at Capcom, we went to our 2nd stop for the day...Osaka Castle. This is one of the main tourist attractions in Osaka so there were quite a lot of tourists and another student group when we arrived at 11.30am.

Luckily the surrounding of the castle was big so it never felt crowded at all, and we were still able to take photos of the castle without too many people in the background.

Spring flowers were blooming around the castle.

And we found this perfect photo spot of the castle...with hardly anyone around! :)

Another photo spot of the castle and the moat.

These kiddos on field trip were so cute holding hands walking together. Spotted this stylish Japanese mom cycling with boots and a Prada bag as we were leaving the castle. Apparently it's very common to see bikes with seats at the back and/or front for kids.

Lunch time for the Japanese 'salarymen'...a reminder of how much I enjoy remote work. The closest metro station,  Tanimachiyonchome Station, was a 20 minute walk from Osaka Castle. 

We took the Tanimachi line to Shitennoji-mae station then walked another 7 minutes to Shitennoji Temple. This temple is not as popular so there weren't any other tourists around. We were already templed-out at this point so this was just a quick 10 min stop.

We then took the metro back to Namba station. While we were in Namba station, we did a 'trial run' to figure out the best route to walk from the metro station to the airport bus stop, focusing on finding the elevator/escalators, as we would have all our luggages with us the next morning, and it wouldn't be fun carrying the luggages up and down the stairs. We were glad we did this 'trial run' first as it made everything much easier the next day.

We then walked to the famous Dotonbori street which was pretty crowded. This is Osaka's culinary epicenter and all the restaurant signs are huge. 

Saw a store selling everything with this 'guy' whom I had no idea who he is until I googled. Apparently this guy is one of the famous Osakans called Kuidaore Taro. Somehow Japanese is so good with packaging their merchandise and gifts that we were enticed to buy a few nicely packaged souvenirs.

Last but not least, the famous Glico Running Man, which somehow became a popular photo stop for any visitor. We thought about coming back to Dotonbori again at night when everything is lit up but the weather got cold at night so that's all for Dotonbori.

Last round of ramen for our last evening in Japan. We decided to try Ippudo, which was a short walk from our hotel. 

We ordered gyoza, fried rice, Shiromaru Classic, and Akamaru Modern for a total of ¥2,408 ($18). Conclusion, we both preferred Ichiran...hands down.

Last round of convenient store run at 7-11....drinks and ice-cream for dessert.

Time to pack up and get ready to leave the next morning. That's a wrap for Osaka!

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