Leaving the cold city of Nagoya, we went to the even colder Osaka. It seemed like there was no winning in the battle against the cold; I left Nagoya all bundled up and somewhat comfy, I arrived in Osaka freezing. With our destination for the day Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi-kita, food trip and shopping centrale of Osaka, I remained under-layered for our outdoor adventure. Two heat packs notwithstanding.
Dotonbori: Food Mecca of Osaka
From our hotel in Osaka we took the nearby JR Line at the Shin-Imamiya Station. We got off at the JR Namba Station and followed the crowd walking to the famous Dotonbori food district. Needless to say we were overwhelmed by the choices of restaurants and the crowd that awaited us there.
But if there was one thing I needed to check off from my list, it was this: eat okonomiyaki and takoyaki in Osaka. I had tried both in the Philippines and I must say that, although lots of people rave about them, I hadn’t been impressed. So I made it my mission in Japan to try these two at their birthplace. I was not disappointed. I immensely enjoyed the takoyaki we had at Konamon Museum and the okonomiyaki at Takohachi. I just loved how the onion shaving would unceasingly wave back and forth, beckoning me to have some and have some more.
Two meals would not be enough if there’s no dessert. And what better dessert was there to have in winter than ice cream? We raided the nearby Family Mart for some only-in-Japan ice creams and I totally made a great choice with my ice cream. It was like cold chocolate in its creaminess. Its blend of sweetness and bitterness was just right and I was sad to see the container empty.
Read more: How to apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa.
Shinsaibashi: Shopping Center in Osaka
After having our fill with food, we walked towards the Shinsaibashi shopping center, hoping to score some great deals and maybe find a cinema. We found this Moca Store that was having a sale and we joined in the fray of the mostly Japanese crowd. I bought earmuffs, thereby ending my ears’ sufferings.
A few steps away from the Moca Store I suddenly noticed a very welcoming sight: Toho Cinemas. We had been talking about catching Star Wars in Japan, what with my penchant for watching movies in foreign countries. We got so lucky because Star Wars had just opened in cinemas and it was already available in Japan! According to my friend, Hollywood movies are usually shown late in Japan. I guess it’s because they have to translate it and/or dub it first before releasing it.
True to the vending machine spirit of Japan, getting tickets at Toho Cinemas also entailed transacting with a machine. We were all surprised though that 3D glasses were to be bought together with the ticket (100 JPY), unlike in the Philippines where you just borrow and return them. No more scratched and oily glasses!
We still had a bit of time before the movie so we checked out Uniqlo first which was located on the lower levels of the building (I think we were in Miura). We were no longer transferring hotels so we were all excited at the idea of shopping. However, since I had to think of luggage space (which I ran out of because of my purchases in Tokyo), I only ended up buying heat tech socks. Yeah, I built my winter wear in Japan. Haha!
Read more: The wild deer of the Nara Park.
It was cold and getting colder still as the night came and we all wanted some ramen. Ramen at night? Why not! We had been doing it almost daily during our entire stay in Japan. And for our ramen needs, we heeded the advise of Honey and ate at the Kinryu Ramen, across the Konamon Museum and distinguished by a green dragon on its roof. The line was looong! And the best thing about the line was that we were the only foreigners there! We were pretty confident that we were in good hands.
Thus our day ended with our stomachs full, our hands or shoulders heavy with shopped items and our pockets just a wee bit emptier. And for me, that constitutes a really good day. ^ ^
December 19, 2015
***Photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4 Silver