Monday, November 8, 2010

Osaka, Japan - Attractions and Things To Do

We enjoyed ourselves most in Osaka and really loved the hotel, Namba Dotonbori Hotel Osaka, that we stayed in. It's small but it has everything! Even iPhone and Blackberry charger! For about $117/night, it's really value for money and is situated in a great location.

And the best thing was the bed!! The bed came with a Serta mattress made of memory foam. We each had 2 pillows to ourselves, 1 made of memory foam and the other with corma beans. Both can really drag you into dreamland within seconds! I didn't know these stuff can make your body feel so well rested every night. 

They even greeted me with generous amount of Shiseido toiletries when we first checked in. The hotel provides Sheseido shampoo, conditioner and body foam too. Love, love it 'coz the shampoo smells like Senscience.

Free Packs of Shesiedo Toiletries (more than 1 set in a pouch) with Headband and Hotel Room's Ones

The hotel is very easy to locate too. Just alight at JR-Namba station and get out from exit 26D. If your luggage is heavy, you can use the lift between exit 26C and 26D. It's less than 5 mins walk and Dotonbori Hotel has the signature 4 head figures in front of the hotel. It may be a good idea to print a picture of the hotel entrance to ask for directions if you need help on arrival.

On the way out from exit 26D, there's a Life Food Market where we replenish our cheap beers, tidbits and sashimi from. When we came back late from Kyoto 1 night, we even settled our dinner with pre-packed food from the Life Food Market and heated it up with the oven provided by the hotel. And of course, we always conveniently end up with a can of beer (biiru) when walking back from JR-Namba station to Dontonbori hotel.

Biiru and Nuts From After A Long Day @ 1 End of Dotonbori Street

For breakfast, the 24 hr Lawson convenience store right opposite provides delicious bun. The one on the top left corner of the pic has a slab of chocolate in it! Sinful and heavenly for breakfast... Japan also has many 120-150yen drinks vending machine littered around. It's really easy to grab a hot coffee to kickstart your day.

The Namba Shisaibahi shopping area is so big that it took us a few nights to cover the bulk of it. There's the famous Glico man in the middle of a cross junction and a huge H&M too. If you're into sportswear, pay a visit to Sportaka as they have levels and levels of sportswear and a bargain corner.

My Favourite H&M

Uniqlo Building with Interesting Lights Display

Try exploring the smaller alleys, you'll discover some authentic restaurants that cost lesser with great tasting nice food. We found it good 'coz these small eateries are usually filled with locals and added to the whole Japanese experience. To order, they speak a smattering of English or I'll just point where my finger brings me. Usually, the food turns out fine, if not very nice, hehe...

We also went to Rinku Town Premium Outlets where we got some cheap buys like the Nike sneakers.

One of the best days was the trip to Osaka Castle It's about 40 mins away from Namba. That day, the rain caused by Typhoon 14  has passed and the weather was fine.

Cute Japanese Children Out for Day Trip to Osaka Castle

Staying at Dontobori is a blessing to foodies. But we had to try the Macdonald's 'coz the limited edition burgers just seemed so yummy. Every special item is available for 2 weeks. While there, the German Sausage one was selling. Well, it was a disappointment 'coz it was too salty. 

It just reinforced my point to never eat fast food when overseas but to savor the local cuisine to the max!

The local cuisine on the other hand was awesome! My best memories in Osaka, besides the day trips to Kyoto & Nara, are all about the experience. Enjoying the weather, eating and simply being in the moment.

Here's some pics:

Best Ramen We Had in Japan (50m walk from Dotonbori Hotel)

Small Cozy Alley Restaurant We Came Across

"Sex Machine" Beef Restaurant

Too bad we didn't have the chance to try out this beef restaurant that we very much wanted to. Too many meals and we ain't greedy. ;P

You won't miss this crab restaurant at Ebisubashi Street. By the way, what kind of crab is this? Can someone enlighten me? Its meat is really sweet. Nice supper we had out of it.

If you don't already know, Takoyaki is one of Osaka's must try food. So, we tried 2 kinds of 'ball ball's at 2 different places. The octopus was fresh and the balls were juicy.

Fugu Restuarant

Best Japanese Curry in Bf's Opinion

Throughout our Japan trip, one of our favourite things to do was to walk into a Yakitori Restaurant to rest our feet, eat some light snacks and have a beer or sake before continuing to shop. And we both concur that the Yakitori Restaurant opposite Dotonbori Hotel was the BEST we had in Japan.

It is the first time I had Octopus Sashimi and it's surprisingly good. The lettuce appetizer served was crunchy and  refreshing, the ambience authentic, the food deliciously tasty and the owner is a charming young man who is friendly and welcoming. I'll go back to this cozy find if I have the chance to. It left a happy lasting taste to my last night in Osaka. =)

**Read more about my Japan trip here.**

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