Why, hello there stranger!
I’m sorry it’s been a while, but I’m back to tell you about our adventures in Japan!
So grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and let’s go back to the beginning of April, when Ry and I made our way over to the airport to grab our afternoon flight.
Japan has always been on the top of Ry’s holiday destinations, so this was like his dream come true!
I was bloody excited too, obvs!
Just under 4 hours later, we’d arrived in Osaka Kansai airport!
Ry driving the free shuttle bus.
Can you believe he’s almost 25?!
We arrived at the train station and purchased tickets for our first destination, Namba!
After becoming accustomed to the sleek, metal seats on the MTR in Hong Kong, we loved the soft, comfy seats on Japanese trains.
45 minutes later, we arrived in Namba!
The district is easily accessible as it is served by three train companies, along with three subway lines and a highway bus terminal.
Namba is regarded as the centre of the Minami (South) area and it is one of Osaka’s two major city centres.
It is the city’s most famous entertainment district and offers abundant shopping, dining and nightlife options.
Speaking of food, Ry had been going on about how many Takoyaki balls he was going to devour as soon as he got here. (They’re really popular in anime/mangas).
As they were first popularized in Osaka, we jumped with joy as we found our first food vendor selling them pretty much as soon as we left the station.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with these bad boys, takoyaki are ball-shaped Japanese snacks made of a wheat-flour-based batter that is cooked in a special takoyaki pan. They are usually filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger and green onion. The little balls of joy are then brushed with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and mayonnaise. They are then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito, a type of fish (katsuobushi).
As soon as we’d dropped off our luggage in our hotel room, they were devoured immediately!
We opted for the Namba Washington Hotel, which was small but clean, comfortable and in a great location, directly opposite the popular Dotonbori Street.
Here’s the awesome view from our room.
Dotonbori is one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations.
At night, it is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and the Kani Doraku crab sign. (I’ll show you guys the Running Man tomorrow!)
It is a popular shopping and entertainment district, along with being a great destination for food!
Look what we found…
I also ordered some delicious fried chicken!
This area is a great blend of tradition and new trends.
Check out the Hozenji Yokocho alley, paved in charming cobblestone with shops lining the area.
Bright lights, big city.
One of those ‘new trends’ I mentioned earlier – what do you guys think? 😉
To Ry’s delight, there were also many arcades.
Excellent photo ops too…
There was awesome artwork everywhere, from walls and shutters to the ground.
As it was getting rather late, we opted for a quick dinner of sushi which was cheaper than we’re used to in HK!
Unfortunately for me, sushi restaurants in Japan put wasabi in all the sushi rather than having it as an option on the side. So for all you fellow non-wasabi fans, you may need to pick it out between the fish and rice.
Nevertheless the food was yum!
Ry’s favourite beer on tap.
After dinner, we explored a little more of our new surroundings…
…and took a stroll along the Dotonbori Canal.
Ry scouted out what he’d be having for breakfast tomorrow!
We enjoyed our first taster of Japan and returned to our hotel in the early hours.
Keep an eye out for Day 2 😉