Let’s face it, there are 50-kabillion What to Eat, Where to Go, and What to Do accounts online for first-timers in Osaka and Kyoto, so I won’t go into detail about each attraction (in addition, that’s tedious work, haha).
This is my photo dump and it is uploaded for the sole purpose of keeping myself from forgetting (with some captions because I like doing the occasional commentary) and, probably, to convince the two nitwits who read this blog that the Nation’s Kitchen is worth more than a rushed, four-day itinerary.
View from the tallest building in Japan. Free Harukas 300 Observatory tickets came with the purchase of USJ VIP passes via Klook. In truth, coming here was an afterthought–until we got to the elevator and had a really trippy ride, which ended at the 58th floor. Tickets are sold at 1,400 yen at the 16th floor. A viewing alternative is the Umeda Sky Building with tickets at 1,000 yen.
Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori. Considered the heart (and stomach) of Osaka. We came here night after night–for soba, for takoyaki, for fucking expensive beef, and some kind of sensory overload. I’m not sure what to make of it, but Asian cities are alike in so many ways. This place reminds me so much of Myeongdong and Ximending.
Two words: Glico Man.
Osaka Castle. I saw it twice–first one was in the morning of Day 1 with the officemates. The second time was in the evening of Day 3, when I did a quick run from Umeda to the Osaka Business Park. Let me tell you, it’s a lot beautiful at night, without the crowd.
This is the ramen franchise Manila’s been waiting for. I didn’t line up for Ippudo, Tim Ho Wan, Halal Guys, Pablo, or Din Tai Fung when they first came into the Philippines, thinking WTH, that’s just food. But for this, I might just take a half-day sick leave. Take note of their system guide. Even buying a meal ticket is an experience. I ordered extra noodles, an extra egg, and two servings of extra pork. Tangina, it was so good. Ichiran.
When there’s a sign at the storefront saying ‘No sake, no life,’ you know you’re in a good place. There’s a hostel up on the second floor, outside seating, and a bartender who came all the way from Taipei. That’s in addition to a nice bottle collection (let’s face it, IDK two shits about sake, so I’m in no position to make a commentary). I’d go back to this place to get embarrassingly drunk. Hana Sake Bar.
The Sorting Hat. The officemates devised a pretty good way to be done with the Harry Potter attraction in no time. First, buy the damn VIP tickets. When the park opens, run–literally, run–to the Forbidden Journey (ride), watch the Olivander’s show, get some Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks, purchase your wand, and then go around the park to perform magic. We were done by 11 AM. Piece of cake.
Maruzen. For the bibliophile with $$$ to spend, there’s a whole floor with expensive English titles. I’d say Manila is still the best place to score English books but WTH, a bookstore is a bookstore. It’s freaking zen.
Kuromon Market. Wake up early for a dose of fatty tuna and super fresh uni. A serving like this costs 2,000 yen. 2,000 fucking yen. Can you imagine? I have no regrets. It’s an orgy in your mouth.
The Museum of Housing and Living was Drew’s idea. It was our opportunity to wear those kimonos and walk around town Edo-period style–until we were told that the costumes have all been rented out. It was a good 600 yen spent though, considering that we were able to enter print shops and a re-created bathhouse, thinking–ohhhh sooooo Spirited Away.
This is only part one. I intend to post about Kyoto separately, but as you know, it’s going to take a while–and I’ve ran out of excuses for writing so late. Bear with me while I try to handle a day job, some travel, training, sleep, landi, and this little side project.
Alam nyo naman, minsan Pasko lang ang pahinga. Happy Holidays! 😀