Sunday, 5 August 2012

Japan Day 1: Dotonbori, Osaka

This has been one of my most anticipated trips over the last year, and finally we have arrived on 28th May 2012!! (Hehe, shows how slow I am in updating this blog). I had initially purchased the return tickets to Osaka, Japan for a total of RM700 per person 1 year ago, when Airasia had first launched the new flight route to Osaka.

Due to work purposes, I was unable to buy tickets for April, else I could've had a chance to see sakura =( By the time we went in late May, the weather was already starting to heat up a little bit as summer was almost there. However, for the most, it was still quite cool, and we were lucky enough that we hardly encountered any rainy days ^.^

We had an early flight out, departing at 8.20 a.m. and thus, made our way to LCCT by 6.30 a.m. I had already completed mobile check-in using my phone and so we headed directly to the counter to drop off our luggage. After cheking in our luggage, we headed for some breakfast and coffee at McDonalds while waiting to board the plane.

We took off on time and within  6 hours, we had landed at Kansai International Airport ^.^ Do remember that Osaka is one hour ahead, so you'll need to adjust your watch. While we were collecting our luggage, my mum got a shock as there was an officer together with a huge dog there, which she didn't notice at first. I suppose the dog was there to detect the presence of any drugs?? Not too sure about that. 

Anyway, after we got our luggage, we headed to catch a shuttle bus to the Namba OCAT station. Based on directions given, we headed to Terminal 11 at the 1st floor of the airport. Right outside the entrance to the airport, there is a machine from which we can purchase our bus tickets. Luckily, there was a lady stationed there who showed us how to use the machine. The bus tickets cost us 1,000 yen each.

The journey to the OCAT station took us around 1 hour. From there, it would be roughly a 5 minutes walk to our hotel. However, we got turned around and got lost after exiting the station. Since we couldn't find our way, we decided to ask this young couple outside the station for directions. Instead of directing us, they actually told us to follow them and brought us right to the doorstep of the hotel!!! It was so nice of them to  actually walk the whole five minute journey with us!! Thanks so much to the two of them for giving us such a great first impression of Japan ^.^

For our stay in Osaka, I had booked the Namba Dotombori Hotel (, which has an absolutely fabulous location at the famous Dotonbori itself. I paid an average of about RM300 per night, which was after certain early bird discounts when I booked with Agoda.

1. Our hotel room in Namba Dotombori Hotel   2. Tiny bathroom =)    
3. Complimentary pack provided by the hotel for ladies

The room I booked was a semi double non-smoking room. Finally understood what the internet reviews mean when they mention that rooms in Japan are small. This was the smaller of the hotel rooms that I booked for this trip. However, I would say that the service is great. The reception staff were always friendly and they also provided a complimentary kit for all lady guests which included face wash, lotions and even a mask for each night that we stayed there.

After depositing our luggage, we headed out for a walk at Dotonbori and have dinner. Along the way, we noticed lots of vending machines along the road, selling all types of drinks imaginable. We even saw some vending machines for cigarettes!

1., 3. & 4. Dotonbori       2. Vending machines

From online reviews, Kinryu Ramen appeared to be one of the recommended things to try in Dotonbori. There are apparently a total of 3 Kinryu Ramen outlets (I think??) in Dotonbori itself. The first outlet we came across was directly smack in the middle of Dotonbori and filled with tourists from China I believe. 

We decided to walk further on first as we didn't want to wait. We then came across another outlet further away from the crowd. This one was considerably larger and wasn't filled with as many people. At first, we were wondering how to make our orders before we noticed this vending machine placed at the side of the shop.

It was really quite simple using these vending machines once we got the hang of it. Just put in our cash, select the type of dish and number of portions and we were done! There weren't many choices here and we both decided to get the basic pork ramen which cost us 600 yen each.

1. Kinryu Ramen   2. Vending machine to purchase ramen
3. Our yummy yummy pork ramen =)

We then passed the ticket to the chef and found a table to sit in the shop as they prepared our order. Within 10 minutes, our orders were ready and we went to grab our bowls of steaming hot noodles from the counter. This was more of a self-service concept where we took our own tea (which were free-flow) and condiments from the counter.

In the cool weather there, that piping hot bowl of ramen was just heavenly. Super love the soup, it was really tasty =p Even my mum loved it, and she normally doesn't have a great liking for ramen as it gets soft quite fast. This was just a simple bowl of noodles, several slices of pork and some chopped spring onion, but was still one of the memorable food that we tried in Japan.

After dinner, we continued strolling around Dotonbori and even headed down Shinsaibashi-suji looking at the shops there. The whole place was bustling with people and there were so many things to see. Anything and everything, from clothes, shoes, daily necessities, electrical items. There were so many things to see that we were undecided where to head to first.

1. Entrance of Shinsaibashi-suji   2. The iconic Glico Man at Dotonbori
3. Food display outside a restaurant   4. Very "creative?" name for a shop
5. Array of food sold at Lawson's   6. Look at all the coffee =p

After all the window shopping we did, we decided to head back to rest and our last stop was at Lawson's which was just opposite our hotel. Lawson's is like our equivalent of 7-Eleven here. Surprisingly, the number of 7-Eleven shops in Japan are surprisingly few, as compared to places like Taiwan. Anyway, we found a large array of food stuff such as sandwiches and even the bento there. However, I was distracted again by the rows and rows of COFFEE!! Hehe, how I wish we have this back home. 

After our shopping, we headed back to our hotel and stopped at the lobby to make a call back home. The hotel actually has a phone in the lobby, which they provide for all their guests to make calls home upon arrival at their hotel. I just love these little touches that just make our stay more comfortable.

Snacks and drinks =)

Saw a shop at Dotonbori selling Meiji Amino collagen for only 1,680 yen for a pack, and so bought one pack for myself. The rest are snacks that I bought from Lawson's for us to munch on =)

That's the end of our first day in Japan. Can't believe I had so much to write just on the first day ^.^ Will try to get the second day posted up soon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, love your post! I'd also love to get that Meiji Amino Collagen too :D

    May I ask how heavy is that packet you have shown in the picture?