Our ANA 804 landed in Narita Airport on Sunday, 15 April, 06:30 after a bumpy night flight that saw us cracking necks and wearing sheepish smiles.
It was my wife’s first trip to Japan, my first time to Tokyo and Eugene’s first vacation with us.
It’s unfortunate that my buddy Kaijie had to #abandon&aeroplane us due to work commitment. But we are happy Eugene stuck to the plan, despite losing a great travel companion.
I respect Eugene very much. He is a capable colleague and a street-smart traveler knowledgeable in all things Japan.
Interestingly, he is often mistaken by Japanese to be another Japanese. You will find out why in my next post 😁
Eugene reminded us to collect our JR pass (booked via Changi Recommend) ASAP after retrieving our luggage to avoid a long queue.
I would pass the same advice to anyone buying or collecting their JR passes. The queue behind us (in the picture) was considered short. If luck isn’t on your side, you could queue for more than an hour – our queue was a mere 45 mins 😅
With 20 minutes to spare, we bought our bento breakfast, got our coffee from vending machines and found our way to the high speed Nozomi Shinkansen, bound for Shin-Osaka.
The ride was fast (2hr 30min). The bento was good. Our beauty rest was amazing!
We alighted at Namba station and checked into Ibis Style hotel – known for its reasonable price, stylish interior and excellent location (3 mins walk to Dotonbori). It also has a chic, sophisticated feel.
Don’t be surprised if you are approached for KTV or happy massage on the streets of Dotonbori at night, especially if you travel alone (whether you are a guy or lady).
Smiling from ear to ear, we kicked off our food trail adventure at Ichiran by the Dotonbori canal.
At 3:30 pm, we didn’t have to queue for our ‘first’ meal in Osaka. My customised ramen had a robust flavour, poached egg and lots of garlic and chili powder.
My wife was slurping her ramen; she couldn’t be bothered by my amazement. I then turned to my right and saw Eugene. He was swallowing the char siew like a maniac.
It was 4 pm local time (btw, Japan is 1 hour ahead of Singapore). Weather was a cooling 15 deg c and Dotonbori was lively, packed and glowing under the evening sun.
There were the usual china tourists, pushing, shoving and creating enemies with anyone crossing their paths. They were armed with bags (and luggages) loaded with duty-free cosmetics.
I felt more at least seeing smiley, bright-eyed locals enjoying their simple Sunday gatherings.
As we strolled into the heart of Dotonbori, we came to the conclusion that our ramen has been fully digested.
We bought whatever street food that turned us on.
At open air stalls, Japanese chefs were displaying their culinary supremacy in front of salivating tourists. Eugene was silently screaming Oishii~~Oishii~~! Check out the videos he took.
Eugene and I hungrily gulp down juicy seafood as if enjoying our last meal.
We bought scallops, oysters, takoyaki balls, tempura… the list went on to include kobe beef, tangy orange coffee and macha ice cream.
It was an insane feast on just day 1 of our 10 day trip.
We even queued 30 mins for the World’s Second Best Freshly Baked Melon-Pan Ice Cream. It was toasty and tasty.
While my wife was busy ‘washing her eyes’ with made-in-Japan cosmetics at a 24-hr mega drugstore, Eu and I magically felt hungry again.
Our curiousity led us to join a queue at the famous Pablo tarts. We splurged a thousand yen for 6 tarts of macha, chocolate and original cheese flavours.
It was almost 10pm when my wife emerged with sunscreen, ankle socks and some girlish fancl thingy.
We decided to call it a day as our feet and tummy were protesting.
My wife and I slept like a log. Eugene, in the next room, couldn’t sleep and was feeling hungry again at 2am. He managed to grab a bite at 7-11 at our hotel lobby.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment! Look out for my next post: Day #2 outing in Osaka! Cheers! 🙂
Check out my earlier Japan trip here: http://www.georgefoo.com/osaka-in-late-spring/