We are back in Japan!
This trip happened because the promotion for 15% off Krisflyer miles for online redemption was ending (boo SQ!), and we wanted to use up our miles (and the discount) 😛
When we started our planning, we had great ambition to cover lots of places, so we decided to fly in to Osaka and fly out from Fukuoka. And to travel leisurely in between so as to cover the whole stretch of Wakayama, Shikoku, Kyushu and not have to backtrack in order to fly back. But as the planning went, we thought we were too ambitious and reduced our ambitions to just Kyushu. 😛
We were scheduled to fly in and reach Osaka like 9:35pm, so we had planned to quickly go through immigration and dashed to take the train to hotel. We planned to stay two nights in Osaka, and only spent 1 Saturday to explore Osaka since we had been here before.
Therefore, we went to the areas within walking distance of one another, where good food and shopping were concentrated at (as well as the crowds!).
黒門市場 Kuromon Ichiba Market
One of the must-visit when in Osaka, we always enjoy checking out the street eats here, as well as the shops, especially the 100-yen shop here. Shops are opened from morning, so it is a good place to get breakfast and lunch, with many restaurants offering lunch specials. Free WiFi and resting areas are available here, and we spotted plenty of staff speaking simple phrases in English, and Chinese (in fact, they were Chinese staff), making it rather tourist-friendly.
Our first stop was まぐろや黒銀 Maguroya Kurogin, a tuna specialty shop, and got ourselves a yummy 中とろ丼 Chutoro Don (¥1,500), as well as a マグロステーキ Tuna Steak Skewer (¥500). This time, we found that not only were there seating available next to the stall, there were also seats available upstairs, along with a clean washroom. The medium-fatty tuna sashimi were melting in our mouths, and went very well with the rice. Unfortunately, the tuna steak skewer turned cold pretty fast, and was not as yummy as the 照り焼きふ鮪カマ Teriyaki Tuna Cheeks which we had during our previous visit. The Chinese-speaking staff mentioned that the Teriyaki Tuna Cheeks were only available in autumn, but I think we were there just a few days too early (second day of autumn!).
While there were quite a few stalls selling ホタテ Hotate, there were a couple with perpetually long queue, and we opted to queue at the stall in front of たこ焼道楽わなか Wanaka Kuromon Ichiba Ten. At ¥500 per piece, the juicy scallop was grilled and cut to bite-size, making it a delicious and easy eat.
Surprisingly, we ate really little in Kuromon Market! That was because, we wanted to save stomach space to try a lot of other stuff 😛
To satisfy your food cravings in Kuromon Market, check out our previous post here 🙂
心斎橋筋商店街 Shinsaibashi Shopping Street
As Osaka’s longest shopping arcade, this place was packed with people all day long 😮 Plenty of local and international brands, you can definitely shop till you drop! Of course, other than shopping, there are plenty to eat here too 🙂 Oh, there is free WiFi too.
We also chanced upon the Shinsaibashi PABLO branch, and imagine our excitement to find practically no queue here, compared to the crazy snaking queue in Singapore. Ah, we were supposed to eat ramen for lunch, but I supposed we could always have a little pre-lunch snack.
Despite feeling full, we persuaded our soon-to-explode bellies to just try one プレーン チーズタルト Plain (i.e. Original) Cheese Tart (¥780 with tax). Despite sounding plain, it was very delicious! The addictive cheese filling was very smooth and creamy, and the crust was oh-so-buttery and fragrant. We thought it was ideal for 2 pax to share 1 tart, because it was actually pretty huge.
After PABLO, we went to 一蘭ラーメン Ichiran Ramen for lunch (nah, we were not distracted from our main objective :P).
This outlet was not as crowded as the one at 道頓堀 Dotonburi, and we could opt for cubicle seating, or table seating. Since we were sharing a bowl (¥890), the table option was much better. They were kind enough to provide additional bowl without us having to request for one. We had been to Ichiran during our previous trip, and this time, the ramen was as tasty as before 🙂
Now, we definitely had to take a walk!
However, just off the main Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade, we were literally led to ル･クロワッサン Le Croissant by our nose, for the aroma coming out of the little shop was so alluring. The ¥40 プチクロ Petit Cro was so flaky and buttery, and it was basically just layers and layers of yummy-ness. Best eaten warm!
They have a few outlets in Osaka, as well as an outlet each in 兵庫 Hyogo and 京都 Kyoto, and you can find out more about their outlet locations here.
We would later return back here to have dinner at お好み焼「美津の」Mizuno Okonomiyaki, for one should always have some delicious お好み焼きOkomiyaki while in Osaka 🙂
Check out our previous visit where we tried Okonomiyaki at 錦 わらい 道頓堀店 Nishiki Warai.
立花通り Tachibana Dori Orange Street
This time, we also ventured out further to the 堀江 Horie area, on the west side of Shinsaibashi. Perhaps the most well-known place would be 立花通り Tachibana Dori Orange Street, which was a rather “hipster” 800-metre long street, lined with stores selling clothing, homeware, and quite a few cafes.
It was quite a nice area to walk about, but unfortunately, the cafes that we wanted to visit were either full, or only had seats in the smoking area.
Hence, we walked out even further, and ended up at カフェ・ヴェーク Cafe Weg (Facebook) (Google Map) (Add: 〒550-0015 大阪市西区南堀江2-13-16 勝浦ビル1F, 2-13-16 Minamihorie Nishi-ku Osaka, Hrs: 9:30-18:30 Wed to Mon, Closed on Tuesday)
Located in a quiet street not too far away, we had found this little cafe after some Googling. It was timely too, for we were getting really tired, and nursing a headache!
Hubby had a Iced カフェ ラテ Caffe Latte (¥560), while I opted for a hot ミルクティー Milk Tea (¥560). Drinks were not bad, and we really liked the cosy atmosphere (and the dainty tea cup 😛 ).
Another must-visit place (and must-take picture with “Glico running man” billboard) when in Osaka, 道頓堀 Dotonbori is a short 10-minute walk from Kuromon Market. It would be ok if it was longer too, because we need to burn the calories in order to eat more 😀 Also, it is recommended to come here at night 🙂
What is here? Food, and more food, as well as shopping, including some souvenir shops. Also, there were sightseeing boat rides along the canal, and this time, we actually spotted one boat with live music!
We actually wanted to have lunch at 一蘭ラーメン Ichiran Ramen here, but the 道頓堀 Dotonburi branch seemed to have a never-ending queue. So, we ended up coming back in the evening for some たこ焼き Takoyaki. This time, we decided on たこ焼き十八番 Takoyaki Jyuhachiban. We opted for 6 balls with sauce only at ¥380 (or you could have 10 for ¥600). They were not bad at all 🙂
|黒門市場 Kuromon Ichiba Market:
|心斎橋筋商店街 Shinsaibashi Suji Shopping Street:
|立花通り Tachibana Dori Orange Street: