Friday, April 19, 2013

Japan Honeymoon Trip Report - Three Days in Osaka Itinerary

Honeymoon trip report! We covered three major cities in Japan this time round - Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. In the first part of this mini travel report series we'll write a little about our itinerary and hopefully it'll help you if you're planning a future trip too :)

Next Post in this series: Two Days in Kyoto

Day One: We flew in by Cathay Pacific this time, partially because the tickets were cheap (for full service airline standards), partially because CX is a SkyTrax 5-star airline, but mostly because it's an overnight flight and touches down at 6.25am in the morning. First order of business was to pick up our Pocket Wifi for unlimited Internet - ¥9,070 for 8 days inclusive of a ¥1,420 pre-9am delivery charge.


We took the Airport Bus at ¥1,500 per person (about an hour's journey) from Kansai International Airport to Osaka, and walked about 15 minutes to Hotel Kinki. Do excuse the photo as we ... forgot to take one before messing the place up. The rooms are small as expected at this price range of ¥5,600/night, but they are functional and have all the amenities needed for the tourist who isn't expecting to spend too much time here. On the downside the pillows are strangely uncomfortable and there is a noticeable lingering cigarette smoke smell.

Shuttle Bus
Hotel Kinki

Anyways we drop off our luggage and are immediately off by train to Kema Sakuranomiya Park for some Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing. The park is one of the most popular hanami spots nationwide thanks to the thousands of sakura trees lining both banks of the river. Due to some uncharacteristically warm weather earlier in the month this year's season came (and ended) 1-2 weeks early; that's fine though cos we're still in time to catch most of the trees still at full bloom plus some hanafubuki (literally petal blizzard) to boot!

Reaching for Sakura
Sakura
Sakura

We then adjourned to the Osaka Aquarium for a couple of hours. It's a decent aquarium, and designed pretty creatively with the general walkway spiraling around the huge centerpiece tank with an impressive array of huge fish and assorted manta/sting rays. We're particularly impressed by the huge Spider Crabs, some of which have lower claw limbs a staggering 2 feet long!

Crab

To cap off the day we head over to one of the most famous shopping, entertainment and food districts in Osaka - Dotonbori, with that uber-famous Crab restaurant Kani Doraku. The crab set menus are a little pricey so we pass; but we do at least buy a Grilled King Crab Leg for ¥700 and eat it by the roadside.

Dotonbori Kani Doraku
Kani Doraku

We end up choosing Kamakura Soup with Noodles for dinner before heading back to the Hotel for some shut-eye. You can check out our full review of the Ramen here.


Day Two: We take a 20-minute morning train ride to the nearby town of Kobe, specifically to eat some Kobe Steak. The most popular restaurant among gaijins seems to be Steakland, right next to the Non-JR Sannomiya train station. Check out our full review of Steakland Kobe here.

Kobe

In the afternoon/evening we head over to Nara to spend the rest of the day. We thought it was a pretty fun side-trip from Osaka's metropolis - we saw some scattered sakura trees ...

Lonely Sakura

... we got to feed a lot of the wild deer roaming Nara Park ...

Deer Food

... and we took in the sights of some majestic shrines, pagodas and temples. We like Kofukuji in particular!

Kofukuji

We rounded off the day exploring, window shopping and having dinner at the food streets around Nara.

Day Three: We decided to spend the day at Universal Studios Osaka. One tip for buying tickets is not to buy them at the park, but instead to buy at the JR Midori ticket counter at the Osaka station. It costs the same, and you skip the ticket queues at USJ and get to enter the park immediately. Tickets are ¥6,600 each for adults.

Magical 2
Magical 1

Dinner is at the nearby Takoyaki Museum, which has a rather misleading name as it's not a museum at all. It's a 'food court'-style eatery with a half dozen outlets for famous takoyaki shops around Osaka. There's quite a few interesting takoyaki flavors and varieties, including this Black Pepper and Cheese one:

Pepper Takoyaki

Day Four: We check out and drag our bags to the JR Osaka station for the 30-minute ride to Kyoto.

So that concludes our three days in Osaka. If you've read this far we hope that this short write-up has given you at least an idea as to what you could do in this city. If you've got any questions do leave us a comment below; otherwise we'll be back with our Kyoto and Tokyo write-ups in the days to come!

13 comments:

  1. great pic of feeding the deer! :D

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  2. Hi! Was just wondering... How did you find USS Osaka? Was it worth the price of a ticket? I've heard pretty mixed reviews and can't decide if my partner and I should bother going. >_<

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    Replies
    1. Hmm, if you're from Singapore, there are actually quite a few 'repeat' attractions that you would already get in USS. The main difference being the weather - if you're in Japan in Spring/Autumn and you're not on a tight schedule I think it's worth it.

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  3. hi If USS Osaka suitable for a 9 year old girl? every ride need long waiting q?

    Thanks

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  4. Hi, how much was the train ride from Osaka to Kobe?

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  5. that is amazing , thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures . Singapore Malaysia tour package

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  6. hi.. you didnt buy the JR travel pass right? if you are flying in to osaka and flying out from tokyo, seems like its cheaper to just buy one way train ticets?

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    1. Hi Ling, you're correct. In general it only makes sense to buy JR Pass if you're doing a return Shinkansen journey from Kansai to/from Tokyo. But since we only one way, it was cheaper to buy individual ticket.

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  9. Hey thanks for sharing. Btw, do I need to book a hotel in Kobe and Nato if I am staying in Kyoto? Can a day trip be done? thx

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cal,

      Not at all! Nara is ~30 minutes and Kobe is ~50 minutes from Kyoto, so assuming you're in a hotel not too far away from Kyoto's main train station I would totally just do day trip(s) instead of go through all the hassle of dragging luggage, checking in and out, etc.

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