We visited in late January and it was still quite cold, I enjoyed every bit of the holiday- amazing food, scenery, beautiful architecture, and the hospitality, not to mention Japan is the land of all things cute and pretty. We went with a tour group so everything was arranged and planned, all we had to do was just show up. There were so many pictures taken with my iPhone 5 and Canon Powershot S95, I'll let them do most of the talking..
Day 1: Osaka- Kansai International Airport, Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan, Shinsaibashi & Osaka Takoyaki Museum
|Outside Osaka Castle|
|Main tower of Osaka Castle, now a museum|
Our first stop was at Osaka Castle, more on its history here and you can find directions here. After that, we headed to Universal Studios to spend our afternoon. We decided to eat at one of the many surrounding restaurants along Universal City Walk before entering and settled on Fujin-Raijin Ramen. Hot broth and springy noodles is most welcome on a cold day. The menu was in full Japanese, with katakana and hiragana written above kanji characters which made reading easier for basic Japanese language readers like myself. I think I did an okay job of translating simple words throughout the trip.
|Mama and younger sis outside a random restaurant|
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) struck a balance between adult and children rides (to me), my sister and I were surprised my father was game to queue up for the rides with us. The lines moved fairly fast, and we didn't feel like we were wasting time waiting in the queue. There were many teenagers in uniforms and the rides were mostly in Japanese; though we couldn't understand most of the storyline, we did enjoy the animatronics, special effects and decor. Our favourite ride was the Spiderman Ride, unanimously. I am quite keen to re-visit now that the Harry Potter section is open.
We checked in to our hotel which was a short walk from USJ, Hotel Keihan Universal Tower. The room was basic and comfortable, and the amenities provided were rather cute. Each room was also given 2 magnetic jigsaw puzzles to take home.
Dinner was a tempura set at a local eatery, I had my first taste of Japanese rice and it is true- Japanese grains are glossier, somewhat lustrous like pearls? They also taste different from the rice I usually have at Japanese restaurants outside of Japan. So so yummy!
We headed to Shinsaibashi-suji afterwards and got carried away with shopping that there wasn't enough time to see the iconic Glico Man at Dotonbori. Will make time for it the next time I visit!
It was a rather eventful day and we ended it by visiting the Osaka Takoyaki Museum which was just a short walk from our hotel. The place was less of a museum and more of a shopping and eating floor, there were lots of takoyaki (octopus filled flour balls) stalls as well as tako merchandise and flavoured snacks.
Everything in Japan is packaged so well, can you see the octopus face on the food wrapper above? We also made sure to check out the Lawson (convenience store) nearby, browsing local marts are one of my favourite things to do in a foreign country.
That's all for Day 1! Coming Up: Day 2- Nara Deer Park, Todaiji Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple in Nara and Kyoto.