The Lost Blogs #16
Only one thing comes to mind when I think of Osaka: 焼き yaki! Yaki-tori, okonomi-yaki, tako-yaki, yaki-soba. Yaki-everything. Everything grilled!
We spent a weekend in Osaka back in January. Traveling by local trains to save money, it took 4 hours on the way there, and 5 hours on our return trip. We stayed in the strangely decorated Dotonbori Hotel, which has recently been featured in a blog as being one of Japan’s most stylish strange hotels. Actually, the hotel itself is not that strange. It has weird human-sized face statues on the outside, which made it easy to find, but the interior is that of your average business hotel. The rooms are small and basic, but clean. The rooms can also be quite cheap, especially considering its location in Dotonbori. It’s also only a few minutes walk from the city subway exits.
On our first day in Osaka, we spent our day in Umeda, also known as the Kita (North) district. We were able to do some shopping inside the HEP (Hankyu Entertainment Park) complex, and also had lunch and dessert in their food court. The dessert is one of my highlights of this trip. Have you ever eaten ice cream from a shoe before? I hadn’t, which is why I knew I just had to order the Cinderella Parfait, which came served in a glass slipper.
In the evening, we headed to Namba, also known as the Minami (South) district to explore Dotonbori and the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. We skipped Den Den Town because we’ve been to Akihabara in Tokyo before, and we also skipped seeing Amerikamura as well. We were mostly there for the food. I ate some of the best okonomiyaki I have ever had at Mizuno Okonomiyaki, where the food was actually cooked for us by the chef. Then, we ate at Daruma Dotonbori, which is supposedly the original kushi-katsu restaurant. I always thought that the original kushi-katsu was pork, but it is actually beef. The skewered cheese and skewered mochi were also very delicious. On Sunday, we stayed in Dotonbori to continue our food itinerary. We ate yakisoba for breakfast, followed by a serving of takoyaki.
Our last stop in Osaka was to visit the reconstruction of Osaka Castle. The castle was destroyed in 1615, rebuilt in the 1620s, and then struck by lightning and burnt down in 1665. The reconstruction interior is now highly modern and even features an elevator for easier accessibility. The museum is large and can take a couple of hours to see everything, especially if you take your time to follow the 3-D video tour. I thought it was a little strange.
Although it is one of the largest cities in Japan, I feel pretty satisfied with having spent just a weekend there. It is famous for its food, and I tried everything I wanted to eat there. But, I’ll probably be making a repeat visit for a day to show my sister around. Mmm. I can’t wait to eat okonomiyaki there again.