#TravelKansai : Osaka

So it's officially my first time exploring Osaka and not just landing at the airport, because all this while i've only set foot at Kansai International Airport which is still considered “part of Osaka” before taking the train to Kyoto (via Haruka). I've visited Kyoto more times than I've been to Tokyo come to think of it but this time instead of staying in Kyoto like i always do though i had some matters to settle over there I still chose to stay in Osaka just for a “change of environment” and finally explore this city which most people associate to as the "Tokyo" of Kansai region because compared to neighbouring prefectures like Wakayama, Nara and Kyoto, Osaka is filled with skyscrapers and the city centre has a large consistent flow of tourists flocking the area.



 Being a mom made me appreciate backpacks more, especially when there's tons of compartments and spacious. Got my Anello inspired bag from Choki

Osaka wasn't exactly on my list of "must visit" place as i prefer places with more nature related activities or historical sites compared to the hustle and bustle of the busy city atmosphere. As i'm already staying in the city back in Malaysia, it's nice to not have to see a familiar kind of stressful environment while abroad as well. During my whole trip, i've technically spent every single day away from Osaka actually, so i'm not sure exactly what i'm going to write about this prefecture lol, more like all i did was hunt for places to get a beautiful view of summer's bloom which are the Hydrangea flowers called "Ajisai-紫陽花” and I did notice that majority of my trips to Japan are never aligned with any of the season’s major attractions lol so most might say what’s the point visiting Japan if you are unable to view the seasons at it’s peak.


 Anything with peach in it, i'll definitely give it a thumbs up. 
Sounds rather bias no? Lol. Arrived at Kansai airport during mid noon, feeling rather peckish and this drink did the job filling me up till i reached my dorm in Namba.


 Regretted not trying this because it looks so sinfully delicious


I’ve not seen or played with snow on the ground (An Elsa that has never touched snow, the irony) but I did see some fall from the sky, that’s all and for sakura flowers, I did see them as well but it was still too early so there were only 3-4 trees that were bloomed during that time and my autumn there was too early into the transition to see any red / orange/ yellow coloured maple leaves and during summer I came too early because the summer festivals and fireworks are usually around August/ September. Sounds rather frustrating right? But guess that’s my schedule alright, if it was for a planned holiday I would most definitely make sure that my stay there would coincide during the season’s peak and by saying that it isn’t easy too because you are gambling with Mother nature’s weird schedule there are years when it’s early and some years when it’s late, though there are forecasts one can never be too sure on when to catch a good view of the season unless of course they stay/ work in Japan la. If you are a foreigner like me who’s just visiting, then you’ll really need to plan and pray hard lol.


My time back in Kyoto did made me feel rather empty, instead of the usual anticipation feeling i get like a giddy school girl who looks forward to coming back here all the time but all that’s left now was nothing but a heavy heart. The roads we’ve walked, the hospital and police station that seems all too familiar, not sure if I’ll be able to see this beautiful prefecture the same way again, who knows maybe in time it will heal and I do hope to collect back the remnants of me that died there that day as well.

That’s one of the reasons why I refused to stay in Kyoto despite it being a more convenient choice. But it’s alright because if I did not stay in Osaka I wouldn’t have met and made a couple new friends from Taiwan, Israel, Korea, Japan & Australia who were staying in the same dormitory as I was. It’s a real funny coincidence actually, as I ended up in a guy’s dormitory in Namba area but this isn’t my first time staying with guys la and I honestly prefer staying with them over girls (no one fights over the toilet) any day because I grew up like a tomboy, hanging out with guys during my school days since I was more of a sports person than a backstabbing gossiping aunty like the rest of the girls in school. In fact, it’s easier to talk to them and they all found it funny that a lone traveller girl like me who’s so well dressed (unlike usual hobo looking backpackers) would usually prefer to stay in a more “proper & private” environment rather than sharing room with them, but here’s one fact about me. I’m not fussy, as long I have a roof over my head, a toilet to bath, a place to store my luggage and a bed to sleep, I’m pretty much alright already. Snoring and lights on doesn’t bother me at all, I can even sleep past an earthquake as well but at the same time I’m actually well aware of my surroundings like the walking around, talking happening in the room.

It was most definitely comfortable and clean with all the basic amenities provided like a kitchen, fridge, microwave, washing machine, hair dryer, towel and even a freaking ironing board & steam iron. Was really happy with the iron because most of my clothes were somehow so badly crumpled despite me folding & rolling them neatly, it was a real Godsend item wei, think almost every morning I’m seen ironing my clothes in the wash room before heading out. And this was my first summer experience in Japan so I wasn’t exactly sure on what to expect except the heat minus humidity (everyone tells me that) but after experiencing it, all I can say is that Japan is a very dry country whether it’s winter or summer, moisturizer is your damn best friend. Need to write down a list of items you best pack if you are planning to visit Japan within these few months so at least you won’t be caught off guard like I was.

You guys can visit this previous blogpost of mine on How To survive Japan’s Summer <click me>


Umeda is better than Namba


Staying near Namba station was the best 2nd option but I would definitely recommend others to stay near Umeda station instead as that is the central station because from namba to go anywhere I need to pay 260yen to Umeda station which can be rather costly especially when you calculate 520 yen (both ways) x 7 days that’s easily 3,640 yen (RM140) just to get in and out of Namba area to explore other parts. Not to mention it eats up at least 30 minutes commuting, so if you have a packed schedule or going all around Kansai then just stay at Umeda.




I got Nampa in Namba

And it’s less dodgier looking area compared to Namba wei, you have no idea how many times I got “nampa” in Namba lol. If don’t know what that term means, it’s basically guys trying to hit on girls and I’m surprised that there are Japanese men that daring. I just found out this term too by the way thanks to a friend of mine who asked “ so did you get nampa?” lol wtf.

Had random guys pulling me to the side as I was crossing the road just to ask me to join them for “karaoke” (something else la, *ahem*), even had one asking me directly for sex, followed me quite a distance before I told him off and another other asking what’s my breast size because it looks very small. W.T.F indeed siaa. Never in my entire life visiting Japan that I’ve encountered such weirdoes (in Tokyo there was just drunk businessman, very normal but harmless) except in Osaka. Kinda speechless actually, for once I didn’t feel safe being alone here. But nothing but a death eye stare or playing the Gaijin (foreigner) card can’t solve whenever you are in such situation, I do hope other girls don’t have to encounter what I did la since they usually target girls walking alone, it’s always better to be in a group or at least a pair.


Walkway just below the bridge, there's barely people here


Photobomb- free photo with Glico man @ Dotonbori

The only good thing about staying in near Namba station is that you get to see Dotobori every day until you get bored, because how much shopping and eating can one do in a week lol, people mostly go there because it’s a shopping haven for shopaholics, home to the famous Glico-man and you can see everyone trying to get a proper shot with him without being photobombed but it’s downright impossible UNLESS you are there at 7am in the morning. It’s isn’t too bright (just nice) and there’s barely any crowd at all OR if you have missed that golden hour then you can consider photographing yourself at the walkway just below the bridge!

Early mornings is the best time to get a shot with Glico man



 seriously why do people even bother taking selfies like this at night -_-

THIS makes more sense!

And don’t bother photographing yourself at night because you are not going to get a proper clear shot of you with the lighted Glico man signboard. If the camera focuses on the board, you’ll be blended in with the dark surroundings but if the camera focuses on you, glico man will immediately become over exposed.
Quite alot of interesting things to see and eat at Dotonbori, it's most happening during the night especially when all the large signboards are litted making it look like a fun fair rather than your average night market scenario.

Rather interesting UFO Boob catcher (they are stress balls by the way).


Free Hydragea Viewing Locations


  • Fumin no Mori Nukata Picnic Site (1 hr 30 min hike from Nukata Station)

For those of you who have missed the peak of ajisai blooms in the city, you can actually still catch them as they are still around till mid of July for areas that are higher above sea level. When the word “above sea level” is mentioned that means you gotta do some hiking LOL, as I wasn’t prepared to do any myself since the website I stumbled a crossed failed to mentioned the hiking part so here I am warning you guys who are planning to go there as well. No doubt the view is amazing especially since now is the Hydrangeas blooming peak for Fumin no Mori Nukata picnic site which makes it a very photograph worthy place and at the same time get some work out while at it. Take note that hiking from Nukata station takes roughly about an hour to the top.

After doing some more research, there’s actually a shorter cut to reach the top (silly us, yes bumped into a couple who were also looking for Aji-sai, and we ended up as hiking buddies along the way). It's 35 minutes by foot from "Ikoma Sanjo station" Kintetsu Ikoma Cable car.




The view you'll get halfway, would be better if you reached the top


The reason I came here it’s because first of all my timing was abit off (again) and most of the city blooms were already gone so after some random googling I did come across a website listing places and estimated blooming period for hydrangeas in Osaka/ Kyoto area. This picnic site was just perfect and there’s about 25,000 hydrangeas in 30 different kinds of species, considered one as the largest hydrangea viewing places in Osaka prefecture BUT… I came a few days too early so the blooms were only 30% *flips table & rage* climb all this way up but didn’t get what I was looking for =_= kns indeed.

There’s barely much details about this place in English but if you can read Japanese here is their official website: http://osaka-midori.jp/mori/chubu/nukata.html

You can keep this place in your itinerary if you are planning to get a great view of hydrangea next summer, remember they only bloom towards end of June till middle of July!



Hiking Tips
  1. Make sure to bring sufficient amount of water - there's no vending machines or eateries in sight for another 4.5km
  2. Pack some food from the Kombini- you'll definitely get hungry
  3. Proper hiking attire (clothes & shoes) – don’t be like me hike in slippers, kisao!
  4. Have a local friend who’s familiar with the place to guide you

My "lunch" when i reached the picnic site, luckily there was a rest stop for you to buy water/ tea and a simple bite before continuing the hike.



  • Tonboike Koen (1 hour away from Osaka city)

For a hike free place, you can consider visiting Tonboike park, they have 10,000 hydrangeas of 40 different varieties that carpet the “Ajisai-en” (Hydrangea Garden) which is located deep inside of the park. This park has many kinds of flowers which blooms according to seasons, so if you are here during spring, summer, autumn or winter, you’ll be greeted with a breath taking floral sight regardless.




There isn’t any entry fee (because we cheapskate) unlike other ajisai viewing places especially those commercial ones or temple grounds. I like this park because there’s barely anyone here, and it’s huge so you can get pretty good nature shots in all kinds of angles, people do come here with their dogs too especially one of those Instagram famous pets just to get some insta- worthy shots for their updates lol. You can be shameless like using a selfie stick or a tripod, do your vlogs because there isn’t any human in sight to look at you weirdly haha, guess only the plants will judge you la. I myself spent half a day here admiring all the pretty flowers while strolling around minding my own business away from all the humans.







Only downside of this place that it’s at the outskirt of Osaka, the town is pretty quiet and the bus that goes to and fro from Tonboike park isn’t as frequent like the usual buses we get in the city. My advice would be to plan your timing well so that you won’t miss the last bus back to Kishiwada station.

How to get there: Take bus 22 or 23 from Kishiwada station (340 yen)





Takoyaki & Okonomiyaki 


Seriously, very the overrated Osaka must eat food sia.

Everywhere you go in Osaka, you’ll see these two selling like hot cakes + a long queue, yes I know these are the foods that Osaka is known for but after trying them I think the ones I had in Nara tasted better and was much cheaper too! Well..it’s something you’ll try once just for the sake of trying and since it’s found in almost every corner you can have it every day until you are sick of it lol. I don’t really like Takoyaki that’s drenched in mayo, not a big fan of mayo to begin with anyways.

I seriously ate so much takoyaki until i'm kinda scared of it liao. Each time it's like 6 pieces in one sitting (complete meal for me already).

This wasn't too bad, at least there isn't any crowd and one can enjoy their meal with peace.
Featured on Tabelog

Let me tell you a little story about our first Okonomiyaki in Osaka, after the whole day of walking around the city the next obvious thing to do is to stuff ourselves with tons of carbs (just kidding, no sane girl would say that so easily unless they have a metabolism disorder or something that prevents them from gaining weight) lol, since Osaka is known for this dish why not try it right, it was a wrong move to google "best okonomiyaki in Osaka" because it brought us to one with a waiting line of 1 hour, every so called reputable/ recommended places are packed with tourists waiting to get a bite as well. After 30 mins of searching for other alternatives, we got lazy (more like feet hurt like hell) and settled for a random shop down some alley. Initially Amanda wanted to go back to the restaurant which one of the waiters standing outside tried to "nampa" her with the usual sweet talk lol wtf.  


Love these caramelized sweet potatoes from Horai 55 
Thank you Amanda for introducing these addictive snacks! #fatdieus



Tried Ichiran Ramen (non-halal)


Address: 〒542-0084 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Souemonchō, 7−18

Yes, the famous ramen everyone is raving about including mama cheesie who always seem to have Ichiran ramen cravings during odd hours lol! So we took her word for it and decided to try the branch in Osaka near dotonbori (facing the river), there’s obviously a queue but thank god that it’s fast moving so we stood baking under the sun roughly about 15-20 minutes and this is my first time lining up for food in Japan as queues turns off my appetite, I would rather walk to the nearest convenience store to grab a bite than to queue for hours. And this Amanda hor, haven’t seen her for close to 4 years (yes we KL ppl don’t meet all that much) and of all places to bump into each other we bumped in Osaka lol. What sorcery is this. But it’s nice to see a familiar face in a foreign country though lol.

Prior before i came to Japan, i've avoided pork like 99% (1% are accidental consumption) of the time, not for religious purposes just never been a huge fan of it but during my pregnancy i actually craved for it :-/




We were given a menu sheet to pre-decide what we would like to order because once you are in, you’ll place your orders via a vending machine, don’t worry if you can’t read the menu on the machine there’s images on it beside the wordings. You can customize your spiciness level, how soft or medium you would like your noodles to be and can even add in extras like more meat and egg. A basic set (ramen + pork slices + egg) costs us about 1500yen + (that’s close to RM60, after conversion) rather painful to be paying that price for something that reminds me of high class maggi mee ouch. Definitely taste better than maggi la of course just that I personally find it expensive for a bowl of noodles lol but gotta admit that the broth was good!



Sorry, my assembling skill sucks

Onsen egg is the best! That amber yolk💗




Umeda Sky Building


First time ever we got honked for not crossing the road on time before the pedestrian crossing light turned red lol. Feel so paiseh man as both of us hurried across laughing macam orang gila. Now we make sure to walk extra fast whenever the light turns green to avoid being honked again.
I feel la..that Umeda Sky Building is a pretty misleading tourist attraction, they say that there’s a floating garden in Umeda sky building (from one of the googled articles) but when we arrived there the only thing we saw was a good view of Osaka, nothing special and definitely no floating garden unless they are talking about the "virtual garden" lol, if it is then i feel like i've been trolled. #Cheatmyfeelings


Admission ticket is 1000 ‎¥

check out mah big butt!

This sakai girl ah.. can pose normally or not lol

Finally a decent shot, she didn't know i was snapping

And..we are back to usual Amanda again

"The Thinker" pose. lol.

Okay la, i did enjoy the cooling breeze and beautiful sunset! Too bad we didn't stay till nightfall because by then the whole observation deck would be illuminated

STATION
You can use the Subway and stop at Umeda Station, it's walking distance from there.

ADMISSION FEE 
Adult: 1000yen
High school student/Juniour high school student: 700yen
Elementary school student: 500yen
Kids (4 years old or older): 200yen
Senior(65 years old or older): 800yen




and we ate again, yes we girls complain "fat" alot but we just love to eat :)

Well, there’s a first time for everything and it's always the case of "never try, you'll never know", but i do hope to explore more non-tourist spots the next time i'm here. At least i am familiar with Namba area, hopefully i won't get lost again but even if i do thank god there's internet connection. You have no idea how much i relied on my google maps to get about everyday because first of all i'm alone in an unfamiliar place (Kyoto is still ok for me) and no matter how many times i've walked down the same alley, passed by the same shops, i can still get lost.
Wonder if that is considered a skill, blur AF.

At least data is unlimited and connection is strong, regardless whether i'm in the city, mountains, island or the sea i'm still able to get a stable connection.
Think that's because NinjaWifi uses the local communications network instead of 3rd parties , this is my 2nd time using their services despite a little hiccup along the way on my previous trip, NinjaWifi did an amazing job investigating the matter and fixing it.

As low as 720 yen a day (20% off) than their usual 900 yen per day rate specially for my blog readers and this isn't a sponsored ad! The discount would be automatically applied upon checking out.



spot aunty Amanda 

Will be updating more about Japan soon in short postings so that i won't keep you guys waiting too long till the next post it's definitely going to be interesting because it involves me visiting 5 different prefectures in 5 days :)
Yes it's possible without costing a bomb on transportation!



XOXO,

CONVERSATION

17 comments :

Amanda Suria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda Suria said...

Japan is one of my dream place..still in my wishlist, how i wish i could be there one fine day to experience the moment, scenery, their tradition and culture patterns that still remain strong

Jessying said...

Missed Osaka especially the Takoyaki! I need to go back Osaka again to explore more places! This Tonboike park so nice...so many types of Hydrageas... in different colour somemore! Best part is free! Thanks for sharing!

penaberkala nuar said...

Osaka is one of the best destination in Japan. I wish I will be there again later. Takoyaki there is very ohsem! I've tried twice. Highly recommended

Hasif Hamsyari said...

Omg. U suddenly make Osaka #1 in my bucket list. And beautiful pictures you got there! So jealous! I especially like the picnic site. Purple flowers are always adorable! T,T

achiek anis said...

Nice photo...teringin jgk nak kesana... hopefully one day i will make it

Bro Framestone said...

Wowwww....!!! It's really nice place....

Fadzi Razak said...

Looks like you are enjoying your food there. I wonder is it easy to find halal foos in Osaka?

Nur Alja said...

Bestnya osaka! I'm a bit jealousy because i never been there.

Fiza Rahman said...

Good info and so detail. The picture are beautiful. The takoyaki look tempting because takoyaki is one of my favorite food ☺

rubydotmy said...

Weii lengkap betul blogpost u! I suka! Thank you! Osaka sangat cantik. Cuaca bagus dan bersih. Bila lah I nak pergi sana. I bookmark your blogpost. Haha

Ummi Zarra said...

Wowwww bestnya Osaka. Hope one day dream come true going to Osaka even though it is impossible to be there

Rawlins GLAM said...

I love all your pictures. And I am going to Japan in Aug too. Teach me how to take very beautiful pictures like you - always look like a model anywhere, anytime

Iris Myra said...

sangat suka semua gambar2 yang di paparkan sangat cantik dan menarik.. info2 pun sangat berguna.. harap dapat sampai sini secepatnye.. teringinnn hihii

Iman Abdul Rahim said...

I love your photos! And the food looks so delicious!

Mek Onie said...

hallo glico man :D
Best trip an ever izit? Hopefully one day i'll be there too <3

Sunshine Kelly said...

The Nukata Picnic Site is so so nice and peaceful. I will try to go there on my next trip to Osaka.

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