Tag Archive: Osaka



We are home, and still dreaming of the sites we visited and the food we enjoyed. Times are better and “lost in translation” is soon a thing of the past. Google translate and the young helpful Japanese make life so much easier. When we touched down and trooped out of the Namba train station, we couldn’t figure out which direction to take to reach our hotel. When the map says it’s near, hailing a cab is out of the question and that means we should drag our luggage to our hotel just a couple of blocks away. A pair of young Japanese happily walked us to our hotelcrossed 2 streets with us and even offered to take my suitcase. Using Google translate, the young fellow asked if there’s some other place we’d like to pass by before checking in at our Namba hotel. Bless their hearts!

Love how these young Japanese ham it up!

On the way to our hotel — both in Osaka and Tokyo — we took note of all those red and gold lanterns, lightings, food stalls and shops where purchases are so neatly wrapped. Those snack foods packed in cute boxes and bags, as well as young adults in twinning outfits or in school’s winter uniforms. I just love how traditional structures, decor and traditions have survived and withstood the onslaught of modernity in all aspects of Japanese life. Like onsen, tea ceremonies, food alleys, Shinto and Buddhist shrines, temples and pagodas dotting the city landscapes. And how the locals show respect with a bow after rendering service even when no one is looking!

My love affair with Japan began long before I started traveling. Back when I was still in school, I had a weekend foster brother who is Japanese. Kazuhiro is from Osaka but we’ve lost touch many years ago. How I wish we remained in contact. My father who never had a son readily welcomed this Japanese lad on the many weekends he spent with us in our ancestral home in the province. I remember his fastidious attention to cleaning the bathroom that our family made sure he bathed LAST. My father would egg us all to hit the showers before Hiro — as we fondly called him — took his bath. Invariably, Hiro left behind him sparkling clean bathroom tiles after all the scrubbing. And that includes brushing the bathroom slippers squeaky clean!

My only regret was that we were too busy feeding Hiro with local delicacies instead of leaving him to try his kitchen skills. Back then, we weren’t too keen on Japanese cuisine. Sushi and ramen were totally not favoured over mami and siopao to ignoramus like moí and eating raw would have been unwelcome even to my Pa and Ma. Too bad. At the time, what I considered “unmistakably Japanese” then was limited to thoroughly clean, a manicured and pebbled garden, a bow to show appreciation, welcome, and bye, perfectly-cooked rice and good tea!


Our first home base was in Osaka. Right in Namba’s Dotonbori area. The aroma of food wafting from the food stalls and restos kept us going especially on our first night. We have made our wagyu dinner reservations but ended up in the wrong resto branch. And that’s after some time looking all over the place, scanning all the alleys. We were tempted to just skip it and instead check out the many ramen or yakitori or crab places but how can we give up on matsusaka beef 🥩? The staff in the “wrong branch” took us to the right outlet just a few meters away. Seemed like they’re used to guests getting lost or missing the right branch. The night ended well and we were satisfied with our first dinner in Osaka. 👌

Wagyu Dinner at Matsusaka-gyu M
Fushimi Inari Looking Empty of Visitors

Woke up early the next morning for a train ride to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, but it seemed most everybody had the same “brilliant idea”. Walked all around until our knees went jello, then moved to Fushimi Inari where once more, a long line of visitors have already assembled. Alas, the gods smiled on us and we found a break in the line so we promptly took snapshots of the shrine’s vermilion gates looking empty. By the time we were done, we took the Keihan Line to Kyoto’s geisha district, Gion. This time, we failed to spot any geisha, geiko nor maiko. But we enjoyed Hanamikoji alley in peace as the sun set in Kyoto.

Another Tourist Trap: Arashiyama Bamboo Park
Sundown in Gion District

Osaka and Kyoto are just 15 minutes apart via Shinkansen. So convenient. And from the JR Namba Station near our Osaka crib, we took the rapid express train to Nara Deer Park the next day. Just under an hour. Easy. But not as easy is the trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima. Took the 1.5 hour Shinkansen, the half-hour local train from Hiroshima to Miyajima and finally the 8 minute ferry ride to the island. But hey, if you have the time, and the JR Pass, it’s worth visiting. The pass is good for the Shinkansen, local train and ferry. Just make sure you don’t doze off on the ferry ride or you’d end up making a round trip!

Miyajima Island
Nara Deer Park

On our way to Tokyo, we broke our journey in Kyoto for a quick visit to Kiyomizu-dera and to enjoy some Uji matcha delights. Suitcases left in the station’s coin lockers, we were off to take the local train from Kyoto Station to Kiyomizu-gojo via Tofukuji. The uphill climb from Exit 4 took a half hour. The thick crowd we met served no encouragement to truly explore this beautiful temple but we’re not complaining. Time enough for a visit and catching our late afternoon Shinkansen to our next crib, Tokyo. Watch this page for more of our adventures!

Kiyomizu – Dera




Only last June, I was in Tokyo ( A Quick Break)  with my elves for a week. That was a fun holiday filled with many activities. 

This October, I’m back with my Sydney-based niece. Visiting more areas in Japan over 15 days to do justice to our JR Rail Pass. This is the summary of many blogs I’ve written on Japan. More blogs for posting, so drop in from time to time for blog updates. 


Tokyo

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/a-shinkansen-rush-to-tokyo/

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/a-whole-new-world-of-anime-ghibli-museum/

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/snoopy-museum-in-tokyo/

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/besties-in-tokyo/

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/last-night-in-odaiba-tokyo/




Kyoto

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/old-japan-in-kyoto/


Hakodate

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/its-a-squids-life-hakodate-hokkaido/


Lake Toya

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/14/lake-toya-hokkaido/


Sapporo

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/almost-forgot-you-sapporo/


Otaru

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/whats-there-to-like-in-otaru/


Nakatsugawa (Nakasendo)

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/a-preview-of-the-nakasendo-magome-to-tsumago/


Nara

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/dear-me-deer-me-nara/


Hiroshima & Miyajima

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/miyajimas-oysters-eels/

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/the-hall-of-1000-tatamis/


Osaka

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/osakas-kitchen/


And don’t miss this post on Japan’s gastronomic delights! 


FOOD TRIP 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/a-food-trip-across-japan-with-a-jr-rail-pass/



A FEW MORE THOUGHTS

Only in Japan 

Happy Travels, everyone. 


For more blogs celebrating life, check out : 

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/

http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/liliram/


Like me on Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/Lifeisacelebration