Friday, June 15, 2012

Japan 2012: Osaka 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 7

Date of Travel: 8-11 April 2012
Osaka city, taken from Temmabashi

Sorry to say this, but we did not like Osaka very much. First impressions are always the strongest, and we had quite an eye-opener first day. Plus coming from places like Kyoto and Nara, Osaka was lacking in food and culture as well. So this is what happened to us.

Day 7 - Bike Hunt

Coming from Nara's JR Station, we were heading to our hotel Fraser Residence Nankai Osaka. Based on the maps and Hyperdia, the easiest way would be to go from JR Nara to Shinimamiya, then switch to the Nankai line to Namba station, which is where our hotel was located. We got to Shinimamiya station quite easily. Because we were carrying heavy luggage, we tried to locate the elevator to the exit. This turned out to be the wrong side of the station to exit. The elevator transported us back in time to the 1950s of Japan that we watched on TV. It was shockingly dirty, ill-maintained and a true eye-opener of what the city actually is like. As I got out of the station, I was disoriented and landed up at the Osaka subway, which was visible from the train exit. If I thought it couldn't get any worse, I was wrong. Beggars sleeping on the streets. Cigarette butts everywhere. People wandering aimlessly, and looked at us funny. Quickly turning around and going back towards the right direction, we traveled 2 stops to Namba, and were once again transported to the 21st century. What a first impression! Sorry no photos of this incident, I was too unnerved.

Trying to change the mood, we went in search of a bicycle.
Takoyaki is famous in Osaka. Many claiming to be the FAMOUS one. Up to you do decide which is best

I actually loved the taste. But it was piping hot inside and I burnt my tongue

Namba is an easy place to wander, many shops and eateries that you will be spoilt for choices. We located the department store Bic Camera quite easily, but their bikes weren't exactly what we wanted. ¥12800 for a folding bike with no suspension. We had asked our hotel and they suggested an area called Orange Street at Horie. This was quite an artsy street which was pleasant to stroll through. Many unique shops and boutiques but for an upmarket crowd. We did locate the bike shop, but once again not to our liking. Having a chat with the nice lady at Orange Street, she guided us to the infamous shop called Don Quixote that all bike shops hate. They are known for their crazy prices that drives other bike shops out of business. This I like!
Organic lunch set at 八百屋

During sakura season, somehow people don't need to work and can hang out under a tree.

On the way to Dotonburi, yet another filthy sight

This is Don Quixote with their crazy bike prices

So we rushed there at peak hours, and got squashed in the crowds of Dotonburi. This I don't like! Osaka is a very crowded place, so crowded that it becomes dirty and unruly. As luck would have it, HH finally got her bike - a Switch brand model 206, which she nicknamed Sakura. ¥13800 for a 20" bike with suspension was really cheap! She rode it back to the hotel :)

Hello Sakura!

Dinner was at a sushi belt place, where every plate was ¥130. The sushi pieces were really large, and very fresh. The both of us managed 16 plates, our favourites were the wood fire grilled unagi (eel) and maguro (tuna). On the way back, we were in luck. The super-long-queue-cheesecake-shop was relatively free. Normally, there is a guard to man the queues; one queue for fresh from the oven, another queue for cakes baked 1-2 hours ago. We happily bought our fresh from the oven cheesecake for 588¥

Try to guess what sushi is coming round

The crowded cheesecake shop at Namba

When a new batch comes out, the bell rings

And each cake is stamped with a hot iron. Delicious!

Train tickets ¥690x2
Lunch at 八百屋 ¥1760
100 yen shop ¥1830
Takoyaki ¥300
iPad ¥48381
Bicycle and lock ¥13998
Dinner ¥2080
Cheese cake ¥588

Related posts:
Japan2012: Top 5 Favourite Restaurants in Kyoto - Part 1
Japan2012: Top 5 Favourite Restaurants in Kyoto - Part 2
Review: Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara, Japan
Japan2012: What Did I Buy Back?
Review: Hana Hostel, Kyoto
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 1
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 2
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 3
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 4
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 5
Japan2012: Nara 3D/2N Itinerary - Day 5,6,7
Japan 2012: Osaka 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 7
Japan 2012: Osaka 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 8
Japan 2012: Kobe Day Trip - Day 9 & 10 (Final) 


tryphaena said...

HI thank you so much for all the great info. We are going to Osaka next month. Your blog provides so much details. Do you travel using JR pass? We are so amazed that you bought a bike there. How do you bring back to Malaysia? Do you get tax by the custom?
Thanks again.

Angie said...

Hi tryphaena. I'm glad you enjoyed my blog post about Japan, I hope to help other travelers.

Because I was moving from city to city every few days, I didn't think a JR pass was worth the money. Also, in Kyoto, you would travel by bus. In Osaka, there were too many different train systems. There's JR, Subway, Nankai and Kintetsu. The JR Pass can only be used on one of the 4. There are unlimited Osaka only day passes, you have to decide based on your travel pattern

And then the bike. It's a folding bike, and only mountain bikes are dutiable by customs. I bought a bike bag for it, and carried it on my shoulder to the airport. Would I do it again? Not in this lifetime!

tryphaena said...

Thanks Angie. I need to travel to Kobe and Aichi, Nagoya. That's why I'm contemplating should I get JR. They are very expensive, probably about RM1000 for 7 days.
Is your bike worth buying back? I will look at the website you gave.Oh your blog helps a lot to fellow Malaysians like us. Thank you for sharing your experiences. My daughter ask me to get a polaroid camera. Do you think its worth getting in Osaka? Thanks again for your help.

Angie said...

Hi again tryphaena,

Would you like to show me what is in your itinerary at the moment? Then I can better advise you. Have you also tried using to check on the prices?

There is a shop selling second-hand folding bikes in Shah Alam, prices are around RM400-600. Overall, I'd buy it in Shah Alam next time. It's

tryphaena said...

I leave KLIA on 8th Oct (mon), reach osaka at 3.45pm. Stay in Nishibashi, New Oriental Hotel, near Awaza Station.
9th Oct - to Ikoma
10th to Archi, plan to stay a night in Nagoya
12 th - plan to visit Kobe/Kyoto, not sure yet, most probably Kobe
13 -15th in Osaka itself. Flight back at 3.45pm. Do you think it is worth to visit the Factory Outlet near the airport.
I have look at hyperdia, not in detail yet as busy pouring over blogspot to get more ideas.
This weekend, matta fair is on, plan to see if any promotion on JR pass.
Appreciate your guidance, Angie

Angie said...

Based on your itinerary, I would not buy a JR pass at all. Your destinations are mostly serviced by the Kintetsu line, rather than the JR Line. JR Passes can only be used on JR network.

To get you started, have a look at this site:
Get the Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide for 5700¥

8 Oct - KANSAI AIRPORT to AWAZA = 1090 (Nankai Airport Exp)
9 Oct - AWAZA to IKOMA = 650
10 Oct - IKOMA to KANAYAMA(AICHI) = 4330
12 Oct - NAGOYA to OSAKA-NAMBA = 2300
and OSAKA-NAMBA to KOBE = 400
13 Oct - KOBE to OSAKA-NAMBA = 400

The journey from Osaka-Namba to Kobe is not covered with the Kintetsu Rail Pass, but it's only 400¥ per way. So paying 5700¥ for the pass is really worth it! And it's only about RM230.

You really need to do a lot more research on this passes and transport though, I still get confused myself.

Note: If I had to pick between Kobe and Kyoto, I would choose Kyoto without a doubt :) And no I did not visit the factory outlet, no idea about it.

Happy planning!

tryphaena said...

Hi Angie,
Thanks for your help. I also realise JR is very costly in the end.I also discover about Kansai rail pass. Can you detail me how you do our rail pass research? I cannot access to the address enclosed. It brings me japan-guide only. Kansai pass only covers Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. I may have to resort getting Kansai and Kintetsu Pass. Still blur in rail research. Appreciate your assistance again. Thanks