When we first arrived in Osaka, Kallsy was sick from our very turbulent 11 hour flight. Customs at Kansai was nearly care free minus the check-in area having a lack of air conditioning. Kansai Airpot (KIX) is well laid out and easy to navigate in our jet-lagged state of mind.
We had ordered a portable wifi unit from Global Advanced Communications and picked it up at the ABC counter in the airport (located on the departures floor). Once we picked up the wifi, we went back to the second floor and walked to the train station at the airport.
We took the Nankai airport line to Nanba station (roughly an hour ride). It is a little disorienting first getting off the train if it is your first time in Japan, especially when it is night time. We had a short walk to our Ryokan from the station. Be sure to avoid walking through Shinsaibashi at this time of night (normally it would be fine, but with luggage it can be overly crowded). We walked on the street one block to the east, and it was a little less busy.
When we arrived at Kaneyoshi Ryokan the owner welcomed us and got us quickly checked in. Someone took us to our room and showed us all the amenities. Our room was perfect for our first experience in a Japanese ryokan. The room itself had tatami mats and traditional futons to sleep on. Our room also had a traditional table, TV, air conditioning, and a sitting room. The sitting room has two western style chairs, a small table, fridge, and fantastic view of the canal. Our room also had an attached private bath with contemporary shower/tub, toilet, and sink.
There are a few things to know about the Kaneyoshi before your stay. The first is that the Kaneyoshi has a curfew at 1 AM, and you won’t be allowed into your room if you arrive later than that time. You also have to leave your room key with the front desk every time you leave. A perk of the Kaneyoshi is how close it is to Dontonbori, and that there is a 7-Eleven practically next door.
The first thing you need to learn about traveling to Japan is that 7-Eleven is your best friend. The ATM here is awesome because it accepts most foreign debit cards, and if your bank has no ATM fees this is a much better option for getting cash than at an exchange counter. We picked up a few snacks and drinks here before we went back to the room for the night.
With a little bit of jet lag kicking in we woke up around 6 am on our first day out. We packed our day bags and headed towards the Nankai-Namba station. With our course planned out using Google maps (see this post about must have apps for Japan) we took the Nankai line to the Sumiyoshitaisha station. In the station we had our first experience with a 100 yen shop, which is comparable to a dollar store in the U.S. 100 yen shops are perfect for things you may have forgotten to pack or for other small necessities that you didn’t want to have to bring with you.
TRAVEL TIP: When traveling in the rainy season, any given day you could need an umbrella. 100 yen shops are the best place to pick up an emergency umbrella, they are very functional, and wont break the bank!
Sumiyoshi-taisha: Best known for its beautiful orange bridge and water features, it is the oldest and largest shrine in Japan.
Osaka Castle & KemaSakuranomiya Park: 1 hr by train from Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine. Osaka Castle is truly marvelous to view and the park it is located in makes it even more beautiful. If you are hungry, no worries! There are many food stands and small shops with snacks and lunch items. In the spring, KemaSakuranomiya Park is known for its 5,000 cherry blossom trees!
Owl Family Cafe: Japan is known for having many different types of cafes. You may have heard of cat cafes and maid cafes, but we had not heard of an owl cafe until we started doing our research. When at the Owl Family Cafe you have one hour to “play” with the owls. This was a rather unique, personal experience that we cherished from our time in Osaka.
Dontonbori | Shinsaibashi: Most of our time in Osaka was spent in Dontonbori and Shinsaibashi. This was the true Japan that many others might miss if not going to Osaka. There are many markets, restaurants, shopping centers, and neon lights. We loved the hustle and bustle of these busy streets.
Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street: a very unique view of Japanese cooking as it has cookware, knives, and many food markets.
Location: 4-27 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0075, Japan
Namba Parks: a beautiful architectural shopping mall that has romantic gardens on the top floors for viewing.
Location: Japan, 〒556-0011 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Naniwa Ward, Nanbanaka, 2−10−70
Nanbayasaka Shrine: it is a little out of the way from many other shrines, however it is incredibly unique to see up close.
Location: 2 Chome-9-19 Motomachi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 556-0016, Japan
Tsurutontan Soemoncho: some of the best udon noodles we had while in Japan. We loved their chewiness, the delicious dipping broth, and the tempera crunch!
Sushi Hayata: by far the best sushi we had in Japan. Despite the language barrier, we had a terrific time conversing (with the help of Google translate) with the owner Hayata-san himself (in the photo he is the man closest to us). You MUST visit Sushi Hayata while in Osaka.
Crepe Ojisan Shinsaibashi: (a crepe stand), some of the most delicious crepes we had in Japan!
Rikuro Ojisan no Mise: Sells Japanese Cheesecake which is a must try for anyone visiting Japan. It is very different from the cheesecake that you might be used to as it is more cake like and spongy.
Location: 〒542-0076 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nanba, 3 Chome−2−20, 15 ファーストキッチン難波戎橋
Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M, Hozenji Yokocho | this restaurant is a very unique culinary experience in that you are able to cook your own steak and choose your own cuts of meat. This was one of our most expensive meals in Japan but having the chance to try all of their impressive cuisine was on our to-do list while visiting (it also happened to be Logan’s birthday). Japan has many fine cuts of beef (wagyu, kobe, matsusaka).
After a delicious meal we headed back to our ryokan to pack our bags for our next stop, Kyoto!