We left Kyoto and headed for Osaka on Saturday, which, it turns out, is only an hour away by train. Also, why did we decide that five days in Osaka was a good idea? Oh yeah, that’s because EVERY RYOKAN IN NARA OR ELSEWHERE WAS BOOKED. So we said fuck it. We’ll take it easy for our last few days – eat all our favorite food, see some sites, take a day trip or two. So that’s what we did.
We arrived in Osaka on Saturday afternoon, got to our little Namba Airbnb, rested, then decided we were going to go hard. We haven’t really been out drinking much in Japan – this is because the first week I was sick, then we were in Hokkaido and it was cold and we had a car, and the other thing where Shawn always gets a hangover and can’t function the next day. So we decided this would be our big night. We hadn’t really looked around, but we decided to pick up beers at the local grocery and drink in the park across the street before going to dinner.
We then picked up an Asahi Super Dry tallboy and headed to Dotonbori to find some Okinomiyaki, the local specialty. Hey, did you know you can drink on the streets in Japan? It’s pretty great. And Dotonbori, especially on a Saturday night, is a sea of people and madness. It is how I envisioned Japan in my mind before coming to Japan.
We then headed to Mizuno for some Okinomiyaki. We are terribly sorry, but all technology seemed to fail us at this point. We went “Live” on Facebook, and it said we were live and we recorded it all, but then at the end when we stopped, Facebook said, “oh sorry, something went wrong.” Not only did we not go live, but it didn’t save the video for us to post later. WTF. Not cool, Facebook. We wasted the whole time going live and not using our big camera or Shawn’s phone to get photos of our Okinomiyaki. But if you want to google that shit, it will give you a good idea of what it looks like.
After our okinomiyaki, we picked up another Asahi and walked around Dotonbori some more. It is a very interesting neighborhood and somehow we didn’t get a photo of it. Sorry. I did get this lovely photo of Shawn, though:
Then we decided we needed to try Takoyaki. These are fried (?) balls of dough (?) with octopus and other stuff in them (I think?). They are everywhere in Osaka. This is probably the greatest video we have ever made:
Okay, so before you go back and rewatch that amazing video, know that these were so gross. Just thinking about them now makes me want to hurl. Now go back and rewatch the last 30 seconds or so and look at Shawn’s face. You’re welcome. Also, don’t eat takoyaki. Friends told us it was probably a bad batch, but I’m so turned off that I don’t think I could eat these ever again.
We got home at 7:20pm that night. In bed by 9pm. We are rockstars. Partied all night!
The next day, we really took it easy. We needed to do a bit more trip planning and it was Sunday anyway and we were a little hungover. The most important things for us to do were: eat more tsukemen (our favorite Japanese food and hey, our days in Japan were numbered) and visit a park. Luck would have it, there was a BOMB tsukemen place near our Airbnb. (If you don’t remember tsukemen, please revisit this post.)
Here’s some pictures from the park, which had lots of art in it!
The other thing we did that day was have tsukemen for dinner. Yes, we ate tsukemen twice in one day. Sorry, no photos, but it was pretty good.
Monday was spent doing some Osaka sightseeing. We went to Osaka Castle, which was pretty from the outside, but we heard the inside was not good and we didn’t want to pay to see it, so we just looked around the outside area. Shawn enjoyed an ice cream and kept asking me if you could buy tiny burgers at this “White Castle” we were visiting…
We had pretty bad conveyor belt sushi (also invented in Osaka) for lunch, and found this lovely rooftop to check out before coming home for siesta. Ramen dinner and we were in bed early.
On Tuesday, we needed to get the hell out of Osaka. We had seen it, there wasn’t much to do, and Kobe was a quick train ride away. So we went. And it ended up being really great. Shawn posted a specific “Kobe” post, so you should read that if you haven’t yet. The botanic gardens made us feel like we were in England, the smell of herbs was in the air, and there was an herbal foot bath that I was so happy to see! Of course, no day would be complete without a tsukemen dinner (is it obvious we’re obsessed?) at that little spot near our Airbnb.
Wednesday was our last day in Japan. A bit bittersweet, but we were pretty much ready to move on. We had some food goals: eat Tsukemen again and eat Okinomiyaki again. But we also did a touristy Osaka thing: Umeda Sky Building.
Shawn made a video, which I was not really interested in being a part of after a very terrifying elevator ride (apparently I’m afraid of heights?):
We stumbled upon this art exhibit in the subway tunnels that was so weird (paintings of city shop fronts called “White & White” with lots of white people outside, next to other oddly named shops, etc.). I wish we had taken more photos, but we got this one of Shawn joining the “Mt. Rushmore” crew:
We met up with a new friend, Sammy, whom we met in our Kyoto hostel, for some Okinomiyaki in Dotonbori, and I got one last weird shot of Shawn with his face in a photo board.
And then this morning, we headed to the airport. Three weeks in Japan and we have completed one of our countries on this crazy journey! Of course, our time in Japan would not have been complete without one last ramen lunch (while watching the debate, of course).