27 April 2008

Kansai Day 1, 14 Dec 07 - Dotonburi, Osaka

Goodness, it's been 4 months since my Kansai vacation in Dec 07. Had promised to blog about it but I have really been a slacker! Reckon I'd better start now, or I'll never do it :p
As a recap, hubby and I focused on Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe with two onsen trips to Arima Onsen and Arashiyama for the 11D10N vacation. Browsing the photos brought fond memories. The Kansai region portrays a different side of Japan. The pace is notably more leisure, less hurried than Tokyo; the people are more approachable and warmer. In Tokyo, people always seem to be in a hurry and perhaps the impeccable dress sense made them appear distant. Nevertheless, Japanese people are generally gracious and well groomed.
In a nutshell, I like the energy and vibes of Osaka and the serene/old world charm of Kyoto. Not to forget the angelic and romantic Luminarie at Kobe as well as onsens that sooth both body and mind.
Here's goes Day 1 of my Kansai trip.
We took a morning flight by SQ to Kansai International Airport. By the time the plane touched down, it was already 3 plus in the afternoon. Kansai International Airport is relatively quiet as compared to the hustle bustle of Tokyo Narita Airport. I guess most people don't fly directly to Osaka?
After going through the customs, we purchased tickets for the Airport Limousine Bus (automated ticketing machines are located outside the arrival hall). Each ticket costs 880 yen and the ride took 48 mins to the OCAT (Osaka City Air Terminal) located at the Minami downtown of Osaka.
Our accommodation at Osaka is Dotonbori Hotel, located within 10 minutes walking distance from the OCAT. Chose this hotel because it is near OCAT as well as the lively Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Shopping Street. Interesting facade of Dotonbori Hotel, certainly can't miss it.
Our room for first 2 nights. Tiny but all amenities were provided.

After settling down, we wasted no time to venture to Dotonbori Street, the city's most famous shopping, entertainment and food district. What hitted us immediately was the razzle dazzle of hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs. They were huge and could be rather overwhelming.
The famous Glico Running Man sign.

Dotonbori Gokuraku (above)
The Kani Doraku crab sign (below)

Takoyaki たこ焼き or 蛸焼 - popular Jap dumpling made of batter, octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, konnyaku, green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, green laver, mayonnaised and katsuobushi (bonito fish shavings)! There are stalls selling this famous Osaka snack everywhere! Definitely a must-try :d~~~

We couldn't resist a hot bowl of ramen in the winter cold. As with most fast food eateries in Japan, tickets were bought from a vending machine and handed to the counter staff. The broth (pork and chicken bones) of the ramen was thick but didn't taste oily, most important warmed our tummies immediately. This seemed to be a rather popular chain of 24hour ramen eatery found in many parts of Osaka.

After warming up our stomach, we spent the rest of the night exploring Dotonbori. There were quite a number of 'UFO catcher' shops in Dotonbori and other parts of Kansai and we were totally obsessed with them during this trip :p The prizes were enticing and shop owners most helpful in offering tips on how to catch the coveted prizes ranging from snacks to soft toys to even watches and bags! Till now, I still missed Dotonbori and the UFO catcher shops :D
End of Day 1, more to come!
Travel resources


  1. Thank you for your email. I think I will make it soon for my mother's birthday!
    I am enthralled by your trip stories. Dontoburi seems amazing, and I love the Glico sign (I love Glico sweets!)
    The room is small, but I am excited to someday stay in a tiny japanese ryokan room!

  2. PS- I love takoyaki and I would love to eat in Japan!

  3. Hi bunbun,
    Yes, you must experience it, especially at traditional ryokan. The futon is really comfy!
    Takoyaki tastes really good in Japan with big chunk of fresh octopus!