Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ivy's Travel: Summer in Japan Diary {Part II}

Previous post of Summer in Japan Diary {Part I} can be read here


5 mins walk from Namba Station exit 14

Hozenji Yokocho is one of my personal favorite. The temple with quaint narrow alley located at the busy Minami area take you back to the olden days of Osaka. Can't believe this place located just few blocks away from the vibrant Dotonburi. You can really feel the strong Japanese culture in this place. Rows of small authentic Japanese restaurants are along the alley. We went here early morning before our trip to Kuromon market so the shops are all closed, they only open around late afternoon and sadly we didn't have time to come back later that day, even though our hotel just 10 minutes walk away. Seriously, we loved how Cross Hotel is so conveniently located. The famous Hozenji Sanpei Okonomiyaki and Daruma Kushikatsu can also be found here.

Since the main transport will be used in Japan is the subway (taxi cost fortune here), I recommend you to buy the subway card. In Osaka is called Icoca card, in Tokyo is Pasmo or Suica card. Don't worry, you can use Icoca card in Tokyo or other cities in Japan, goes the same with Pasmo or Suica. But, you can only refund the card at the origin city. Meaning, you can't return Icoca card for money at other city besides Osaka (at least, that's what I know). We bought Icoca card for 2000 Yen, that include 500 Yen for deposit fee which you can get back after deducted 220 Yen for handling fee. The card can be used for subway and buses, but not shinkansen. All subway cards expired after ten years, so I don't really see why you need to get the refund, unless you are certain to never visit Japan in the next 10 years. During this trip, it costs us more or less, 7000 Yen (IDR 900.000,-) per person for transport of subway (exclude JR ticket to Kyoto and Shinkansen ticket to Tokyo).

Icoca, Pasmo or other subway card can be purchased in ticketing machine at subway station.

 2-4-1 Nippombashi, Chuo-ku
Nippombashi station at Sennichimae line (exit 2)
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm

Probably our second favorite place in Osaka after Dotonburi. Like seriously if we have more time in the city, we would so going to like twice or thrice, even though the place ripped off our wallet. LOL. If you are someone who loves fresh seafood, this is your place. As much as we also love Tsukiji, but we like this place more due to the varieties. Though be careful, it is a market but it ain't cheap. If you're not being cautious, you can spent too much here. 

I can't say that you will love this place because everyone's preference is different. If you don't have too much days to spent, I would strongly suggest you to prioritize. Choose the kind of attractions you most likely have fun and put the others "not so important" as a back up plan. The least you want to do is try to pack all places on one day. You'll end up rushing everything and don't really have time to explore. We know for sure that we are not interested at historical castle and park, so we, well I, since Hubs don't really care about the itinerary and just tag along, I put Osaka castle as a back up plan if we do have time, we ended not going due to the limited time, but no regrets as it wasn't our primary must go place. 

Hubs and I, we always love going to traditional market during travel. When we went to Busan Korea, we had so much fun at Jagalchi fish market and still talks about how fresh the seafood we had there. So, that's my point, when you travel, if possible, go alone, don't go by tour and prioritize your own interest, not based on others itinerary cause everyone's choice of interest is different.

As you entered Kuromon, you'll see this store. Do go in, the place sells ridiculously fresh ingredients and they can cook it for you to eat at their shop, well every stores in the market practice the same method, but this one has a complete seafood options, from oyster, sashimi, uni, crab, lobster, anything. 

Fresh Oyster 500 Yen (IDR 64.000)

Crazy sweet and delicate honeydew. It cost 500 Yen (IDR 64.000) per slice, but melt in your mouth worth it.

Sushi everywhere! 

Kushikatsu 700 Yen (IDR 89.600)

The oh so good Daifuku Mochi 195 Yen (IDR 25.000)

Another one I strongly recommend for you sashimi lovers to have is these amazing Otoro, like for real, they are so so so gooooood! I, personally never really fond of Uni, but Otoro is LIFE. Look for this stall, they sell the most amazing Otoro. We tried the 3pcs Otoro sushi for 3000 Yen (IDR 384.000) and have I mentioned that they were so goood?!

Osakako station at Chuo line exit 1. Find the sign to Aquarium. If you walk through Ferris Wheel, you're on the right track.
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm
Ticket: 2300 Yen (IDR 287.500) per person

We went to Osaka Aquarium because Hubs has always have a thing for fish. Fish is his fetish. I'm not into these kind of thing but I do have to admit that Osaka Kaiyukan is pretty amazing. The place is huge and have tons of sea animals. I have the shark video but the file is too big to be uploaded here, so pictures only. 

Dobutsuen-mae station at Midosuji line

Shinsekai is one of the old neighborhood in Osaka that was develop before war with the iconic Tsutenkaku tower at the center of the neighborhood. To us, aside from taking picture and see for ourselves the iconic Tsutenkaku which also have observatory deck to view the city of Osaka, nothing really stands out here. What you can find at Shinsekai is lots of elderly, many spa places with nude pictures in front of the shops, tons of pachinko slots machine, and kushikatsu stalls including the famous Daruma. We spent not more than only 30 minutes here. 

 One of the biggest Daruma Kushikatsu outlets in Osaka is at Shinsekai

Marimochi station exit 6 then cross the street. 

Tenjimbashisuji is Japan's longest shopping street with 2,6km line of shops in total. We went there around 3-4pm and the place was still very much quiet, stores are open, but it was mentioned the best time to come here is during late evening. Personally we didn't see any interesting findings here, but then again we didn't explore the market for too long.

Serene quaint alley on our way to Yayoiken... Aren't Japan just too pretty? It's like everything in the city is so picture taking worth. 

Address: Tenjibashi, Kita-ku, Osaka (Open 24 hours) 

Yayoiken is one of the restaurant that was on my go to list recommended by a friend of ours and we found them near Tenjimbashisuji with the help of Google maps. Yayoiken is a teishoku style restaurant. Teishoku means meal set with rice, pickles and miso soup as side dish and one choice of main dish. The ordering system as to many restaurants in Japan is by vending machine. We choose the item we want, pay, get the tickets and pass them to the server, then be seated and wait for the food to be delivered.

Yayoiken provides all you can eat rice and pickles. The price is cheap compare to the food they serve. We had one of our good lunch here. The food was fresh with heartwarming flavors. Strongly recommended. You can find their branches spread all over Japan, and outside the country too.

Mixed Fried Food Topped with Egg Teishoku 780 Yen (IDR 100.000)

Grilled Atka Mackerel Teishoku 890 Yen (IDR 114.000)



1-4-15 Dotonburi, Chuo-ku (inside Ebisubashi-suji)
Opening hours: 11am - 10pm

We've heard tons of good words about Mizuno being the best okonomiyaki in town, do we agree? Uuum, not really. The restaurant is very petite and they are indeed famous, so prepare to queue. Located inside the alley of Ebisubashi-suji in the center of Dotonburi, next to Ichiran ramen (Ichiran's smaller outlet compare to the one located at Dotonburi river walk). We queued for 45 minutes. Party of two will be seated in their first floor at the okonomiyaki bar where you can see the chef preparing your orders. Customers with larger group will be seated upstairs. 
We had their Seafood mix okonomiyaki (1405 Yen, IDR 180.000) without shrimp as Hubs allergic, with additional 165 Yen buckwheat noodles on the top. We also had Akitora cold sake (540 Yen, IDR 69.000). 

Though yes, the okonomiyaki was loaded with seafood and definitely so much better than the one in Jakarta, but we didn't really feel anything special about them. Under seasoning too that we had to ask for extra sauce. The okonomiyaki was huge and more than enough for two, so I will recommend first timer to only order one first. 

Summer in Japan Diary {Part III}, click here.

*based on trip 3Jul - 11 Jul 2016. 1 JPY = 128 Rupiah

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