The Unexpected Japan Trip [Part 1]: Osaka
Every August is always a special month for me, but August this year was a bit different from other Augusts. I got a rare and special birthday present. I got the privilege to go to Japan for the very first time. It wasn’t on my plan at all when I got the phone call about this opportunity. I was in doubt at the beginning for there were a lot of things I still need to manage including about the visa etc, but I was lucky to have a great mentor to encourage me saying that I could do this. It took a week for the preparation. Since it was a sudden, I did not have any itinerary about where I was going to go or to do so I decided to just do a freestyle backpacking while discovering about Japan in my time there.
It was a bright day on August 10th when I flew to Osaka, Japan. After arriving in the middle of the night on the same day flight. I used to stay at the Airport for this situation, but this time I decided to just directly go to my guesthouse. I had no idea about Japanese at all with the hope that Japanese people might able to speak English, but apparently it was rare to find people who are able to speak English, so body language was the only way.
Even though I arrived in the middle of the night, but I managed to arrive at the guesthouse almost morning because the taxi driver dropped me quite far from my guesthouse and there was no one understood what I said in Japanese. After a few hours, I finally reached my guesthouse yet another issue came up, I couldn’t open the key lock. This was awesome because what I could do was just laughing for everything. Thank God I finally opened it and managed to enter the room. Guess what? I was so tired, so I dropped my body and slept until almost noon. What a day!
The day was just getting interesting when I finally able to wake myself up and start the journey. I roughly wrote down places I intended to go so I did not expect too much, but I just let myself enjoy everything.
I stayed at Kami-Shinjo area. It took me around 5 minutes in a fast walk to the closest station, but I took more than 5 minutes just because I wanted to enjoy the neighborhood and took some unique pictures. Apparently there were so many pictures I took but let me just drop the “not very” best one, but good enough to share, of course with some notes attached.
Walking and cycling were definitely nice in Japan. Walking around the neighborhood has been nice just to let me familiar with the neighborhood and enjoy the environment which was very clean and well-managed. The Japanese also like to cycle so it was so common to see bicycle parking in Japan which is so rare to see it in Jakarta. I was so impressed with this idea I even went around the parking lot to see how did they make it 🙂 They even made it two floors so it could afford many bikes.
I loved how they managed the buildings and houses. It was so warm and nice to just see the houses, even the weather was very hot. I didn’t mind taking a long walk, I mean, the design was very unique, so I couldn’t help myself to go around and around the neighborhood.
I spent my first day in Osaka strolling around the city, walking aimlessly tried to figure out how the transportation in Japan works. After learning how to use the ticket machine and read all the information, I chose Shinsaibashi to be the starting point. I was strolling around Shinsaibashi and found this restaurant. A small ramen restaurant called Bakufuu at the intersection of Shinsabashi alley. I did not expect much, but the taste was surprisingly very nice. Take a look for what I ate in my Instagram food-account @adventureoffood.
I walked toward Nippombashi and got lost when strolling around it, but luckily I found this store. They sold ice cream and cake which was worth to try and I got this nice picture taken there too.
The next day was a bit better because I was getting used to Japan’s transportation. I spent a couple of hours at night to prepare what I would go the next day. Osaka Castle was the starting point of the second day.
The famous Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle is a Japanese castle in Osaka, Japan. The castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. This is the main tower of Osaka Castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one square kilometer. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock. Using a technique called Burdock piling, each overlooking a moat. There were a lot of things to enjoy around Osaka Castle though. I stopped my walking right in front of this main tower. I planned to go up, but then I gave up for there were so many people in the queuing. Then I decided to take its picture from in front of it. The sky was in its perfect color so it turned out nicely.
Tombori River Cruise
Tombori River Cruise was the next one after Osaka Castle. It’s located about 5 minutes walk northeast from the subway Namba Station, Harshen / Kintetsu Line Osaka Namba Station, or Nankai Line Namba Station but it took me longer than that.
A Dotombori cruise of about 20 minutes to enjoy the lively Minami area with guides. If you have your Osaka Pass like I had, you can show your pass at the ticket counter. It opens 1 hour before the first cruise, exchange it to an assigned ticket. You would need the ticket before line up at the boarding entrance. Please exchange it during a day time since the evening tickets are sold out early. You would disable to aboard when all seats were taken.
I spent strolling around Dotombori after that and enjoyed standing ramen that sell on the street. If you’re coming to Japan, don’t doubt to try any ramen that sell on the street. It’s cheaper and tastes nicely.
There were a lot of things I can try in Osaka, but my interest moved to Kobe for the third day. I realized I did not take any pictures there beside for the food I ate there. So let moved to the next day, which apparently became city that I have waited for the first day I arrived in Japan. It was Kyoto. [To be continued]…