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Sunday, July 09, 2017

#carmenxjapan Day 12: Osaka City Sights part two

Turns out completing the series of posts is harder than I thought, especially when there's no internet. Was gonna give up but hey I'm gonna try anyway, before I get occupied by work. So where was I, it's the second day to explore the lively and vibrant city of Osaka and with the Amazing Osaka Pass(AOP), heading off to some of the attractions at Osaka Bay area and going back to the bustling streets of Dotonbori at night once again. 




Tsutenkaku Tower
Before heading to the Osaka Bay area, went to visit the Tsutenkaku tower nearby. It's an observation deck which was (and still is) the iconic building of Osaka back in the 1910s. Like whatttt seriously, observation deck is already a thing 100 years ago??!!?? Anyways, the tower is still in the middle of the ShinSekai district which has transformed throughout the years. Not only you get to have a beautiful view of the Osaka skyline, at the observation deck is also the enshrined Billiken, aka the God of Things as They Ought To Be which is also a ubiquitous figure in Osaka. But I guess the part where I enjoyed most was the small exhibition that showcased the history of Shinsekai, which was a beautiful, prosperous and glorious district. 

Not only Billiken, many of his relatives are around too. Each represents a type of blessing. 

One of the smaller Billiken statue, the actual Billiken is now a tourist attraction where tourists could take souvenir photos. I was abit intimidated by the overly excited and friendly host who was entertaining the visitors who wanted to take photos with the Billiken and so chicken-ed out from taking photo with the actual statue haha. 

This is how the original Shinsekai looked like. The Tsutenkaku was modelled after the Eiffel Tower while the bottom of the tower resembles the Arc de Triomphe in France. Shinsekai was also the home to an amusement park and thus was pretty much the hang-out spot in the past. Just learned that Singapore also has its counterpart which is also named New World (Shinsekai in English). Honestly why don't we have something like this now? An entertainment district with pretty lights. 

dioramas of Osaka's lifestyle in the past century. 

also there's this special Glico store where you could get almost every possible flavors or packaging of your favorite snacks like Pocky, Pretz and Collon. 


Osaka Bay - Tempozan Harbor Village 
A modern district built on man-made shores along Osaka's Bayfront. There's this mega mall with ferris wheel and Lego discovery center. Also in the area is the signature Osaka Kaiyukan which is a massive aquarium, home to God knows how many species of underwater life. From the looks of it, the area is like a family outing spot where both adults and kids could enjoy while learning. 

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Tempozan Marketplace

How can an Aquarium look this good on the outside. I decided not to visit the Kaiyukan due to time constraint and also its slightly more expensive admission fees at 2300yen. But I'm sure it's well worth the price and will definitely visit next time. 

Santa Maria Cruise Ship 
Also included in the AOP, I got to enjoy a 40 minutes cruise along the Osaka bay on a voyage ship, which kinda reminds me of One Piece for some reason haha. The cruise ship is modeled after Christopher Columbus's expedition ship where he discovered the New World. The weather was lovely, so it was a pretty fun experience to just sit back, check out the establishments around area, you can even spot USJ too, and also enjoy the warm sea breeze. 




statue of Christopher Columbus, the explorer. 

The Tenpozano Bridge


Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Another way to take in the beauty of the Osaka Bay is to hop on the mega-size ferris wheel at Tempozan Marketplace. I know, i know, second ferris wheel in the trip and honestly before Japan, I really forgot when was the last time I hop onto a ferris wheel. So don't miss your chance to just relax in one of these gondolas and enjoy the pretty view. 

Honestly, still think having the whole gondola to myself was an awesome experience haha. Just don't think and rest your back. 


I chose to ride on the Crystal carriage. 


I know the photos don't really look nice but there's something about the sunny weather and open area that made me stayed a little longer. After having lunch, I continued to just sit by one of the benches and got myself an ice latte. Guess I was too tired from all the constant walking in the past week. 


the vast skies and wide ocean, with ports working hard. 

Ebi Burger (300yen) from First Kitchen
Shrimp burgers are a norm in Japan and they taste so yummy T T

Iced Latte is everywhere, you could easily get one for 150yen at Family Mart, and it taste good T T



Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
As if the Osaka Museum of History wasn't good enough, there's another museum dedicated to present the ancient facets of Osaka's days to visitors. Again, Osaka's museums really do not disappoint. The presentation, the replicas and explanations are aimed to educate visitors especially foreigners like us. Love the life-size replica of an ancient town. The lighting of the "town" changes to reflect different times of the day and damn it feels very real. You'll hear roosters in the morning, thunder at dusk, birds chirping etc. For those who wanna try kimonos, you could also reserve a ticket for kimono fitting and stroll the mini Edo-town in your kimono outfit! The kimono experience does not require any additional fees but has limited tickets per day. 



old shop houses in Edo period

some lion-dance look-alike made with closets haha


it's night time and there's the moon! haha 

dawn of the next morning, the lighting's very impressive

the bell tower which existed in Edo era, similar to the one we saw in Kawagoe

after the mini-Edo, the following two floors showcases miniature models of Osaka's buildings and housings in the more recent decades and there's where you see Osaka's rapid and advanced transformation. 


these DIY models are for sale too

Naniwa Hot Spring
around 20 minutes walk away from the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is a hot spring spa which is also included in the AOP as well! Seriously isn't this tourist pass awesome? Anyways, what is a Japan trip without dipping yourself in the hot spring waters. Gotta say I really enjoyed the dip even though it was really cold in the open air. Some magic the hot spring has, felt totally warmed and heated on the inside and I didn't sneeze for the rest of my trips. Besides the hot spring, there's like the indoor sauna rooms and cold bath. Feeling totally refreshed after showering. Super syok. Too bad our weather isn't suitable for this, can't find any better way to recharge.  



sorry I need to selfie, feeling too good hahahaha

the cafe outside of the spa
additional R&R time with some snacks and drinks here

Iced Cocoa! again haha (110yen) 

Corndog (250yen) 
Snack time and yes I love corndogs, not only they are crunchy, fragrant and yummy. It's super filling as well. And in Japan, you can squeeze mayonnaise all you want. 


Shinsaibashi 心斋桥 and Kougaryu Takoyaki Balls 甲贺流
After the energy boost, decided to head back to Namba area which I was totally mesmerized with on the night before. My dinner menu was already decided on the day before and it has gotta be Takoyaki balls! I randomly picked an outlet from the list of suggestions at Google search and turns out it's one of the most highly reviewed Takoyaki stalls. Kougaryu is located at the Shinsaibashi area which is another shopping district next to Dotonbori. Compared to Dotonbori, the shops and boutiques here are more upscaled and atas. Not only there's hipster local brands but also many of the luxury brands as well. You think shopping is big in Orchard, wait till you see Namba in Japan haha. 

Kougaryu Takoyaki Balls 甲贺流 location: 
2-18-4 Nishi Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi


loads of youngsters flood the streets of Shinsaibashi

This my friend, is the Michelin-rated Takoyaki balls in Osaka 
There's plenty of variations to choose from (which has different toppings) but the crew member recommended the most conventional and popular choice which is the Takoyaki balls topped with Mayonnaise and the homemade special sauce. 

Takoyaki Balls (400 yen) 
400 yen for 10 balls of happiness. This is so good and I am surprised with the difference in texture. The takoyaki balls are more springy while the outer layer isn't as crunchy. The inside was more gooey but very fragrant, and people, the octopus is a much larger chunk unlike the ones in MY. And of course, to top it off, the magic of Japan's delicious mayonnaise and the slightly tangy sauce. Super satisfied and biting into the piping hot takoyaki feels even better with the chilly weather of Osaka at night. 

Just opposite of Kougaryu is the Sankakukoen (Triangle Park) which was crowded with all the young souls. Very hipster and I knew it was the best spot to enjoy my Takoyaki. 

after dinner, continued to explore around Shinsaibashi's shopping districts and finally made my way back to the vibrant and crazy bright Dotonbori. Despite my fears with large crowds, I wasn't gonna give up enjoying the bright atmosphere in Dotonbori, not when this is something so rarely seen in MY and SG. So I found a place to grab a coffee, again, while I could silently let the Dotonbori river, the mega neon signs and all the vibrant crowd entertain me. 

One of the cafes that overlooks the Dotonbori river is Honolulu Coffee
Love its super cozy and exotic interior. Btw, Japanese love all things Hawaiian. This cafe really presents the charms. Got myself a venti sized Soy Latte (480yen)

Honolulu Coffee Location:
1F, Doton Bldg., 1-6-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Love the ambience so so much, here you have seats right at the windows with Dotonbori's view. 



One more photo before I say goodbye to all the bright lights of Namba. 

sorry one more selfie to keep this energized face in record. 


Next, one of the best days in my life haha, it's the closest I could get to living the dream of a witch at Hogwarts!



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