Kansai+Tokyo Trip Day 2 – Osaka for a Day

Whatever level of hotels/airbnb/B&B/residence you stay at big cities like Osaka in Japan, and no matter how many times you have been there, breakfast at convenience store is always a wonderful option. Cheap, fast, safe and delicious. No other option can beat all these criteria at the same time.

Our favorite has always been onigiri with coffee or tea. There are all kinds of flavors, among which you can pick common ones like tuna with mayo, salmon, ume (preserved plum). If onigiri is not filling for you, there are sandwich with ham and egg, as well as other flavors. You can also get a full bento box 24/7 at convenient stores in Japan. The most common stores are FamilyMart and 7-11. Google map will tell you the closest-by one around you. Not difficult to find at all. You can ask the staff to warm up the food for you (yes, need some basic Japanese simple as: A Ta Ta Ka I, O Ne Ga I Shi Ma Su 温かい , お願いします, warm, please). Check out more varieties of food at this Eater.com article

Convenient Store goodies

After breakfast, we went to Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, which is not far away from APA Hotel Higashi-Umeda, where we stayed for this trip. You can either take subway or just walk all the way via shopping district in Tenman. Very easy walk in the morning as most shops won't open until 9:30am or 10am after. Osaka Museum of Housing and Living opens at 10am the day we visited (check their website or learn more at this Osakainfo.jp article to be better planned at timing)

Tenma

1-2 hours at Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is quite good depending on your schedule. You will see main neighborhood of Osaka in 200 years ago. Many tourists or local Japanese will dress in Kimono to take photos there. Kimono renting is also available inside the museum, which makes the experience 100% indoor with convenience and comfort. There are all kinds of stores, the only fire station in the town, vivid street scenes, weather/light simulations and story telling in a few blocks of area.

Fire station 200 years ago in Osaka

Osaka history

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Upstairs, there is the exhibition hall that revealed Osaka along the history from different time era. 

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When we came out of the museum, perfect timing for early lunch. 11:30am shouldn't be bad for any normal lunch place except for one of the most popular okonomiyaki restaurant 味乃家 Ajinoya (on Michelin Guide and top reviews across several sites including TripAdvisor that we just decided to go without planning. It took a solid full hour to wait in line. Don't forget to ask for English menu if you by chance look like Japanese. We got a Japanese menu and it took more than 30 minutes for the waiter to come back again outside to check guests standing in the line. Fortunately, we do read and speak a little Japanese that made us survive the ordering process, as the 2nd time the waiter came back, he just accepted order right away and you wouldn't be able to order anytime afterwards, including drink. 

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Lunch waiting line outside 和乃家

To help reduce waiting time, they opened another branch 3 minutes away to the left of the restaurant. However, that one was much smaller so people still prefer waiting here. It's on the same street so you might want to checkout if you come 2+ as one of your group stays in the line here. The food is gorgeous! We love okonomiyaki so we make it at home sometimes as well in the US. However, we cannot come up with the freshness of materials, the efficient fire cooking plate built in the table and the recipe-based seasoning and home-made sauce they have. We enjoyed every bite of it. Check out the following 2 short video clips of making okonomiyaki 

Okonomiyaki Making - Step 1

Dressing on Okonomiyaki - Final Step

It might be almost 3pm after lunch. There are plenty of things to do in Osaka including shopping, river boat trip, and more street snack experience, especially in the famous Shisaibashi area. If you'd like to avoid crowds, refer to this Osaka Shopping guide,which suggested several alternatives. We love Osaka Namba station area a lot as it has an underground shopping area with a lot of afternoon snack options. Everything indoor so no worries about weather outside. We found a great green tea (matcha) cafe, Nana's Green Tea that sells dessert set and tasted this most refreshing tiramisu and ice-cream. It was so yummy!

Matcha dessert set

 At night in Nov, it could be a little chilly on the cruise boat but the views next to you will surely warm you up. Many cruises also provide jazz music on the boat. Check out more info at TripAdvisor or Osaka-info.jp. Hozenji Yokocho Alley is a hidden gem in busy touristic area in Osaka. It is a collection of 60 small izakaya, bars and eateries in an alleyway behind Hozenji Temple in Osaka. The street has been filled with nightlife since the 17th century when the area was a theater district (more details at this Japan Talk article).

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There are also great late night snack places nearby e.g. Wanaka, Sennichimae Honten, which is famous for Takoyaki (octopus ball). If you go there after 10pm, great chance that there is no long line. You can order 600 yen 4 flavor set that is enough portion for one person like a full dinner meal. Take it and go to the eating area behind the street shop, which is a 2-story building. You can find seat easily with free water to enjoy the most delicious Takoyaki in town. 

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Pick a hotel close by so you can easily fall to sleep and say goodnight Osaka after a satisfying day!

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