Osaka in a Day | Japan Solo Travel 2017

March 07, 2017

Osaka day trip

I always wanted to visit Osaka, the capital of Osaka Prefecture and second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. Most of my friends who went to Japan followed a Osaka – Kyoto – Tokyo travel itinerary so, call it the fear of missing out, I decided that my first stop in Japan should be Osaka. Air tickets from Taipei to Osaka was also cheaper compared to Taipei to Tokyo.


Thank god for charger ports on the bus from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan International Airport because I had absolutely to time to charge my phone prior to boarding. Even though I was absolutely thrilled about my Japan solo travel, I was basically a zombie the entire time I travelled from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan International Airport to Kansai International Airport because I was still intoxicated.


Carrying a ridiculous amount of luggage for a supposed backpacking travel




It has always been my dream to witness sunrises on board – I've watch the sun set on a plane before but sunrises always elude me. This time, I was too hungover to properly enjoy the sunrise, only waking up to snap a few photos, most of which turned out to be blurry, before falling asleep again.



Two shocks of my life upon touching down at Kansai International Airport (KIX):

  1. I seriously underestimated how cold 7°C is and wore sandals — not that I have a choice anyway because it was my only pair of comfortable shoes.
  2. The immigration card was in traditional Chinese because I flew from Taipei to Osaka. thank god I'm well versed in traditional Chinese by now and could easily fill in the details required.

Complicated Osaka City Subway Map

Thus began my journey of figuring out subway maps in Japan. Osaka has, to be honest, one of the most straightforward subway maps I had to figure out in Japan. I did my research beforehand, and decided that the cheapest route was to take Nankai Airport Express (adult: ¥920) to Namba Station, in Osaka City. Namba Station is the last stop, so it's easy to identify where you should be getting off.

Make sure you get on Nankai Airport Express as there are also local trains that run on this route, but take a longer time to reach Namba Station. With a 45 minute journey, Nankai Airport Express is not the fastest way to get to Osaka City but it's definitely the cheapest, which was what I was going for in my budget travel.

If you have spare money or would like to save time, you can book a bus from Kansai International Airport to Osaka City.

The Osaka one day pass is cheaper during weekends

From Namba Station, I got the One-day Ticket Enjoy Eco Card (Adult weekend: ¥600) which can be used unlimited times for all Osaka Municipal subway and buses. With your one day ticket, you can also enjoy discounted admission to several tourist spots.

I was really confused when I first arrived at Namba Station because being the central of Osaka, it has the Yotsubashi (blue), Sennichimae (pink) and Midosuji (red) lines in one place – and that's on top of also having the airport express trains.

Thankfully, Osaka citizens were really helpful and tolerant of tourists and they patiently pointed me to the correct places. One guard at Namba Station even ran after me with a map and guided me on getting around Osaka, and the discounts I could get T_T I was almost touched to the point of tears!

As previously mentioned, I did couchsurfing in Osaka. After settling in, it was already 1pm+ and I rushed out so I could explore the best of Osaka.

Osaka Castle Park (can totally imagine how beautiful the park will be during cherry blossom season!)

Osaka Castle Park

Address
1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002, Japan

Nearest Subway Station
Tanimachi Yonchome Station (Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line)
Approximately ¥240 without one day pass

Opening Hours
9am to 5pm daily

Fee
Free for Osaka Castle Park
¥600 for Osaka Castle




You can't tell, but I was trembling in the above photos because the platform was raised high up and if I slipped — a high possibility considering how clumsy I am — I would have fallen into a deep river. In winter.

Got over my fear of heights for nice photos #doitforthegram




Was still a little too full from my airplane food, or I would have darted into one ramen shops along Ohatsutenjin Dori Shotengai for a piping hot bowl of ramen.



Tsuyunoten Shrine (Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine)

Tsuyunoten Shrine (Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine) 

Address
〒530-0057 2-5-4 Sonezaki, Kita-ku, Osaka City

Nearest Subway Station
Higashi-Umeda Station (Tanimachi line) (¥240)

Opening Hours
7am to 10pm

Fee
Free


Tsuyunoten Shrine (Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine) is a famous love shrine in Osaka, which tells a story of the forbidden love two lovers — a prostitute and ownder of a soy sauce store — who tragically committed suicide in Tsuyuno Tenjinsha.



The star-crossed lovers, Ohatu and Tokubei



Tourists from around the world flock to Tsuyunoten Shrine (Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine), which has a history of more than 1300 years, to write their wishes on an ema (wooden board). The shrine is known to bless people in relationships/love, businesses and safety.


Purchase charms from the shrine for extra blessings

Draw a omikuji for your fortune for ¥100

Shake the small wooden box till a small bamboo stick falls out, then exchange the bamboo stick for a omikuji


You can't say you've been to Japan, or the most famous love shrine in Osaka, without drawing a omikuji (fortune telling paper lot) so I paid I drew a omikuji, since it's only ¥100 (~SGD $1.25) anyway. When in Rome, do as Romans do.

Lots of bad luck being left behind

Traditionally, if you drew an omikuji that predicts a run of bad fortune in the future, you should leave it behind by tying your omikuji to the branches of a pine tree.




HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel

Typically, I prefer walking to taking trains when I'm overseas because I enjoy looking at a country's sceneries. this time, I passed by HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel while taking a stroll from Higashi-Umeda Station to Umeda Station (about 20 to 30 minutes).



Iconic Glico Man sign located right smack in the middle of Dotonbori. Glico Man sign first gained popularity among locals who gathered at Dotonbori to celebrate Japan's sports victories as the Glico Man resembles an athlete in a victory pose.

Dotonbori

Address 
Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan
(Glico Man sign is located near H&M and F21, along Shinsaibashi 心斎橋)

Nearest Subway Station
Umeda Station (Midosuji, Tanimachi and Yotsubashi lines)

Opening Hours
Some shops are opened 24/7


Glico Man was only recently revamped with LED Lights in 2014.



I initially wanted to catch sunset at Dotonbori, but the weather in Osaka that day was too misty.

Pufferfish / blow fish at Dotonbori

 

Walked into MAISON De Gigi, a 3 storey cafe at Dotonbori that serves ice cream, pancake and belgian waffles. There's also a takeaway koisk, and I bought the strawberry flavoured belgian waffles because it smelt too good! I can't recall the price, but the waffles was slightly on the pricer end (around SGD $2). The waffles was delicious because I have extreme sweet tooth.

Kanidouraku Dotombori-Honten, Dotonbori — Osaka's famous crab restaurant


Walked into Forever 21 and shopping was sooooo good there! The sales were insane in US and European brands like Forever 21 and H&M — I scored two pairs of jeans for SGD $12.50 each, clothes for SGD $2 to $7. Japanese labels were, ironically, way more expensive in comparison so I hardly bought anything from Japanese labels.

Cute chicken mascot at Kinnotorikara


Saw a queue forming at Kinnotorikara, a Japanese street food store that specialises in fried chicken. The boneless chicken bits come with different special sauces like yuzu, sesame, vinegar, garlic butter, barbecue and more.

Kinnotorikara

Opening Hours
Weekdays: 12pm to 10pm
Weekends: 11am to 10pm




Small serving for ¥260 (~SGD 3.25)


Took the train to Namba Station because I wanted to visit Nanbayasaka Shrine because I didn't know the shrine is only open from 6am to 5pm. Made a wasted trip, there was something calming about walking in Japan's winter. Times like this I wish Singapore has four seasons because I very much prefer cold weather!



One of Japanese's main forms of transport, cycling

Huge selection of ice cream available at Japan's convenience stores


Stopped by 7-11 before I returned to my Couchsurfing apartment for a bottle of hot milk tea because the cold was getting unbearable since I was quite underdressed with just two jackets, then I ended my night at about 9pm because I was on a serious lack of sleep and had to wake up early the next day to head to Kyoto.


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JAPAN SOLO TRAVEL


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