Bianca: JAPAN has long been one of those mythical locations calling from afar. This trip had been in the works for years, with a possible honeymoon discussion (we opted for something a little more relaxing). Those plans were finally put in motion when QANTAS had a weee little sale. So, September rolled around and away we went.
Our first stop, OSAKA. Known for its bustling atmosphere, good food and rich history. Our base for our stay, Namba Orient Hotel. Conveniently located within the heart of Namba and a short 10 minute to the Dotonbori (the main entertainment canal).
Torijin, Namba. We stumbled across this cute small yakitori bar but were left a little unimpressed. Both with the price and the food on offer. Particularly the 1200Y fee just to dine at the restaurant (almost $18).
The incredibly photogenic Hozenji shrine in Namba.
The incredible Dotonbori canal. We feasted on takoyaki and explored the massive Don Quijote, a ginormous discount chain store.
Good coffee is readily available but don’t expect Aussie standards despite the movement heading that way. Brooklyn Roasting Company Namba churned out a decent Soy Cappucino.
We ducked on to a metro train to begin our journey to Koyasan. With the journey taking almost a 4-hour return trip from Namba.
Soak in the sights and sounds of Mount Kōya. A huge temple settlement to the south of Osaka. Koyasan was recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And it’s easy to see just why.
We stumbled upon a small restaurant that quickly filled with westerners ‘Home of a Pilgrim’. A delicious meal consisting of Chicken Karaage, Sesame Tofu and Pork Katsu with Rice filled our bellies before we set off to see the sights.
Okunoin, the largest cemetery in Japan is quite the sight. Silent and a little eerie but breathtaking and majestic in its own way. You could easily amble along the path for hours, it’s so photogenic.
The Danjo Garan Complex houses some of the most exquisite halls and pagodas in Koyasan.
So, don’t laugh but whilst I was in this restaurant I thought I was eating ramen at Hanamaruken Ramen. It wasn’t until the next evening we realised we had actually eaten at Sakunosuke. Whoops, not to worry my Yuzu Ramen with extra chashu was super tasty!
Pablo Cheese Tart (15cm) and 900YEN… Worth every cent! We ate this over several days whilst in Osaka.
My mission in Japan = Pancakes! And I definitely gave it all I had until I was taken down by food poisoning in Tokyo. ELK is fairly rustic and chilled inside, I found service in Japan across the board, friendly but indifferent.
The Maple & Whipping Rasin Nut Butter (2 pieces) set us back 900YEN ($13 at time of conversion). Fluffy, super moist and jiggly but I don’t know if I left Japan a ‘Japanese pancake convert’. I found these to be really eggy.
Jules couldn’t stop raving about his Eggs Benny!
I will say, it was pretty darn hot during our visit… my point? I’m going to attribute the heat to my severe lack of sight-seeing photos! But there was always time for photos of food, including snacks!
A pre-snack before our actual dinner. Some of the best Takoyaki in Osaka, Acchichi Honpo Dotonbori.
An experience not to miss in Japan. Dining at any one of the Ichiran ramen restaurants.
As you walk in, choose your meal at the vending machine and wait for a seat to free up. Take a seat and watch as the magic unfolds.
A bamboo blind is hoisted just enough for your meal to be slipped to you. Dining with a companion is half the fun as you fold in the side-by-side seat dividers and share in the fun.
The combination of the theatrics and the flavour of the ramen was truly a mind-blowing experience!
And perhaps one of the weirdest ways to spend an evening… our search for a particular bar led us up the garden path and literally into the door/bar of a rather interesting character. He was simply enjoying his night with some music, a drink and cigarettes until we walked into his bar. Some David Bowie, a hit and miss Japanglish conversation and a few drinks we soon parted ways. Mostly relieved, that we weren’t murdered! All a bit of fun really…
And our final meal in Osaka. Micasadeco. A cute little cafe serving breakfast(y) dishes. Jules went for the Pulled Pork Omelette, which was drowned in black pepper.
And no surprises here, I had the Ricotta Pancakes 1200YEN ($17 at time of conversion). The fluffiest and tastiest pancakes I had on the entire trip. Light and airy, these were full of flavour, accented by the salty pat of butter and maple syrup.
We then set off on the JR line, headed for Kyoto. Coming soon!