05 Feb Travel | 48 hours in Osaka
Video – 48 hours in Osaka
Kuromon Ichiba Market
A.P.C Surplus Minamihorie
Lino & Aia
Minamihorie| Lilo Coffee Roasters
Grand Calbee | Baton D’or
Cat Cafe | Neko no Jikan
Japan, a country that is forever young, a land of rising sun that is always full of energy and history, also a place that I haven’t returned for over a decade. Fun fact is I was working and living in Japan for 9 months, and maybe that’s why I feel like I could wait for a bit, until one day Willam said he has never visited Japan after binge watching some food travel videos on Youtube. Right?! We have been constantly travelling to Europe but totally neglected Japan, once I even called this country my home away home.
Just I’m not the not the typical first timer in Japan, I plan my itinerary to mainly explore more under the tourist’s radar neighbourhoods. For the first part of Japan, we have spent 5 days to explore Osaka and Kyoto, it may not seem a lot, but we have skipped plenty of tourist attractions (or traps really) to just mainly focus on places that best suit our preferences.
What I like about Osaka the most is the easy accessibility to everything you need and everywhere you wish to explore, attractions and shopping areas are scattered mainly in Umeda, Shinsaibashi and Doutonburi. These main tourists areas are well within 10-15mins by subway but I would highly recommend you stroll from one neighbourhood to another on foot to get the best and most out of the Osaka experience.
Morning we started our day in Kuromon Ichiba Market where it’s best known to get fresh local seafood, produce and street food. While there are indeed many choices to choose from..fresh sashimi, grilled seafood, fresh cut fruits, wagyu beef and much more, many food stalls are quite over rated and quality I found it’s only average for we paid for. But that’s just my experience and if you would to know what we had in Kuromon Market, please check out our Osaka Day 1 Instastory on my handle here.
Shinsaibashi and Dotonburi are where most tourists flock around, there’s nothing wrong to explore that areas but to me it’s simply too crowded, too touristy…unless you are very into crane games, sticker photobooths and shopping in countless beauty pharmacies. I much recommend the Orange Street/ Minamhorie area just slightly off Shinsaibashi, an area full of hip select shops and cafes.
After strolling Minamihorie, get your coffee fix at one of my favourite roasters Lilo Coffee Roasters or one of the most instagrammable cafes Lino & Aia, both serving incredible quality of coffee with friendly baristas and great personalities.
As much as I don’t like being in touristy areas, Doutonburi area is such great place to explore the street food scene. We have tried two places recommended by Michelin Bib Gourmand, Ajinoya for Okonomiyaki and Akaoni for Takoyaki. Highly recommend Ajinoya for getting an authentic meal of Osaka cuisine, the service was great and the food was phenomenon! The most fluffy Okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake) I have ever had. I like it’s not too saucy nor salty, could taste the freshness from the ingredients that didn’t need over seasoning at all. Akaoni is known for using fresh octopus, not boiled octopus in their takoyaki, I find it’s good, but it’s not something extraordinary. In general, you can’t really go wrong with going to any Takoyaki places in Osaka, just follow the crowds and should get you to quite decent quality takoyaki.
Second day we took it slowly by starting our day in Umeda to shop some souvenirs in the food section of Hankyu department store. We came all the way to find the limited edition snacks Baton D’or and Grand Calbee. Glico has created a luxurious brand of Pocky and branded it as Baton D’or. All flavours are seasonal and claimed to be more fresh and flavourful than regular Pocky. They are only available at a few selected locations in Osaka and Kyoto. Grand Calbee is pretty much the similar concept, a high end version of Calbee potato chips you normally find in Asian supermarket. Just the food hall in Hankyu is already worth a visit! Preparing to line up about 30mins – 45mins to your hands on these limited snacks but trust me they do live up to the expectation.
If you feel like Umeda is just the main transportation hub in Osaka with department stores all around, you are mostly right but just 15mins walk away from the station, you will get to explore an off the beaten neighbourhood called Nakazakicho. Young shop owners brings new life to this old community by turning abandoned houses to little boutique shops, cafes and restaurants. It got a completely different vibe from the typical Osaka you probably know about. Almost with zero tourist, you get to enjoy a quiet walk along the side streets and emerge in this local community. We have spent a lovely afternoon at Cat Cafe Neko no Jikan near by. It situates in a Japanese apartment with tatami mats, the ambience is so cozy that makes me feel like visiting my friend’s home. What makes it special is not only it’s the first cat cafe opened in Japan, you can tell the cats living there are so happy and affectionate. A place filled with furry friends, love and laughters just brings me so much joy! Now I believe cat therapy actually works to heal and bring happiness.
Below list of suggested places to go are the ones we have been to and would recommend to others. The selection may be small but these are my personal favourites and worth a visit.
A.P.C Surplus | Minimal fashion outlet with great discount
Pour Madamoiselle | Vintage Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes
Biotop | brand select shop & cafe
The North Face | Not the typical American sportswear, with more fitted cutting and edgy style
Unico | lifestyle, accessories & furniture
Baton D’or | luxurious snacks great for yourself and souvenirs
Grand Calbee | luxurious snacks great for yourself and souvenirs