On my third day in Japan, I used my 7-day Japan Rail Pass and took a Shinkansen to Osaka. I will write a separate blog on how to get and use the rail pass, so do look out for it 🙂 In the meantime, here’s what I did in my short 3 days in Osaka.
DAY 1: MOVE TO OSAKA, ASAHI BEER FACTORY TOUR, DOTONBURI AND UMEDA
I took an early morning Shinkansen at around 8.30AM and arrived in Osaka around 11AM.
After checking in to my guest house, I decided to get a bite before I head on to Suita for my Asahi Beer Factory tour at 3PM. I went to the nearest Grams Cafe which I found out from a Facebook video. What I really wanted to eat was their thick premium pancakes but I was SO disappointed when I found out that they only have 20 portions to sell at 11AM, 3PM and 7PM everyday. I came at around 12.30PM and they have ran out of all the premium thick pancakes 🙁 I ended up eating normal avocado and salmon pancake feeling super sad.
Anyway, after a sad and disappointing meal, I went on to Osaka Station and stopped by at the Pokemon Center because I had time to spare. I went on to buy many Pikachu items for my sister who was more excited than me about my visit to the center LOL.
After spending so much on Pokemons, I took a train Suita to meet Eri, my local guide for the day who decided to join me for the Asahi Beer Brewery Tour. Asahi has many factories and Suita is one of the many factories that you can visit. The tour hours are generally from 9.30AM to 3.00PM with each tour taking around 1-1.5 hours. If you are interested, you’ll need to book to join the tour by phone call.
The tour was conducted in Japanese and it started with a movie screening before we moved on to see the actual machines used around the factory. For non-Japanese speakers, headphones were provided. I actually requested for an English speaking guide but I guess I was the only one in the group who needed English so they gave me the headset instead. I think if you are with a group of people, they may give an English tour instead.
I really enjoyed the tour very much. We got to actually touch and smell the raw ingredients used, see the manufacturing process from fermentation to the bottling to quality control of Asahi Beer. What surprised me the most was that they had people who’s job is to ensure that Asahi beer is delicious by tasting at least 2 liters of beer a day. People who are on this job have to also pass a test before they can be hired. WOW.
After the tour ended, we walked through a showcase of beer bottles and cans from around the world and then.. the most exciting part came! Beer tasting! We were given 3 glasses of different types of Asahi Beer to try for free within 20 minutes 😮 We tried the Super Cold Beer (-2 degrees in temperature), Asahi Super Dry Beer and Asahi Dry Black Beer.
After the amazing experience in Asahi, we continued the day in Dotonburi – the iconic place in Osaka where the Glico man sign is located near Namba station. The roads were filled with tourists taking pictures of everything (me included Haha!) and as the sun set, you can start seeing the colourful lights of Dotonburi.
After walking around Dotonburi for a few hours, we headed for dinner in a place recommended by Eri. The restaurant is called Fukutarou and the place is known for its Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba and Negiyaki – Osaka’s local version of Okonomiyaki with loads of green onions. The place is pretty popular amongst Koreans I think, almost everyone who was queueing was Korean haha! We ended up ordering one yakisoba and one negiyaki to share. It was definitely an awesome meal 😀
DAY 2: OSAKA AMAZING PASS
On the second day, I got an Osaka Amazing Pass. It’s basically a pass that costs 2300 yen for one day and 3000 yen for 2 days. It gives you free entry into many Osaka attractions, free rides on the subway lines and some other benefits including discounts in certain restaurants. For the route that I took on the day, I would spend 5000 yen on entrance fees alone excluding transportation fees if I did not use my Osaka Amazing Pass. So if you are in Osaka for more than a full day, I would highly recommend you to just get the pass!
These were the places that I went on the pass:
Osaka Castle and Osaka Museum of History near Tanimachi 4-chome Station
Going to Osaka Castle is definitely a standard must-go in Osaka especially if you have the pass. It’s pretty small for a castle in my opinion but its a nice way to see Osaka’s history. The museum is also located near the entrance of the castle so if you want to know even more about the Osaka history, you should definitely go to the museum too.
Tempozan Ferris Wheel and Santa Maria Cruise near Osakako Station
The tempozan ferris wheel had two types of carts: the normal one and the one with a transparent floor. Since I am frightened of heights, I took the normal one ;P. The one with the transparent flooring had a longer queue while the normal one had no queue because there were more normal carts.
If you happen to be in the Tempozan area for lunch, there’s a mini shopping center with a pretty large size food court for you to eat. The mini mall also had a very interesting animal cafe that I would have loved to go to but I did not have the time to go. If you are going with any children, you should definitely take them to the cafe 🙂
The cruise dock was in the next building to the ferris wheel boarding point so if you are planning to go for one, you can definitely go for the other. The cruise took around an hour and I believe it runs every hour or so.
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living near Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station
From the photos available online, I initially thought that this museum was an outdoor one but it is apparently indoors! They built a mock up of a traditional Japanese housing area with such real day lighting that it looks like its outdoors in photos. Pretty mind-blowing LOL.
Anyway, this museum was the one I enjoyed the most out of all the museums we went to that day. If you are on the Osaka Amazing Pass, try to check this museum out! The last entrance time is 4.30PM.
Tip: Come earlier in the day and you may be able to rent a Kimono for a cheap price. I think it was 300 yen for 30 minutes. This is really cheap compared to other places in Japan. You also get to take nice photos with traditional housing as the background 🙂 I came at 4.30PM and they ran out of Kimono rental slots 🙁 I ended up paying 200yen to wear a Happi instead which is another type of Japanese costume worn during festivals.
Floating Garden Observatory near Higashi-Umeda or Umeda Station
The last destination for the day was Osaka’s floating garden. It’s not really a garden since there are no plants or greeneries in the area. I think it’s more of an observatory. The best timing to go there will be before sunset when you can catch the beautiful view of Osaka city before it gets dark, see the sunset and then see the night lights after it gets dark
Sadly, the sky was too cloudy that day and I could not see the sunset. If you want to see it, make sure to check the weather forecast first 🙂
After a day of going to attractions, I decided to go to try out the famous Luke’s Lobster that I frequently see online when I was doing some research for the trip. While it wasone of the pricey-er dinners I had in Japan, they gave a generous amount of lobster and boy it was good! I think it was the only non-Japanese food I had when I was there.
I wouldn’t say that it is a must eat when in Osaka. Rathere, it’s something that you can eat if you have never had lobster before or if, like me, you just miss eating lobster.
DAY 3: OSAKA STATION, LUCKY OWL CAFE, KURUMON MARKET
After 2 days in Osaka, I finally had time to explore Osaka Station on my last day. I checked out, stored my bag in the coin locker in Osaka Station and went to my first stop for the day: A Takoyaki restaurant, Takonotestu, where we could make our own takoyaki. One portion gives 16 takoyaki balls, enough for 1 person 🙂 It was a really great experience although it was a struggle for me since I never made it before haha!
I then went to HEP5, a shopping center that is a popular hang out place for the local youngsters. It does look very hip but there weren’t many people around when I went there. If you ahve the Osaka Amazing Pass, you can take a 15 minute ferris wheel ride that is on the top floor of HEP5. Since I did not get a two day pass, I skipped the ferris wheel ride and went to the Gundetama Cafe instead.
The exterior and interior of the shop was really cute. I did not try their main dishes as I already had a lot of takoyakis and only had their dessert. It was on the expensive side but I guess it’s about the experience. Everything they used in the cafe was so cute!
After filling up my stomach and walking around the station more, I moved on to visit Lucky Owl Cafe in Osaka. Going to an owl cafe was definitely something I wanted to do when I was planning my trip and finally the chance came 😀
The entrance fee was 1500 yen and I had one hour with the owls and one free drink. You get to pet the owls on the back and on the beak there. They were so so so cute and fluffy <3 I didn’t expect to have that much fun in the cafe but I did!!
The staff really knows a lot about the owls and he told me like the differences between the owls – the sizes, their eye colour and their origin. All the different physical characteristics of the owls signifies their behaviour and lifespan: smaller ones live a shorter life, black coloured eyes means they are not nocturnal, etc. It was really very amusing to know!
The staff was also kind enough to let us hold the owls on our hands although initially they said we can’t. He said that on crowded days, they can’t allow it but if you go on weekdays you may be allowed to hold them! Also, going there on weekends require reservation so I would really recommend going there on the weekdays instead.
I ended up using my full hour in the cafe petting and taking selfies with all the owls there and after the hour finished, I reluctantly said goodbye to the owls. (After my first experience with owls in Osaka, I went on to another Owl place in Kyoto and Osaka because I loved looking at them so much!)
My last stop in Osaka was Kurumon Market. I think it’s Osaka’s version of Tsukiji Market except that they had other food options as well and not only fish.
I had a plate of sushi there but I think Sushi Zanmai in Tokyo was better – maybe because it’s more fresh. I also had a strawberry mochi (see photo above) and it was so good!! I wish I bought more haha!
Kuromon market concluded my trip to Osaka and after I was done walking around, I headed back to Osaka station to get my bags and took the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto Station for the next part of my adventure.
Here’s a map of all the places I went to in Osaka:
and here’s a short clip on my 3 days there 🙂 Enjoy! Please subscribe to my Youtube channel too!