The Osaka one-day pass represents a great deal if (as a general rule of thumb) you’re heading to more than 4 places in one day. The day pass costs 800¥ on weekdays, and 600¥ on weekends. We bought our passes from the ticket machines at Shin-Osaka station, and settled our breakfast there as well. There are a number of food options available there, so most people would be able to find something to eat there.
Our first stop for the day was Osaka Castle (Morimiya station). We entered through the Osaka Castle park entrance, and were greeted by some gorgeous views. The late autumn foilage was really colourful, and we could not stop ourselves from admiring how beautiful the park was.
The exterior of Osaka Castle was rather pretty too, and we managed to get some really nice photos of the moat and the castle walls in the background.
Upon entering the castle grounds, we were greeted by the green and gold Osaka Castle.
We did not enter the castle itself, but spent some time just walking around the grounds and taking pictures. We also tried out the matcha ice cream from an ice cream stand just in front of the castle. The ice cream was pretty decent tasting, although nothing fantastic.
Here is another view of Osaka Castle as we took another route back to the train station. It looks really pretty with the moat and bridge in the foreground!
We took the subway to Nippombashi station, which was just a short ride away. Kuromon Ichiba was bustling when we arrived, and many shop owners were already hawking their wares; ranging from non-perishables to perishables.
The smells wafting from the food stalls were really tempting, and it did not take long for us to buy some food to munch on. We bought scallops (700¥/ S$8.15) from this auntie, and were the scallops juicy and fresh! I have no idea what sauce she drizzled over our scallops, but it was delicious.
We continued walking around the market, and stumbled upon a stall selling okonomiyaki. We ordered a modan-yaki & a seafood omu-soba to try.
The stall only had one or two customers but people streamed in after us. Maybe we were hungry and the sight of us gobbling down our food made the food look especially good to other tourists! The modan-yaki (700¥/ S$8.15) came with scallop & squids (our choice of 2 toppings), and the soba noodles were juicy and crunchy. The sauce was really umami too!
The seafood omu-soba (850¥/S$9.90) came with scallops, squids & prawns. The noodles were starchy & sticky as compared to the modan-yaki, but overall very delicious too. The scallops, squids & prawns were quite fresh, although not the freshest. It was still delicious though.
After a satisfying lunch, we took the train to Tennoji station. Although we had read online that Shi-tennoji was undergoing renovation, we still decided to give it a go. It was about a 10-15 min walk from the station, and you can imagine that when we first saw the scaffolding around the main pagoda, we were rather disappointed.
However, as we continued to explore the grounds, it turned out that the other parts were charming as well, and made for very nice pictures too. It was also very peaceful there, and we were one of the few tourists around, probably as a result of the ongoing renovation.
We moved on to our next stop for the day, which was Tsutenkaku tower (a radio tower in the Shinsekai district). The tower did not really interest me that much, hence we did not pay to go up for the view. Instead we wandered around the Shinsekai district for a while, which has a high concentration of pachinko (Japenese slot games) halls.
We left after about half an hour wandering around Shinsekai, and took the train to Umeda station. Our reason for heading to Umeda station? The Umeda Sky Building of course! It took us about 10-15 min of walking to get to the building, but we were hoping that we could make it before sunset (4.45pm) so that we could see the sunset from the top. We were to be disappointed again however, as the sky was overcast and the clouds blocked off the sunset. 😦
Anyway, upon reaching the building, we took the elevators to the 3rd floor, where we transferred to a lift which brought us all the way up to the 35th floor. We paid for our entry tickets there (720¥/S$8.40), and enjoyed a small discount because we were holding the Osaka one-day passes.
The views were pretty cool, although the sky was overcast and filled with low-hanging rain clouds. Apparently, the elderly in Osaka are active photography hobbyists. We saw no fewer than 10 elderly folk with DSLRs & tripods all set up and clicking away. I’m sure they were as disappointed as us that the weather was so uncooperative. The sun set pretty quickly, and there were no spectacular views because of the afore-mentioned clouds.
We then made our way down after the sun had set,and took a stroll around thefront courtyard of Umeda Sky Building, where a German-style Christmas market had been set up at the main square.
The Christmas market being set up earlier in the day, when we initially arrived at Umeda Sky Building.
The Christmas tree in the middle was really pretty, and the smell of bratwursts & gluhwein filled the air. It even had a kiddy train ride for kids to play, and it was really pretty when lit up at night. 🙂 We walked around the market to soak in the festive atmosphere before heading to a nearby cafe for a place to rest our weary legs.
The cafe is called Cafe Tipo 8, and is located just opposite the road from Umeda Sky Building. We sat there for about an hour, till they closed at 6pm (pretty early I know). We got a fruit cake & a cup of hot chocolate (800¥/S$9.30) to share, since we still wanted to have dinner in a while. The fruit cake tasted ok, while the hot chocolate tasted quite good. Maybe it was because we were quite cold (the wind was really strong at the top of the building ya), but yeah it tasted great!
We took a leisurely stroll back to Osaka station, and took a few pictures by the road with the pretty Christmas lights. We were deciding where to head to for dinner, and ultimately decided on heading to Dotonbori, as it had the most options available, plus we wanted to really ‘work’ our one-day pass! 😉
We initially wanted to queue for Ichiran, but when we got there and saw that the queue was not moving, and was stretched out for quite a distance, we decided against it. We finally settled on an udon & tempura restaurant, which also had a Yoshinoya within it. The tempura was really value for money (100-150¥/piece), and the yoshi beef bowl was superb (as expected). 🙂 I only paid a total of 530¥ (S$6.15) for this!
We stopped by at a Disney store after dinner, where C went nuts and bought many tsumtsum soft toys for herself. :p By then we were really dead tired, as we had already walked 21km over the course of the day! (we hit 22.1km by the time we got home) x_X It was a really tiring but fun day in Osaka! 🙂
Summary of Day 2:
– Osaka Castle & Osaka Castle park (nearest station: JR-Morimiya)
– Kuromon Ichiba (nearest station: JR-Nippombashi)
– Shi-tennoji (nearest station: JR-Tennoji)
– Umeda Sky Building (nearest station: JR-Umeda
– Dotonbori (nearest station: JR-Namba)