JUL 10,2012 - JUL 22,2012 (13 DAYS)
This was my forth trip to Japan, the second trip I had organised myself and the first trip with my new husband. It was a very busy itinerary, as I really wanted to show my husband as much of Japan as I could and also see a few new places I had always wanted to go.
On this trip we visited Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Iga, Ise, Okinawa and Tokyo!
Kintetsu Rail Pass
A rail pass is a must on any trip to Japan if you are planning to travel to a number of cities. Most train passes can only be bought out side of Japan by non-Japanese citizens. Japan Rail passes are probably the most well known and I have used a JR pass twice before. On this trip however, a Kintetsu Rail pass made more sense as we were travelling mostly in and around Kansai.
If you are on your honeymoon in Japan, or anywhere really, make sure you mention it to everyone! You only get one honeymoon. The word for honeymoon in Japanese is shinkon ryoko, しんこんりょこう, 新婚旅行
We arrived at the Kansai Airport at around 7pm local time. The easiest way to travel to Osaka was by train. We took the Nankai Electric Railway to Nankai Namba Station, which took about 40min. This train ride was included in our Kintetsu wide train pass, so all we had to do was swap our little voucher for a train ticket at the Kintetsu window. Simple. Our hotel was just a short walk from Nankai Namba station.
Our first 2 nights in Osaka we stayed at Yamatoya Honten
It was easy to find, given it was on the canal and, with a good map to help, it was a 5-10 walk from Namba station.
As soon as we arrived we were sat in the lobby area and brought iced green tea while the staff organised the room bill. We paid on arrival which was different but made it easier to check out. All of the staff were friendly and helpful. They have a computer in the lobby which you can use to access the internet as well as a little gift shop and lounge area.
The rooms have futon, which in hindsight may not have been the best honeymoon bedding. But they were very comfortable. You have a bath in your room as well as the shared bathroom downstairs. We found a mini fridge, however it is a mini bar which locks in the morning so you can't really use it for your own drinks. Unless you plan to drink everything that night :P The hotel provides yukata (robes) in 3 different sizes which I thought was a good touch.
After we settled into our hotel it was time to find some food. Our hotel was right outside of Dotonbori so we went exploring. I had found a ramen place online called Kinryu (gold dragon) which was supposed to have great noodles so we went in search of the dragon!
There are no menus! You choose your meal from the pictures on the vending machine, pay your money, grab the little ticket that pops out then hand your ticket to the chef. And there is an Asahi beer vending machine inside as well. The seating is raised tatami which was interesting. The ramen was delicious!!! I love Tonkotsu base ramen :D
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Ikeda
What's not to love about instant noodles! Though it is a little out of the way, it's not hard to get here. Just make sure you take the right exit from Ikeda station. My husband and I got a little lost in suburbia but the friendly lady at Lawson convenience store was happy to point us in the right direction. Plus we found some pizza flavoured chips :D
We did eventually find a sign pointing the way and it was smooth sailing from there.
After learning a lot about ramen we made our own instant cup, one of which didn't even make it back to Australia!
After our morning out sightseeing we headed back to the hotel for a nice, relaxing bath. My husband used the bath in our room while I decided to try the shared bathroom downstairs, which I had all to myself.
When I came back upstairs I opened the door to find this!
My husband emerged from the bathroom in his yukata telling me one of the ladies from the front desk had brought this up for us because it was our honeymoon! So amazingly sweet of them. She must have got a bit of a shock though when my husband answered the door in a towel ^^;
It was some of the best fruit we had ever eaten! Now that we were relaxed it was time to venture out and find some dinner.
Osaka is famous for okonomiyaki. What other choice did we have! After only a little research it seemed Kiji was the best restaurant in Osaka so we put it to the test.
The Umeda sky building is a bit of a walk from Umeda station, I have to say. If you are tired after a day of sightseeing i would suggest taking a taxi. Deep in the basement of the building you will find a most surprising sight...
There were still a few tanabata decorations up, so colourful!
It did take awhile to find Kiji as the little streets were maze like and very quiet. We weren't even sure these places were open. Once we braved opening the door though, we were ushered to the bar seats in front of the hotplate where our english speaking chef, who we think might be the owner, simply asked if we had ever eaten okonomiyaki before (it was my husbands first time) and then simply said "I'll make you something good." And did he ever...
I scored the okonomiyaki with 2 shrimp on it cause I'm the wife but next time my husband will get 2 shrimp according to our chef. Love it! Guess we better visit again soon. Topped off with Sapporo beer it was a great dinner.
Oh and (I love this!) the top of my seat came off so I could put my handbag in there, out of the way. Brilliant idea!