For my final trip to Japan (for the year), I planned to go over Chuseok, (Korean Thanksgiving). My friends Arlene, Joseph, and Nancy joined me on this 5-day adventure. Arlene and I set off on Wednesday morning and headed to Busan to catch our flight to Osaka via Eastar Jet. There was no traffic, the airport wasn’t super busy (unlike my experience last year in Seoul), and we arrived safe and sound at Osaka Kansai.
After getting into Osaka proper, we made our way to the air BnB, which was near the Shin-Imamiya Station. Our BnB was exactly what we expected (minus a bit of smell from the tatami walls and lack of logical air flow). We got ourselves settled, headed out to grab a late lunch. As we walked around, we got a good feel for the area and were able to pick up a few supplies from the grocery store.
We found an OK ramen place and chose the ‘mixed’ flavor (not too lean/not overly fatty). It was pretty rich and tasty for the price!
A Full Day in Kobe
The next day, we got our butts moving around 9am and headed straight to Kobe. We walked around and found the Ikuta Shrine and did a bit of shopping until we were ready for our Kobe beef meal at Tor Road Steak Aoyama.
At the restaurant, we chose the 5000 yen option and it was absolutely worth it. We had a salad, soup, Kobe beef (sirloin and tenderloin), grilled veggies, and bread. We also had tea afterward. The shop owners spoke a bit of English and were super friendly. I highly recommend this place to anyone who is heading to Kobe for the beef!
After our fantastic meal, we hopped on the city tour bus (well worth it) and went up to the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens & Ropeway. We took the cable car to the top and had a nice stroll down the mountainside. Although there were not many flowers in-bloom, it was still a beautiful place to spend a few hours.
We arrived back into the city around 5:30 and headed to Chinatown. They were having a Moon Festival, and we were able to taste some awesome street food (dumplings, more Kobe beef, and noodles). Here’s a video of Nancy purchasing some of the amazing steamed/fried dumplings.
We headed back to Osaka after getting our fill and we headed back to Osaka to rest-up for the next day.
Shopping and Eating in Osaka
On Friday, Nancy and Joseph went to Universal Studios and Arlene and I had the day to ourselves. We went out for some gorgeous pancakes at 幸せのパンケーキ 本町店. I ordered the regular pancakes with manuka honey butter and caramel maple syrup. The pancakes were phenomenal – not as sweet as I thought (which was a good thing) and worth every penny.
After breakfast, we headed out to the Instant Ramen Museum – stay tuned to next week’s post for full details!
We stayed at the Ramen Museum for a few hours and headed to Umeda afterward. We found some yummy sushi at one of the stalls in the food hall and had a fabulous meal for about $12USD. I was able to find a few gifts at Loft before we headed back towards the BnB to rest. We didn’t rest too long (that was dangerous) and hurried out to meet the other two for kushikatsu at a local restaurant. Kushikatsu is fried everything = yummy goodness. Everything was fried to perfection and the dipping sauce was quite good as well. It was money well spent and we walked away (ok…waddled) very happy customers.
More Shopping and Sushi in Osaka
The following day we all did our own things. While Arlene and Joe checked out a festival, I went back to shop at Umeda and Tokyo Station. We all met up around 2:30 and had sushi at Harukoma Sushi (春駒 支店), recommended by Migrationology. It was good-damned good, but I actually liked the fatty tuna at Umeda station better!
After eating, we were all kinda pooped, so Joe and I went back towards the BnB to go shopping at Don Quixote and call it a night.
Back to Reality
The next day was fly home day! Arlene and I got to Osaka Kansai with plenty of time to check in, eat a Filet o’ Fish at McDonald’s (they don’t have them in Korea) and do a mad dash through duty free shopping.
It was an excellent vacation – my first time traveling in a group that size in 5 years and it went splendidly! I highly recommend visiting (aka eating your way through) Osaka and Kobe, over a long weekend (even longer if you have the chance)!
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