It’s our second day in Japan and our tour had NOTHING PLANNED FOR US! Big yay! This was the part of the trip that I was really looking forward to! To experience Japan on foot, without the constricting schedule of a set tour. Luckily, my sister has a friend who was currently working at Osaka and she was more than happy to bring us around the city for the whole day!
We actually met up with Denise yesterday at the hotel. She brought me my Danbo Power Bank that I had her order for me from Amazon.jp . Thank you!!
First on our list of Places To Go was Dotonbori. This is one of the popular tourist destinations in Osaka, Japan. Lucky for us, it was a walking distance from the hotel!
The streets are packed even early in the morning. Tons of people, locals and tourists alike, walk the store-lined streets of Dotonbori. If you ever need to shop or eat, then this place is for you. Dotonbori is a popular nightlife and entertainment area so there’s a lot of stores to look into.
The most popular attraction that you shouldn’t miss when in Dotonbori is the famous Glico Running Man! Considered an icon of Osaka, the Running Man is a billboard by Glico that depicts a runner crossing a finishing line. Tons of people copy Running Man’s victory pose and take photos with him. Tip: Go early! There won’t be as many tourists crowded around the area! That’s how I got a nice, clean, solo photo with the famous athlete!
After a quick train ride we arrived at our second stop.
Sumiyoshi Taisha, or Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, is a Shinto shrine located in Sumiyoshi Ward in Osaka. The place felt deserted. There was barely anyone there except for the couple of senior citizens we saw walking and biking to and fro. If you want to visit a shrine, I highly recommend Sumiyoshi Taisha. There weren’t any tour groups or large crowds there at all so it was a nice change of atmosphere.
The bright orange colours you’ll find at the temple really leaves an impression! The first attraction that we took quite some time taking photos with was the bridge. Crossing it will bring you to the temple proper.
The place was so quiet and serene that I felt bad whenever we talked. Even speaking in our normal voices seemed like it was too much!
My sisters and I took turns ‘praying’ at one of the shrines here. You’re supposed to put (or throw?) a coin into a donation box found at the front of the shrine, you then ring a bell by shaking a thick rope attached to it, then you say your prayers, clap your hands, and then you’re done. That’s what we saw people do, at least. It was a very peaceful and calming stop in our trip.
From the quiet temples of Sumiyoshi Taisha we traveled via train to the very busy Umeda to visit the Umeda Sky Building. The train station was something else! I could feel all this energy from everyone around me. It felt very New York, with everyone coming and going so quickly all around me.
The Sky Building was visible from the train station but it we still needed to do a few minutes of walking. Thankfully they built an underground passageway that connects the station to an area near the Sky Building. Oh, Japan, how I love you.
And then we were there, right under the magnificence that was the Umeda Sky Building. My legs were honestly shaking just standing in the underneath the two buildings.
The Sky Building is the 19th tallest building in Osaka Prefecture. It’s a weird shape but it’s basically two towers that are connected by the Floating Garden Observatory at the top. Those two bars at the top that goes from one building to another, those are escalators and they’re my favourite part of the building. Crossing from one side to the other activated my irrational fear of heights but the escalators made for an awesome photo!
We didn’t stay long at the Sky Building because of our next appointment; a reservation at one of the best Yakiniku places in Osaka: Yakiniku M Dotonbori.
It took us quite a while to find the place because it wasn’t that big at all. It was a small two-storey restaurant that took up half of the building it’s in. We had a bit of a problem with the manager because [a] there was a mix up with the reservations, [b] some of our companions were late, and [c] they don’t take walk-ins. They seated us in the end after a few compromises in dining time.
The restaurant serves Matsusaka Beef, also known as Black-haired Wagyu. The cattle come from the Matsusaka region of Mie, Japan. Within Japan, it is considered one of the three top brands, together with Kobe Beef and Omi Beef. We found out just how utterly heavenly this beef platter was that night.
When everybody started cooking, the smell was enough to drive you crazy. It was as if the beef was teasing us and all we could do was sit there and drool until they were ready to eat! Cooked in the oil from a piece of pork fat (you can see it in the beef platter photo), the taste was explosive. The beef just melted in your mouth and the flavours were beyond description. Now I know why the Japanese animate their cooking animes the way they do.
We ate different cuts that progressed from good marbling to crazy-perfect marbling, and the experience just got better and better after every bite! Accompanied by a bowl of rice that was seasoned perfectly, it was a meal that I’m going to remember for a very, very long time. It was worth every penny. (That mom spent. LOL. Thanks, Ma!)
After that delicious dinner, the staff happily escorted us out of the restaurant, took our photo in front of it, and took photos with us. I will definitely come back (with lots of money in my pocket, damn they’re expensive)!
This ends our second day in Osaka! Check out the links below for the rest of my trip in Japan!