Friday, 24 July 2015

Osaka | Picture Diary | April 2014

Pachinko Parlours are widespread in Japan  and it is comparable to the slot machines.  Completely deafening when you enter a parlour and I was very intrigued why the Japanese love to gamble on Pachinko machines.  A fascinating experience!
The  Namba Hips is close to the Dotonbori neighbourhood. It is an entertainment centre with pachinko parlours, restaurants and indoor recreational activities. There is a platform at the front of the building which drops from a height of 74 metres.
Namba Yasaka shrine is one of the most unique shrine’s we have ever seen. It’s actually very cool in terms of the design and not your traditional shrines you would encounter in Japan.  Definitely one to put on your list to visit!
Kuromon Ichiba Market - The market has a total length of close to 600 meters with 170 shops, the vast majority of which specialise in the freshest and best quality meat, vegetables, eggs and other ingredients from around the country and abroad
The food is phenomenal – if only we had larger stomachs to fit in errryyyythanng we wanted to try!  The seafood is much larger than what we’re used to in the UK and very cheap!  300Yen (equivalent to £2) for 3 enormous oysters! Very delicious and sweet.  There is a whole array and variety of quirky and interesting foods and snacks. I literally tried to bought anything that I could to fit in my suitcase to bring home!
Blinged up Hello Kitty
Silk Kimonoes – there is a very good store within the Kuromon market which sells second hand authentic real silk kimonos which would normally costs hundreds of pounds to buy brand new. I managed to pick up 2 different kimonos with belts as both came to just a little £50! 

Japanese Cheesecake is da bomb!  I am not usually a fan of cheesecakes however, the Japanese version is blimin’ awesome. Not at all sickly and creamy like the UK and US counterparts. The Japanese cheesecake has an elegant flavor, uniquely soft and has a melting texture with reduced sweetness. Oh it’s like heaven on a plate! A must try!
Plastic Food Menu - how can plastic look so delicious, right!?  Many of the Japan eateries display plastic replicas of their food in the window display to give people an idea of what they’re ordering.  Looks just like the real thang!
Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street is dedicated to crockery and homeware. We stocked up on a few essential cookware items to bring back to the UK. The street has a vast array of kitchen/home/pottery/homeware/cutlery that you can choose from. Osaka is called the "Kitchen of the world" 
Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade – several long strips of boutique and specialist shops as well as the usual retail chains and labels. A shopping haven! Definitely have a good mooch around if you have enough time on your hands!
Dotonbori – runs parallel to the Canal and another tourist destination. It has such a vibe to this area and is a haven for foodies and shoppers!  At night, it is lit with hundreds of neon lights and signs including the famous Glico running man and the Kani Doraku crab!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Traditional Style Ryokan | HOTEL ICHIEI REVIEW | Osaka | Japan

If you are looking for a value for money, Japanese style ryokan accommodation in the heart of Osaka, then I would highly recommend Hotel Ichiei.  It is a 3 star accommodation but it can easily pass as 4 star in terms of comfort and design.

While the hotel is conveniently located directly connected to the Osaka Municipal Subway's Nanba Station, old Japanese culture can still be experienced in the comfort of this ryokan with its Japanese-style rooms each designed with a different theme.

The Ryokan style rooms are generous in size and each room is equipped with tatami mats with low table and seating and the finishing touches make this room very authentic.  The bathroom was a good size and comes with a bath tub as well the high tech Japanese toilet.  

They supply slippers for you to wear in-room, the futon beds were extremely comfortable and they even provide Japanese style Yukata loungewear!  Nice touch!  

We did not get the opportunity to order breakfast in the hotel as we always eat out. We found the the reception staff were always very attentive, friendly and helpful.   

This hotel makes an excellent base to explore Osaka. A short walk away is the Namba, Kuromon Ichiba Market, Dontonbori (a principal tourist destination) and north of the city is Shinsaibashi – a shopping area with many boutiques and specialty shops, and many more places of attraction to add on your list. With all of the things to do and see in a city, deciding how to spend your time was an agonising decision for us, especially as we had only scheduled in 2 days on Osaka!

My next blog post will be a picture diary of our time in Osaka, so please keep an eye on that post if you want an insight to what Osaka has to offer!

And yes, Kev was playing Ninja, especially as he was in the right setting for it!  Kids will be kids! ;)