This post contains the journal of my Japan trip on day 6, 31 March 2017: Shinkansen to Osaka and Namba area.
You can read about the previous day of my trip (Asakusa Temple and Rikugien Garden) here.
We already booked our shinkansen (bullet train) seat on our first day in Japan. 08:33
Guess what time did we wake up at? 06:30
Now, it may not seem like a big deal for you guys. But for us, we were already late. We needed an hour or more to get ready. Judging from the past experience, it will take an hour or more for us from the moment we check out to arriving at Tokyo Station, although Google Maps optimistically said 38 minutes. Not to mention we had to take our far-stored luggage, run to the opposite side of the station because apparently they didn’t think of the correlation between large suitcases and shinkansen, find our shinkansen platform, and find our own train car number.
What really happened: we got out of apartment at 7:10, got confused on bus stops as always, took the wrong bus, luckily I realised it just in front of the Asakusa station, went on the Ginza Line, transfer somewhere from the metro to the JR Line to Tokyo Station, ran all the way to take our large suitcases, ran to the opposite side of the station because apparently they didn’t think of the correlation between large suitcases and shinkansen, found our shinkansen platform, and finally found our own train car number at 8:22. That was close.
Note (not worthy of quotation but whatever): whenever you transfer for trains in Japan, except if you’re already inside the JR line, you always have to tap your card in the exit gate (deducting the value of your card), and tap again your card to the entrance gate for another line. That way, if you had to transfer, say like, 3 times, you’ll pay for 4 times. Each time you get on the tapped at the exit gate, your card balance will be deducted by around JPY 150, at least. Crazy expensive, right?
The moment we sat on our train seats we realised we were hungry. After the train departed, we bought a small bento and pork katsu sandwich. Then, I suddenly realised that we stupidly tapped the Pasmo card when we entered the JR Line earlier. We could’ve just shown the officers our JR Pass and went pass through the gate. The problem is that it was tapped to enter the train line in Tokyo, while not being tapped to exit the train line as every train ticket transaction should’ve been. But I thought, “it’s Japan. It should be easy to take care of this,” then I went to take a nap.
I was wrong, again. The moment we arrived at Shin-Osaka station, we had to go back and forth (as for me, with 2 suitcases. TWO) to fix our Pasmo card. Literally from one end to another end. At least we bought a Daifuku (large mochi with large strawberry in the middle, JPY 410, US$ 3.70), a large cheesecake tart (about JPY 1200 or US$ 10.83, I forgot) and 2 cups of cheese pudding (orange and strawberry flavoured, JPY 300 or US$ 2.70 each? I forgot) by Pablo. We headed to Shin-Imamiya station afterwards through Osaka station. As if the luck wasn’t done playing with us, there were no lifts on our exit in the Shin-Imamiya station. Stairs. Why? Again? Along the way down the stairs we met some Chinese tourists climbing up, also with a large set of suitcases. Our eyes met and we all laughed at our fate.
When we were about to be relieved after all those hellish stairs, the rain outside suddenly got heavier. It was previously really light! This is Day 1 – Asakusa all over again! This time I was like “fuck it” and didn’t even bother to take my umbrella off my bag. It was cold and raining and windy. Guess (again) how long it took for us to get to our apartment from the moment we stepped down the shinkansen? 3 hours.
The apartment was really nice, but not as nice as the Asakusa one. It had less space to put our stuffs. But as long as it had space, it’s okay. We savoured our cheese pudding, it was yummy!
We were already really exhausted from the hassle beforehand, so we decided this afternoon (it was already 15:00) is for….another culinary trip! So, Namba, here we go!
Because it was only a culinary trip, I didn’t bring my camera along. As we arrived in Namba there was a wide drugstore, and our oestrogen hormones somehow got ahold of us. My friend bought eyelid glue when I finally satisfied my curiosity by buying a form of bandage for legs and feet. It was said to relieve strains; just the thing we need after spending the previous days walking 10-15 km per day!
The rain just wouldn’t stop, so stepping out of the warm station was tormenting. Again, our hands froze. But the moment we arrived in the Shinsaibashi area, our smile couldn’t get any brighter. Food, food everywhere. Our first destination was Mizuno, a famous okonomiyaki (fried egg/cabbage batter) restaurant. Along the way, we saw a kushiyaki (fried/grilled skewers) stall and got tempted. We bought the ebi (prawn) and hotate (scallop) one each for JPY 340 (US$ 3.10) in total. Yum! They were all juicy!
We happily continued our journey to Mizuno. Then, we saw Tori no Kara, a famous chicken katsu snack stall. Of course, we bought one, although they have this back in Indonesia (which apparently I wasn’t aware of).
We had to walk through this small alley when I suddenly saw the heaven just on the right side of us.
Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M.
Oh. My. God. It was said to be the BEST beef yakiniku in Osaka. Everybody said it was difficult to get seats on lunch/dinner time. And from the blog posts I read before we went to Japan, people typically spent JPY 8,000-9,000 in that restaurant, but we saw a JPY 5,800 (US$ 52.35) set for two. So… Why not?
At the entrance, we saw all sort of people with reservations. Hesitantly we asked the waiter if we could go in without reservation, turned out we could! But the only seat available was in front of the door, which means the wind will whoosh around our seats every time the door’s open. We’re okay with that!
One thing led to another. The original plan was to order the JPY 5,800 (US$ 52.35) set for two, but as we flipped the menu book everything looked so, so good. We couldn’t decide, and impulsively chose the JPY 13,800 (US$ 124.55) set for two instead. That escalated a lot. My stomach growled and I ordered a bowl of rice alongside the beef set.
When the large platter came, everything was so shiny it was like they’re all from paradise!
We were given a small plate of barbecue sauce and salt & pepper. Each of us would get 2 pieces of each type of meat. I started from the ones that contained the least fat. It was awesome. I never really liked the parts of beef that contained the least fat, but they were just awesome. I don’t know how to describe all of them individually, but every piece of meat were really juicy, tender, full of flavour, and melted on your mouth. Especially the sirloin. Those 2 pieces of sirloin were simply the best meat Sonia and I have ever tasted, no joke. The. Best. My other friend that was in Japan too at the same time I was there didn’t even like beef that much confirmed it was the best one. How could possibly a piece of beef melted, similarly, just like the tuna sushi on your mouth? The fat spread in a heavenly way all over my tongue. The flavour was all kicky and beefy and savoury. I was in heaven.
The bill came at JPY 7500 (US$ 67.70) for me and I came close to wailing. Yes, for only 12 pieces of meat it was not worth it. But those were the best pieces of beef I’ve ever tasted in my life.
It was already dark. Fully satisfied, we still headed for okonomiyaki, but for some reason I forgot of, we changed our destination to Houzenji Senpei; just about 5 seconds walk from MatsuzakaGyu. When we were waiting in line, I saw this really cute guy in his 25 (I suppose) waiting for his girlfriend as she entered the restaurant. He turned his head at us and smiled, and oh, it was a real charming one (note: we’re not those kind of girls, but nobody there knows us anyway so). What a great sight for making us warm in the middle that miserable cold, rainy day!
Then it was time for us to enter. We sat in front of the chef. Although I was already full, I couldn’t help but drooled the 8 large pieces of okonomiyaki before my eyes. We ordered the one filled with beef, yakisoba (fried noodles), and cheese. Damn good, I must say. Although my other friend (the one who ate the sirloin too) said that the Mizuno one was better. Damn. We didn’t go to Mizuno at all. We paid about JPY 1200 (US$ 10.83) in total.
Our stomach was crazy full so we couldn’t possibly put anything else inside. Instead we just took pictures in the alley, in front of the famous large crab, and Glico Man. Till this day I have no idea why people were taking pictures in front of the Glico Man.
We’re finally done for the day at around 8 pm. Time to unpack and plan for the next day! Phew! I put on some foot bandage and went to sleep after I took a bath.
Next day: Kobe and Around Osaka
Disclaimer: All of the photos were taken by my friend and me using and iPhone 5s and iPhone 6. I reduced the quality of the pictures and videos to save my WordPress storage.