Japan Diaries 2016, Osaka Day 1: Dotonbori, Namba, Shinsaibashi & Osaka Castle Park

Okay, so after planning everything, getting our visas, buying extra baggage allowances, it was finally time for our flight! Since I got caught up with work a couple of weeks before leaving, I was not able to work on our itinerary. So not me huhu. Thank God, Ana took control and we used her sister's itinerary from their trip before. It was such a huge help! Sarah and I also suggested some places we wanted to add to our list as the days went by. So without further ado, here are photos from our first day in Japan, starting in OSAKA!

Check-in at the Jetstar counter in Terminal 1

Almost ready to board na ang mga bibe

Loving Jetstar's new plane for their new Japan routes!

It was a pleasant flight. No free food or drinks nga lang. Was super thirsty when we got off. 

It was a 5-hour flight but I wasn't able to sleep from excitement! We arrived in Kansai airport at around 5:30am. Our AirBnb check-in time was 3pm pa so we had more or less 9 hours to burn. We decided to just be rockstars and scratch some items off our itinerary even without any sleep. We were tired, had no sleep, super haggard, but PUSSSSH! Laban mga bibe! Haha.    

Waiting for our luggages at Kansai airport. I love how there's a specific area (3 feet away from the conveyor belt) where people are supposed to wait. And everyone followed. 

Kansai airport is pretty small.

We had no idea how to go to our AirBnb area or Dotonbori so we tried asking for directions. I don't think we were able to use it haha.

We headed to the train station which was connected to the airport & tried to figure out where we can stay for a few hours, have coffee, breakfast and hang out a bit. We had a few hours to spare since our check-in time was after 3pm. :(

Decided to just get off at NAMBA! And then from there, bahala na. Local train fare was 500yen or P230. It was a pretty long train ride.

Let's go!

But first, water! We were also excited to buy from the very first vending machine we saw. Haha.

110yen or P50 water, gone in 10 seconds. Kaloka yung uhaw ko. 

Boarded this local train not knowing if it's the right one or where it's heading. YOLO! Haha.

No sleep, no ligo. Fightin.

Train stewardess. So cute.

Got excited when I saw this cute neighborhood and cute houses! I can't believe I'm in Japan! Gaaah. :)

Since it was just 6-7 in the morning, the train's airconditioning system was not yet turned on. Was sweating like crazy. Haha. We also didn't know if it was the right train going to Namba. We just relied on the signs every stop. It was a pretty long ride (I think 20-30 minutes). With a lot of prayers (dasal lang talaga, dasal lang) & optimism, we were able to get off exactly at our destination. Woot, woot. 

Hello, Namba station!  

Okay, let me just say, Namba station was HUGE. It's the main station in Osaka so it's extremely easy to get lost inside. Actually, it's easy to get lost everywhere. Haha! Japan's train system is confusing AF. It's so different from SG or HK where you can immediately figure out your stop or platform where you could board the right train. This particular station connects the most train lines and has lots of escalators, tunnels, corners and exits! Don't worry, if you ever get lost there are a lot of information counters and tourist help desks. 

Also, Japanese people are SUPER nice and polite so you could just ask for directions. Not all could speak & understand English though. We heavily relied on maps, photos we googled, screenshots and hand gestures. Lots of them. Charades din minsan. We also proved a lot of times how photos and recorded videos helped us find our way! So, do it. Take lots of photos and videos of streets, landmarks, etc. It's also normal practice that when you ask for directions, Japanese people often go with you even if it's out of their way. I love this country. :)

You could see coin lockers everywhere! So convenient. You could just leave your luggages or bags for a few hundred yens and continue with your tour or shopping.

We headed straight to the North Exit or Namba-Nankai. It's also near Takashimaya Mall. We decided to leave our bags and luggages in coin lockers near the exit. Our plan was to just retrieve it later on when we're ready to check-in. 

Coin lockers are life savers hehe

Mine fit in the smallest locker! Woots! 

Okay, so for our first rental, we all got separate lockers. Sarah and I found out later on that we could share a huge one! The one I rented above was the smallest and it's 500yen or P230 pesos. The huge one that Sarah and I shared was just 700yen. We divided the rental fee and just paid 350yen each or P170! Yes to savings! :) Their rental fee has no time limit so you could leave your bags the whole day for no extra charge! 

Kamalasan #1: So since first time mejo shunga. I already closed the locker and removed the key from the keyhole when I remembered I left my jacket & toothbrush inside. So I opened it again to get them. Wrong!!! That counts na pala as 1 day rental huhu. So I had to insert 500yen as new rental. Waaah. Lesson learned. 

Went to this convenience store near the exit. :) 

Love the variety

Let's go out and explore na!
Turned right upon exit

Crossed the street and entered that alley way (which turned out to be Namba Center) beside Starbucks

A few restos were already open but majority were still closed. They open 10am!

quiet streets of Namba 

Hello Kuya! We considered this but no english menu haha

Saw these food vendos outside restos and got amazed! Customers are supposed to choose their meals here, pay, get the stubs and present them inside. :)

Kept on walking. Can't figure out where to tambay and eat breakfast.

Asa Japan na nga ako, can't understand the signs! Haha.

Osaka is slowly waking up:)

Super random that we came across Ichiran (one of the recommended ramen place in Japan) this early and with no queue!!!

Since we were already hungry, tired and wanted to rest for a bit, we decided to eat here na. At least we were able to tick one off from our Things-to-do-in-Osaka list this early! Hehe. So in we went...

Ichiran originated from Fukuoka and offers Classic Tonkotsu Ramen from the 1960s. Each soup contains home-made fresh noodles, classic tonkotsu soup that was researched by professionals over a long period of time, carefully prepared sliced pork, fresh sliced onions, and their Original Red Sauce (known only by 3 of their experts) made from a mixture of 30 types of spices, aged & cooked slowly for nights and days. It's like art! Grabe! Haha. They're the only ramen restaurant that offers Trans fat-free tonkotsu ramen and broth with natural collagen. Ramen everyday na. Pampaganda. Haha. 

This is how you order! So excitiiing. 


I got the classic ramen  for 790yen, additional egg for 120yen and additional pork for 180yen coz I didn't know it has pork na. Sayang but it was okay. Total bill was 1090yen or P530. Quite expensive for me but it was a nice experience. 

Okay sorry d lang pala ako nagbabasa. Haha.

We went up to the 2nd floor and was assigned a table. In some branches, you could dine alone in cubicles. According to Ana it's quite an experience. Hope to try it next time!:)

Had to fill up this questionnaire. Super detailed! Love it. You could choose the flavor strength, richness, garlic, green onion, strength of the red sauce and texture of the noodles.   

Tada! Sarap! As usual, I was not able to finish mine because I got full right away. Huhu lagi nalang whenever I eat noodles or goto or arrozcaldo. Haha.

Happy kids! Busog na kase hehe

After eating, we walked & explored more until we got to Dotonbori..
Even their pavements are so kawaii.

Love the restaurants in Dotonbori! 

Another Ichiran restaurant located at the Dotonbori canal! This one has the solo kiosks. 

The Dotonbori district is a popular area for visitors to the city and boasts a number of well known restaurants offering a range of traditional and modern Japanese dishes. Like what they say, eat all you can in Osaka!

We made it!!!

So peaceful pa noh?

cute toys!

vendo pa more

i love you japan. Haha.

Me and Glico Man. Finally!:)

Originally installed in 1935, the sign depicting a giant athlete on a blue track is a symbol of Glico candy. The sign has been altered on several occasions to celebrate events such as the World Cup and to show support for the Osaka baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers. The current version is the sixth, which uses LEDs. The previous five incarnations of the sign used neon lights. :)

Asked a stranger to take a photo of us! Yey!

One more mas malayo. Took advantage na walang pang tao!

Wasn't able to try Lotteria. Next time ulit!

Since we needed wi-fi and we needed to regroup and do some quick research, we decided to tambay at Starbucks Tsutaya near the Glico sign. It turned out to be one of the best Starbucks I have ever been in! Told Ana and Sarah it's like being in a university library. Hehe. Wi-fi was super fast too!

Ana and Sarah ordered muna

View outside

Across the street is the famous Kani Doraku, Japan's iconic crab resto. That crab moves!

It's a huge library!

They sell books too

We decided to tambay on the 2nd floor

Nice db?

We ended up spending time here because it was super cozy and super chill hehe. It was also where we freshened up, brushed our teeth and re-applied make-up. Haha. After finalizing our itinerary that day and researching how to go to places, it was time to leave!

Busy na sa labas!

This is Shinsaibashi, a covered shopping street, that is north of Dōtonbori and parallel and east of Mido-suji street. It's one of Osaka's oldest and busiest shopping destinations which runs about 600 meters in length. You would find a variety of shops & restaurants, independent fashion shops, branded stores, chain stores, etc. Shop 'til you drop guys.

It was on Sarah's list to check out second hand designer stores. We checked out a few shops and there are a lot of good buys! You'd go crazy if you love designer goods.

Brand Off is one of the most popular second hand designer items store in Japan. They also have a few shops in Tokyo.

All bags are priced 30-70% off!

For instance, this YSL bag only costs 89,800yen or P40,900. It's original price is 226,000yen or P100k+.

Love this hat shop! Mejo pricey lang the hats.

ABC Mart sells branded footwear for a lesser price

They even have Skechers inside! Hi Seph Asong! Hehe.

Dessert shop and cafe

Tried looking for a nice pair of loafers but went home empty handed. Huhu.

Nice shirts!

Saw cute restos too. Kanino kayang bike to. Haha.

Love their manhole covers!

We just had to check out Daiso!

Tatlong bibe in disguise. Hehe.

They sell all sorts of things! Weird things, interesting things, necessities, artsy stuff, food, phone chargers, everythinnnng.

Even this finger sack. WTF. Sugod mga tomboy na kakosa! Haha. 

Sarah bought a towel for 120yen or P50. It's like Aquazorb promise! One of my shopping regrets. Haha. Sana naghoard ako! (photo from Ana)

It started raining when we got out so we went back again to buy a baseball cap for P40. Huge help!

Love Zara's window display!

Really cute dessert shop! Ana said character daw to sa Ghibli:)

Of course, there's SEGA!

We're not yet in Harajuku

It was almost lunch time and we're getting hungry again, so we decided to head to our first destination that day, OSAKA CASTLE! So, how to go there?

Went to the nearest train station which was Shinsaibashi.

Eto na naman ang confusing na train ticketing booth and maps haha

That Kuya in uniform saw our dilemma and he was kind enough to help us! We just showed him where we're going and he gave us directions:) Thank you, Sir!

Okay, so Osaka Castle is located at Morinomiya or Osaka Business Park stations. They're different ha. Choose one. Haha. 

We chose Morinomiya (3-B) which was just 5 stops away from Shinasaibashi. 
They both belong to the Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line. Color: Lime Green. 

We didn't know which train to board but there were signs. Yey.

After we got off, we tried looking for the right exit. It says Exit 1, but we couldn't find it. Haha.

So we asked the Station Master for instructions and directions. They have a station master. So cool. I want this job. I want to be a master. Haha.

Bawal picture but was able to take one. Haha! Thank you Sir for the help!

We had to go down the stairs and up again before we finally saw the exit. Confusion galore.


My ever reliable Skechers white rubbershoes saved my feet sa trip na to. Thank God for memory foam! I highly recommend it lalo na sa mga oldies na madali sumakit ang paa. 

So much stairs. Waaah. Haha. 

Upon exit, you would immediately see Osaka Castle Park on the right side. There's also a map and area guide...
It's freakin huge. Haha.

Kayo na bahala haha

...but since we're starving, lafang muna! There were no restos inside the park, or near the park, so we decided eat sa mall across the street. Slightly long walk pa din from the train exit. I cannot anymoreee. This country is so healthy. So fit. So not me. Haha.

Morinomiya Exit 1

 Walk straight, mga 200 meters, then used the overpass to go to the other side

Kala ko Nuvali haha.

Not much food places, thank God they have this food court named Q Kitchen!

This adorable little boy greeted me and had his photo taken. So cuteee.

Sarah's food. Takoyaki! She ate this with rice. Yum.

My food! Gyoza and rice for 500yen

Ana's food! Noodles:)

I love how Japan has this clean as you go policy almost everywhere. Food trays should be returned sa booth where you bought your food. :) 

They also have free water stations and free wet towels! Almost everywhere too. I love it.

Aaaand, they have the best toilets! Everrr.

This is the only country where I was not scared to use the toilet. I was able to eat everything I wanted because I know that if my stomach suddenly goes berserk, I could release it whenever, wherever. Most of their toilets have automatic bidet, buttons that lets you choose the water temperature, sounds (malakas na waterfalls so kahit may LBM walang makakarinig) and deodorizer! The only thing lacking? SOAP. Haha. Lam niyo na. Fortunately, I always bring one in my bag. Travel size lang yung mga libre sa hotels haha. Gawd, I love Japan! 

Sarah passed by sa grocery muna and Ana decided to check out the merchandise inside.

While they're at it, I decided to take a nap. Haha! Grabe 5 minutes lang pero narecharge naman ako konti. 

And off we went to Osaka Castle Park!

The entire Osaka Castle Park covers about two square kilometers with lots of green space, sport facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osakajo Hall) and a shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The park is one of Osaka's most popular hanami spot during the cherry blossom season which usually takes place in early April. :)

Bought this strawberry ice cream from a dessert truck inside for 300yen. A nice way to cool down bilang super jinetey.

Ice cream and chill muna sa fountain

We slightly got lost inside so we ended up taking a longer walk. It was tiring but worth it! The park is super nice & peaceful. A nice break from the city. We enjoyed the lush, green scenery, fresh air and watching people. :) 

Biking in a suit. Love.

Lovely flowers

After walking for about 30 minutes, we're finally near the famous Himeji Castle! This is the Otemon western gate. 

I can see the Gokurakubashi Bridge!

This bridge connects the Yamazato-maru Bailey & the Ni-no-maru or outer bailey. The Ni-No-Maru bailey contained the palace of the daimyo of Karatsu and the domain's administrative offices. The moat and walls you see was/were put up to block invaders or keep them out. Reminds me of Angkor Wat and this palace in Mandalay, Myanmar. An amazing defense strategy back in the days.

It's this big and complicated. What a fortress!

The castle grounds is approximately 60,000 square meters (15 acres) and contains thirteen structures that have been designated as important cultural assets by the Japanese government including: Ote-mon Gate, Sakura-mon Gate, Ichiban-yagura Turret, Inui-yagura Turret, Rokuban-yagura Turret, Sengan Turret, Tamon Turret, Kinmeisui Well, Kinzo Storehouse, Enshogura Gunpowder Magazine & 3 sections of castle wall all located around Otemon Gate.

Saw this on our way up the castle. Ano kaya to?

That bench is where I napped for 5 minutes because I couldn't walk sraight anymore haha!

The Osaka Castle was built in the end of the 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a well-known warlord who brought the whole country under his rule in the late 16th century. It has been burned down in a series of battles in the 17th century, and reconstructed later. Once again it was destroyed by fire, its donjon only reduced to ashes this time, and was reconstructed at last early in the 20th century. 

The main tower of Osaka Castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one square kilometer. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock, using a technique called Burdock piling, each overlooking a moat. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from attackers. On display at its 1st to 7th floors are various weapons, armors and folklife items of those days. The viewing deck is on the 8th floor. There's an entrance fee of 600yen to be able to go inside. :)

This is the old Osaka City Museum. Dun lang namin nalaman that it has been non-operational since 2003! Huhu.  

It transferred pala to a tall building next to NHK Osaka and just across the street from Osaka Castle. Now we know. Haha. Entrance is 600yen too.

I can imagine how this place looks like with cherry blossoms. :)

Well Curb of the Gimmeisui Well which was once a source of drinking water of the officials during the Edo period (1603-1867)

Ice cream & refreshments shop across the street

4 na bibe!

It was a long walk going back to the train station. No energy left. Haha

Lifeline haha. But this is just half of the original map. Madami pa sha and malaki. Haha.

Back to Namba!

Decided to check out more shops muna before going to our Airbnb

Uy, a Skechers store!

Love how animated & extravagant Japanese resto billboards are! 

Kaya pa mga beshie! D pako namamatay sa antok! Haha

Wanted to try this but no shade for morenas like me. Huhu. Whyyy.

I want this but it was too expensive :( And it's mapepe. Haha.

After Sarah and Ana's coffee break and my social media break in Starbucks, we left and looked for someplace to eat. Sarah wanted okonomiyaki but we failed to find a resto serving that. Okay lang though because we came across this cool rotating sushi bar!

                                It's filled with locals so it must be good. Also no                                   English menu haha.

Each plate is, I think, 170yen or P80? 

Truth is, I am not a fan of sushi and I don't like eating raw food. So I left Sarah and Ana there and went to Burger King for dinner! Haha. I wanted to eat something familiar that time. Haha. Sorry na.

Saw this nice store outside

Ito pa! Super cool.

My 900yen dinner! Mejo mahal. 

At this time, we were already tired, haggard, wet from the rain and a little lost. We were trying to find our way back to Nankai-Namba entrance/exit (where our coin lockers are located and where we exited when we first arrived) but couldn't find it. We decided to just enter Namba train station and try to find it nalang. Everything is connected underground. It might be a long walk but at least it's connected.

Saw this one our way back to Namba station! So cute!

Kamalasan #2: I made this pagtitipid strategy where I would just take out 10,000yen per day. Later on I found out I don't even reach 10kyen per day sa gastos. It is to limit myself and not to overbudget. So on my first day, I just put my money in my pocket because I didn't want to open my backpack (which is kind of a hassle) over and over. Unfortunately, my last bills (3,000yen) fell out of my pocket when I tried to get my train ticket huhu. When I brought this up sa girls, Ana said a Japanese woman actually called her attention and was giving her some bills. She thought the lady was asking for change so she just told her no. Haha! It's okay though. Lesson learned!

Ana also experienced kamalasan when we got to our coin lockers! When she opened her locker, to our horror, her luggage was not there! As in empty. We tried not to panic and just went to the coin locker office to ask for help. At first the Kuya couldn't understand us (language barrier huhu), but Ana showed him a photo of her bag inside the locker which she took when we arrived and some of her snaps! It's a good thing we love taking photos and snappin! Pwede din kasi shang evidence or reference for future use. Turned out, the keys just got switched and her luggage is inside the locker next to the one she opened. Whew. What an ordeal for our first day noh? But, positive lang!

Come 9pm, it was time to look for our Airbnb home!

So from the train station, with our luggages in tow, we walked under the rain trying to find our accommodation. We only have the map our host sent. We tried asking for directions but for some reason I don't think they know where the place was or they just didn't understand us. They were still nice enough to stop and try to help. :) Until we asked this one guy and he looked like he knew the place! So mejo optimistic na kami. In the end, he only led us to a taxi stand haha! Kasi naman pala we were walking in the wrong direction and it was kind of complicated to teach us the right way. We didn't want to ride a taxi but no choice and we were dead tired. 

This is the Airbnb map, different from what our host sent. Should have printed and used this one! Kasi naman he said mali the Airbnb map so he sent a new one. Huhu. Sha pala mali.

Our place pala is just a few blocks (mga 3 kantos) away, as in 7 minutes walk away, from Dotonbori!!! It's located near the Glico sign and the Ichiran resto along the river, as you can see on the map! Nakakaloka. We could have walked from there. The place was actually perfect. If hindi lang talaga mali directions ni host. Haha.

First step in retrieving our key

Our host sent us a detailed list of instructions on how to get in. The place is super secured so we needed that talaga. The instructions were easy to follow. But for some reason when we got there we couldn't find the print out. We also didn't have internet or wi-fi so I could not open my Airbnb account or email. We were just there inside the building thinking of ways on how to get the instructions. It was still raining hard. Super hassle. Luckily, a girl tenant arrived and we asked her if we could connect to her internet. Pakapalan na ng mukha haha! She was nice enough to help us and let me use her data. Was finally able to open my email and retrieve the instructions! Woots! Sa wakas. Habang may buhay, may pag-asa! 

Aside from the combination ng mailbox, we also needed the combination for this key holder and then the combination for the sliding door.

We're finally inside the building! It's actually pretty nice.:)


Our apartment

Tada! It was small but nice & comfy!

Not much space to walk around but it was okay. Outside the room there's a kitchen where you can cook. There are also utensils and other stuff you could borrow. 

Bedroom slippers

Bedroom! Yay! ana slept on the floor and sarah & I shared the bed.

Clean toilet!

With a nice sink

And tub! They have free shampoo, conditioner and body wash. So did not use mine muna. :) Their shower has a heater too.

I would highly recommend this place if you're visiting Osaka. It's walking distance to Dotonbori, Namba, Shinsaibashi. It's located in the city but the neighborhood is still quiet. I had a nice sleep! I am mejo maselan sa bed because I have skin allergy, but this one is super clean! Sheets smelled nice and no bites or itchiness when we woke up. They also have extra towels, pillows and blankets. :) There's a Family Mart store in the corner. :)

That ends Osaka Day 1! Day 2 na next. Sorry for the delay will try to expedite na! Haha. Happy reading!:)

Ichiran breakfast - 1,090
Coin locker - 1,000 (na dapat 500 lang haha)
Lunch - 500
Water from vending machines - 400
Local train from Kansai airpot to Namba - 500
Shinsaibashi to Morinomiya - 240
Morinomiya to Namba - 300(more or less)
Burger King dinner - 900
Daiso shopping - 500
Ice cream at Osaka park - 300
Convenience store candies - 400 (bwiset kala ko 30 lang mahal pala haha)
TOTAL = 6,130 or let's say 6,500 = P3,000!!! :)

If you remove the coin locker mishap, ice cream, shopping, candies and you just eat in budget restos (there's a lot!), it could go down to more or less 4,500yen or P2,000!!! Your budget depends on what type of traveler you are, really. Hope this helps!:) 

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  1. Sobrang worth it yung pag intay ko na mabasa to!!

  2. alam ko na pasalubong ko sayo when i go back....towel!!!! hahaha

  3. Hi! May I know what brand yung backpack ni Ana? Thanks


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