For day 3, the plan was to check out the Umeda (Kita) district. As we were staying at Namba (Minami), which is considered to be the southern city centre of Osaka City, we wouldn’t be hanging around Umeda (North) much, so I decided to squeeze everything into a day. The only other time that we would pop by Umeda would be for taking the trains, since the trains leading to Kyoto and Kobe starts from Umeda. This station is called Osaka Station.
Above Osaka Station lies a mall (with a cinema) and also a roof top garden. To get to this garden, you got to take the lift to the 11th floor and then climb up.
They were growing vegetables and flowers at the roof top garden and it was quite an interesting sight as I’ve not come across such thing in Singapore. I wonder what they do with the harvest.
If only the sun was less scorching it would be a good place to sit by enjoy a takeaway meal. Entrance is free for all, so this is a good free attraction.
I wanted to have teppanyaki and decided on Misono because it claims to be the inventor of teppanyaki. I don’t know how true this is, but this place turned out to be quite touristy. The shop is located at Kitashinchi, an entertainment district walking distance from Umeda. There are many restaurants in this area but I think most of them open only at night.
At Misono, we got one “Mi” set (¥2,625/ $32.80) and one “So” set (¥3,675 / $45.93). The difference is that the “So” set comes with seafood. For both options, 150g of beef tenderloin is included. When serving, the shared the seafood between the both of us.
It also comes with bean sprouts and dessert.
Honestly I did find the teppanyaki steak here good. It was better than those I’ve had in Singapore but comparing to other meals I’ve had during that trip, this one was lack lustre. You definitely won’t be able to find such price in Singapore (if there was, it tastes terrible), but perhaps better and cheaper ones are around in Osaka.
1-11-19 Sonezakishinchi, Kita-Ku, Osaka, Star Building, 3F
Also at the Kitashinchi area was a pastry shop called Patisserie Gregory Collet. I spent a long time getting lost looking for this. The irony is that when I was in Kobe, I happened to chance upon their other outlet randomly without even searching for it.
The Osaka outlet was comparatively smaller, and looked more like a takeaway shop than dine in café. There was not much ambiance to speak of. Smoking was allowed indoors too, and it could be bothersome to non-smokers.
The display was very exciting and I wish I could have everything.
Mont Blanc – ¥525 ($6.56)
My favourite Mont Blanc in Singapore is from Kki and this was almost as good, possibly even better!
Short Cake – ¥420 ($5.25)
This beats any short cake in Singapore, hands down anytime, because the cream they use is simply superior to those we have access to here.
The plan for the afternoon was to check out what Umeda area. The first stop was Hankyu Department Store. Department stores are common in Japan and their food hall is known to sell anything you’ll ever need. It’s a good place to get Japanese fruits like strawberries, tomatoes and grapes which are way overpriced in Singapore. Trust me, they are not the same as the normal type we have here.
Other than the supermarket section, there are also many stalls selling all sorts of foodstuff. The bakeries and patisseries interest me the most.
I am very fascinated with everything matcha! This is from a bakery at the food hall of Hankyu.
Also spotted at Hankyu were these cakes. They look too beautiful to not take a picture.
Upon exiting Hankyu, I spotted an interesting sight at the underground link area – a kushikatsu stall called Matsuba.
For Matsuba, you have to stand while eating and I guess it’s great for a quick bite on the go. Kushikatsu is another of Osaka’s famous street food and is available everywhere.
This is basically just deep fried skewered ingredients. I particularly liked the onion skewer most. You get to dip your skewer only once into the communal dipping sauce, for obvious reasons. Most items cost ¥100 ($1.25) but some cost ¥200 ($2.50).
Next, we went to check out the food hall at B1 of Hanshin departmental store. Note that this is not the same as Hankyu, but they offer similar things.
The best find at Hanshin was Morihan. It sells iced matcha or matcha latte.
I had a matcha latte (¥200/ $2.50) and it was the best matcha latte I ever had for this trip! I didn’t know it was exceptionally good until I had a random one along the streets of Shinsaibashi and it was bad. Apparently Morihan also produces and sells tea so I guess they have good quality matcha powder.
Do give it a try when you are around Umeda.
Osaka-shi Kita-ku Umeda 1-13-3
The next attraction for the day was the Umeda Sky Building. This building has a floating garden observatory on the top level which has an entrance fee of ¥700 ($8.75). To get there, we had to walk about 15 minutes from Umeda Station. According to the map we had to go through an underpass so do look out for it to know you’re on the right track.
This building is known for the unique architecture.
To get to the floating garden, take an elevator and then an escalator up.
The escalator is sort of suspended in midair so for those with fear of heights, this is not for you.
If you are not a fan of being under the scorching sun with strong winds blowing against you (hats and umbrellas are not allowed for this reason), there’s a lounge area the level below where you can sit down and enjoy the view. I got to love that seats are available everywhere in Japan.
For memory sake you can keep a stamp.
Umeda Sky Building “Floating Garden”
1-1-88, Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka
After we were done exploring Umeda, we took the subway to Shinsaibashi to explore the area. Shinsaibashi has a lot of shops and is great for shopping.
There was a Tokyu Hands store, which offers a lot of household products and is famous in Japan.
Spotted was a wide range of coffee brewing equipment.
Basically they have a lot of quality household items.
3-4-12 Minami-senba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi
Unlike Umeda, Shinsaibashi has fewer department stores and the only one which I found was Daimaru. As usual, I had to check out the food section and we settled our “appetizers” for dinner there.
Who can resist uni (sea urchin)? This platter cost about ¥2000 ($25).
Katsuo, a relative of maguro, is in season now so it’s cheap and fresh. I happened to see a Japanese program the day before on TV and it was talking about Katsuo.
Osaka-shi Chuo-ku Shinsaibashi Suji 1-7-1
Unlike Tokyo, crêpes seems to be elusive in Osaka. I expected to see them everywhere but I only spotted 2 of such shops around Shinsabashi. One of them was called Crêpes Ojisan.
The strawberry crêpe was delicious and sufficient to satisfy my craving for Japanese crêpes. It cost about ¥450 ($5.65).
In fact, desserts and sweets are almost non-existent along the streets of Shinsabashi, Dotonbori and Namba. It was so hard to find something sweet to eat after having the salty food like takoyaki and ramen. Salty and savoury food is everywhere in Osaka but dessert and pastry stalls are only found in the food hall of department stores.
Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Shinsabashi suji, 2-2-19
You probably must be thinking I’ve had too much to eat for a day and I think so too. For the final meal it was ramen. This stall, Kamakura, wasn’t one which I shortlisted earlier on and was just a random one we picked around Dotonbori when returning to the hotel.
Like Shi-ten-noh, you have to purchase a ticket using the machine outside, and pass your order to the server when you’re seated inside. The previous patrons had leftover coins in the machine so we benefited from this!
Gyoza – ¥200 ($2.50)
Chashu Egg Ramen – ¥850 ($10.65)
Honestly, this ramen kind of sucked and was a waste of money. What made things worse was that the entire kitchen was open concept and you could see how they prepared every single thing. It was pretty much instant noodles; just that Nissin does it better. To be fair, the pork was flavourful and tender but the soup was just not up to standard.
This is the canal behind the main street of Dotonbori.
And that, marks the end of day 3.