Ōsaka is a city I didn’t get the chance to visit on the spring trip as I wanted to see what I felt were the most important bits of Japan first – Tōkyō and Kyōto. So, it was a no-brainer to do Ōsaka on this trip. The only thing I knew about the city was that it was the largest city in Kansai and it was the setting of Ridley Scott’s Black Rain.

I could have taken the shinkansen from Shinagawa but I wanted to take photos of the Tokyo Station Hotel which I didn’t last time. Besides, the shinkansen for this route starts here and I don’t wanna be rushing to get on the train with my luggage and all.

The weather that greeted me when I got off the train at Shin-Ōsaka was pretty sunny but a little nippy. I was told it was gonna get worse the day after but I should be all right I thought. The Hilton Ōsaka was situated at Umeda, a pretty swanky part of Kita-ku, the northern ward of the city.

The Hilton occupied two plazas – the hotel on the east and a massive premium shopping building on the west. Being the Hilton, the door man and bell hop were superbly courteous, with both my bags being carried for me all the way up to my room on the 26th floor (this never happened in the two British Hilton hotels I have stayed in which is a great shame).

With sunset at about 5-ish nowadays, I had the chance to partake in more evening/night photography. Hence, the obvious thing to do was to head south towards Dōtonbori in Namba. More importantly, I was starving! Ōsaka is a city that has food aplenty and this is the spot to do so – takoyaki, sushi, noodles, you name it. Staff from restaurants lining the stretch are seen to entice passersby to enter their establishments. Dōtonbori has an abundance of watering holes if you are that way inclined.

I first headed down to くくる (Kukuru) which was recommended by a friend. It’s a takoyaki eaterie (with an octopus for signage, it was so obvious what they serve).

Unfortunately as it was half eight, they were out of the massive bikkuri takoyakitakoyaki with large tentacle pieces sticking out. Since I was already there, I opted for the regular option of eight pieces. It was all right – I’ve had a few in my lifetime, and it’s not that out of this world. Prolly I was keen on trying out the bikkuri ones I guess.

1-10-5 Dōtonbori

I couldn’t just have takoyaki for dinner at Dōtonbori, could I? I had thought of Kamukura, a ramen shop that has veg stock for its soup, but unfortunately the meat was almost pork (butaniku) throughout. I thought of sushi and looking on the net was this place that came recommended by virtue of the generous amount of neta served on their nigiri. It was called いっしょう (Icchō) and it was only less than 5 minutes away. It was still on Dōtonbori but not on the main stretch near Ebisu-bashi.

One thing about Japanese eateries, they sometimes don’t have a non-smoking section but I didn’t complain. I note that the English menu was somewhat rudimentary, comprising three sets. I wasn’t up to making my own selection and opted for the mid-range set. I didn’t want to go overboard as I’ve had eight of ’em takoyaki just half an hour ago! It was a decent selection and once again I note how the Japanese don’t waste anything when it comes to food prep. I was served the deep fried heads of the three prawns (amai ebi) used for the nigirizushi. It was very nice and crunchy actually but I took care to really chew it down as the heads do have really pointy/sharp bits to them.

The set ended with a chawanmushi and it was then I told myself to not go around Dōtonbori looking for more food after this. Heh. Onaka meccha ippai da yo.

2-1-7 Dōtonbori


Just like to add what a maze the underground network of shops is in this city. I discovered it whilst looking for the Midōsuji subway line at Umeda near Ōsaka JR eki. People say this is a fantastic place to be at if it is like pelting with rain outside. I was going in circles despite the signage.

Reminds me of the legend of Theseus and the minotaur but more kawaii. Heh.