Saturday, November 28, 2009

Osaka: Arrival

I woke up from my hazy sleep this morning at 6:12 am from the sound of my cell phone ringing. It was JH reminding me to wake up, because he was on his way to pick me to go the airport.

I think I slept pretty well but the early wake up call plus the traveling I did made me tired. That is why I am in my hotel now writing to you dear readers instead of outside prowling the streets of Osaka.

Don't worry after figuring out my way from the Namba train station and to my hotel I looked around the area.

First, though let me tell you the story of my travels so far.

I flew Korean Airlines from Gimpo Airport. The plane was a regular sized plane and actually kind of cramped. I flew Japan Airlines last time and have to say it was a much more pleasant ride. Although the flight lasts about a little over an hour so it wasn't all bad. A Japanese couple tried to sleep next to me skipping their in flight snack, which it turns out was worth missing.
The descent into Kansai International Airport allowed for a majestic view of Japan to be seen. It was the early morning so the rainy clouds were breaking away.

Immigration through the airport took about 40 minutes, so it was a long wait. By the time I went to pick up my luggage they were gathering the left behind pieces to be taken to the office.

I went to the transportation kiosk and bought both the JR West Kansai Pass and the Surruto Kansai Thru Pass.

The Kansai Thru Pass allowed me to travel on the Nankai train to Namba, where both my hotel and the Korean consulate are located.

Riding the train was enjoyable, but I think I took the "local" version instead of the "rapid" one since it made a lot of stops. I was in no hurry though considering I was still early for my check-in time.

I enjoyed seeing the view out the train window and noticed the cute and cluttered houses.

From Train to Exit:
The Namba station is a maze, for you really don't understand where you are suppose to go or if you are getting any closer to an exit. To make matters worse I had to drag along my suitcase and carry-on, which I guess if I packed smaller would have made my life better. 

Anyways for those who live in Korea the subway system in Japan is a lot more complicated. Yes they have signs everywhere but it is like reading a different code. I usually can figure out which exit to follow in Korea's subway by looking at the big map that is on the wall near the train entrance. From there it's easy because I just follow the big numbered yellow signs.

In Japan they kind of have the same thing but the ceiling with the all the signs is very cluttered. To make matters more complicated to exit you follow a certain "line" so if you follow the "Midosuji" line you can make your way to a certain exit. It was complicated I tell you and I asked three separate information kiosks to finally find my way.

Yes I took the infamous "exit 25" which puts you above ground. After exiting the station I made a left turn and walked upwards.

Long story short I managed to find my hotel and was relieved the rat-maze of Namba station was done for one day.
I am staying at the Arrow Hotel which is about 10 minutes walking distance from the station exit. Maybe less if you are a fast walker.

This hotel is all right with all the typical amenities needed, such as a clean bed, pillow, mini-fridge, clean bathroom, and internet access.

If you can recall the hotel I stayed at in Tokyo then you might understand my following judgment. This hotel is a step down from the hotel I stayed at in Tokyo. It is a bit more rustic I would say. To use the internet I had to borrow a cable and modem from the front desk. But really why am I complaining? I made the choice of this hotel anyways.

Bathroom has an orange glowing light in it.

The street where the hotel is located...
Exploring Osaka: Dotonbori

I left my hotel around 2:00 pm to go find something to eat and do some exploring. I knew of a temple I wanted to visit that was near the station so I headed in that direction.

On the way I couldn't help but feel like I was back in Japan. Familiar sites such as cars going down the "wrong" side of the road and woman wearing funky and creative fashions.

When I first went to Japan in January it felt so thrilling and like I had made a pilgrimage. This time around I feel like a visitor or passerby. Maybe it is the fatigue of traveling and finding yourself unable to speak to anyone that has got me a little numb. But I enjoyed finding some of the really pleasant aspects of Japan while I walked around.

Dōtonbori traces its history back to 1612, when a local entrepreneur, Dōton Yasui, began expanding the tiny Umezu River, which ran east to west, hoping to increase commerce in the region by connecting the two branches of the Yohori River, which ran north to south, with a canal. Dōton’s project was interrupted when he died defending Toyotomi Hideyori in the ill-fated Siege of Osaka, but his cousins finished the canal in 1615.
Today it is a hub of frenzied shopping, restaurants, arcades and tourist gimmicks. All in all, it really was a fun site to see. I think one is meant to also walk around at night since the place lights up with neon glow. We'll see if I stop by when I return back from a trip to Kyoto or Nara.

Inside an arcade crane game~

A view of the table condiments where I had lunch.
 My lunch~

I left feeling fulfilled and renewed to continue exploring. It's amazing how many bikes you see here and the amount people riding them.
Here is a cute shop I saw where they sold traditional style knick-knacks.

 I am going to stop here because the internet connection here is really slow and spotty. So uploading pictures has been a pain. I need to get some sleep for my trip tomorrow.
Hope you all enjoyed this mini scope into my trip. Goodnight~


  1. Eat lots of delicious Udon. So jealous!

  2. Thanx Joy...really interesting to see the sights & "hear" your comments.
    I think your previous Japanese hotel was a tad more "luxurious" because it was a Best Western or Comfort or some other big name chain, right? So there's a certain standard involved with those even tho each hotel is a franchisee or independently owned.
    Cleanliness matters most actually..right?!
    Maybe they could give you more pillows or whatever if you asked for it?!!
    OK .... be safe & enJOY!

  3. Joy!
    Wow - actually had a visa run to Osaka at almost the same time as you (last weekend). I'm surprised we didn't run into each other at the Korean consulate. Anyway... I'll be posting about the Osaka Castle and another castle in the area :)

    And yes, Namba Station is a nightmare if you're trying to navigate it in a hurry. It's helpful to think of it as a cluster of stations, each one on a different line.


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