Day 9 continued…
After spending an uncomfortable smoke-filled journey from Hiroshima to Osaka as the bullet train was totally booked out and the only seats available were across the aisle in one of the smoking compartments (the whole carriage was yellow…) we arrived at Shin-osaka and took a subway to Namba station and from there it was a short walk to our hotel for the next two nights, the Hotel Monterey Grasmere.
I’d snagged a nice deal at 10,000yen/night on a two-night-stay plan and we both decided it was our favourite hotel of the entire trip.
It was another one of those office-buildings-cum-hotels that are all the rage in Japan. The lobby is on the 22nd floor, meaning all the rooms are higher than that which makes for good views and in the basement is a supermarket, a book store and the JR Namba station. It also connects to another 3 different subway lines in the sprawling underground mall around Namba and is next to the bus terminal which connects directly to the International Airport – did I mention my middle name is OMFGLOCATION?
Arriving in the lobby you’ll think you’re in England with all the woodwork and statues, then you’ll see the stone church and you’ll be totally confused:
The room had a green theme with two fabulous Simmons beds with fluffy comforters and the ubiquitous pjs in two sizes – just in case.
The bathroom met M’s strict guidelines for non-submarine size:
And my strict guidelines regarding the bountifulness of amenity goods provided everyday were also met:
The view out of our room on the 31st floor was also very nice:
While looking for a hotel I’d read numerous reviews of this place and was worried about having an inward facing room i.e. your view is of the church and you can’t see outside as that seemed to be what everyone was bitching about, but we had a great room.
Now I’d better move on to other topics before someone starts thinking this is tripadvisor or something…lol.
We decided to head to the OCAT bus terminal building next door and find something for lunch. I chose a noodle place that also served tempura and things because I had soba noodles still left on my things to eat in Japan list.
I ordered a lunch set that came with warabi mochi dessert:
While the man had a tendon and katsudon (tempura on rice and pork cutlet on rice with egg):
And for the first time on our journey a big-mother beer:
I quite enjoyed my lunch, but M said his was ‘average’ and unfortunately it gained the “worst meal had in Japan” status.
After lunch we went back to the hotel for a snooze then decided to go for a wander about 7pm. I’ve never really been to Osaka before so I wanted to visit the Dotonbori touristy area and have some octopus balls…mmm.
We passed the very famous neon lights lining the Dotonbori river, which incidentally used to be famous for people jumping into it after the Hanshin Tigers won baseball games (which they now prevent by covering both sides of the bridge with clear plastic barriers) and which harboured a statue of Colonel Sanders for 24 years until it was finally fished out:
Then I surveyed all the stalls selling octopus balls (there are many…) and ended up lining up at one with an interesting flavour combination- leek, citrus ponzu & mayo:
I had to wait 20mins until they cooked a new batch and while I was waiting I discovered that everyone around me was Korean (the octopus balls were scrummy…)
After I had my fill of balls we wandered around looking for a cheap izakaya bar for dinner and seeing one with a sign offering 160 yen drinks, I was sold.
Inside we ordered lots of little nibblies like jelly fish with pickled plum sauce:
Deep-fried octopus tentacles:
And chicken fillets filled with tomato and basil:
I rounded off the evening with a Japanese parfait that was calling out to me:
On the way back to the hotel there were lots of little side streets crammed with bars:
And the shopping mall was abuzz with people…at 10pm:
I made a few purchases at a 100yen store and then we decided to stop at the 24-hour supermarket in the basement of the hotel and pick up some breakfast, snacks & drinks including a $5 bottle of Russian vodka, donuts, melon bread, pork cutlet sandwiches, milk, calpis water and strawberries:
The strawberries amused M for ages as he took various photos of their perfection:
I amused myself (and nearly gave M a heart attack) by squeezing my hand and the camera out the 10cm gap (that’s all you could open the window being that we were thirty one floors up) and taking pics and video of the lovely night view:
Then it was time for bed as tomorrow was another busy day:
Part 8 to come…