Osaka, Japan: Osaka Castle and Umeda Sky Building

[November 23, 2017] A day after after our trip from Kyoto, Rap and I decided to stay in and rest after a tiring week of travelling around. We agreed to wake up late and go out after lunch. It was one of the best days, and exactly what we needed to enjoy the last few days of the trip.

With no specific itinerary in mind, we went around our neighborhood first, which had lots of yellow maple trees, restaurants and convenience stores around. It’s a mere 20-minute walk near Dotonbori, which makes it perfect – away from the touristy crowd, but also not too far for daily foodtrip.

HOW TO GO TO OSAKA FROM KYOTO?

The easiest way to reach Osaka from Kyoto would be the train lines. Without a 7-day JR Pass, we loaded our Suica card and rode the Special Rapid Service of the JR Kyoto Line. The travel was less than 30 minutes. From Osaka station, we had to switch trains to reach our apartment.

WHERE TO STAY IN OSAKA?

We booked our apartment from November 22-26 via Agoda. At that time, it costs around PHP 12,400 (~USD 229) for 4 nights/5 days. The apartment is located in Namba and it is called “SI Bedroom Apartment – Minamihorie”I can’t seem to find the link from Agoda now. 

It’s the biggest of all the three we rented during our Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka adventure. Aside from the bedroom below, it is complete with toilet and shower, washing machine and dryer, kitchen, microwave and refrigerator, free pocket wifi, and aircon/heater. The bed was so good that we decided to stay at home for a day.

The apartment is located in a multi-story building, and we were given instructions how to manually check-in. We had a bit of an issue on the night we checked-in as the key from last tenant was not returned to where it should be. Good thing, we had a pocket wifi and the contact person responded fast via Whatsapp.

This apartment is good for 4
This apartment is good for 4

TRAVEL HACK #10: LEARN TO REST, IT’S A VACATION NOT A CHECKLIST. It was Rap and I’s first time to have a 2-week trip that we almost forgot to slow down. Initially, what we wanted was to cross out all that we can from the our list so we won’t regret anything when we go back home.  It turns out, it was with this desire that made us too tired to enjoy most of what we wanted to see.  Having a break in Osaka made us appreciate the rest of our last days without us complaining how badly our feet hurts.

AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Next to Universal Studios Japan and Dotonbori (which I will write about), the top things to do in Osaka was to visit Osaka Castle. We just enjoyed the view, and hoped to find bicycle rentals. The day coincided with the Labor Thanksgiving, a declared national holiday, and there were a lot of families going around and having a picnic. It was a good thing we postponed our USJ trip to the following day as we expect a lot of people going in.

On the way to the castle, you'll see a lot of these
On the way to the castle, you’ll see a lot of these
Golden
Golden
A closer look
A closer look
Passing by the river
Passing by the river
In all its majestic beauty
In all its majestic beauty

After Osaka Castle, we read that Umeda Sky Building was among the top visited in the city and decided to go there as well. The building was designed by Hiroshi Hara, the Japanese architect who also designed Kyoto Station. It was completed in 1993 at 173m tall, consisting of 2 separate towers joined at the top by a ring-like observation deck.

The adult entrance fee to the Floating Garden Observatory is at JPY 1000 (~USD 9.25/ PHP 500). Two floors further, you will also enjoy the open roof top called “Sky Walk” and see the 360 panoramic view of Osaka, from buildings to bodies of water. We stayed here for almost 2 hours, waited for the sunset, before calling it a day.

Just a tip- do not bring caps or umbrellas, as it can get very windy up there! However, don’t forget your bonnets, scarves and gloves. With autumn ending, and winter chill creeping in, the temperature easily dropped from 12- 13 degrees Celsius to almost 10 degrees, as soon after the sunset.

The ring-like observatory
The ring-like observatory
Going to the top
Going to the top
See all of Osaka
See all of Osaka
I didn't know it was this big
I didn’t know it was this big
View from the other side- more buildings
View from the other side- more buildings

We will visit Osaka again by end-March and I hope we get to go around the city. Anything else you would want to recommend? Comment below!

That’s it for now. <3 always, Irene

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