What to do in Osaka, family style

I can’t believe we’re actually doing this!

I’ve never been this deep into the blogging realm. Couple of my friends back in Sydney made one (fashion, lifestyle, photography) and I really thought that it’s pretty cool to share your passion through writing *hint hint I wanna do it too!*. The idea lingered for quite a while, prioritized last due to work and stuff, but finally I am now ready to commit sharing my stories thanks to Iris and Marissa who are also super excited on creating this blog!

When I say my stories they would most likely be a) travel, b) food, c) travel, and d) food. I’ve been really blessed to be able to experience holiday in so many countries and explore all things yummy, so hopefully this blog can be your go-to whenever you have that little “where should I go next” or “what should I eat this weekend” question in the back of your mind 😉

Enough with my rambling, let’s get down to business: travel post from my recent trip to Japan. First up, Osaka!

Since I went with my family (well for most of my trip), mine will be a family friendly one. You know that kind when Dad was feeling too cold and wanted to warm himself in the nearest coffee shop or minimart available, when your Mom’s feet was pretty sore and all she wanted is to go back to the hotel, have some nap etc. etc. Nevertheless, when I created my itinerary for Osaka I only have three *touristy* spots that I wanted to go in two days: Osaka Castle, Universal Studio (only for Wizarding World of Harry Potter because I’m not the type to put myself on a flying dinosaur or a back-flip roller coaster) and Dotonbori. That being said, this itinerary is in no way intense and you can really take your time to just chill out.

Osaka Castle (Osakajokoen)

It’s quite a huge complex to explore and if you just want to relax, have a slow-paced walk, this is definitely a must. Entrance fee to the castle (which is actually a multiple floors museum) is JPY600 if you are interested in Japanese History and they have opening hours of 9AM – 5PM. We came a bit late – arrived there at around 5PM and hence did not get the chance to get in (oh well I’m not a big fan of Oda Nobunaga so it’s fine). Instead we just wander around the park and had an awesome takoyaki.

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Isn’t she beautiful?
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Aww
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5PM situation
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Random street stall is really the best! Generous octopus filling and absolutely cheap! Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact price – must not exceed JPY300 though
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I love it when the sky turned into pink and purple hues
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6PM – lights were on and it was super pretty
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7PM – was getting dark and this shot was taken on the way out of the complex. Mom was being anxious and saying that we might get robbed since not much people were around. I was like “err Japan is a very safe country and 7PM is too early for robbery anyway”

Universal Studio Japan – Wizarding World of Harry Potter

For this we have pre-purchased our ticket in Jakarta, but it’s only for the USJ entrance and not for Wizarding World of Harry Potter. One day studio pass will cost you JPY7,600 but if you’re going to pre-purchased via travel agent in your home country the price may varies slightly due to currency reason (and probably the agent’s margin).

I don’t really like going to amusement park during local holiday season. Really, the queue is somewhat very disturbing. I saw Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey queue and the expected time to actually try 5 minutes ride (in Japanese audio, for God’s sake!) was 4 hours! *shudder* So I only went for castle sightseeing and it’s good enough for me. However, in order to walk around the Wizarding World during peak, there is this timed entry system where you will be assigned specific 1 hour to start entering the area, but how long you want to be there is really up to you. As an example, I was assigned to enter between 11-12PM and left at around 4PM. Do come early if you want to enter the area as fast as possible!

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Dream-like Hogwarts. This shot was taken from the back area of the restaurant called Three Broomsticks
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Three Broomsticks – as expected from amusement park’s dining, it’s quite pricey. Do try the rotisserie chicken and beef salad though, they’re delicious! (Pork ribs were a bit tough for me)
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Hogsmead
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I’m actually very sorry for this. So the shop has robes, scarves, magic wand and everything that a true wizard might wear. Tons of people tried them but I doubt anyone was buying (well that includes me. In my defense, at least I bought a pass-holder and did not leave empty-handed). Again, it was quite pricey for a scarf and let’s face it we don’t wear that in Jakarta because it’s like 30 degrees Celsius everyday.
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Castle walk. The only drawback on this was the Japanese audio guide only so I couldn’t understand most of the narrative.
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You can find butterbeer only in Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so why not try it at least once in your life? Honestly the taste was a bit weird, something like ginger and gooey caramel with cream on top. This is the hot version btw. My cousin said the cold one is actually better… Oh note that if you spend a little extra yen, your drink will be poured in a cute mug (as seen on this photo) and you can take it home as souvenir!

Dotonbori

We went here for some shopping and quick dinner. Also, we got a tip from father and son duo from Indonesia that we met randomly at subway – they said Starbucks in Dotonbori offer various Japanese special edition tumbler. Unfortunately Mom was too tired to check it out and we head back to the hotel instead.

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Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, Forever 21 you name it! For Uniqlo it’s definitely cheaper (around 20-30% cheaper) than other countries but for the others not so much.
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Famous photo spot – glico running man sign
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Food galore! Sorry was too hungry to snap the photo of our dinner.

….. and that’s a wrap for Osaka! Great city, lots of fun stuff to do. I’ll be posting on Kyoto next week so stay tune 😀

XOXO, Steph

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