A layover in Osaka – Ramen, sushi, & exploring the city

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My flight from Hong Kong landed in Osaka around 7pm. Due to some clever scheduling, I would have about 23 hours for a layover in Japan. First, I needed to make my way into Osaka proper.

Thanks to being the first person off the plane, I was the only passenger who made the first train to the arrivals & immigration area. This is where being a fast walker came in handy. This fast walking would eventually lead to me just making the train I wanted to take to Osaka by two minutes, even with having to go through the ticket office because none of the ticketing machines would take my credit card. The one-way ticket to Osaka from the airport was just 1190 yen, which is reasonable for the distance.

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I walked from the train station to my hotel for the night, the Crowne Plaza Ana Osaka. I had a nice view from the 17th floor. The room itself was a bit dated, but the hotel was in a nice central location, which was good for exploring on a layover in Osaka such as this one.

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My next step was to procure dinner. It was a chilly January evening, so I had ramen on my mind. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much cash on me, which I knew I would need. Finding ATMs that accept bank cards is pain, especially at night. I ended up wasting far too much time trying to find an ATM that would would, though I did get to see lots of pretty holiday lights in the process. The Hikari Kyoen Festival of The Lights was going on, so much of the area was lit up.

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I eventually found a 7-11 that would take my card, which I reached just as a woman was pulling down the gate to close it for the night. I managed to explain that I just needed one minute to get money, and she kept the gate open just for me, which I greatly appreciated. I had to take out more money than I had planned, but I’ll be back in Japan in September, so it’s not a big deal. Finally, I could go get some dinner.

Here comes my second difficulty of the night. I had looked up a few potential ramen spots, only to find that either they did not exist, weren’t open, or I couldn’t find them. I spent another hour or so trying to find them, then finally found a spot in the basement of an office building near Osaka station that looked suitable. It was busy, so I figured it must be good.

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It was called Room, and it’s a branch of Kamitora, which was actually one of the ramen places I had been trying to find, though it wasn’t marked as such and didn’t match the photos I had seen. The name in Japanese is 麺’s room 神虎 大阪駅前ビル店. My bowl of steaming ramen was my reward for having spent a couple of hours wandering Osaka in search of cash & food.

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My next planned stop was for some Japanese craft beer. However, thanks to having wasted so much time, I arrived at Craft Beer Base Bud just as it was closing. It looks like a cool beer spot, deep in the basement of an office building. At this point, I realized it just wasn’t going to be my night. so I headed back to my hotel to sleep.

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After getting a few hours sleep, I left the hotel around 9am to walk to Osaka Castle. The walk was nice, as it follows the water, passing across an island that includes Nakanoshima Park.

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nakanoshima park osaka 700x525 - A layover in Osaka - Ramen, sushi, & exploring the city

It was nice to see that an introspective Tommy Lee Jones is still getting work promoting Boss.

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Osaka Castle was originally completed in 1597, and has been restored to its former glory following its destruction in several conflicts, including World War II. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I just walked around the outer edges of the grounds, as the rest required an entry fee. The park was pretty, even in January.

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From there, I walked north toward the Tenjinbashi shopping area. The long narrow alley is filled with shops of all kinds, but I was there for one reason: to go to one of Osaka’s best sushi restaurants, Harukoma.

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Harukoma is a destination for sushi fans. The restaurant was scheduled to open at 11am, but there was already a round of people inside when I arrived at 10:35am, plus there was a line outside. While I waited, I talked with a guy from South Korea who had also heard it was some of the best sushi in Osaka.

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The wait took about 45 minutes, but we eventually made it inside. Upon entering, it’s easy to see why there’s such a line. The tiny place only holds a couple of dozen patrons at a time. The wait was well-worth it. It was some of the best sushi I’ve had in my life. I had 20 pieces of nigiri in all 2650 yen, which is about $26 USD.

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harukoma sushi 700x700 - A layover in Osaka - Ramen, sushi, & exploring the city

After lunch, I walked back to my hotel. It was time to check out and begin to make my way back to Osaka Kansai airport at the conclusion of my layover.

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The train journey was uneventful until I heard an announcement. Only half of the train would be going to the airport, and I was in the wrong half. Fortunately I had somehow heard this over the podcast I was listening to, otherwise who knows where I would have ended up. In hindsight, I did wonder why nobody else in my car had any luggage with them, but it’s a bit strange that of all the trains that might have to split, it would happen to a train that might be filled with confused visitors.

I visited Osaka with only a few goals. I wanted ramen and sushi, and to explore a city I hadn’t been to on my last visit to Japan. While I had a limited amount of time, I ate well, and I got to see some of Osaka. I did waste some time during the evening, or else I would have been able to do even more, but I still had a great layover in Osaka.

Read below for all of my posts about my trip around the Pacific Rim!

A trip around the Pacific Rim – Introduction
OneWorld Business Lounge Los Angeles LAX review
Cathay Pacific Business Class Boeing 777-300ER Los Angeles LAX to Hong Kong HKG review
Cathay Pacific Business Class Airbus A330 Hong Kong HKG to Kuala Lumpur KUL review
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral review
A layover in Kuala Lumpur – Street markets & Petronas Towers
Cathay Pacific Lounge Kuala Lumpur KUL satellite review
Plaza Premium Lounge Kuala Lumpur KUL review
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge Kuala Lumpur KUL satellite review
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Airbus A330-300 Kuala Lumpur KUL to Auckland AKL review
Air New Zealand Economy Class Airbus A320 Auckland AKL to Queenstown ZQN review
Queenstown Motel Apartments – Queenstown, New Zealand review
Queenstown, New Zealand – A Lord of the Rings tour
Day trip from Queenstown, New Zealand – Milford Sound
Queenstown, New Zealand – Skyline Queenstown
Craft beer in Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown to Franz Josef, New Zealand by bus
Hiking to Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Franz Josef to Nelson, New Zealand by bus
Fellworth House – Nelson, New Zealand review
A beer & wine tour through Nelson, New Zealand
The best craft beer in Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson to Wellington, New Zealand by bus and ferry via Picton
A nerdy day at Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand
Exploring the museums & parks of Wellington, New Zealand
The best craft beer in Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington to Auckland, New Zealand by bus
New Year’s Eve in Auckland, New Zealand
A rainy New Year’s Day at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
A rainy day at the Auckland Art Gallery & New Zealand Maritime Museum
The best craft beer in Auckland, New Zealand
Emperor Lounge Auckland AKL review
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Airbus A330-300 Auckland AKL to Kuala Lumpur KUL review
Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur review
A layover in Kuala Lumpur – Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia & Jalan Alor
Malaysia Airlines Golden Regional Lounge Kuala Lumpur KUL review
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Boeing 737-800 Kuala Lumpur KUL to Hong Kong HKG review
A visit to Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong for dim sum
A rainy day in Hong Kong – Science Museum & Kau Kee noodles
Hong Kong – Victoria Peak & more great food
More dim sum in Hong Kong – Din Tai Fung & Dim Sum Square
A day trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Grand City Hotel Hong Kong review
The best craft beer in Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Cabin Business Class Lounge Hong Kong review
Cathay Pacific The Bridge Business Class Lounge Hong Kong review
Cathay Pacific Business Class Airbus A330-300 Hong Kong HKG to Osaka KIX via Taipei review
A layover in Osaka – Ramen, sushi, & exploring the city
JAL Sakura Lounge Osaka KIX review
JAL Business Class Boeing 787 Osaka KIX to Los Angeles LAX review

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