We travelled to Osaka on 21st-24th March 2020 and it was such a surreal experience to be travelling during the Covid pandemic. This is our travel summary.
Context: At the time of our short trip, we were going about our holiday with precautions (hand hygiene, masks and temperature checks). Our phones were constantly blowing up because Australia had announced the shutting of its borders and everyone was panicking for us.
And Osaka was quiet and chill, with local Japanese people going about their life as usual. It was actually so nice to ignore our phones and absorb into the peaceful Japanese life and forget the world was in a panic. What a time.
The night before, we were partying with our Japanese friends in Tokyo so we started our transit day hungover as fuck. And in our drooped state, we found out our return flights Sat 28/3 had been cancelled 😱 *cue frantic googling and a phone call to Qantas*.
We continued on the Shinkansen to Osaka and took the Midosuji line to our hotel, Nikko Osaka, arriving around 5 PM. After checking in and being awed by the room, we headed out for dinner, with Mick still on the phone with Qantas (it was a 4 hour phone call at this point). We were glad there was a queue at Ajinoya because just before we were invited inside to eat okonomiyaki, Mick secured our business flights home for Wed 25/3 woo!
After dinner, we went for a stroll along Dotonbori and I got a serving of Acchichi Honpo's takoyaki. Mick took some photos of my intimate moment with my food and as you can see, I was very happy 🥰🥰🥰 HAHAHA Looking like a fat dumpling.
The next day we were in higher spirits and went to find the Michelin star takoyaki stand, Takoriki. Each ball tasted like pure bliss 🤤
Afterwards, we headed for Dotonbori. It was eerie seeing how empty the place was at 1 PM. We were used to the crowds and shoving of tourists.
We had some delicious yakiniku for lunch and I queued up for 15 minutes to get takoyaki from Kukuru, the last stall in Dotonbori missing from my mega post about takoyaki. It was also the only takoyaki stall with a queue during those quiet times.
We did a lot of walking around and window shopping in the afternoon. For dinner, we dined at the famous hokkyokusei, the original omurice of Japan.
We started our Monday with a bang of a meal with some premium kobe wagyu at Wanomiya Kobe Beef. IT WAS AMAZING!
Afterwards, Aaron was talking about his time in Japan and how he was addicted to these 'meat dumplings' but he couldn't remember the name of it. Lucky for us, we stumbled across one of the stores, 555 horai, in Dotonbori and woahhhh, he was right because they were delicious! The filling was so succulent and savoury, hidden inside the fluffy softness of the dough exterior.
We also got a creme brûlée cheese tart from Pablo Cheesecake. The cream was rich and soft, complimented by the hardened layer of sugar.
I also got some strawberry mochi from Strawberry Mania. I don't know what the Japanese do to their fruits but these strawberries were sweet and juicy and huge. Paired with the soft, chewy, mild-flavoured mochi, this was such a good snack.
In the evening, we had Gram Cafe & Pancakes as a pre-dinner snack.
We were kind of sad the holiday was coming to an end and also concerned about the state of Australia. Everyone was hoarding (toilet paper and other things) and we were worried we'd come home to empty shelves. We decided to shop for face masks but it took us 2 hours before we found 3 pairs of reusable N95. We were told Japanese people were queueing up at 6 AM at certain pharmacies for their weekly stock of masks 😷 We ended the day at Tsurutontan Soemoncho for a huge bowl of udon noodles.
If you know us, you'd know our luggage was 95% filled with plush toys from claw machines. We won this little dog and pikachu in Dotonbori -^^- The next day, we had to say goodbye too soon and departed Osaka back to Tokyo. It was a great day and Mt. Fuji blessed us with his presence.
Thanks for reading this short summary. We already miss Japan and travelling. Stay safe and take care during these tough times.