Happy new year to all of you my friends!....Oh! Oops!! My bad!. It's just not yet New Year time. Sorry! As I just came back from Osaka trip with Thai Air Asia and the atmosphere there is permeated with New Year holiday season that makes me think it is already New Year time now. Therefore, today I would like to show the atmosphere that I have experienced there to all of you.
First of all, I have to tell you something that this trip to Osaka is quite different from my usual trip, as normally I do plan the whole trip and travel by myself. Moreover, I will spend a lot of time taking photos, however, this trip I travel as a press to conduct the atmosphere of the celebration of New Year Festival that is about to begin at Universal Studios Japan, one of the popular attractions of Osaka for Thai people. Besides, Osaka Tourism Bureau would prepare a one full day tour guide to take our group to travel to new interesting attractions in Osaka that Thai people might still not get familiar with. This time we would use Osaka
Amazing Pass for transportation and it is really worth our money.
In this trip if I have excluded traveling time, it would take me totally 2 days for this Japan trip. Yes, you guys hear it right as it's really just two days. We travel according to the arranged programs, thus, I named this review as "Intensive Osaka Trip". Actually, some of places might be more beautiful during the night time, however, I visited there during day time so I didn't get the photo in the atmosphere that I would love to. Moreover, the sky is closed all two days and the rain also falls in the day that I visit Universal Studios Japan, and it is just pretty difficult to take good photo. The thing matter is that this time I brought photo to you guys less than usual and you guys might be confused what happens. Anyway, whenever I travel to Japan, I will always have a good story to tell and this time is the same, therefore, let's read the review and see how interesting of my intensive Osaka trip is.
Before traveling, I would like to introduce my channels here as following:
This time I travel with Thai AirAsiaX flight XJ610, it is a direct daily flight operates from Don Mueang Airport to Kansai Airport, Osaka city with just only 5 hours flight time which I think it is quite convenient.
This time I have a seat at "Quite Zone" which is not permitted for children and the light is always dim down, not too bright that could make the traveler gets a pleasant rest.
I choose a window seat to admire the spectacular view.
Another (most) recommended service is Sky Ticket service on a flight AirAsia X, they offer the Limousine Bus ticket to the city, visit the famous Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, including Universal Studios Japan at an equal price to the ticket counter at the attractions which meaning that you do not have to waste time waiting on the queue. If you plan to go, then you should buy it here.
We arrive at Osaka airport as per schedule which is almost 11pm Osaka time... (For those who would travel after 27 March 2016 onward, the flight schedule will leave Don Muang Airport faster than usual around one hour. The departure time will be at 02.15pm and reach Osaka at 09.40pm; you could have more time about an hour to go out shopping around the hotel). We need to get through the immigration and baggage process and have to take a bus ride around midnight to the city (get off at Umeda area). If anyone would like to take the bus, please try to take a ride before midnight because after that the bus will take around an hour for the next one. For the bus schedule, you could find in this link.
From where we drop off from the bus, we have to walk approximately 10 minutes to reach the Hotel New Hankyu Osaka where we would stay for this trip. I was a little disappointed as the weather is not that cold. The location of the hotel is pretty great actually, it is near the railway station and the opposite side is a shopping mall Yodobashi for IT products which many restaurants on the upstairs.
The room is a little cramped which is usual for Japanese room
style. However, the facilities and cleanliness is quiet alright.
Next morning, we leave the hotel early in the morning. We plan to eat at Endo Sushi restaurant which is the place they have recommended. The restaurant is at the front of the Osaka fish market. Fortunately today, there are not a lot of people here, hence, we do not have to wait for long. Endo Sushi is a small restaurant, thus, if there are lots of people, we have to wait for quite some time. The popular dishes here are definitely sushi menu which they have pretty wide variety of menus to choose from. The restaurant will have set menus for option, but if you do not like the set menus they offer, you could customize your own as well. Actually, I'm not much a Sushi lover, nonetheless, I have to admit that the sushi here tastes pretty awesome, especially the eel sushi.
This is what the front of the restaurant looks like. If you do
not meet this beautiful girl in the picture, please don't complain. Lol
Time to taste. Let's get inside!!!
From Endo Sushi, we head to the nearby train station for traveling to Universal Studios Japan where we will have a whole day here in this amusement park.
Below pictures are the atmosphere along the road to the train station.
We have already bought our tickets, let's get in the bus.
We just reach the train station and we could feel the vibes of USJ from the various signs, especially the Harry Potter huge poster on the way up from the train station. I am surprised as I really do not think that many people would come to USJ a lots during weekdays. However, when I reach at the entrance, I am stunned as the place is crowded and most people here are the Japanese people. Each one has a big smile on their face and many people dress up in cosplay costumes or use some props like various characters in the movie. Now, I really feel the atmosphere of the theme park, It's amazing!
Between the walk way and the front of the USJ.
The atmosphere inside is very
energetic and the staff of USJ all wave to welcome tourists and offer advice at
Today, our first program
started with watching the Minion parade. However, since the rain was showering
in the morning which makes the ground wet, thus, the parade was cancelled and
replaced by a show of Minion instead. We could take photograph with these
These Minion popcorn buckets with
banana favor are so cute. It is good for buying for a souvenir to your loved
one but I would recommend you guys to eat the popcorn before. One bucket costs 3000
The popcorn goes great with Banana drinks, Banana Minion White
Chocolate which costs 500 Yen. It is pretty sweet and the little kids will love
Then we go to Harry Potter zone which is just opened about a year ago and it is still very popular until now. While we walk into the area, the rain is showering all the time. Nevertheless, it looks like Happy Potter fans aren't afraid of the rain at all. Everyone walks through the pine forest with the music of the land of magic playing along of the way.
which today is filled with the Muggles who flock to visit the
wizard's land. Even though the scene in front of us are the shops that all the roof
had been covered with snow and has the building of the great Hogwarts as the
background, nonetheless, the reality is that it's raining here all the time.
However, the rain does not make the fans of Harry Potter back off, instead
everyone are heading to Hogwarts to experience The Wizarding World of Harry
Potter's latest ride in the USJ that had just opened during last year.
It's time for lunch; therefore, I stop by at "The Three Broomsticks" restaurant. This restaurant not only serves good food under the atmospheric simulation of Harry Potter movie but also there is a balcony outside to take good pictures of "Hogwarts" in a very beautiful angle.
The atmosphere of the restaurant.
The atmosphere of Hogwarts at this time is like losing a soul to
a death eater.
It would be very extraordinary when you have a trip to this
place at Christmas and New Year seasons as there will be a special menus to try as
Do not forget to try the “Butter Beer" which is Harry's favorite
drink. When you are done with the drink, you could keep the glass as a
collection. Unfortunately, that's not a real beer, I guess it is made of sweet
chocolate for the children to have this drink as well.
Another important thing not to miss out is that do not forget to visit the restroom next to the Three Broomsticks too. You will hear the moaning of Myrtle's the moaning ghost which would haunt you to peek at your left and right all the time in the restroom.
After we done recharging our energy with food, next we will head to experience The Wizard World rides that we are waiting for. Since I am with the press, I'll have a special treat as I do not have to queue in the rain for hours just like everybody else. (I believed that you all would have seen reviews from others about a trick for USJ rides, especially the Harry Potter zone. I would not repeat on that).
Harry Potter fans still ignored the rain and focus on heading to the queue line of various rides.
They also have a coaster in this zone as well.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride will not allow to bring camera or other devices with you as for the safety of the assets and yourselves due to the ride would swing back and forth periodically. Moreover, it is useless to take a camera with you as it is all in 3D motion pictures which could have been viewed only through the 3D glasses. This ride will lead us into the atmosphere of a magical flying broom and we will fly behind Harry Potter who will have a conversation with us (in Japanese language). At that time, I wouldn't care about the soundtrack anymore because I would be more thrilling to the Quidditch chasing scene and the splendor of Hogwarts scene too. Moreover, you will face with the Death Eater as well. Oh! It is really fun; the ride could perfectly fill us with fantasy experience and imagination after reading the book and watching the movie.
After the ride, I feel a little dizzy, maybe it's because my eyes could not keep up with the motion pictures as I am at the late teenager age now. However, then again for the kids, I think it's just in the comfort level as is not very scary. (I have heights phobia, but I am still fine). Anyway, you better play this ride before having a meal; it would be the wise idea. Otherwise, it may be dangerous to the person sitting right behind the ride. Lol
Of course, the exit area of this zone would be souvenir shop that selling various stuffs of Harry's and his friends. For those who would like to buy the souvenir of this zone, you should go for it right now. The price could be a bit expensive as they could not be found in the human world, just only in the land of Wizards. It is still nice that you could pay in Yen instead paying by Galleon coin.
Upon going out from the land of magic, we head to the next ride which is the phenomenal famous ride, named Jaws Ride. Here, you are not allowed to bring cameras into the boat. This ride does not exceed our level of excitement at all; we only enjoy the action of the Japanese girl who leads us into this adventurous ride. On the other hand, I think the kids would enjoy the ride as they will see the Jaws show up from time to time.
Now, it's already late
evening but the rain does not seem to stop just yet. Therefore, we stop by to
try a very special dish called Hamburger Cheese Soup which is a thick soup,
tastes like Cheese Burger. I am delighted that the dish tastes quite good and
suits a cold weather like this.
The highlight program for today
is the opening lighting show of the Christmas tree tonight. We still have some
time left to kill, thus, we do try another 2-3 rides. The one that is a fun
ride for me is the super hero ride “Spider man". Our hero will take us along
the web and spin to avoid the bad guys. Of course, there are several
adventurous spots as well, especially for people who are afraid of heights. (I
will not say more than this because I'll let you try it by yourself).
Before waiting for the show to
begin, we use that time heading to Finnegan's Bar-Grill restaurant for some
food first. Here, they mainly serve western food and during this festival period,
the restaurant is beautifully decorated which makes the atmosphere inside looks
When the show ends, we go to do some shopping at the souvenir
shops near the entrance that have many kinds of thing to choose and buy from.
I take lots of picture of the smiling faces of the people in decorative
shining lights during the night time once again before officially waving goodbye to USJ.
Take a photo of the beautiful lights at the front area once again.
It looks really spectacular at night.
Next morning, after we are done with the breakfast at the hotel, then we meet with the officers from the Osaka Tourism Bureau. They will show us around as a tourist like and we will use the Osaka Amazing One Day Pass. The pass can be used to ride all the train in the inner-city of Osaka, as well as the tickets to various attractions for free.
Today we will travel with this pass.
For more information about Osaka Amazing Pass, please follow the link below
Our first program, we would go to the Instant Ramen Museum of Nissin Instant Noodles. The place is located on the outskirts of Osaka, therefore, we have to buy an additional ticket because our One Day Pass could not use to travel to that area. Anyway, we could ask and buy ticket from the officer at the train station right away.
Let's go then!!!
Now, we reach at The Instant Ramen Museum.
The sculpture you have seen in the picture is the founder, his
name is Momofuku Ando.
Fortunately, we arrive pretty early as the museum of instant noodles;
consequently, there are not a lot of tourists visiting here right now.
Moreover, the admission fee of the museum is free.
The highlight of this museum is to make our own cup noodles for
only 300 Yen. Firstly, starting from an empty cup of noodles, then we could draw
the cup according to our imagination. It feels like we are back in the second
grade once again. After we finish our drawing, we will put the noodles in the
cup, and then follow by the seasoning powder and topping. The next step is to
seal the lid and lastly we put the cup in the bubble plastic bag, in order to
get a cup of noodles which is unique and has only one cup in the world.
Select seasoning powder and topping.
Every process is perfectly clean.
For those who are interested to learn from the kneading process and production lines of the noodles, you have to book the class many months in advance. There are teaching rooms on the second floor of the museum for demonstrating these processes.
Before leaving the museum, do
not forget to take a walk to learn the history and story of Nissin noodles. Moreover,
for those who would like to purchase some souvenirs, you also could buy from
the shop on the way out.
After leaving the museum, we
take the train back to Osaka to visit Osaka Museum of Housing and Living which is
located next to the Tenjibashisuji 6-chome station (seventh floor). The admission
fee for the museum is included in the Amazing Pass already. And to get the real
feeling of the old time, we would change our dresses in Japanese style by
wearing the Kimono too (the kimono is excluded in the Osaka Amazing Pass).
Japanese girl back off when Thai
girls are wearing a kimono.Lol
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living has rather small area and inside was designed as the ancient village with two small streets to walk around. Each house is decorated like a flashback to ancient time; the highlight here is the lighting inside the village which will be alternated between day time, evening time and night time. Unfortunately, the atmosphere might be a little bit dark as well as there are a variety of light sources (wh ite balance of the camera is hard to control) which is pretty difficult to take the photo.
In addition to the simulation of an ancient city for us to take a walk, the museum has a miniature model of the city to watch at the eighth floor as well.
After visiting the museum, you
shouldn't miss out to take a walk at Shinsaibashi-suji Shotengai, a local
shopping street which is next to the museum building. The shopping street has
many Japanese local cuisines and a large selection of clothing and souvenirs. I
think they are pretty similar to our local Sampeng market in Thailand, hence, I
still believe that the quality of Japanese goods is better with reasonable
price and it is much cheaper than brand name products as well. I also did buy a
lot of dried fruit as souvenirs from this place too.
At lunchtime today, we are
going to eat Kushikatsu which are fried meat and vegetable at the Tennoji
district. The shops around here are decorated in authentic Japanese style and I
think the area is pretty popular as each store has a lot of seating provided. Nonetheless,
we come during lunch time; therefore, there are not so many people here.
On the menu, there are lots of fried stuffs and
the highlight menu is Japanese Pizza that having egg mix with fresh vegetables.
The customer could firstly mix the ingredients together and then fry it on the
hot pan by themselves. It would show our cooking skill whether who will do best
in cooking this Japanese Pizza.
After finish our lunch, our next program is heading to the Tsutenkaku Tower which stands eminently in this district. Unfortunately, as we do not have enough time and the weather is bad, therefore, we will cancel the program to go up to the tower. Nevertheless, we will return back to Osaka Station to see the scenic view of Osaka city at the Umeda Sky Building instead.
We do take some pictures of the tower and its surroundings a bit. Too bad we didn't go up to watch the view at the top of the tower. Tsutenkaku Tower or the Japan Eiffel Tower represents as a symbol of the new city and the place where the National Exposition is held.
Umeda Sky Building is a twin tower in Umeda district. There is a sky garden on the top of the building which has a walk way for us to walk around and enjoy the entire 360 degrees view from both indoor and outdoor areas.
From the train station, take around 10mintues walk to the building and we continue our shooting along the way.
Of course, the admission fee is
included in Osaka Amazing Pass already. But what a pity is that the sky is
gloomy today and we arrive during the late afternoon as I think if we are here
during the sunset time to the night time, the view would be remarkable as there
is the beautiful lighting along the walkway. Please do not miss it, if you are
After visiting the Tower Umeda Sky Building, we return to the
hotel to get our stuffs. Then we travel by taxi to the Namba district which is
a famous shopping area in Osaka. We leave our luggage in a locker at the train
station (please prepare a lot of 100 Yen coins just in case because the locker
accepts only this kind of coin). The price also varies depending on the size of
Along the taxi ride to Namba, the scenery is awesome.
Next program is Thai people's favorite things to do which is 'Shopping' at Namba neighborhood. We have got about an hour for shopping before meeting at Don Quijote store, the famous souvenir shop here. And from there, we would take the cruise to see the city of Osaka along the canal.
The atmosphere at the neighborhood of Namba and Dotonburi.
I speedy walk to the shop to complete all the order lists. We finish our shopping at Don Quijote store. We are all sweating because along the way from the train station to the meeting point that we get through, has many tempt stores to visit. Anyway, we eventually reach at the meeting point on time.
The cruise ride is also included in the Amazing Pass; therefore, we do not have to pay extra. The pier for the cruise ride is located just right at the front of the Don Quijote store. We cruise along the Dotonburi canal which is not wide and both sides of the canal are the business district of Osaka which has been decorated with the beautiful lights. During the ride, the guide narrates the travel information in both Japanese and English along the way for us too.
We end tonight trip with a great meal at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M cuisine which is located near the pier. For those who like grilled meat should not miss the great variety of premium meat here. And do not forget to try the plum wine to eat with meat too. The flavor is really awesome.
Unfortunately, I stop eating meat for a while, thus, I could only take some pictures for you all instead. My friends who eat meat said that the beef is splendid. However, my black pig meat and seafood dish are delicious as well, but it just maybe not as much as beef.
We head straight to the train station after the meal to take the Limited Express Rapi:t Train that has a super hero Rapi; tldier as a mascot to Osaka airport. However, before boarding the train, the officer from Osaka Tourism Bureau suggested us to try Soba and Udon in the train station first. They offer affordable food for travelers with a tight budget and time. It is very convenient because these Soba and Udon food shops are located in most train stations.
Limited Express Rapi:t Train would take just only 37 minutes to the airport. The ticket costs 1640 Yen for the ride which is not much different to traveling by bus. I think it's worth it as the seats are very comfortable and spacious and they also provide overhead compartment to keep the luggage as well. It is an ideal ride to travel back and forth to the airport.
An intensive trip to Osaka would come to an end at this time. It was a two full day journey that I guess we are kind of tired because the weather is not good. However, from what I have mentioned, I think Japan is Japan as it has its unique charm and could attract Thai's people as always. Everything about Japan could fascinate us every time. I hope that this review will open up new perspectives of Osaka for you guys and especially show how the attractive atmosphere during the festival time at USJ is. Finally, I would like to thank you to Thai AirAsia X for having me to participate in this trip. Thank you Universal Studios Japan for offering such a fun experiences of the world-class theme park. Last but not least, I would like to press my thanks to Osaka Tourism Bureau for organizing one whole day trip in Osaka for us.
See you all in the next trip. For anyone who
like to travel and taking photo, please follow up my works at the below channels: