It was time for my flight to Osaka which I had been looking forward to all month after I bidded for it just to see the cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, what I didn’t realise is that the Sakura only blooms for a couple of weeks, and it was end of the season in Osaka – gutted! I was a bit disappointed but didn’t mind too much as I just LOVE Japan and was very happy to be back. I went travelling in Japan for nearly one month in August 2015 before Emirates and fell in love with the country. It is probably my favourite places I have ever visited.
We departed Dubai at 3am and it was 9 and a half hours over to Kansai International Airport. Not the best timing, working through the night but the crew were all so lovely and I actually flew with my training college batch mate, Katia, so it was nice having a familiar face. We arrived at our hotel in Osaka around 7pm in the evening.
I forgot all about the high tech toilets in Japan and all the different settings they have! I got changed quickly and then took the hotel shuttle bus into the city as I wanted to go to Dōtonbori at night and see all of the bright lights. I got the metro from Umeda station to Namba and then walked to Dōtonbori.
I went straight to the Dōtonbori Glico sign which is the billboard of the running man and is probably the most famous area in Osaka. I love the atmosphere here with all the neon lights and crowds! I took a few pictures and then walked around Namba. The last shuttle bus back to the hotel was at 10:30pm so I didn’t bother eating anything as I wanted to make the most of my time there!
I had a quick walk around Namba before heading back on the metro towards Umeda to take the shuttle back to the hotel. Another thing I love about Japan is how organised everything is, particularly in the metro stations where there are separated lines for embarking/disembarking the train. The stations are also spotlessly clean and even have the high tech toilets!
I got back to the hotel, exhausted after a long night flight and lots of walking around in the city, so I ordered some express room service and then slept around midnight. As I have been to Japan before, I didn’t fancy going to all the places I had already been to in Kyoto with the rest of the crew, so the next day I decided to do my own thing and stay in Osaka.
I woke up around 8am, had some green tea, got ready and then took the shuttle bus back into the city. I got some breakfast from FamilyMart and then got the metro to Shinsaibashi.
I walked to a place called Maikoya (www.mai-ko.com) which is an ex-Geisha house in Osaka that now offers cultural experiences to the public. Something I have always wanted to try, which I didn’t do last time, was to try on a traditional Japanese kimono! At Maikoya, you can wear the kimono and also participate in the famous tea ceremony, try out cooking classes or learn how to samurai. I visited an amazing tea ceremony last time in Kyoto, so this time, I just tried on the kimono and had a little walk around the nearby streets.
The kimono is so unbelievably tight as they put so many layers on below to keep you all cinched in! I could barely breathe! It is also really hard to walk in the wooden sandals as they are so flat and not at all comfortable but I still loved it. The lady did a lovely plait in my hair and pinned it up with a cute little flower accessory. I enjoyed every moment, but it was a relief to take the kimono off and breathe properly!
After this, I walked around Namba and got the biggest ice cream I’ve ever seen! Namba is such a nice area with so many interesting and quirky shops.
I then saw a huge crowd of people queuing up so wondered what they was waiting for. Turns out, they was queuing for seahorse bubble tea at Sin an Ju! The queue was so long, I couldn’t believe it, and I tried asking some people why it was so popular but they couldn’t understand me or speak much English! I was tempted to try it but I’m not really a lover of bubble tea and didn’t want to wait around so I carried on walking.
It was then time to do some shopping so I walked towards Shinsaibashi which has the best shops! I stopped off for a lobster roll and then hit the shops. I bought some cosmetic bits, and then went to Uniqlo – my favourite place to buy winter jackets!
I then decided to start making my way back to the hotel to get a few hours of rest before the flight. I got the metro back to Umeda and then had to wait a little while for the shuttle bus so I chose a sushi restaurant and got some lunch. Sushi in Japan is so different to how it is in the UK – I think I’ve got used to the English version so everything is a bit raw for me in Japan, but I got a few different bowls and then made my way back to the hotel.
I showered and put on the hotel yukata (Japanese dressing gown) and then had a 2 hour nap before the flight. I wasn’t really looking forward to the 11 hour journey back to Dubai but it had to be done!
I had an amazing time in Japan and it brought back such good memories of my time travelling around here back in 2015. Its a shame I didn’t get to see the cherry blossoms but I will definitely try and bid for it again next year and hopefully come during the right season!
Thanks for reading.
Kerry May xo