Day 2 (December 22nd, 2014)

We had a mixed buf­fet for break­fast in the hotel with Euro­pean dish­es like crois­sants and jam, but also many things that Japan­ese peo­ple like to eat in the morn­ing, like miso soup, tofu, Japan­ese radish, rice and fish. We tast­ed all of this and enjoyed a first euro­pean-japan­ese break­fast.

Well sat­u­rat­ed we start­ed for a first explo­ration tour. Our daugh­ter first led us to the build­ing (Ume­da Han­kyu Build­ing) where she had been work­ing for the last weeks. On the 15th floor there was a nice café. Among oth­er things, you could try a Matcha Lat­te there, very tasty. From there you had a great first view over the Osa­ka sky­line.

The roof of the build­ing has a gar­den with a shrine, trees and bench­es, where our daugh­ter often spent her lunch break and ate a ben­to (food box). But now an icy wind was blow­ing.

In the roof gar­den we rest­ed for a short time and took a pho­to of the group.

The trav­el group n the roof gar­den

In the after­noon, we were picked up by a (even Ger­man speak­ing) guide. First she brought us to the main sta­tion. It is a very mod­ern build­ing with dif­fer­ent lev­els, a lot of glass and a big hall flood­ed with light. Very styl­ish.

Osa­ka Main Sta­tion

Even the sta­tion was dec­o­rat­ed for Christ­mas.

In front of the sta­tion there is a very spe­cial water fea­ture. Water drops fall down from above, which are con­trolled in such a way, that they show the actu­al time. We went there again lat­er that evening at 6:42 pm:

After­wards we vis­it­ed (with­in walk­ing dis­tance of the train sta­tion) the Ume­da Sky Build­ing (a com­mer­cial cen­tre). It con­sists of two 40-storey 173m high tow­ers that are con­nect­ed at the top and form an upside-down U-shaped struc­ture. At the very top, you can also use cov­ered esca­la­tors to move from one col­umn to the oth­er.

From the rooftop you have a fan­tas­tic view across the city. Lat­er we watched the sun­set from there. That was quite impres­sive.

Osa­ka at dusk

To our sur­prise, we found a “Ger­man Christ­mas mar­ket” between the tow­ers! There was also an orig­i­nal Ger­man “Haupt­bahn­hof” 😉 and a nice carousel. We even dis­cov­ered a Glüh­wein stand, the Glüh­wein tast­ed very good, after­wards we felt not that cold any­more.

Before din­ner we explored the area around our hotel. Osa­ka is an impres­sive metrop­o­lis with large inner-city traf­fic arter­ies nest­ed on sev­er­al lev­els.

The con­trast is impres­sive: in the midst of the mod­ern fast-paced sky­scraper land­scape, you sud­den­ly find a shrine that invites you to a rest.

Tra­di­tion and mod­ern age

In the evening we had ordered a table in a typ­i­cal restau­rant. On the rec­om­men­da­tion of our daugh­ter we had Edamame (some salty beans that you squeeze out of the pod) and Okonomiya­ki, a kind of pan­cake with cab­bage and Dashi, here pre­pared with small scamp­is. Then on top of that you get a spe­cial sauce and Kat­suobushi (dried tuna). You pre­pare it your­self on the hot plate at the table.

Okonomiya­ki and Edamame

We liked it very much and it was lat­er added to our home menu. Since we live near Düs­sel­dorf with its large Japan­ese com­mu­ni­ty, we can eas­i­ly get the nec­es­sary orig­i­nal ingre­di­ents there.