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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.