Japan Mar 2011 Day 1 – Sights and Sounds of Shinsaibashi
This post is way overdue. Been back from Japan for over a month now and finally gotten for a decent post for the trip. Wet took a Jetstar (Yes! we are cheapos!!!) flight from SIN to KIX with a transit at TPE.
Since its a budget airline, the tickets WERE much cheaper than a full-service airline. And we bought the tickets real cheap as there was an inaugural launch promo at the time of booking. But I stressed heavily on the WERE part as we had to make an adjustment to the itinerary. We booked the tickets real early, back in May 2010 if my memory hasn’t failed me (Yes! we are kiasu too!) for Nov 2010. But there was a change of plans in August 2010 as J changed jobs and the Nov 2010 dates were right smack during the initial months of work. Not gonna leave a very nice impression if we’d gone on a holiday then. So we’d decided to postpone it to this March. A hefty price we had to pay for the top-ups, admin charges etc. And it certainly didn’t help to know that SIA was having a promo for the dates we were going. But SQ’s flight timings were horrendous. Beggars can’t be choosers I guess, but so much for consolation!!!
Anyway, I’d digressed.
I’d enjoyed the flight for several reasons. Firstly we were bumped onto the 1st row. There was some system reshuffling when we changed our itin apparently. Our initial seat allocations were lost somehow and we discovered that only upon checking in! What horror! The good thing is we were given seats on the first row, albeit having to sit apart, i.e. 1C and 1E. But I really appreciated the extra legroom, not to mention being about to board the plane first. I managed to persuade this nice Taiwanese lady to swop seats with me. So kind of her!
Another blessing in disguise turned out to be the transit at TPE. After 4+ hours on flight, I could really do with some walking and stretching. And the 40 min transit provided just that! We’d realised that we could do some quickly shopping in the newly furbished transit area at Taoyuan International Airport (TYIA) as well! But we decided against that for 2 reasons, (1) we didn’t bring any NT, (2) we didn’t want to lug any stuff to Japan when the trip’s barely started!
And it seemed like we were the only ones on the flight doing the “full flight”, i.e. from SIN to KIX. Most passengers from Singapore were bound for TPE and while at TYIA, the plane refueled and was loaded with Japanese passengers bound for Kansai. What a vast difference in the crowd! I shall not attempt to be mean or crude here, but its pretty telling really!!!
To cut the long story short, we arrived at KIX, changed to the Nankai Airport Service for Osaka Namba and changed to the local subway to our hotel, Hearton Minami Senba, which was located a stone throw’s distance away from Shinsabashi suji. After dropping our bags at the hotel and a quick wash up, we zipped off to the famous shopping street and here are some of the photos we took.
A shop selling the infamous Uji Green Tea 宇治绿茶, which we use extensively for all those macha bakes! We were so tempted to get some but it seemed only logical to do some comparison and “market research” first. It’s after all our first day in Osaka! Had better hold back our horses!
A shop selling donuts with using Japanese ingredients, much liking those used in wagashi 和菓子. This is made with black beans from Danbo
A seasonal item, sakura flavoured donut
Kuri 栗 aka chestnut (marron) flavoured donut!
Some are “oblongish” (if there’s ever such a word!!!), Another season item of sakura and ichigo.
And this is flavoured with Danbo blackbeans and Yuzu citrus!
Another one using green tea and Japanese tangerines!
A dessert eaten in the shop. We weren’t sure what this is though. But the cookies on the side certainly looks really dainty!
A beautiful wood-carving. Wonder if its used as a mould of some sort.
Another highlight of Shinsaibashi suji was the number of “drugstores” we’d bumped into, i.e. Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Kokumin etc, all touting themselves as 激安 shops selling their ware at almost wholesale prices! Didn’t buy anything of course. Not yet at least! But we did made a mental note of what’s cheap at which shop, slowly drafting a “to buy” list with our ipods. 🙂
Cheap facial care products!
Lots of boutique shopping for the ladies as well.
Manmaru, a casual family restaurant. Shinsaibashi suji offers a whole range of restaurants, eateries, cafes and watering holes along the main shopping street and the dense network of little lanes that borders it.
Wedding ring anyone?
For me, this is THE highlight of Shinsaibashi suji, Dalloyau‘s patisserie and chocolat boutique in Shinsaibashi, one of fifteen in Japan but the only one in the Kansai region! Fans of French pastry making should not be unfamiliar with Dalloyau, which is synonymously known for its creation, L’ Opéra !
Looking through its shop windows, Nounours, a teddy bear themed cake holding a macaron with a 5250 Yen price tag! And it needs to be ordered 5 days in advance.
Coccinelle, a cute lady bug shaped chocolate and strawberry mousse cake enough for 8!
Bubble Fraise, a multi-layered strawberry cake.
Charme, strawberry shortcake. Even the imperfections on the icing looks so perfect
Fleur et Fruits
Two cakes decorated to celebration the Hina Matsuri, aka Doll Festival. This was a strawberry shortcake with the one below is a Bubble Fraise.
We would definitely be back again! But for now, its the rest of Shinsaibashi.
Walking further, we saw a crepe shop with a line of people in front of it. Crepe Ojisan literally means “Grandpa Crepe”.
After dinner, we walked down the same corridor of shops on our way back to the hotel to take more photos. 银藏, Ginzo is famous for their honey buttercake. But they closed at rather early at 7.30 everyday. A rather relaxed approach to business I must say. Very colourful designs on its gates!
Same with 宇治园, the shop that sells Uji Tea. The shop attendant who spoke to us earlier looked exactly like the obasan drawn on the draw gates! Sugoii ne!
I love the manholes! This one captures a moment of Osaka Castle during the hanami season, when the sakura trees come to full bloom!