I woke up around 8:00, got ready and headed to the train station. On the way I took some photos in Chinatown and near the station.
By this time it was approaching 11:00. I got some snacks at a convenience store then caught a train to Osaka.
When I got to Osaka Station, I had another look around the station in the daylight. I went to the information desk again to check when the last train to Kobe was.
I also bought an ICOCA IC Card. I liked the design of the card and thought it would make a small but interesting omiyage. This IC card is similar to a SUICA card, initially designed for cities in the Kansai region although can now be used all over Japan on trains, buses and for other purchases.
I then asked someone which platform I needed to get to Namba and then caught a train.
While I was travelling to Namba, around about 12:30, I noticed an interesting area while looking out of the window. This was Kyobashi. I jumped off the train and left the station. This area is jam-packed with izakaya, restaurants and other businesses. I got something to eat and had a look around. I found a nearby shopping street which was more than 400m long which I walked some way down. I did not explore the whole area so next time I go to Osaka I plan to re-visit to explore further.
Tennoji Station and Abeno
I caught the 13:07 train to Tennoji which took less than 15 minutes. Before catching the train to Namba, I thought I would have a look around.
Tennoji Station is right on the edge of Tennoji. The exit that I came out of though, lead me to Abeno.
I stopped for a coffee and had a look at the list of places that I prepared before coming. The first place on the list was Abeno Harukas.
Abeno Harukas is 300m tall and is the tallest skyscraper in Japan (at the time of writing). The building stands on top of the Kintetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station which I had walked passed without realising.
At about 14:30, I got the lift to the 16th floor and took some photos from the rooftop garden then got another lift to the observation deck which is on floors 58, 59 and 60 where I took a few more photos.
Just before 15:30 I caught a train to towards Namba. I stopped off at Shin-Imamiya where I bought some clothes in Don Quijote and had a look around then I headed back to the station and caught a train to Namba.
Namba and Dotonbori
I got to Namba Station at about 17:00. I bought a spare shoulder bag in a shop called DCM Daiki and had a look around outside. The area didn’t seem that busy. I was looking for Dotonbori. I tried a few exits but couldn’t find it so went back into the station and found an English speaking information desk. The person who helped me had amazing English which was a good job because directions to Dotonbori were a little complex. I used my Kindle to show him a photo of where I wanted to go which he found very interesting as he had not seen this type of device before.
The easiest way to get to Dotonbori is to go through the labyrinth of underground walkways. These walkways are full of shops and different train line entrances. They were teaming with people. Each exit is numbered and the walkways are divided into different sections labelled with letter and number combinations. The closest exit to Dotonbori is exit 14 which is in the C1 area of the walkways.
At about 18:00 when I left the underground, the streets were even busier. People were walking in every direction. I didn’t know which way to walk so, using my Kindle again, I asked for help from a Japanese woman who was stood nearby. At this point I could ask basic questions in Japanese and understand some basic sentences but not a great deal. Luckily she spoke a little English and with the aid of Google Maps on her phone she pointed me in the right direction.
When I got to the Dotonbori, I picked a random direction to walk in and explored the area. I seemed to be heading away from the busy parts, so I bought some snacks in a convenience store and headed back in the direction I came from.
The area surrounds Ebisu Bridge (Ebisubashi). This bridge is in the midst of bright neon signs, thousands of shops, restaurants and izakaya in numerous open and covered shopping streets and is in line with one series of covered shopping streets.
Some of these Japanese shopping streets are over 2km long. A few kilometres away is the Tenjinbashi-Suji Shopping arcade which claims to be the longest in Japan at 2.6km long.
I walked around for about 2 hours then had some more food and then I went back to JR Namba Station to catch a train back to Shin-Imamiya.
When I got to Shin-Imamiya Station, I walked to Shinsekai with the aid of Google Maps. It took about 10 minutes to walk there and I arrived about 21:00. Shinsekai is relatively small area which consists of a few blocks teaming with Izakaya and other businesses but was quiet which offered an alternative to busy Namba.
The area is a bit run-down and has a bit of a seedy reputation. I took a few photos and headed back to the Shin-Imamiya to return to Osaka Station.
I arrived just before 22:00. As I was walking through the station I bumped into a couple of Harry Potter cosplayers. I took a photo and briefly chatted with them before I continued on my way.
I had a quick look outside and listened to a busker playing in front of the station before I caught the train back to Kobe.