Saturday, May 27, 2017

DAY 4 (Part 2) ~ EXPO CITY

Osaka's Expo City is like Tokyo's Odaiba (read our Odaiba's adventure by clicking this link ~ Fun-fun Odaiba).
 
It is a children's paradise and every mom's shopping haven.









The Expo City was a perfect stop after spending the morning at Ikeda (Instant Ramen Museum).

Using the Hankyu-Takarakuza line we transferred to the Osaka Monorail at the Hotarugaike Station and we alighted at the Bampaku-kinen-koen Station, which is a short walk to Expo City.

You would find at the Expo City the following attractions.
  • Pokémon Expo Gym
  • Orbi Osaka
  • The Moving Animal Amusement Park - Anipo
  • The Nifrel Living Museum
  • 109 Cinemas
  • Lalaport Expocity

With so much to do a day wont be enough to experience everything. So we decided to do only the Orbi Osaka and Pokémon Expo Gym (since my boys are so into Pokémon).

Orbi Osaka a multi-sensory experience attraction by SEGA and BBC.








The Pokémon Expo Gym was a mandatory stop for my Pokémon Trainor kiddos...


Sorry kid, Pikachu will not fit inside our luggage...




I am sure you will be able to catch them all with this huge pokeball.



More Pokémon merchandise.
If shopping is your thing, Lalaport Expocity's collection of shops will surely satisfy your cravings.

The huge Uniqlo shop and Sario shop were great places to start "pasalubong" shopping.




DAY 4 (Part 1) ~ Welcome to the House Instant Ramen Built

Today we are heading to Ikeda-shi, Osaka, the birthplace of Instant Ramen.  The boys (yes including my husband) were all excited knowing we are heading to an Instant Ramen Museum "Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum". 

We exited Osaka via Umeda Station using the Hankyu-Takarazuka line and arrived at Ikeda 30 minutes after.  The museum is a leisurely 4-5 minutes walk from the Ikeda Station.

Entrance to the museum is free, but you would have to pay extra for the activities.

Momofuku Ando, the man behind instant noodles. 



Showcased is a recreation of the creator's workshed, where he developed the technique for drying noodles.


My youngest ~ overwhelmed by the wide variety of instant noodles lineup at the Instant Noodles tunnel. 

Can you guess how many varieties of instant noodles there are to date?

Approximately 800 product packages.


The fun part of the tour ~ creating our own CUPNOODLES package.

First ~ purchase a cup through the vending machine (cost is  Y300 per cup).


Second ~ make sure your hands are clean




Third ~ sit down (and be creative)


Fourth ~start decorating your cup



Here is mine :P 

My chicken little (but looks like an ugly duckling) decorated cup


Fifth ~ as soon as you are done decorating, head to the noodles station and choose: 
a Soup Base and four Ingredients.


For base I got the original chicken base with sausage, cheese, garlic and eggs as toppings.

An attendant will then seal and plastic shrink-wrapped the cup for you, like this...


The little boy is so amazed.
He was grinning the entire time!

Lastly ~ our finished products in easy to carry air-package. 


It was almost lunch when we finished and decided to drop by the Tasting Room next door.

At the Tasting Room, you would see a couple of vending machines selling instant noodle products (including newly released products and products sold only in limited areas of Japan) and drinks.


It was really hard to choose, especially since some of the packaging are written in Japanese.

I don't know what I got, I it was really delicious (I liked it, I am not even an instant noodle fan).



My husband got this Cheese Curry cup, which he said was very good.  He liked it lot and bought a couple more to take home to Manila.


My youngest got a kiddie cup, with this cute characters that taste like chicken.

Chopsticks only room :P
 

From the Instant Ramen Museum, we walked our way back to Ikeda Station and headed to our next stop ~ Expo City in Suita (about 25 minutes by train, East of Ikeda).

Follow Part 2 of our DAY 4 by clicking the link below:
Expo City ~ Fun Land




DAY 3 - DIY Nara WALK (and some shopping)

For Day 3, we decided to go deer hunting (although it felt like we were the hunted by the thousands of deer roaming the whole of Nara Park).

Nara is Japan's first permanent capital, full of historic treasures and old temples.  It is also home to hundreds of free roaming deer, which they call as "Shinto" or messenger from the gods. 

For our Nara day trip, we bought the 1 Day Kintetsu Rail Pass (Adult Rate is Y1500 and Child Rate is Y750) from the airport. 



This pass gave us access to trains leaving/arriving at the Osaka-Namba Station via the Kintetsu Line and Nara Kotsu buses traversing the Nara attractions via a bus loop.  



(Tip: You can only use the free train via the Kintetsu Line and it only covers regular trains, use of the Limited Express requires additional payment.)

Our first stop is Kofukuji Temple which is a short hike from the Kintetsu Nara Station.  Kofukuji used to be the family temple of one of the most powerful clan in Nara.




Welcome to Japan's "Deer Country ~ Nara Park"...

(TIP: Deer crackers are sold everywhere in the park.  Deer would bow to be fed these treats).








From Nara Park, we made our way uphill to Todaiji Temple "Great Eastern Temple".  It is one of Japan's most significant temples and is a known landmark of Nara.

There was an ongoing event the day we came and the road leading to Todaiji was festive and lined with street food vendors. 
It was nice to see this parade of locals in traditional costumes.


The grand Nandaimon Gate leading to Todaiji Temple.



Inside the gates...






While there, check also the Todaiji Museum and the Nara National Museum, they have the best treasured collections of Buddhist artifacts I have seen.  We entered both, but we were not allowed to take photos. 


The best part of today's tour is the side shopping...

I got here Japanese folding fans "Sensu" for Y800, hand towels "Tenugi" for Y600 and deer themed key chains priced as Y150+.

There were lots of snacks and sweets, but I think it is cheaper to buy these at the airport after clearing immigrations (where it is duty free and stuffs bought inside are excluded from your carry on baggage allowance).  

Hubby who loves strawberries, just can't say no to these plump strawberries. He said "they (yes the strawberries) were calling his name)".  He bought 2 packs and ate them on our way back to Kintetsu Station.


We spent about 4 hours roaming Nara, before heading to our next destination "Namba Walk" for some souvenir shopping. 

We got on the bus going back to Kintetsu Nara Station and took the train back to Osaka-Namba.


Our "Namba Walk" stops:



We first went to Bic Namba to scout for Nintendo Switch, which we found was 50% cheaper in Japan compared buying the unit in Manila ~ unfortunately it was out of stock.



With so many food options in Osaka, deciding where to eat could be overwhelming. Here is a tip: If you are not sure what to eat, just follow the crowd.

The crowd led us to: 551 Horai



We got some pork buns for take-out and they were delicious (Warning: also quite filling).


Crowd also were lining up at Rikuro's.   Rikuro serves freshly baked cheesecakes which is said to rival Pablo's.


There were really good (light and fluffy) and quite liked it more than Pablo's, which is too creamy and sweet for my liking. 
My husband liked Pablo's more though (There were no Pablo's nearby, but chanced on some premium Pablo's cheesecake at the airport).


Can't go home without having Takoyaki (There were so many to choose from, it was crazy. We bought this from Takoyaki Douraku Wanaka)



Cosmetics and Beauty Products Shopping Haven ~ I literally went gaga.  I bought so many (for personal consumption) I lost track counting (and budgeting). I bought these precious at Sugi Pharmacy.


(I will write about my beauty loots in a separate blog).

We needed an additional luggage for our loots and dropped by
Jaguar Kaban -ten for bags. They were one of the cheapest I found about in the area.  I got an Anello bag and a luggage (to carry my Osaka loots).  My Anello cost Y4000 and the luggage bag (hand-carry size) about Y3500 (inclusive of tax) ~ not bad.


Let me end our Day 3 with a tip:
When shopping always go for tax free stores. 

I love our Osaka Day 3.

I hope you didn't miss our Day 2 Osaka City Adventure ~ please click the link below: