- Yamazaki Distillery
- Osaka Castle
- OSAKA Guest House HIVE
It was time to be on the move again as we head to Osaka on this day, but not before we stopped by the Yamazki Distillery on the way where my travel partner wanted to try their famous whiskies. So we picked up a quick coffee and pastry from 7-11 and rushed to the subway station where we got off, ate our food at the station, and then rushed to the distillery to make our appointment. Let me tell you, it’s slightly awkward eating outside because no one else does it in public! Everyone only eats at restaurants or at home, but we really didn’t have a choice before we started drinking.
When we arrived at the Yamazaki Distillery, we checked in to get our guest passes and then put our luggage in a locker. The facility area was gorgeous as it was in the middle of a lot of greenery. There was the actually distillery and next to it was the museum and tasting room. The museum itself wasn’t that big and you can simply walk through to find out more about the history. Most of the signs were in English and we also tried to follow the brochure as well. It was interesting how each generation thought of their own whiskies and the kind of purification systems they use.
The facility wasn’t that big so after we walked around and took a few pictures, it was time to taste. The tasting room was right in the center of everything so it was easy to find. Since we weren’t whiskey experts, we asked what we should try and she recommended the ones that you can only taste on site. We wanted to go for the one that they discontinued but it was at a very hefty price and we kept debating but eventually settled on 3 that were different from each other. As soon as I took a sip of the first one, I was taken aback by how strong and bitter it was. Whiskey is definitely not my forte so I tried a sip of each just to say I tried them and let my travel buddy take care of the rest. We made sure to get lots of water, which tasted like heaven. After taking our time finishing the drinks, we headed back upstairs where we spent a good chunk of time in the gift shop debating on what to get. I didn’t personally get anything, but my travel buddy got a bottle and a couple branded items as well. Then we headed out back to the station to finally take off to Osaka.
Once we got to the Osaka Station, we hurried to our hostel to drop our luggage off. When we checked in, the girl was really nice and thought we were super cool because we were from America. First person on our trip to think so! After going over all the rules of the hostel, we headed back out to Osaka Castle. Since we had a light breakfast, I was already hungry (and quite cranky) so when we got off our stop, we headed to another convenience store to get a roll cake filled with cream! All of the savory foods were sold out so I settled for sweet. After sitting and eating, I was pretty good to go and we walked a good half mile around the park until we found the castle. We walked up the mini hill to reach the front and started taking pictures. We then walked to the gift shop and walked out with nothing. My travel buddy then asked if I wanted to go inside of the castle and I had a moment thinking, you can go in?! So once I realized we can, we bought our tickets and walked through the throng of tourists to get inside. There was 6 levels including the outside observation deck. We went through each floor and observed the history which included so pictures, artifacts, and some animations. When we arrived to the top floor, we took in the city around us and tried to figure out which building was what, according to the maps. Overall, it was interesting, but I couldn’t get too much out of it because it was so crowded.
When we got out, we took a little break to drink water since we were already exhausted from the week! Then it was dinner time so we started heading to an okonomiyaki place we looked up. When we finally found it, there was a sign on the door that said it was closed! I was pretty disappointed, cranky and hungry since it took so long to find. We went with our backup option which was to head to Dontoburi, another market to scope out what we can eat. We walked and walked and finally found it, but didn’t really see anything that we wanted. So we kept walking around and I saw the giant crab in front of the restaurant and the puffer fish place that I kept seeing on youtube. I got excited for a moment, but was still hungry and really wanted okonomiyaki since that’s one thing Osaka was known for and we hadn’t had it yet. So after walking around some more, we finally decided to yelp a place and found Ajinoya, along with a line. Oh well, we settled for it anyway and proceeded to wait about 40 minutes before reaching the top where they took our order. We decided to share an okonomiyaki and a yakisoba. When we sat down, they cooked it right in front of us and we watched as they layered on all the different layers. When we got served, I was a very happy camper as everything was really fresh and flavorful! Turns out, this was a Michelin star rated place. No wonder why everyone was lining up for it!
When we left to take the elevator, I heard someone ask me if I was Stella’s sister and it took me a moment but realized that no, I was Stella! It turned out to be a friend from grad school who thought it was my twin and she was here on vacation as well. Out of all the places, who would have thought we would reconnect halfway around the world? Totally a small world for sure.
As we headed out, we still had some unfinished business which was to pick up some takoyaki, the other food item Osaka was known for. So even though we were full, we walked around to pick some up. However, most places sold them came with 8 takoyakis and with us being full, we didn’t want that many so we had to settle with a place that sold 6. I don’t know if it was because we were full from dinner, but they were just okay. We were disappointed that there was only 1 small piece of octopus with a bunch of stale dough (even though it was made fresh). Not the best food choice we made, but at least we were satisfied from dinner.
We headed back to our hostel, OSAKA Guest House HIVE. When I walked in, I noticed how extremely crowded it was (space wise) in the lobby. When I went upstairs into the shared room, it wasn’t any different. There was barely any room to put our luggage, let alone open it. I guess it’s a super low key place since they had us put on our bedspread and pillowcase which was very difficult in a bunk bed, and after a very long day. There was also only one bathroom to share between all the females. Thankfully, I got up early to use it but felt bad making so much noise since the sink was outside. I think if I stayed longer, it would have been cool to hang out with everyone, but I literally went just to sleep.
Want to read more about this trip? Click below!
Japan Day 1 [Shanghai / Tokyo]
Japan Day 2 [Tokyo] Japan Day 3 [Tokyo] Japan Day 4 [Hakone] Japan Day 5 [Kyoto] Japan Day 6 [Kyoto/Nara] Japan Day 7 [Yamazaki / Osaka] Japan Day 8 [Tokyo] Japan Day 9 [Tokyo / Shanghai]