For the duration of the 4 day consecutive summer holiday known as “Marine Day” in Japan, my boyfriend and I decided to take our very first trip together to bustling city of Osaka! We chose this destination because it’s much more laid-back than Tokyo and there is a myriad of things to do and see here. You can walk by the river and sip on a Strong Zero while being right in the heart of the city where there’s never a dull moment. I’ve traveled to Osaka about 10 times (mainly for music events), but I still haven’t seen it all. This time I was most excited to see the Kaiyukan Aquarium and go to the old school arcades with my boyfriend who is a fighting game fanatic. Along the way we discovered so many delicious restaurants and made heartfelt memories that I’ll never forget.
We departed from Nagoya via the Willer Express Bus at 8:30am. This was a good move because it was cheaper than the shinkansen and we could peacefully sleep on it. We arrived to the Umeda Sky Building (in central Osaka) around 11:30 where we walked to La Tartine for coffee and some sweets. I found this cafe through my Instragram algorithms and wanted to try the dog macaroon because it reminded me of Pasocom Ongaku Club’s mascot. I also tried a cookie with a beach design that tasted amazing. All of the desserts were intricately made here. Incidentally, we also got a free coffee jelly as a gift for discovering this cafe through Instagram. How nice♫~
Next we made our way towards our hotel in Shinsaibashi and decided to get some okonomiyaki for lunch at Hanahana since it was nearby. Not only was this place absolutely delicious, but it was dirt cheap too. I ordered shrimp okonomiyaki and my boyfriend got a mix of pork and seafood in his. It was such a satisfying meal:
Since our hotel wasn’t quite ready to check in to, we dropped off our stuff and headed straight to Kaiyukan Aquarium which I had never been to before! This is one of the most famous aquariums in Japan so I figured it would be the perfect date spot. Unfortunately since it was a holiday, a lot of other people had the same idea so we had to wait an hour to enter. Luckily it was worth the wait. I had been to Japan’s largest aquarium in Okinawa years ago, but I hadn’t been to another one in ages so this was refreshing. In addition to colorful schools of fish, smiling stingrays, and the “Silence Brand” crab, they also had capybara which is my favorite animal there too! My boyfriend most enjoyed the waddle of penguins (yes, a group of penguins is actually called a “waddle”):
We were very impressed with the large variety of sea creatures here! I also loved seeing the “Keep distance” penguin sign, though it was an impossible challenge for the over-excited Japanese children here. I also liked the message that said “all things are connected” at the end. It really had me thinking for a while. By the time we finished seeing all of the exhibits here, we were exhausted. This aquarium is quite huge compared to other underwater exhibits in Japan.
Admission Fee: 2,550 yen (worth in in my opinion)
Not wanting to miss out on every food opportunity that life presented us, we stopped for ramen and ice cream. The two main food groups. I bought a capybara souvenir at the aquarium so I could forever remember this moment. This isn’t the first time this has happened. My boyfriend chose to eat ramen at Zundoya which has a branch in Osaka. He said it was some of the best that he’s had in a while. I tried the Pokemon ice cream flavors at Bakin Robbins, but unfortunately they didn’t live up to the hype. I give them a 6/10 because they taste like sugary melted soda. They would be much more satisfying if they contained vodka. Fortunately that’s what we had next…
Yet another bar that ended up in my Instagram algorithms was called Mixology Bar Factory & Gear. And boy, it did not disappoint. It was here that we met a fire bender and drank magical cocktails from the galaxy. My boyfriend also ordered a Tuxedo Mask-esque drink and another drink that was wrapped in plastic like Laura Palmer. I ordered the “Little Planet” (pictured above) and a mysterious pineapple drink with a bubble that you can pop. Watching the video is easier than explaining it. This is peak aesthetic:
The taste of all of these drinks can be described as “works of art” but this Tweet sums our experience up the best:
If you have time, please check this bar out! The average cost of drinks is 1300 yen but I promise that you won’t be disappointed. There’s also some “Viagra Liqueur” (the opposite of whiskey dick) for those who are feeling adventurous. We will remember this bar for the rest of our lives.
Where to Stay
Normally I stay at Asahi Capsule Hotel when I’m alone since it’s one of the cheapest places in Osaka, but since I came here with someone special I wanted to stay somewhere a bit nicer.
This time I chose Felice Hotel because it was only 5000 yen per night for 2 people. This was within walking distance of Dotonbori and all of the bars we wanted to go to so it was the perfect choice. Our bed was huge and extremely comfy. There is also a public onsen bath and a rooftop bar that you can visit. I would honestly love to stay here again!