ラーメン on Holiday
Posted by Heliocentrism on January 16, 2011
December 29-31, 2010
One thing I really wanted to do while in Osaka was to visit the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. But, alas, I was not able to go. The museum was closed for the holidays.
Instead we went to the Floating Garden Observatory downtown. I have no idea why they picked this name. Nothing floats, and there is no garden; not even a solitary flower. There is, however, a great view of Osaka.
We walked around up there until it was time to watch the sunset. Then we went inside to stare down on the city while sipping hot chocolate. We sat there for a couple hours. Then it was time to say goodbye to Makeeya.
She was heading north to Tokyo and my mom, Alex, and I would spend the night in Osaka. The next day we would take an overnight boat back to Beppu in my prefecture.
It’s too cold to be outside
The next day we were to travel to different tourist spots in the city, but it was cold and rainy. We decided instead, to stick to things near the Umeda train station. We rode on the ferris wheel at the HEP Five then explored the neighborhood.
We just walked to what ever caught our eye. There were so many sights and sounds. We managed to find a huge underground shopping mall that seems to link many of the train stations together. There was a lovely underground fountain and everything!
Did you see the sauna? Yes, but it was filled with naked old men.
There is no direct train back to Oita. To return by train we would have to transfer at least once in Fukuoka in the middle of the night. Plus we’ve already traveled by train in Japan, so I wanted something new for my mom and nephew.
The boat from Osaka to Beppu was my choice. Just get on the boat and go to sleep. When you wake up, you’re there. We got the cheapest tickets available because that was all that was left.
If the next class up isn’t too much more expensive next time I would take that, but the class we had wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t cold, noisy, or uncomfortable. It was okay.
The boat had everything. There was a restaurant, vending machines, a store, a spa, and many slot machines. I didn’t venture into the ladies’ spa, but Alex went into the men’s. He didn’t stay long.
We sat by a window and watched Osaka disappear into the darkness. We ate the dinner we brought at the Lawson’s at the port. Alex explored the boat and one by one we all headed to bed.
In the middle of the night one of our neighbors had the great idea of rearranging all the stuff he kept in a series of paper bags. He kept taking things out then putting them back. I woke up to find many heads popping up and looking around to see what was going on.
At first I thought there was a badger in the room or some other trash rummaging rodent. There was a drop of relief to find out that it was just a young man in white skinny jeans trying to organize his clutter. Then I wished he would put that paper bag over his head and go back to sleep. Eventually he did; with his head uncovered.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank toaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)
- Coordinates 34°44’20.2″N 135°29’17.2″E
The nearest subway station is Mikuni Station.
2F/3F 2-6-7 Nishimikuni
Yodogawa-ku, Osaka City 532-0006 JAPAN
- 06-6398-7313 (in Japan)
- +81-6-6398-7313 (international)
This hostel is run by a very nice couple with a baby. They really went out of there way to help us in any way they could.
The Umeda Sky Building
(Umeda Sukai Biru)
- Coordinates 34°42’18.5″N 135°29’26.0″E
Kita-ku Osaka, Osaka Prefecture
- but if you visit the cinema in the other building you can get a flier with a 70YEN discount/ person.
- You only need one flier per group to get a discount for each person.
- 10:00 – 22:30
- (Last admittance is at 22:00)
- The “Floating Garden Observatory” is on the 39th floor.
- Be sure to visit the old time Osaka town on the first basement level (B1) of the building. It’s free to view.
- There are many restaurants.
- There are lockers near the elevator to the top. They cost 100YEN to use.
- I recommend going about 15 minutes before sunset.
How to get there:
- Go to Umeda Station
- Go through any east exit.
5-15 Kakudacho, Kita-ku
Hep Five Mall Osaka, Osaka Prefecture
- +81 6-6313-0501
- Ferris Wheel – 500YEN/person
- Stores – 11:00 – 21:00
- Restaurants – 11:00 – 23:30
- others – 11:00 – 23:00
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
- Coordinates 34°49’05.2″N 135°25’36.2″E
- Go to Ikeda Station
- Go through the south exit.
- Turn left and follow the signs to the museum.
- It’s a 5 minute walk.
- Ramen class is 500YEN/Adult and 300YEN/Kid
- Wed – Sun 9:30 – 16:00
- Allow 90 mintues to view all the exhibits and another 90 minutes to make ramen.
- In order to take part in the ramen making class, you must have a reservation.
- For reservations – Call 072-751-0825 any time between 10:00 – 16:00 Wednesday through Sunday.
Boat to Beppu
- 34°38’16.3″N 135°24’44.5″E
From Osaka –
- Go to Trade Center-Mae Station.
- Then follow the signs to the ferry.
- 9,700YEN/ person For the open room
- Leaves Osaka at 19:05
- gets to Beppu around 7:00.
- There is a Lawson’s right after you check-in to the ferry terminal, but before you get on the boat.
- There is also a convenience store on the boat along with a restaurant and tons of vending machines.
- There are many hot water stations where you can get hot water for tea, ramen, and whatever you want hot water for.
- The website is in Japanese, so it might be easier to buy your tickets from a travel agency.
- There is a travel agency and just about every major JR station.
- There is a women only open room.
- You ca bring your car on this ferry.