Although Kyoto was the main place to see in this area I decided that Shin-Osaka would be a more convenient and cheaper location to base ourselves in case we wanted to go to Nara, Kobe or Himeji which are all slightly easier to get to from Osaka. Our hotel was only a short walk from Shin-Osaka station but we didn’t discover that till the second day as on our arrival we struggled to locate our hotel. The rooms were tight to say the least but naturally included everything one could possibly need.
We headed out locally on the first night to see what Shin-Osaka had to offer. Not much it would appear but there were a few options and we eventually settled on a restaurant (below) specialising in kushiage (deep fried skewered meats and vegetables dipped in tonkatsu sauce) washed down with a few beers to celebrate the most momentous of days for any Leicester City fan.
It was an early start for me the following morning as I got Star Wars Day (“May the 4th be with you!”) off to a great start by riding on the very limited Star Wars Rapi:it train (below) at 7:30 am before heading back to the hotel to have breakfast with everyone. The breakfast was great and included just about everything you could think of including the likes of takoyaki and fries which are not the most common of early morning foods!
Following breakfast we set out for Osaka-jo koen park to see the castle which, apart from the glass elevator attached to its side, is a beautifully impressive site amidst a vast park. My wife and I basically just escorted my parents to this castle, got the photos you can see below, and then left them to their own devices for a few hours whilst we went to visit a friend of mine at his sushi restaurant which was a little out of the centre of Osaka.
We all reconvened after lunch back at Shin Osaka station and took the train on to Kobe to see the J-League match between Vissel Kobe and Jubilo Iwata. Later in the evening we finally went for okonomiyaki at a local restaurant. I had wanted both our families to experience this together in Hiroshima but it was never meant to be so we had to settle for the Osaka-style version of the dish which is basically the same but without the inclusion of noodles. Around the same time last year my mother-in-law and I actually did an okonomiyaki cooking lesson in Hiroshima but this time it was cooked and prepared by the chefs in the restaurant and then served on to the hot plate (below) in front of us.
The original plan had been to take a Shinkansen back to Tokyo on May 5th but as that was the last day of Golden Week I thought it would be a lot easier and less stressful to just head back to Tokyo on the morning of the 6th rather than having it hanging over our heads all day.
You can read ‘Parents In Japan 2016 Pt IV: Kyoto’ here