On day 14, we had one more day in Osaka and we decided to take a day trip out to Kobe (神戸). Before heading out, we decided to stop by the Dotonbori area to grab a quick snack. Of course S wanted his fried chicken, so tried it out at this stand. They make it fresh and the chicken was moist with the outside crispy. From Osaka Station, taking the JR train only takes 20 minutes to Kobe. Way faster than we thought! If you don’t have the JR pass, then you can take other trains and you can still get there within 30 minutes or so.
The Kobe Nada district is famous for sake breweries. We did some quick research and decided to check out the most famous one: Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum (白鶴酒造資料館). This museum has information in English and also sake tasting, which made it perfect for us. Because we wanted to use our JR pass, we took the train to JR Sumiyoshi Station. The walk from here is 15-20 minutes, so I suggest taking the train to Sumiyoshi Station on the Hanshin Railways Line instead if you are not using the JR pass. This walk is only 5 minutes instead.
Entry to the museum is free and there is plenty to see. Although the sculptures are very fake, you get a good sense of how sake is made and was a great introduction for us who knew barely anything about Japanese rice wine.
The tour is self guided and you can walk at your own pace. At the end of the museum is sake tasting where you can try many different flavours and sake with various alcohol content.
Also near the gift shop is sake ice cream which you can purchase. The ice cream has no actual alcohol content, but rather a sake flavour. Really good!
You can also purchase a variety of sake and plum wine here. I really enjoyed the yuzu plum wine, but unfortunately it was too heavy to carry for the day. Instead, I picked up some small cans of fruit flavoured plum wine with jellies inside. So yummy!
After enjoying some sake, we took the train to Kobe Motomachi, which is one of Kobe’s popular shopping streets. I’m guessing this is their downtown core as there is lots of shops around here. Typical shops as you’ll find in other large cities in Japan and you will also find a Daimaru here where we had lunch in the basement floor.
Also nearby is Nankinmachi, which is Kobe’s Chinatown. The Chinatown here is quite dense and compact with around 2 main streets.
You will find many stalls here selling Chinese dim sum and cuisine. Not sure how authentic the food here is, but tourists swamped this area.
Around a 10 minute walk from the Motomachi area, we headed to Meriken Park, a beautiful waterfront park near Kobe’s port. Here, you will find the Kobe Maritime Museum, which features a really cool roof that is shaped like a sail.
There are some pretty cool architecture and sculptures like this fish in Meriken Park.
You will find the Meriken Park Oriental Hotel here which faces the water. The park is really relaxing and makes a great walk during a sunny day.
If you walk around the waterfront, you will hit the ferris wheel where Kobe Harborland (神戸ハーバーランド) is. This is the shopping and entertainment district and perfect to stop by if you are looking for lunch or dinner.
Of course, one of the most popular attractions here is the Kobe Port Tower (神戸ポートタワー). You can pay to go on this observation deck, but the tower is definitely not that tall, so we didin’t find it would be worth it.
Overall, we really enjoyed Meriken Park and it was a nice differentiation from the busy city life. After shopping around in the Mosaic Mall, we decided to head back to Osaka for dinner.
One of the spots I had on my list was the Gudetama Cafe in Osaka. The cafe is located in the Hep Five mall. How cute is this?!
Once you enter, you will find everything gudetama decorated. Seriously perfect for anyone who is a fan.
Unfortunately we got seated in a corner, so didn’t get to see as much of the decor from the side. They even have gudetama videos playing the whole time.
I chose the Curry Rice with bacon. Seriously, this is way too cute to eat! But unfortunately, the food doesn’t taste good at all. The curry tasted like the packs we can make ourselves at home, and the rice was really dry. It had a small side of veggies which were also pretty gross. You are really paying for how cute the dish looks.
S wasn’t hungry, so he got the Mango Pudding. This one wasn’t too special since the glass already has his face printed on it.
Overall, super cute restaurant, with tons of plushies for you to take pictures with. Unfortunately, the food just doesn’t measure up.
And that ended our night in Osaka. The next day, we would head to Hiroshima.