This past November was my fifth Thanksgiving and birthday away from home, and what better way to spend it then in Japan! My coworker Xisa and I ventured to Osaka, Japan to spend our 4 day holiday weekend. Our agenda was to escape all things Korean and fully emerge ourselves in the Japanese culture. On most holidays, I go with the flow but on his particular trip my schedule was packed due to the short duration. Here are some of the highlights from my trip!
Xisa and I kicked off our Thanksgiving with no other than a Starbucks breakfast. Not very Japanese, but we had been dreaming of a warm peppermint mocha for quite some time. With our very American coffee in hand, we hopped on the plane and was there in no time. Osaka is conveniently only and hour and a half trip from Seoul, making for a pleasantly short plane ride. However, departing from the Osaka airport is where the fun began. Japan has a ridiculously confusing metro system. Being in Japan once before, I somehow navigated us in the right direction. JR line to Namba station, here we go!
If you ever get lost in Japan, the locals are super friendly and willing to help out any lost souls. We discovered this by getting off at the wrong stop because Xisa was on the hunt for a ferris wheel. Lesson learned, Osaka apparently has several!
We found our way to Hostel Q, a cozy and laid back accommodation located near the heart of Osaka.This hostel is noteworthy mainly due to the Rastafarian Japanese front desk attendant. After settling in, we geared up for the activities planned for the day.
This is definitely a must see when visiting Osaka! This aquarium states to be the biggest in the world. I must say, I was quite impressed by the layout and variety of sea creatures, including a whale shark!
The Best Burger in the World
Right across from the aquarium is an eclectic and charming cafe called Kuma Kafe. The owner is a friendly Australian who literally makes the BEST burger. I’m telling you, the best burger I have ever had. He had us feel extremely welcome and chatted us up about our travels. Yes, we should have had Japanese in lunch but Trip Advisor rated this cafe the top restaurant in the area. Now I know why!
Mexican for Thanksgiving?!
Once again, the fatty American strikes. Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of nachos and string cheese. I am ashamed to admit that we did not have Japanese the first night. After a busy day of travel and fun, we were really craving some guacamole. We had every intention to grab just an appetizer but the time slipped away and before we knew it all the restaurants were closed. Another lesson learned, restaurants close early in Osaka. Hence, why we had string cheese and crackers for Thanksgiving..womp womp.
A Mountain of Pancakes
What better way to kick off your morning then with a glutenous pile of Hawaiian pancakes?! If you want to start your morning off with a delicious cup of coffee and savory and sweet coconut chocolate chip pancake then Eggs’n Things is your go to morning spot.
All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!
The sole reason I came to Osaka was to get my nerd on at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Aside from the language barrier and long lines, the park lived up to my expectations and had the utmost enchanting time. I sipped on warm butter beer, floated around Hogsmeade, ate at The Three Broomsticks, and got the grand tour of Hogwarts. My life is now complete.
Prior to coming to Osaka, I did a lot of research on the best places to eat and kept coming across Ichiran Ramen. This restaurant is the real deal, serving authentic Japanese ramen. I could also tell the ramen was going to be amazing based on the queue outside. The queue never lies! This is not a place you want to miss if you are in the area.
On the last day in town, I dove into the history of the area and visited Osaka Castle. Originally built in the sixteenth center, Osaka Castle is one of Japans most famous landmarks.
Between the amazing food and beautiful fall colors, my trip to Osaka was quite the memorable excursion. It will be a Thanksgiving holiday to remember!