Osaka, Japan - Day 2

After we arrived in Osaka from Nara, we checked into Hotel Hillarys which is situated right in the middle of Den Den Town. Although quite a walk from JR Namba Station (especially with our heavy luggage…), staying there was well worth the effort. Yuye was in heaven since manga and game stores were just outside our door and a Seven Eleven was right downstairs. Just be wary that the map online was slightly wrong, we were almost guided into a small side street but the hotel was really on the main Den Den Town road.

If you walk into the stairwell you'll find a huge drawn map on the wall with cute little notes stuck on it to mark major landmarks and stores in the area. This might be useful for first timers there.

The hotel had wonderful amenities including free self serve drinks, free manga you can borrow, many cool shampoos to take into your room and even free bicycle rentals. The only thing that other hotels I stayed at did a little bit better was the level of personalised service. I guess they were fairly busy so I didn't really mind.

The room itself was quite small, although this is the case with most business hotels in Japan. The bed was comfortable and the room was clean. The room facilities were minimal, although sufficient for most people's needs. The free amenities downstairs and the location did win me over though and I would have been happy to stay there again during our second visit if only it had cheaper rooms at the time (as it didn't, we ended up booking the famous Dotonbori Hotel instead which was even more fantastic!). We initially didn't plan to return to Osaka a second time but due to all the cancellations in Sendai, Sapporo and Tokyo which took out half of our trip, we thought staying a bit longer in Osaka and complete the trip with some shopping was the next best thing. Anything to stop us from returning to Melbourne earlier.

Yuye had his first taste of the infamous Japanese airplane-like toilets, made of a similar material and oh so very small. I wouldn't like to stay in Japanese hotels if I was claustrophobic.

Hotel Hillarys
Address: 3-4-10 Nihonbashi Naniwa-ku, Osaka, 5560005 Japan
Book via

Outside the hotel was Den Den Town, where you can buy all the latest electronics, manga and anime goods and anything to do with games and hobbies. It didn't feel as busy as Akihabara in Tokyo and didn't have as many shops, however it definitely didn't lack that otaku spirit. Most shops close at 8pm though so if you want to do a bit of shopping, better to leave the eating till later (like we did nearly every night we were there).

Our two favourite stores were K-Books and Melon Books. K-Books is on the main road across from the hotel and sold all second hand and heavily discounted manga books. we bought most of our manga from there and range from just over 100 Yen each book to around 300 Yen for one (but of course, they're all in Japanese). Mind you, some of these books look brand new. Melon books is in an alley just off the main road and had some good full series on sale although no where near as many selections as K-Books. You'll have to check back often since new things are added nearly every day.


Just before dinner, we snacked on our first lot of Osakan takoyaki (octopus balls). Takoyaki was invented in Osaka by a man named Tomekichi Endo in 1935. Its popularity grew so much that it has crept onto restaurant menus all around the world, including Australia. Although there are many flavours of takoyaki, the most common and probably only type available in many countries is the takoyaki and mayonnaise sauce topped with dried bonito. The vendor we purchased ours from had a few different flavours including shoyu (soy sauce), salt and ponzu. We got the ponzu flavour as I love slightly sour and citrusy tastes.

The takoyaki wasn't the best we had on our trip, however 400 Yen for 8 yummy takoyaki was by no means bad, especially when we were hungry.

We also bought two drinks on the way from a vending machine. You'll notice as soon as you get to Japan how many vending machines there are. Not just drinks and snacks, there are tobacco, beer, instant noodles, eggs, umbrellas, flowers and many bizarre products you'd never think of would be sold in a vending machine. Visit this site for some other interesting ones The drinks we got were definitely different to the ones we get in western society. The first one was a hotcake flavoured milkshake and the second one was grape flavoured jelly. I didn't mind the jelly since it was just like sucking slightly melted jelly from a bottle but the hotcake milkshake? I could have done without.


There was an abundance of choices for dinner near our hotel. Too many in fact. But as it was only our second day in Japan, our cravings for sushi trains were unbearably strong, so sushi train it was. Once you've had sushi train sushi in Japan, you can never look at the ones back at home the same way again. I'm talking about a huge selection of fresh and tasty sushi delicately presented by talented chefs all at a crazy cheap price of between 100-130 Yen each plate! I know I love Shiranui in Glen Waverley and Makoto in Sydney, but these sushi trains are way more affordable. The restaurant we ate at was called Kaiten Sushi Nihon Ichi (Sushi Train Japan No.1 is the literal translation) in Sennichimae, a shopping arcade near Namba Station. Obviously it wasn't the same quality as the sushi we had the night before in Nara but being able to stuff our faces without worrying about our wallets was quite a happy experience. :)

We ate a lot that night as you can see from below. I wasn't able to identify all the types of fish but I will try my best.


Mekajiki Toro - Swordfish underbelly...perhaps

Salmon belly
100 Yen oysters, a little different looking to ours but equally delicious
Not sure what this was, but was similar to scallop except bigger
Chuu Toro - Medium Tuna Belly, notice how there's only one piece on the plate
Bin Toro - Albacore or maybe not...
Possibly mackerel
Negi Toro - Spring onion with minced tuna belly
Another fish that might be mackerel
This may have been tuna of sorts...I'm so bad at this.
Ooh ooh I know this one! It's sea urchin :D
Yes we ate quite a few plates worth...all for $40!

Negi Toro was unanimously voted our favourite. We had many plates of this and the 100 Yen oysters. Absolutely divine. I'm drooling just thinking about them…the owners of Makoto should bring it to Melbourne so us hungry Melbournians can satisfy our cravings as well.

My next post will be Nara again, focusing on the temples and fire and water festival. Stay tuned my dear readers!

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  1. I loved this post! :) It brings back memories of living in Japan. I love the shampoo bar and the complimentary additions-it always makes you feel special. And hehe there's no space for claustrophobics in Japanese hotel rooms are there!

  2. @Not Quite Nigella, thanks for the comment! :D I totally agree on the complimentary things, especually the ones that say 'ladies only' haha. I guess claustrophobic people would have to book bigger hotels, some of those have 'normal' bathrooms.

  3. @batasan, it's your own fault for not going to Japan with us :P