Category Archives: Osaka

Shinsaibashi Shopping Street

Shinsaibashi Shopping Street, Osaka

We left Kyoto on our 5th day in Japan for Osaka. Taking the JR Special Rapid Service train from Kyoto train station, we choose to disembark at Shin-Osaka station as we needed to transfer onto the Midosuji subway to get to our hotel in Namba. The journey is less than 25 minutes and cost ¥560. Alternatively, you can take the Shinkansen for a mere 12 minutes ride costing ¥1,420. Unlike the JR Special Rapid, the Shinkansen do not proceed to Osaka Station City. Either way, doing the transfer at Shin-Osaka is less hectic than doing so at Osaka Station City. (Wonder why it’s called ‘Osaka Station City’ instead of ‘Osaka City Station’.)

The journey from Shin-Osaka to Namba by subway takes 15 minutes and cost a further ¥280 and payment is made by Icoca card. Once luggage has been stored at our hotel, Red Roof Plus, we headed for Shinsaibashi shopping street. It’s a short 450 meters walk from our hotel to the start of Shinsaibashi shopping street, just meters away from the ‘Glico Man’ landmark along Dotonburi river. Naturally one will walk through Dotonburi, the happening area to Shinsaibashi, but we’ll leave that for a posting of it’s own.

Shinsaibashi Shopping Street

The crowd at the entrance (facing Dotonbori) is due to traffic lights. There is a road running across.

Shinsaibashi shopping street

Red Roof Plus Hotel to Shinsaibashi shopping street. Namba station on the lower left, Nippombashi station on lower right.

Shinsaibashi shopping street

Well, this is a surprise! A welcome message in our national language, Malay. Translated is means ‘Welcome to Shinsaibashi’.

Shinsaibashi is a long stretch of street lined with shops you can’t see the other end. It is perpendicular to Dotonbori and is said to be the longest covered pedestrian shopping street in Japan. There are hundreds of shops located here and probably one of the first place most visitors end up spending time in Osaka. Walk down Shinsaibashi to experience Japanese astounding love for consumer retail. Some of the stores are western companies while others are local.

A commercial pedestrian street, it stretches from the Namba station to well past the Shinsaibashi station. Shops of all kinds and for all ages lined under a roofed street. Because of it being sheltered, it is a great location to shade away from the sun or rain and do some window shopping to pass time. There are traditional tailors, western clothing, footwear retailers, restaurants, fast food outlets, jewelers, and boutiques featuring the latest fashions. At the arteries of Shinsaibashi street, you find major department stores, brand retailers, independent fashion boutiques, tea shops and cafes. Being there on a Sunday around lunch time, the crowd wasn’t big which was an unexpected surprise.

Shinsaibashi shopping street

The famed Kushikatsu Daruma restaurant along Shinsaibashi.

Shinsaibashi shopping street

Not cheap for a small meal.

Shinsaibashi shopping street

Side alley along Shinsaibashi.

 Shinsaibashi shopping street

The end of Shinsaibashi shopping street if you had started from Dotonbori.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

Cafe Bintang – Halal Food Osaka

It was lunch time when we reached the end of Shinsaibashi shopping street and we headed for Cafe Bintang close to Uniqlo department store for lunch. It is an Indonesian restaurant serving halal Indonesian food. Located on 4F, Google map brought us right to the location of Cafe Bintang. It is however a little difficult to spot their small red coloured signboard with thin fonts amongst the other similar coloured signboards. Typical to Japan, the shoplot number is rarely displayed making it even harder to confirm your location. If not for the Indonesian flag (red/white) outside, it would have been a frustrating search for the Cafe worse, missed it altogether. But the flag’s red/white colour doesn’t really distinguish it as it blends with the other signboard too!

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

Entrance to the building with an Indonesian flag outside. You go up to 4F by elevator.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

Walking route from Ebisu Bridge, (in-front of the entrance to Shinsaibashi) to Cafe Bintang.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

These are the respective signboards of the tenants in the building. Look out for Cafe Bintang signboard.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

A little inside going to the elevator, you’ll see Cafe Bintang signboard again.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

At the elevator, you’ll see a different design signboard of Cafe Binatng.

As mentioned earlier, the Cafe is a little difficult to spot. Make sure you familiarise yourself with these two different signboards below to assist you to find the cafe. By the elevator, although there is a different designed signboard, it does not display which floor they are on. It’s on 4F.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

These are the two different signboards of Cafe Bintang you should look out for.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

Finally, we are inside Cafe Bintang’s dining area.

Their food menu for the main dish is rather limited but suffice for the hungry stomach. The food was nice and the authentic Indonesian taste we are accustomed was there. Our lunch for two cost less than ¥1,900 which is very reasonable taking into account you’re in Japan. Recommended. 👍 For more info, visit their site here.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

Menu for food. Not many varieties but suffice.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

The drinks menu. Don’t be embarrass to request for warm water.

Cafe Bintang, Osaka

Fried rice for me and white rice, fried chicken & vegs for wife.

Red Roof Plus Hotel, Osaka

Red Roof Plus Namba, Osaka

After lunch we checked-into Red Roof Plus Namba hotel located along Sennichimae street. From the Midosuji Namba subway stop, it’s was a short 5 minutes walk. You can either walk on street level or through the shopping arcades underground which stretches from Namba station right to Nippombashi station. You can exit the underground by taking the staircase, escalator or elevator depending at which point you are.

Red Roof Plus Namba

Namba station to the left, Nippombashi station to the right.

Red Roof Plus Namba is located between Namba station and Nippombashi station which makes traveling to most of Osaka’s attractions easy. The hotel is a couple of minutes walk to Dotonbori, more specifically to the ‘Glico Man’ landmark and Ebisu bridge. BIC Camera is diagonally in-front of the hotel. Almost the whole frontage of the hotel on the ground floor is taken up by ‘Family Mart’ which makes getting necessities so convenient be it mineral water or SD card.

The hotel lobby is spacious and beg drop for later check-in was fast & efficiently handled. There is a currency exchange machine at the lobby and umbrellas are always available for free use by guests. Access to the hotel’s elevator and to your room is by your room key card. The room is modern and large with the bathroom and toilet in separate cubicle within it’s own compartment. With both our luggage opened, there is still room to walk freely. Although our room faces the main street, outside noise is effectively blocked. The air-cond is also a heater depending on which mode you chose. Being located in Japan’s 2nd largest city, it’s really value for money. Easily beats hands-down same class hotel in Europe. More info on Red Roof Plus here.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

Our twin bed room. Noise either from the street or hallway is effectively kept out.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

Comfortable twin beds.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

A fold down dressing mirror is in-front of the chair. Corner sofa to relax before sleeping.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

With shades drawn, the room will be totally dark. Water boiler and mini fridge in lower cabinet.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

Cups in drawer with glass top. First time seeing this. The room also has a large LCD TV.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

Separate cubicle for shower & toilet within it’s own compartment.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

Shower fittings and amenities.

Red Roof Plus Hotel Namba, Osaka

The wash basin outside the shower & toilet cubicle.

If you are catching a flight out of Itami airport and it coincide with rush hours, skip the subway and walk to Hotel Ichiei for the airport bus. It’s a 15 ~ 20 minutes slow walk and the bus stand is in-front of Hotel Ichiei main entrance. Alternatively, take a taxi for a short ride to Hotel Ichiei for around ¥700. Taxis are abundant in-front of BIC Camera opposite the hotel even in the early hours of the morning.