The final stop on our trip was Osaka and by this point, we were even more exhausted than I think we even realized. We went by train from Kyoto, which was quick and easy, especially since we were staying at the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel in the brand new building Abeno Harukas, that has a subway station in the adjacent Mio Shopping Center. The department store in the Abeno Harukas as well as the Mio Shopping center were brand new and modern so we were happy to have things to do/see and eat so close by. Osaka in general, however, was a lot more industrial than Tokyo (and certainly Kyoto) and felt more crowded. loud and less clean. In Tokyo, we were always able to find someone that spoke even just a tiny bit of English, but in Osaka, we were on our own (which, I have to admit, was fun most of the time because it happens so rarely, but when you’re tired an fed up… not so cute).
Anyway, most of the things on our To Do list revolved around food so we were eager to get going. We visited Dotonbori and ate Takoyaki (fried balls of octopus meat), Okonomiyaki (savory pancake), as well as the most amazing crab sushi I had ever tried. We watched as they made the Takoyaki, which was insane, and then tried really hard not to burn our mouthes while we ate them. I had conveyor belt sushi for the first time ever and it was just as glorious as I had imagined it would be (I’m also positive I tried a bunch of new things although I’m not really sure what they were).
There were TONS of good eats, however, two meals really stood out and the first was our visit to Matsusaka “M” to eat Matsusaka beef. So, just putting it out there – I don’t usually like red meat – but this was one of my favorite meals OF ALL TIME. The beef is a grade above Kobe and has some of the most insane marbling I have ever seen. The cows are raised in a serene environment where they listen to classical music and receive regular massages. We cooked the various cuts ourselves, over a very hot little grill on our table and it was spectacular. The second stand-out meal was a sort of DIY feast we had in our hotel room. We were exhausted at the end of a long day (recurring theme) and decided to find some take-out to just chill. Luckily, we were right next to one of the biggest department stores in the city and happened to be there at the right time, just before closing, when everything went 50-80% off. It was a feeding frenzy and we were running around the three food floors, grabbing anything and everything that looked delicious. We ended up with five bags full and a bottle of wine… even in my wildest dreams, there could have been no better way to end that day.
The way back was bittersweet. We were so tired and excited to be coming home but also couldn’t believe that our adventure had come to an end. After massages at the airport lounge, we boarded an amazing flight on Japan Airlines and definitely didn’t hold back, squeezing every last drop of vacation we could out of that ride. We ate caviar, salmon, lobster and chocolate treats while sipping champagne, cognac and Royal Blue Tea. Not a bad way to end an amazing trip… we even managed to not think about the epic jet lag that lay ahead.