An early morning soak in our onsen bath before breakfast and another soak after breakfast, we had to take advantage of every last minute! Today was going to be a long travel day as we needed to get ourselves from Kurokawa Onsen, in the southwestern part of Japan, to Osaka, in central Japan.
Nothing like dehydrating yourself in the morning with coffee and boiling hot onsen water.
Though not as extensive and intricate as our Kaiseki dinner last night, breakfast was still a feast. Fish, vegetables, tofu, rice, 2 types of soup, eggs cooked in onsen water; everything was placed on the table at the same time. A bit overwhelmed, our strategy was to finish one dish at a time. Baby steps.
All packed up we had time for one last soak before checking out.
Since first tasting them yesterday, Andrew had one thing on his mind before leaving town: cream puffs. And not just one cream puff for himself, but 2, convincing us that he’ll save one for later. Later never even stood a chance!
Our day of travel started with an hours drive straight east to the coastal city of Beppu, where we dropped off our Toyota Roomy conveniently next to the main train station. First time driving on the opposite side of the road and no major dings, scratches or incidents. This little fella certainly fared better than our rental car in Croatia.
All aboard the vomit maker! With hard wood floors and maroon coloured leather, this 80’s luxury blast from the past was definitely a rough, jarring ride. Thankfully after about an hour we transferred to the silky smooth shinkansen (bullet train) for the final leg of the trip to Osaka.
Arriving at our AirBnB for a night in Osaka just in time to catch some dinner. Andrew skipped right past the I could eat and the hangry stage and went straight to the, well this:
Our apartment was across from the popular Dotonbori street, full of restaurants, shops, side walk vendors and people. Lots of people.
Ichiran Ramen in Osaka: Viola’s choice for best ramen in Japan from our last trip. My favorite was a ramen restaurant near Harajuku that we’ll revisit during our stay in Tokyo. Meet our 2 judges: Andrew and Sarah. No pressure guys, but there’s a lot on the line!
Someones in a good mood even with a 30 minute lineup out the door.
Once inside, insert your money into the machine, press the button corresponding to your broth/noodle choice, and out shoots a ticket. Then continue pressing any additional buttons corresponding to toppings such as eggs, meat, mushrooms, etc and out shoots more tickets as your money counts downs. Finally any beer? Sake? Even more tickets until your realize you just burned through all the money you inserted. Is this what playing the slots feels like, cause this was fun!?!
All tickets collected, we moved to the waiting room where we stood in front of an illuminated board of lights indicating seats available. Once 4 green lights appeared together we made our way upstairs and found the corresponding neighbouring cubicles ready for us. That’s right, cubicles. Once seated a small screen door opens with hands reaching through to collect your tickets. 5 mins later the screen door opens again and your meal is delivered. Such a personal experience.
Slurp, slurp, slurp … Viola was in ramen heaven. The judges were also thoroughly impressed with the rich, spicy flavour of the broth and firm, delicious noodles.
Stuffed, satisfied and tired from a day of what became known as #trainlife, we aimlessly wandered the streets of Osaka, taking in the bright lights of the city as a group of 10+ full sized Mario Go-Karts with dressed characters ripped past us on the street. Oh Japan!