Today we traveled out of Osaka to explore Ikeda and Minoh on the Hankyu Takarazuka Line. First things first. Get the Hankyu Tourist Pass. I decided on the 2-Day Pass because tomorrow will be Arashiyama and Kyoto on the Hankyu Kyoto Line.
The staff at the Hankyu Tourist Center was very friendly. She asked about my 2-Day itinerary and walked me through the routes I should take. Besides the pass, I was also given maps and guide books with sample itineraries and coupons for shops and restaurants. This Center is definitely worth a visit if you’re traveling within Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto.
Don’t you think the Hankyu trains look classy? I felt transported back in time to the 上海滩 era.
Our first destination was Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, about 5 mins walk from Ikeda Station. There are 4 things to do here.
1.Design Your Own Instant Noodle Cup & Create Your Own Noodle Mix
2.Taste Instant Noodles
There’s a small section beside the design area with tables and chairs for customers to try popular, unique or limited edition instant noodles from vending machines.
3.View the Exhibits
From Ikeda Station, we took the Hankyu train to Minoh to see the autumn foliage.
The walking trail was generally flat so it was a relatively easy walk. Except it was very crowded with families having their Sunday outings and tourists wanting to see autumn colours like us.
We kept to the pink path and trekked all the way to Minoh Waterfall.
It wasn’t the most spectacular waterfall I’ve seen and frankly, not worth the long walk. But we did pick up many maple leaves which my girls put into albums and frames.
Not only were the leaves pretty, they were also delicious. We bought a packet of fried maple leaves to try and it tasted like fried 年糕。
It was late afternoon when we took the train back to Hankyu Umeda Station. Dinner was at the roof top of Hankyu Department Store with food bought from Hankyu Food Hall. Same old same old. We actually wanted to have a steak dinner at IL Capone on the 29th floor of Hankyu Grand Building but it was fully booked.
Well, less time spent eating meant more time for shopping. Since we wanted to get stuff from Muji, we asked the Hankyu customer service staff who directed us to Lucua, part of the JR Osaka Station City, across the street from Hankyu Department Store.
Not only did we find Muji on level 8, there were also Moomin and Totoro shops and a Loft outlet on level 9 where I bought quite a number of Christmas presents for family and friends. While the females went on a shopping frenzy, the only male a.k.a my husband enjoyed his latte at Starbucks, on the same level as Loft.
Before leaving Lucua, we discovered there was a Isetan food hall at B1. Compared to Hankyu, it was smaller and quieter, which made it easier to check out the food stalls. We ordered sushi to take away and bought breakfast from Johan Paris bakery.
PS: On our way to take the subway from Umeda back to Shinsaibashi, my husband found Ginza Cozy Corner inside the train station. This was the elusive bakery my sister failed to find within Tokyo Station. She was hoping to buy their current Star Wars range of goodies. We bought on her behalf.
- Always check out tourist passes. Often they help minimise transportation cost.
- Good to visit tourist information centers for maps and discount coupons. They also have English speaking staff if you need help.
- Don’t visit food halls during dinner time. It’s crazy crowded. Unless you already know what you want and you just grab and go.