Osaka – Where to Go, Eat, and Drink

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While in Japan, we made a visit to the island of Honshu to spend time in Osaka. Our visit there was full of sight-seeing and eating (of course). Osaka is known for its happening nightlife and fantastic street food, and I am happy to report that it lived up to its hyped reputation! Think of this as an introduction to all things Osaka.

Osaka Sights to See

A visit to Osaka should be composed of shopping and sightseeing. Luckily, we did both!

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Shinsaibashi – A trip to Osaka is not complete without a visit to Shinsaibashi, which is entertainment central. It is a popular shopping destination known for its many high-end retailers. Additionally, it is home to several restaurants and nightclubs. Now that I’ve visited, it’s easy to see why visitors to this street number about 60,000 on weekdays and about 120,000 on weekends and holidays.

Dotonbori – Another popular entertainment of Osaka, Dotonbori is a colorful area that borders the Dotonbori Canal and is known for its many bright neon lights. It has several restaurants and bars, as well as many street food stalls.

Osaka Castle Park – The main landmark of Osaka is Osaka Castle Park. The centuries-old castle has been rebuilt and renovated many times over. When you tour the castle, you may be surprised by how modern it is inside, but they have retained the history within the castle museum. In addition to the castle, the park is beautiful with an amazing garden and 600 cherry trees.

Osaka Foods to Try

If you have been following along with my Asia travel blog series, then you know the biggest part of all our visits was the food. We love to try new foods, and Osaka is known for serving usual and delicious dishes.

Takoyaki – This is a ball-shaped wheat-based snack you can find at street food stalls that are filled with octopus. Takoyaki is also fondly known as “octopus balls.”

Okonomiyaki – Another popular dish in Osaka is okonomiyaki, which is a pancake made of batter and cabbage that is filled and topped with a variety of ingredients.

Fugu – While we didn’t try it, Osaka does have restaurants that serve Fugu – toxic puffer fish. This is a Japanese delicacy where even the smallest mistake by a chef can prove fatal to the person eating it.

Akari Soba – We enjoyed dining at Akari Soba, which serves delicious soba and tempura. This restaurant is located in the busy area of Dotonbori and made our visit here even better.

Kyoto Tsuruya Sabou – Located in the Hilton Plaza, this dessert café was wonderful! We enjoyed matcha desserts.

Why a Visit to Osaka Must Include an Izakaya

An izakaya is a Japanese bar, and Osaka is covered with them. When in Osaka, you must visit an izakaya to enjoy a sake or a drink. After spending the day shopping in Shinsaibashi, an evening spent in an izakaya is the perfect way to finish out a day filled with fun and food.

How to Fly Singapore Suites for Free and My Time in Singapore Suites

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My recent trip to Asia became a dream come true as soon as I arrived at JFK because I knew I was about to embark on the most luxurious plan trip of my life. My husband and I had booked Singapore Suites through Singapore Airlines. If you have not heard of Singapore Suites before, prepare to be amazed. If you have heard of Singapore Suites and desperately want to enjoy them yourself, I can tell you how you can make it happen.

Why Singapore Suites Should Be On Everyone’s Bucket List

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When you are traveling across the world in a plane for several hours, the last thing you want is to be in a small cramped airplane seat. Even the standard first-class seats just aren’t enough to make a long journey enjoyable. That’s just the start of the beauty of Singapore Suites.

Singapore Suites are luxury suites in the sky – complete with privacy walls and double beds for couples. Think of the most extravagant way to fly – and that’s Singapore Suites. Each spacious suite has a comfortable, plush chair that converts into a bed. Since I traveled with my husband, we booked two suites that allowed us to form a double bed between the two suites.

In addition to the amazing sleep options, the suite is also designed for you to have everything you need to have an amazing flight. Think of the amenity kits you may have received from a different first-class trip – now up them about a hundred. Each suite has a tv with plenty of options, and you have a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones to enjoy it. Plus, the cabin crew will make you feel like an esteemed guest. We felt like royalty as they served us Dom Perignon champagne and hot towels.

The Finest Dining Experience in the Sky

My readers already know how much I love food, so it should be no surprise that one of the main reasons I believe you should fly Singapore Suites at least once in your life is because it will allow you to eat luxuriously in the sky. A dinner table forms from the center console, which allowed us to enjoy this fine dining in the sky together. And, when I say, “fine dining,” I mean it. Caviar, lobster, and an in-flight wine-sommelier who will suggest wines that work best with your meals and the altitude. Amazing!

Yes – You Can Fly Singapore Suites for FREE

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Now I am sure some of you are reading this have already started to think this is impossible for most people. You’re wrong! You can fly Singapore Suites for free – no lie! By saving up points and miles, you can also enjoy this luxurious flight. Here are some things you need to know if you hope to one day use your points to fly Singapore Suites for free:

  • Singapore Suites are only on the Airbus A380s. In the US, JFK is the only place in the US that operates an A380. (We flew from JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore – a Singapore airline suite route.)

  • You can only use points through Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Program. This means you cannot use Mileage Plus or Aeroplan miles to book this trip.

  • However, you CAN transfer points from the following reward programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).

  • These reward points transfer 1:1, with the chance to earn a 5000-mile bonus for transfers over 20,000.

  • Current miles needed range from 76,000 miles to 135,000 miles depending on your route.

  • Because JFK is the only place operating a flight with a Singapore Suites A380, you MUST book your trip as far in advance as possible – especially if you plan to travel with someone else and want to book the suites like ours that can be turned into a double bed.

One final note about this dream flight – We were in the “old” Singapore Suites, which as you can see were incredibly, but there are “new” ones that are even more amazing if you can believe it.

Hong Kong... food and sights!

I used to go to Hong Kong once a year but after being a mom of two, the chance to travel to one of my favorite places just became extremely difficult.  But through some sheer miracle I got the chance to visit Hong Kong (for 2 whole days!)  So all I got to do was eat and eat and eat.  And try to visit the Big Buddha which I never got to do in previous trips.  Hard to believe but it looks like Hong Kong is becoming even more modern than I last remembered.  But more importantly, the food is always the best thing.  I got to eat at Mott 32The ChairmanLung King HeenTsim Chai Kee, and 忠記粥品 (only congee that was open in the morning!).  There's about a million other restaurants I would've loved to eat at...but that'll wait till next time!

The wonder and beauty of Macau!

It's been many years since I've gone back to Macau.  Back when I went, all I remember was the beef jerky and the very cool looking streets.  Now that I'm back, I still love the beef jerky and the very cool looking streets.  I think it's from all the Portuguese influence.  It has modernized a bit (from all the gambling investments) but the small streets are still there.  They're small streets with a lot of stores (lots of beef jerky stores...I told you they're very good here) and colorful apartments on top.  I was taken to quieter areas of Macau where there were a lot of trees and cool looking homes during the times when Macau was a Portuguese colony.  I had the pleasure of staying at the Presidential Suite at the amazing JW Marriot Macau and the views were a sight to behold.  I was lucky enough to finally have hairy crab at the beginning of the season for the first time...the roe really is something special (did you know there's a special way to eat it?).  Having lunch at Lai Heen was a pleasure, what a beautiful exotic room to be eating in.  Overall my short time in Macau made really want to go back there soon to experience more of the quiet side to this tiny side of China.

p.s. oh, the Portuguese egg tarts were a delight too!