Our Arrival in Osaka was rainy, but still exciting – they had a high school band playing and lots of kids were out to see the big boat pull into port. One thing that set Osaka apart from Sendai, Hakodate and even Tokyo was the development of the Pier area. Literally STEPS from the ship there was a huge ferris wheel, the best Aquarium in Japan and a shopping mall to boot.
On the first day in Osaka, I went to the Aquarium and at night went up on the huge Ferris Wheel where we got an amazing night time view of the Mariner.
While the Whale Shark is the star attraction at the Osaka Aquarium (“the biggest fish in captivity”), I was entranced by the school of silvery sardines that swim in a huge school in an endless loop around, around and around. It was mesmerizing to watch.
Visiting Daimon Brewery
One of the thrills of visiting Osaka was to finally Visit Daimon Sake Brewery. Daimon-san makes the world famous Mukune brand of sake and is also well known for sponsoring a sake brewing internship program starting in 2009. Daimon-san greeted us personally at the gate and beautiful entrance to his brewery. Lucky for us there was a local craft fair being hosted that day in the Brewery, so we got to see some beautiful crafts along with our tour.
Daimon-san walked us around the brewery and showed us where the rice was washed and steamed, where Koji was made using advanced technology and where the Brewing tanks and sake pressing were done. The overall feeling was of a true artisanal brewery.
After the Brewery tour, Daimon-san invited us to have lunch and sake at his restaurant located in the brewery called Mukune-tei. The Restaurant is small but wonderful with a wonderful course menu of simple, honest home cooked style meals. At this point we also sampled some Daimon Sake including a divine Shizuku, some fall nama and wonderful Junmai Ginjo sake, too.
As we finished up our meal and bid farewell to Daimon-san, I felt so lucky to be enjoying such wonderful food and sake in such beautiful surroundings. Getting out to the countryside on our own was quite an adventure and now we had to do it all in reverse. The Adventure never stops in Japan. Very special thanks to Daimon-san for such wonderful hospitality and for welcoming us so graciously. I hope I can return and visit again!
In New York City we are super lucky to have a great and authentic Takoyaki stand on 9th street. I love it. Well, now I found myself in the home of takoyaki and I had to test how they tasted in Osaka. The final report? What we can get on 9th street is super realistic and just as good as the Osaka Street vendors… and it saves you the airfare.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a sake party at a wonderful Osaka restaurant. My host was Mr. Sano who runs a well known Sake retail website called Jizake.com. Now, Sano-san really hooked me up. He arranged for dinner at Takochaya, a well known restaurant that specializes in Octopus or “tako” in Japanese. The owner is also known as a sake fan.
The sake dinner at Takochaya was a wonderful treat and Sano-san gave me many wonderful sakes to try and everything I had was delicious and made me love sake more than ever. However there was one moment that I will never forget. Once course of our sake dinner involved getting served live Octopus tentacles that was still wiggling around and grabbing on to anything in sight. To see what I’m talking about Check out my video of our main course:
I actually really enjoyed the squirming octopus and everything I ate at Takochaya. Sano-san is a huge sake fan and a wonderful person, too. I was happy to meet him on this trip and some new sake friends too.
Osaka was my last stop on this wonderful sake cruise so it’s the end of this trip to Japan and to Sake Cruise ’09. I had so many wonderful experiences! I will always think of this trip as my “Rainbow Tour” of Japan as the followed us where ever we went, just like this one on my first day on the ship:
Thanks to everyone who made our stay in Japan so wonderful and a special thank you to Scott for being such a constant support and steady guide through it all. ( Can you believe we found Yama-san together? )
I literally cannot wait to get back to Japan on another sake adventure! Until then – Kanpai one and all.