Batch 2, aka the younger brother, was due to join us in Japan in the evening of our second day. While waiting for him, we spent the day down Tenjinbashisuji and other places around the shopping street before we meet up with him at Umeda Station when he arrives…
[Osaka & Kyoto | Japan December 2018]
7 December 2018
Osaka Tenmangū, Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, Tanchou, Pulala Tenma and Sanwa Coffee Works
The folks are early risers so, we had some breakfast and moved off towards Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street. We intended to spend the rest of our day there with our first stop at Osaka Tenmangu – The shrine devoted to the Shinto deity, Sugawara no Michizane, who is worshipped by many people as a god of scholarship and fine arts.
OSAKA TENMANGŪ 大阪天満宮
According to the shrine records, Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar and politician of the Heian Period of Japan, went to pray at Daishogun Shrine when he lost a power struggle at the imperial court in the year 901.
Seven pine trees sprung up overnight in front of Daishogun Shrine when he passed away in the year 949. Upon hearing this, the emperor enshrined Michizane at Daishogun Shrine and built Osaka Tenmangu around the Shrine.
Today, Osaka Tenmangu is famous for its festival, the Tenjin Matsuri, which is held annually on July 24 and 25 and is ranked as one of Japan’s top three festivals besides Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Tokyo’s Kanda Matsuri. During the festival, the shrine’s deity is paraded in a divine palanquin (mikoshi) through the city in a joyful land and river procession, accompanied by fireworks.
By the way, those sake barrels make up the wall and doorway leading to… the toilet if you are wondering! 😜
TENJINBASHISUJI 天神橋筋商店街 & TANCHOU 丹頂
After Osaka Tenmangu, we made our way towards the 2.6km long Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street that is said to be the longest shopping street in Japan. There are approximately 800 stores from old fashioned diners, kitchenware or knife shops, kimono stores, street food and all sorts you can imagine but, a lot of stores were still closed when we arrived since we were early that morning.
The stillness of the shopping street at the beginning allowed us to notice the beautiful sewage or drain covers and, it got more and more happening as we walked down the shopping street and more stores opened for the day.
It was indeed an eye-opening walk down the shopping street but, we really did not find anything interesting to take home from there. Or maybe, we are just not the shopaholic type hahaha…
Thank goodness for the eye-catching flaming bowl of ramen sampuru (food model) at the eatery’s doorway, we found Tanchou, my favourite discovery on Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street, that serves Chawanmushi Ramen.
No, you did not read it wrong! The eatery serves ramen with steamed egg on top and has a straightforward menu with only a handful of options of how you will like your Chawanmushi Ramen served – With chashu, flaming cheese or flaming blue cheese. They were also prepared with an English menu that definitely made things easy for us.
Seriously, this is the thing for those who love both their chawanmushi and ramen. And, I will not forgive all you people who know about this place and not talked about this!
We also made a detour from Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street to see Pulala Tenma that afternoon. It was not that we intended to whip up something and needed some ingredients, but I have a thing for taking a walk in a local market when travelling so, I dragged everyone along with me.
I supposed we were the only tourists that ventured to see the market and, the fresh and local produce was quite a sight! We left with a bunch of fruits that looks so juicy and yummy to savour later in the evening.
SANWA COFFEE WORKS
Anyway, we spotted Sanwa Coffee Works on our way to Pulala Tenma and made a mental note to head back after checking out the market.
It is their original store and roastery with a small cafe and retail space at the front that sits up to about only six to eight customers. We were the only ones that afternoon when we sat in for an afternoon coffee (very aromatic, very satisfying) to warm up a little and rest our feet after all that walking before we continue on our way to meet up with the younger brother. 😊
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