Saturday, 19 November 2016

Osaka Day 6-7: The Park Front Hotel & Universal City Walk

After our day at USJ and having a full dinner, we walked back to our hotel, The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan.

The Park Front Hotel 
(Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan)

The Park Front Hotel is one of the Official Universal Studios Japan hotels and possibly the newest as it was celebrating its one year anniversary when we were there.

The hotel has a luxurious feel and is decorated in a time-travelling theme.

Love this illuminated Christmas set up at the lobby.
Love this photo of me and the kids =)
Time-travelling photo booth for you to take pictures!
Press the buttons on the table and the watch at the back will show you different countries in time. Very fun for the kids!
Clockwise from left: Super cute "time-traveller" jackets and top hats for you to wear for the photos!;
This photo of me was taken by the girl, who's learning how to take photos like mummy *laughs*;
Mini Universal globe in the lobby.
Time-travelling theme at the lift lobby and lifts as well. Very futuristic feel =)

Despite the luxurious look and feel of the hotel, a Standard Room for 3 Persons isn't too expensive. It cost us 29,970 yen (with breakfast, tax included) per night, which is pretty reasonable considering that we paid so much more to stay within 1km of Tokyo Disneyland.

Although we booked a room with 3 single beds, the hotel was kind enough to upgrade us to a room with double super-single beds and a cot in order to accommodate all 3 adults and 2 kids comfortably.

Clockwise from left: My girl was very impatient and wants to get in!;
The closet and walkway. My boy was trying to open the door to the toilet.;
Bedroom slippers, with a kid-sized one for my girl.
Left: Bathroom with a good size bathtub unlike other hotels;
Right: The toilet is separate from the bathroom.
Clockwise from left: Double sinks is a luxury in Japan!;
All the toiletries you need, including Shisedo facial wash!;
Step stool for kids and other supplies below the sinks.

The room was unusually big considering that this is Japan, where the average hotel room wouldn't have enough floor space for you to lay out more than one luggage. You can lay out 10 big luggage in this room!

Double super-single beds and a cot
Clockwise from top left: The TV and sofa area;
Huge sofa area with a large window;
Amazing night views of USJ where we can still see people enjoying the rides;
We can also see the illuminated Tempozan Ferris Wheel that we visited 2 days ago. It's really so beautiful at night! Look carefully and you'll see interesting words and pictures on it =)
Love the amazing view of the park at night! We can still hear the screams and see the people enjoying the Hollywood ride!
There's a vending machine and ice machine outside the room next to the lifts, in case you need a drink.

That night we had a really good sleep even though we were all squashed in a super-single bed that the hubby and I barely fit into (guess we're too used to super king beds! *laughs*).

People were already on the rides so early in the morning!
Love this window sill where we got to sit and watch the theme park all day and night.
You can see the Hogwarts Castle from here =)

We headed down to Akala for our breakfast.

Clockwise from left: Buffet dining at Akala;
Super long queue to the restaurant;
  Mosaic art of New York City.
Getting seated in the restaurant
A good variety of food and drinks

My favourite part of the buffet was the kid section and the tower of fondue! So yummy!

Left: My girl getting her favourite marshmallows in white chocolate fondue;
Right: The kids corner is at the right height for the kids =)
Super love this tower of chocolate fondue! Look how creamy the chocolate is! =P
Clockwise from top left: My favourite chocolate croissant and toast;
Egg omelette made fresh by the chef;
Love this plate that allows you to compartmentalise your food so neatly!;
Yakisoba and other Japanese style dishes.
Clockwise from left: My favourite Earl Grey tea!;
My girl enjoyed her pancakes and marshmallows!;
My yummy fondue covered ice-cream. So yummy!

All in all, I would say there were hits and misses with regards to the food but I thought it was good overall =)

As our flight back to Singapore was later tonight, we had time to take selfies outside the hotel and shop at the nearby mall, Universal City Walk Osaka.

Left: The exterior of The Park Front Hotel;
Right: Me, under one of the hotel's flags, with the Universal City Walk just behind me.
A selfie at the front door of the hotel
Beautiful walkway decorations that welcome you to the hotel as they celebrate their 1st Anniversary

As we were so close to Universal Studios Japan, we thought that we'd pop by and take the photos that we didn't have time to the day before. It was the best time to take the photos too since everyone would already be in the park.

With the iconic Universal Globe

There weren't many shops at Universal City Walk but we still had fun shopping for Sanrio stuff, which is so much cheaper in Japan!

Shopping at Universal City Walk Osaka

We started to get hungry after some time and decided to have a late lunch at Bistro 309 located on 4F (see shop directory for specific location). Bistro 309 was a bakery cum restaurant, where free flow of freshly baked bread can be served if you order it as a set with the main course.

Clockwise from top left: You can see the bakery at the front of the shop and get a whiff of the fresh bread baked on premise!;
A display of the food that they offer outside the restaurant;
A good range of all kinds of bread that I love! Yummy!;
These were my favourite =)

We loved this concept! I wonder if they would ever bring this to Singapore because if they do, we'll definitely want to try it =)

The steak that I ordered.
By the way, the round charcoal block at the back is meant for you to cook your beef in case it was not cooked to your liking. So convenient and useful! =)

The steak sets with free flow bread that the hubby and I ordered cost 1790 yen and 1990 yen respectively. Pretty reasonable, considering the size and quality of the steaks that we got. We really love it!

The kids meal is also reasonably priced at 890 yen and my girl loves it too!

My girl's kids meal served on a plane. That's quite a lot of food for 890 yen!

However, be prepared to point at the menu (which has a lot of pictures) and don't ask too many questions because the staff can't really speak English very well. We managed to order using lots of gestures and simple English.

Time flies when you're having fun! 

It was soon time for us to catch the Airport Limousine to Kansai International Airport to catch our flight back to Singapore. We knew what time we wanted to board the bus because we had asked the hotel staff the day before on the details on the Airport Limousine. Do remember to check the bus schedule because you do not want to miss the bus and be late for your flight!

Saying goodbye to the hotel as we made our way to the bus terminal

The hotel staff also gave us directions and a map of how to get to the Bus Terminal. However, the map that they gave us wasn't exactly drawn to scale so it was really confusing for us at first. Thankfully, we managed to figure out that we needed to walk pass Universal Studios Japan towards the Bus Terminal that is located somewhere behind the Hogwarts Castle.

Wait at Bus Stop 1 for the Airport Limousine bus to Kansai International Airport

Look out for the Airport Limousine Bus Operator who will be walking up and down the Bus Terminal selling tickets (there is no ticketing counter). It costs 1550 yen per adult and 780 yen per child (4-12 years old).

Clockwise from left: Our tickets for both adults and child;
The family waiting patiently on a nearby bench;
Inside the bus on the way to Kansai Airport.

We were the first to board the bus, which would make a few stops along the way to pick up more passengers before heading to the airport. The total journey, inclusive of the multiple stops, was approximately 70 minutes.

After arriving at Kansai International Airport and checking in our multiple luggage, we did what we had been doing the whole time that we were in Osaka: SHOP! =)

We found a Pokemon Store selling these Kansai International Airport exclusive Pikachu!
Soooo cute!
Left: My girl posing with Pikachu in the Pokemon Shop;
Right: Mum-in-law bought one as a souvenir for her other grandchildren (the nephews) who love Pokemon.

All that waiting and shopping has made us hungry again so we had dinner at the Dining Court.

Clockwise from left: This way to the Dining Court (similar to our food court);
The place was packed with people!;
Beepers that will sound an alarm when your order is ready for collection.
Clockwise from left: This stall specialises in Okonomiyaki and Yakisoba;
Bought an omelette Yakisoba from the stall to try. It was not bad.;
Ramen as usual for the kids.
Takomasa sells the healthier version of the takoyaki by substituting the flour with egg, creating a low carb version of one of Osaka's most iconic dishes. This is a must try, especially if you're watching your weight like I am. I loved this! =)

After dinner, we walked to the Japan Airlines gate to wait for our flight.

Japan Airlines cut-out poster at Kansai Airport

The kids were getting ansty so you can imagine my relief when I saw that they had a Kids' Corner nearby!

The Kansai International Airport Kids' Corner
(the padded play area is in the shape of a plane!)
Blocks and TV to entertain the kids
Our plane has finally arrived and ready for us to board
(can you spot the Tempozan Ferris Wheel in the distance?)

It was a super long journey back due to the transit at Tokyo International Airport (where we bought loads more stuff!) but we were happy to be home =)

My reflections:

Personally, even though everyone warned me that I might prefer Kyoto to Osaka, I have to say that I loved them both! Osaka was just as awesome in my opinion! =)

Compared to Tokyo, the shopping and food in Osaka is way cheaper, even with the higher exchange rate now then when we went to Tokyo last year.

We arrived with 2 big luggage and went back with 2 luggage and SIX travel bags!! *laughs*

We left Singapore with one trolley (the left one) worth of things and came back with two!!! It's amazing we managed to fit everything into one taxi!

This was indeed an epic trip and suffice to say that we'll definitely be back!

Till we meet again! =)

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