After we finished the hike at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, we headed back to our hotel in Osaka. We were so exhausted and, to think, we only did one activity the entire day! Like Kyoto, we only have one day in Osaka before heading out to another city so I knew the pressure was on to find an activity that was, not only fun, but also shows us all of what Osaka has to offer. My one dilemma was that Osaka is such a big city and I didn’t know where to start or how to conveniently map everything out. Luckily, I stumbled upon Cycle Osaka, and their bike route covered all the places I wanted to see and more. This was perfect for me because I’m an adult child that gets distracted or bored really easily with normal sightseeing. I need to be doing something engaging while I’m at it.
Cycle Osaka offers 3 bike courses: full day ~ 6 hours, half day ~3 hours, and evening ~3 hours. We booked the following (prices are per person):
- Full day bike course: 8,000 Yen
- Meal course (optional): 2,000 Yen
- Total cost: 10,000 Yen ~ $90 USD
The tour started at 10 am and Daniel and I were running late! Japan’s rail system is vast, complex and quite confusing. We were suppose to meet the group at JR Fukushima Station, but we got off at Fukushima Station (non-JR) — Yikes! A part of me was pretending to be on Amazing Race trying to scramble to find our next check point — Oh, the pressure! Sam, our tour guide, and the 2 families were patient enough to wait an extra 20 minutes for us to find our way around the city. We finally made it to the station and from there, we walked to Sam’s office near by to get geared up. After getting acquainted with the group and signing all the paperwork, we headed out to the city around 11 am.
Not sure if I mentioned this before, but I don’t have much luck when it comes to biking. I’m very accident prone so not sure why I picked this activity, but hey…YOLO! Within the first 10 minutes I made a bike boo-boo. As we biked through a small alley way, I randomly panicked and crashed into a bunch of parked bikes — HAHA. I was so embarrassed because there were kids in our group and they were cycling pros. The good news was that it was my only accident for the whole trip. I usually need 30 minutes to become friends with the bike beast, and you can bet me and him become best friends because, for the rest of the trip, I burned some tread through the streets of Osaka.
Sam is very knowledgeable about Japan and Osaka. He told us interesting historical stories about Osaka at each location we stopped at and showed us old pictures of what Osaka used to be like. Also, he is picture happy, which means you will get a ton of pictures from him at the end of the trip for free of charge! It was also a bonus for us to be in such great company because Daniel and I had great conversations with everyone.
During the tour, we were fed exquisitely. Our first snack was suppose to be Takoyaki, octopus balls, but the vendor that Sam usually does business with was closed for the day so we all got delicious green tea ice-cream instead at Osaka Castle Park. Next we visited Korea Town and, there, we had incredible kimchi pancakes and chap jae, Korean glass noodle. We also ended up getting the Takoyaki in Korea Town and they were balls of goodness. Lastly, we ended at Shin-Sekai and feasted on sushi.
After we got back to Sam’s office around 4:30 pm, we replenished our energy with Japanese beers, non-alcoholic beverages for the kids, and toasted to a successful trip with awesome friends. We actually stayed and mingled for another 2 hours before going our separate ways.
The total bike ride was about 41 km ~ 26 miles and, between you and I, my little bootie was sore at the end of the trip… Much respect to all avid lady cyclists out there. Despite my soreness, it was such an amazing experience seeing the whole city on a bike because we wouldn’t be able to fit everything in if we had planned this on our own.