Tiny white flecks dancing through the air, up, down, all around. They land on our jacket, our hair, then disappear.


We laugh with delight at this wonderful sight.

When I gazed out of the hotel room this morning was greeted by a view across the South of Osaka. The sky was blue with scattered grey clouds, the source of this snow.

Not a depressingly grey winter day, not at all!

We returned to a favourite for breakfast, the Muu Muu Diner in the Mio building above Tennōji station. “Hawaiian” pancakes with egg, bacon and salad. Did a little shopping, for the purpose of the day was to equip B and Alex with winter gear. Then we crossed back to our hotel to wait for Machiko, a local teacher at an English language school who had stayed with us in Australia previously.

What we didn’t realise is that there are two Miyako hotels in Tennōji. Ours and the much posher Marriott Osaka Miyako next door which has a level 19. Ours doesn’t go up that high!

Once the confusion was resolved we met Machiko and took a walk across to Q Mall while snowflakes floated in the sunlight.

Machiko introduced us the mochi (rice cake) and cheese okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage and egg pancake). Even better than the original!

After lunch we farewelled Machiko, who had to prepare for her night lessons, and began an interminably long wander through the shops. Alex complained bitterly, but he did get to play at a couple of game arcades.

Another pancake (well, ice cream and chocolate crepe) later we returned to the hotel to prepare for a trip to Spa World. But then I discovered that the wonderfully hot swimming pool was closed for reconstruction and we would be left separated, B to go to the ladies spa floor, Alex and I on the other.

Can that. Anyway, we should be visiting an onsen tomorrow.

A Hello Kitty tram outside Q Mall.

Sunset from our room

Next door is the Abeno Harukas Tower, 60 floors and 300 metres high with a lookout up the top.

The entry price is expensive, the fast lifts with the lights flashing past vertiginous, but the view from the top was worth it as dusk fell upon this vast city.

Tiny trains snaked their way to and from the stations below, the lights of the regularly spaced cars along the highways like a glowing conveyer belt and the slow shooting stars of aircraft descending into Kansai Airport while the Tempozan Ferris wheel flashed through the rainbow. The city looked truly alive.

The centre of the top of the building is uncovered and opens on to a “garden” area, overlooked by the giant blue illuminated mascot of the site. It was here that we watched more snowflakes drift down, flickering in the light against the dark night sky.


Afterwards we caught the left down and crossed once more over to Q Mall, where we had a dinner of… Not pancakes.

All you can eat shabu-shabu. Not the drug, the meat and vegetables you cook in broth at you table. So good and so perfect for a cold day.

Alex has a obsession with Japanese railway ticket gates and demanded that he catch a train. After forcing him to put up with shopping for much of the day we acquiesced and caught the subway to Shinsaibashi. Then we walked down the covered arcades of Shinsaibashi-suji and Ebisu-suji along with thousands of other, mainly Asian, tourists. At some shops I heard the girls calling out greetings in Japanese and Mandarin.

The Glico Man sign has been updated. It’s a higher resolution screen now instead of the old neon lights. Disappointing in a way, but not to the hordes taking selfies.

Don’t you hate it when everyone else discovers a place? Maybe I should stop sharing.

B finally managed to find some snow boots for tomorrow, then we caught the subway from Namba back to Tennōji.

Should everything work out we should be seeing a lot more snow tomorrow and discover some real cold. And more dancing snowflakes!

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