Thursday, June 12, 2014

Japan 2014: Namba guesthouse (NUL-Live.com House), Osaka Review

On my mom's recommendation, I stayed the last leg of my Japan 2014 trip at Namba Guesthouse (NUL-Live.com House). My mom who stayed there a few months early and during that time, helped me secure a room for my group, told me of its friendly owners, its ideal location, the cosy accommodation and finally, of its resident cats.

CATS! That immediately sold the guesthouse to me and prior to my trip, I promptly cancelled my booking with a hostel in Shinsaibashi and reconfirmed my booking with Saito, the owner of Namba Guesthouse.
We arrived in Namba station in Osaka coming from Kyoto after a short stop at Nara and quickly found our way to Namba Guesthouse. The accommodation was only a 5 minutes walk from the main transportation hub of midtown Osaka and just a stone-throw away from otaku and technie heaven, Den-Den Town. .


The entrance is not easily spotted from the main road but with clear directions from Saito, we found the place with ease and took the lift to the 7th floor. Getting to the 6th or 7th floors required a password which is also given by Saito. The only challenging part was pressing in the password numbers fast enough for the lift to register it as the password as opposed to the floors.


When we got there, the owners has just stepped out for while, leaving a note welcoming us and inviting us to let ourselves in and make ourselves comfortable. We did, finding the main door unlocked but since this was Japan, safety was no issue. Our room was on the 7th floor and was right beside the owners' bedroom, separated by traditional slider doors.

Our room had a bunk bed and two Japanese style beds on the floor. Having wanted to try the Japanese experience, Cousin and I immediately planted our butt prints on the tatamis, marking our turf. Due to our massive luggages, the space was a bit tight but when they came back, the owners told us we could place our things in the joined storage room.



We were given a quick tour of our accommodation which consisted of a shared toilet, bathroom, washing machine and the living space that was attached to the kitchen. Towels, slippers, toothbrush and instant coffee was provided. A balcony for hanging clothes, overlooked the street and nearby, we would see Den-Den town's neon lights at night. It definitely felt very at-homy with the term 'make-yourself-feel-at-home" used quite literally here.

Owners Saito and wifey, Hyun were both very pleasant, friendly and accommodating. Their love story was very endearing with both having met online. Hyun who was Korean then moved to Osaka where she started studying Japanese intensively. Saito was a man of many talents with an interest in many things, all of which he pursues under one roof. My mom had packed Malaysian 3-in-1 coffee packets for the pair and my sister delivered them with wishes from mom to the couple.

Once we had settled in, I could not stop myself from asking Hyun about their neko (which means cat in Japanese) and with an excited 'ahhhh' Hyun quickly retrieved the resident kitty from downstairs and left the furball with us to entertain us for the rest of the afternoon. The ginger furball's name was Hanamizu and he was a delight to have around.

He headed straight for our suitcases, probably due to the scent of my six cats and began his curious exploration. He got all excited and hyper when I played peek-a-boo with him. Hanamizu was such a dear, much like his owners. I wished though that the other two cats that my mom got to play with, were also available but sadly they were at a friend's place during my visit. (Ne, Saito, if you are reading this, please have all your cats at your place the next time I visit ya)



If I am not mistaken, it was about 11,000yen (RM350) per person for four night which was a good deal to me. However, as for the current rates, best to inquire with Saito at their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/nambaguesthouse) or email him at takaaki.saito@corecolor.co.jp


Namba Guesthouse was Japanese hospitality in its truest form. It felt as though I stayed a friend's house as opposed to the mixed hybrid atmosphere of a hostel or the tourist feeling of a hotel. The beds were wonderful to sleep in. Its location was unbeatable, 5 minutes to Namba station, 15 minutes to Dotonbori, 5 minutes to Den Den Town and 30 minutes walk to Tennoji. Food was no issue as there were many reasonably-priced cafes and fast food in the area and if all fails, there is a Lawson convenient store just around the corner. There is no curfew nor are there keys to the apartment to worry about. As I mentioned, it was perfectly safe and we could come and go as we pleased.

Much like the pampered and well-loved Hanamizu.

Also read about:
Osaka on a Budget
Kobe: Yume Nomad Guesthouse review
Kobe Day 1: Kitano Ijinkan & Harbourland 
Kobe Day 2: Rokkosan Pasture, Mount Rokko & Sannomiya
Kyoto: Hana Hostel Hybrid Inn review 
Kyoto Day 3:Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto Day 4: Imperial Palace, Kitano Shrine, Kinkaku-ji & Gion
Kyoto Day 5: Arashiyama & Cat Cafe Nekokaigi
Osaka: Namba guesthouse (NUL-Live.com House), Osaka Review
Osaka Day 6: Nara & Dotonbori
The Artistic Manhole Covers of Japan   
Osaka Day 7:  Pokemon Center & Cherry Blossoms, Osaka Castle Park
The Flavours of Haagen Dazs Japan 
Osaka Day 8: Tsutenkaku Tower, Den Den Town & Umeda Floating Garden Observatory  
Osaka Day 9:  Ramen Museum, Kyoto Hanami & Kiyomizudera Night Illumination
Osaka Day 10: Bye Japan :(
Kobe, Kyoto, Nara & Osaka Itinerary (10-days) 

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