After a long day of shopping and sightseeing in Osaka, how about some French gourmet cuisine and live piano? Perhaps, Himawari Gourmet & Music Cruise is the perfect way for you to end an exciting day of sightseeing in Osaka.
Although Osaka boasts several cruises along its many rivers with romantic light-ups at night, Himawari Cruise is one of the few unique cruises that offers you both a full package of culinary delight, as well as, live music, while cruising along Osaka’s main river.
The Himawari cruise
departs and returns to the OAP (Osaka Amenity Park) pier at the river front of the Imperial Hotel Osaka. Three different cruises are offered in a day, lunch (11:30–12:50), afternoon tea (15:30–16:20) and dinner (19:00–20:30). I took the 90 minute dinner cruise in December 2012, and it was indeed a memorable experience.
The cruise opened for boarding at 18:45 and left the port at 19:00 sharp. The captain and crew welcomed us dressed in handsome, white uniforms.
The interior of the cruise is neo-classic, exerting an elegant atmosphere to the space. There are 10 tables with seating for at least 40. The mini bar serves cocktails. Right in front of the bar, the pianist played an elegant Mozart piece. After being invited to my seat, the waitress provided the special drink menu offering various attractive drinks.
Renowned chefs from the Imperial Hotel Osaka prepared the meals served on the Himawari Cruise. The meal began with the hors d’oeuvre, a gateau of snow crab and shrimp mousse. The cruise started off by first heading east, passing under the Sakuranomiya Bridge, then Kawasaki Bridge and then entering the Hirano River. The dinner cruise passed through a total of 11 bridges with most of them lit up for the night.
Next served was the crystal consommé soup, which was served piping hot, light, and flavorful.
The first main of Kinmedai (alfonsino) and scallop Poêlé were grilled to perfection, served with a yuzu beurre blanc sauce. The next main dish was beef fillet and winter vegetables with Madeira sauce. The beef was tender and the flavorfully rich sauce complements the meat. As I was savoring the beef, the boat made a turn and the majestic Osaka castle came into sight as the cruise entered the Tosabori River. As I was finishing the second main dish, the boat made a second turn, the illuminated Osaka Central Public Hall; a neo-renaissance building made of red bricks.
The dessert for the day was milky chocolate mousse served with kumquat and orange sauce. The mousse was indulgent, rich and beautifully garnished. As dessert was served, the crew invited the guests to step atop the deck for an open-air view of the night.; it was a delightful experience after a hearty meal. What’s more, when the boat cruised under a bridge, I could see the architecture up-close, another highlight to my Himawari Cruising experience.
The Himawari cruise is an excellent choice if you are wondering how to spend your night in Osaka. All five senses are stimulated as you enjoy the great food, the beautiful music and have your eyes entertained with the charming and magnificent Osaka night view. Seeing Osaka from one of its most famous rivers is indeed something not to be missed when you are in town.
You can get more information and reserve your cruise at 06-6942-6699. Himawari Cruise is not in operation on Mondays during off seasons and from early January to February. The OAP pier is accessible from the west exit of Sakuranomiya Station on the JR Loop Line (8 minutes on foot) or Minami Morimachi Station on subway Tanimachi Line and Sakaisuji Line (10 minutes on foot).
By Jeannie Gan
and Barry Louie