We flew in to Osaka Kansai International airport (KIX). What really impressed me was how efficient the process and crowd control was at immigration. They processed people incredibly fast. Almost Changi level, but accomplished with about half the real estate. No photos of the setup, for obvious reasons.
Transit to our hotel, Toyoko Inn Osaka Shinsaibashi Nishi, was really easy.
For those of you who haven't taken transit in Japan (it was my first time too), it's surprisingly easy, despite the complexity of the network. Google maps works for the most part, signage is good, and the general orderliness of human flow makes it reasonably easy to figure things out, even if you don't understand Japanese. At most stations, there are amazing staff who can point you in the right direction.
Toyoko Inn Shinsaibashi west
We stayed at Toyoko Inn Shinsaibashi west. It's right beside Yotsubashi station, check in was a breeze, room was clean and comfy, if a little small.
Toyoko Inn also had a pretty nice breakfast spread, which was a nice filling breakfast before our long trip to Naoshima.
Tsurumaru Udon Yotsubashi
Our first meal was at Tsurumaru Udon Yotsubashi. It was just a 5 minute walk from the hotel, and it was cheap and delicious. Overall, our short evening and night in Osaka was pleasant and delicious.
Thoughts on Osaka
Our Osaka stay while enjoyable, was pretty short. There's definitely tons to check out in a subsequent trip. Our stint here this time was largely to allow us to land in the evening and have somewhere to stay over before taking the bullet train to Okayama the next day. Osaka is definitely worth a repeat visit to explore more of.