A Native’s Information to Osaka, Japan

Hi there there! My title is Hana and I’m an English trainer and travel blogger based in Osaka the place I’ve been residing for over a 12 months now.

I haven’t met an individual who wouldn’t be excited about visiting Japan, but many vacationers are likely to skip Osaka or they keep right here only for a really quick time period.

As we speak, I wish to share with you my information to this metropolis, to indicate you all of the superb locations that I really like and spark a bit little bit of wanderlust in you. Hopefully, it is going to make you wish to go to Osaka in your subsequent Japan journey!

Right here’s my native’s information to visiting Osaka, Japan!

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About Osaka

Bayside metropolis Osaka is the third-largest metropolis in Japan and an vital cultural, historic, and financial hub. Being identified, because the Metropolis of Retailers and Japan’s Kitchen, Osaka is pleased with her lengthy historical past.

This space has been settled for millennia and the handy central location turned the muse of early Japanese civilization. Again within the days, when Tokyo was an unimportant backwater often known as Edo, Osaka was already culturally thriving.

Sadly, throughout WWII, Osaka suffered and was closely marked by bombings that just about fully destroyed town. Regardless of these tragic occasions, she raised from the ashes and was rebuilt fairly quickly. As a result of the rebuild was fast and the main focus was solely on operate, I’ll be trustworthy— Osaka will not be essentially the most lovely metropolis at first look.

It’s a concrete jungle that lacks picturesque structure or Zen gardens, however there many different cool locations to see and issues to do, you simply want to present an opportunity.

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The Finest  Time to Go to

My favourite seasons in Osaka are spring and autumn, nonetheless, additionally, you will expertise a better quantity of vacationers throughout this time. The cherry blossom season in Osaka begins on the finish of March, with the flowers being in full bloom the primary week of April.

Autumn right here begins later than in the remainder of the world and if you wish to see actually lovely autumn foliage, plan your journey on the finish of November and starting of December.

I personally like September and Could with pleasantly heat temperatures and low rainfall. June and July are the wettest months and August is the most popular and essentially the most humid (actually I’d attempt to keep away from coming in July and August).

Winters have the bottom quantities of vacationers so additionally it is a season to think about. January and February are the coldest months, but the temperature doesn’t go under zero levels Celsius.

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Grand Front Osaka shopping
Osaka trains

Getting Round Osaka

Metro and Trains

The general public transportation system in Osaka might be overwhelming at first, however for those who observe the indicators on the stations, it isn’t so troublesome to navigate. Essentially the most handy technique to get across the metropolis is by prepare or metro.

There are seven completely different prepare strains working round Osaka and close by cities, plus eight metro strains. Essentially the most helpful prepare for guests is JR Osaka Loop Line that, as you’ll be able to guess, goes round Osaka and likewise takes you to the Kansai airport.

The metro strains are distinguished by completely different colours and so they have commentary in English so that you at all times know your cease.

Taxis

Taxis in Osaka are fairly costly and a trip from the airport to town can come to a few hundred US {dollars}, so in case you are touring on a funds, I’d attempt to keep away from them. Sadly, Uber nor Lyft function in Japan.

Bikes

Bikes are a extremely popular technique of transport in Osaka. If you wish to discover town like an area, I’d actually suggest hiring one for a day or becoming a member of a biking tour.

There are a number of bike rent corporations the place you will get your trip however often, you must ebook upfront.

In case you are feeling spontaneous, attempt Umegle-Chari, an Osakan tackle the Citi Bike. Their primary station is situated in between Osaka Station and Grand Entrance Osaka, all directions are in English and one hour for an electrical bike prices round 200 yen (about 2USD).

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Namba

Namba Yasaka Shrine

The place to Keep

In Osaka, you’ll find all types of lodging for each funds. From capsule inns and trendy hostels to conventional Japanese inns or luxurious stays, this metropolis has all of it. Essentially the most handy areas are across the mains stations – Namba and Osaka/Umeda from the place you’ll be able to entry all of the sights simply.

Namba Space:

  • Finances lodging :
  • Mid-range:
  • Splurge:

Osaka Station Space:

  • Finances lodging:
  • Mid-range:
  • Splurge:

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Prime Issues to Do in Osaka

Osaka Fortress

Osaka Fortress is likely one of the most iconic landmarks in Japan. It’s towering proudly in the course of Osaka and it offers you nice views over town skyline. Initially of April, Osaka Fortress Park is all coated in mild pink and white hues as there are over 5000 cherry blossom timber. It’s really spectacular.

Dotombori

The liveliest and essentially the most colourful neighborhood of Osaka. As quickly as you set your foot on this busy avenue that strains the Dotombori Canal, you’ll be stimulated by a whole bunch of neon lights, big transferring mascots on buildings, and scrumptious smells from all the road meals stalls.

If there is just one place you have got time to go to in Osaka, it needs to be Dotombori!

Harukas 300

Do you know that the very best skyscraper in Japan will not be in Tokyo however in Osaka? (Notice: Tokyo Skytree is taken into account a construction and never truly a constructing).

With its 300 meters, Abeno Harukas, is presently the very best constructing in Japan and you may go to its viewing platform, Harukas 300, on the very high. The doorway payment is 1500 yen and the worth is greater than value it. Come right here for the sundown and luxuriate in a glass of chilly Japanese beer from its terrace bar on the 60th ground.

Shitennoji Temple

Shitennoji Temple is the oldest, formally administrated Buddhist temple in Japan. On account of pure disasters and bombings throughout WWII, the unique construction was destroyed and needed to be fully rebuilt. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to nonetheless really feel the mysterious calm environment of this place.

Inside its giant grounds, you’ll find a few koi ponds with turtles, a Zen backyard, and occasional weekend markets.

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Common Studios

Universal Studios in Osaka is the primary Common Studios that was constructed outdoors of america. It fairly large, so you’ll really want a full day to see and expertise all of it!

The most well-liked sights embrace – Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park rides, reside reveals and parades, Despicable Me Minion Park for teenagers, Water World, and lots of extra.

Umeda Sky Constructing

Umeda skybuilding view 2

Umeda Sky Constructing is an ideal place to seize dinner after an extended day.

Umeda Sky Building is an architectural gem that can please anybody with a way for design. This distinctive skyscraper options an outside statement deck that’s hanging in the course of two separate buildings.

It’ll give you beautiful views over town, the river, Osaka Bay, and surrounding mountains. After visiting the statement deck, take the escalator all the way down to the basement the place you’ll find distinctive Takimi Koji Connoisseur Avenue, an indoor alley that replicates the townscape from the Showa interval and it is filled with gourmand eating places.

Kaiyukan Aquarium

Kaiyukan Aquarium is likely one of the greatest and most spectacular aquariums not solely in Asia, however on the earth. It’s situated in Osaka Bay and it hosts 17 interactive displays, which is able to take you on an academic journey from Arctic, by way of Pacific Rim, to the Ecuadorian jungle.

Be a part of a Meals Tour

Osaka is all about scrumptious meals! The tradition of this metropolis is constructed round its delicacies and there’s no surprise that it obtained the nickname “Tenka no Daikoro” or “The Nation’s Kitchen”.

You could find right here distinctive avenue meals stalls, greatest superb eating, high-end eating places, tiny izakayas, eccentric bars, and rather more. It doesn’t matter what and the place you eat, Osaka will at all times feed you properly.

One can get overwhelmed by all of the scrumptious smells from the streets, that’s why I at all times suggest becoming a member of a meals tour to be taught extra concerning the native delicacies, attempt completely different samples of well-liked dishes not solely from Osaka however the entire Kansai space, and go to locations the place solely locals go.

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Osaka Book Shopping

The Finest Locations to Go Buying

Apart from being the Nation’s Kitchen, Osaka has additionally the repute to be a client’s paradise. It’s traditionally a metropolis of retailers, due to this fact you’ll be able to anticipate finding right here high-quality merchandise for all budgets! Listed below are a few of my favourite locations to go on a buying spree.

Osaka Station Metropolis

The realm round Osaka Station has a number of superb buying malls and shops the place you will discover certainly every little thing – from souvenirs, by way of high-end style to native Japanese designer manufacturers.

Grand Front Osaka, Lucua, Hankyu Department Store, HEP Five or Daimaru all supply the very best buying experiences and they’re inside strolling distance from one another.

Lined Buying Streets – Shotengai

Namba and Dotombori space is thought for its coated buying arcades that may unfold by way of a number of kilometers. These buying streets, known as shotengai in Japanese, have an extended historical past and so they turned one of many symbols of town.

You can see right here specialty retailers, avenue meals, sweets, and worldwide manufacturers one subsequent to one another, giving the place a particular environment.

Orange Avenue

Orange Avenue could be very hip and refined, lined with fashionable cafes, trendy bars, style boutiques, craft ateliers, and furnishings makers. The realm was well-known for furnishings manufacturing, however after WWII it has slowly began to develop into a style heart.

It blends lovely elements of contemporary and outdated Japan and it’s value exploring for a few hours.

Vintage Shop Amerikamura Osaka

Amerikamura

The title Amerikamura actually interprets as American city and it has been an emblem of youth and pop-culture for over 40 years. Its streets are lined with American streetwear boutiques, cafes, and burger joints however the true treasures are hiding within the thrift and classic shops!

There are a number of nice retailers in Amerikamura that promote each used and new gadgets and you may usually get them for a fraction of a value that you’d pay elsewhere.

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takoyaki
taiyaki

Meals You Should Strive in Osaka

Osaka is a vacation spot for foodies and its true spirit lies in its meals tradition which is represented by the well-known saying: “Kuidaore!” = “Eat till you drop!

Listed below are a number of dishes which have originated in Osaka (or they’ve shut ties to Osaka and Kansai space) and that you simply shouldn’t miss out!

Takoyaki

Takoyaki is a well-known avenue meals that originated in Osaka however quickly it was unfold throughout Japan. Takoyaki are gooey octopus balls coated in scrumptious takoyaki sauce and sprinkled with nori seaweed or inexperienced onions. Locals and vacationers love them a lot that you will discover varied souvenirs with them.

In Osaka it isn’t troublesome to discover a takoyaki stall, they’re actually on each nook and a few of them supply completely different variations of takoyaki, for instance with cheese, squid ink, or edamame beans.

My favourite takoyaki stall is Akaoni in Dotombori, which can also be listed in Michelin information as top-of-the-line takoyaki within the metropolis!

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is my private favourite Japanese dish. It’s a thick savory pancake that’s crunchy on the surface and creamy on the within. It is vitally well-liked everywhere in the nation and it’s thought-about as one of many “soul meals of Japan.”

Everybody loves okonomiyaki!

okonomiyaki

There are two forms of this dish – a Hiroshima fashion with noodles, which is absolutely very thick and heavy, and Osaka fashion full of cabbage. I favor the one from Osaka however I counsel you attempt each in your journey round Japan.

Taiyaki

Taiyaki is manufactured from pancake batter that’s poured into fish molds and full of candy crimson azuki beans and it’s bought on the street meals stalls. Azuki beans are the unique filling however as we speak you will discover many different variations, similar to matcha, vanilla custard, chocolate and many others.

This dessert could seem easy but it surely has truly an extended historical past. It was created over 100 years in the past and its creation remained comparatively unchanged ever since.

The title taiyaki comes from phrase tai which implies seabream in Japanese, but it surely’s additionally much like the phrase medetai which interprets as completely satisfied or affluent, so this dish is commonly eaten for an excellent luck!

Battera Sushi

I wager everybody has already tried or not less than heard of sushi. However have you learnt what battera sushi is? Battera sushi, known as additionally oshizushi or pressed sushi, is a sort of sushi that originated in Osaka.

It’s made by stacking slices of mackerel, salmon or shrimp which might be cured in vinegar, along with kombu seaweed and sushi rice, and urgent them into rectangular shapes. The fish slices are so skinny they’re virtually see-through.

Melon Pan

Whereas melon pan doesn’t have its origins in Osaka, nor in Kansai space, it’s certainly one of my favourite treats, so right here it’s! Melon pan is a candy bun coated in a layer of candy cookie dough that provides it a little bit of a crunch. It’s known as melon pan as a result of its form and sample resembles a melon (cantaloupe), but it surely doesn’t have a melon taste.

melonpan

I really like the essential melon pan, however you should purchase many variations, for instance with chocolate chips, full of whipped cream, strawberry taste and many others. Should you see a stall that sells these goodies freshly baked, deal with your self to at least one! In any other case, these from 7 Eleven are additionally fairly good.

Kushi Katsu

One other Osaka’s favourite is kushi katsu – a dish of meat or greens lower into mouthful items, caught on a skewer, battered, and deep-fried to a crispy golden end. Kushi refers back to the bamboo skewers and katsu means meat cutlet.

The very first kushi katsu was ready in 1920 in Daruma restaurant that served this moderately easy dish to the teams of labour staff who have been coming dwelling after an extended day. As we speak, kushi katsu is loved by everybody and it’s well-paired with a beer or sake.

Kitsune Udon

Dishes with udon noodles are well-liked throughout Japan, however the usual kitsune udon from Kansai area is attribute for its mild broth and a bit of deep-fried tofu, which simmered in a candy sauce. It’s stated that this dish was first created in Osaka and it represents the true soul meals of town.

And the place does its title come from? There’s a saying in Japan that “fox likes to eat tofu” and kitsune means fox.

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33 Bar Terrace Brunch Osaka

The 33 Tea Bar and Terrace

The place to Eat and Drink in Osaka

For Breakfast

  • The 33 Tea Bar and Terrace – Apart from scrumptious meals and low this locations gives you epic views from the 33rd
  • Café Avenue close to Namba Station is filled with cute cafes. My favourite is Café Mog Namba that makes the fluffiest pancakes.

For Lunch

  • Picnic in Tennoji Park – Tennoji Park spreads proper below the very best skyscraper in Japan – Abeno Harukas. It’s lined with a wide range of cafes and eating places serving Japanese and worldwide dishes. Among the cafes will pack you a picnic hamper with meals, drinks, and a blanket so you’ll be able to eat your lunch outdoors on the garden whereas having fun with a relaxed afternoon.

For Dinner

  • Izakaya Toyo – Should you watched the Netflix documentary Street Food, you should bear in mind Toyo’s constructive angle and touching story. His Izakaya is situated close by Kyobashi station and I can extremely suggest visiting this place. Nonetheless, it isn’t open every day, so take a look at the opening occasions beforehand.

For Drinks

  • Misono Building – The twond ground of this uncommon constructing in Namba is filled with quirky bars with completely different themes! You could find right here a maid café, a classic Nintendo bar, a room filled with Pikachu toys, and a pub the place they offer you a haircut, or a shisha bar.
  • Deepening Submarine Bar Shinka – On this bar, you’ll really feel like inside a submarine.
  • Kinguu – One other theme bar, however this time you’ll find your self in a Victorian horror.
  • In case you are a fan of fancy cocktails, don’t miss out on Bar Augusta or Bar Nayuta.

For Worldwide Delicacies

In case you are touring round Japan for some time and you’re craving one thing completely different than Japanese meals (for a change), Osaka has some superb worldwide delicacies eating places. Listed below are a few of my favorites:

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Himeji 1Himeji Temple Last Samurai Osaka Day Trip

The Finest Day Journeys from Osaka

Osaka is the proper base to discover Kansai area as it’s situated proper in its heart. Kansai is an enormous space with lots to see. Listed below are few of my favourite weekend escapes.

Himeji

Himeji is a small city in Hyogo prefecture, about an hour prepare trip from Osaka Station. It’s well-known for its magnificent white fort that’s towering above town heart and is likely one of the 12 remaining unique castles of Japan (most castles have been destroyed by pure disasters or throughout WWII bombings).

Himeji Fortress will not be the one excellent spot to go to right here although! Within the surrounding mountains, a gorgeous picket temple is hiding. Shoshazan Enyo-ji temple was based in 966 and it has the identical religious significance as Koyasan, however as we speak it’s extra often known as the filming location of The Last Samurai.

Kyoto can also be inside one hour by prepare from Osaka, however I’d strongly suggest you keep there for greater than at some point. For inspiration on what to do in Kyoto, take a look at this 3-day Kyoto itinerary.

Kobe

Port metropolis Kobe is a couple of 30-minute prepare trip from Osaka station and it’s well-known primarily for the well-known Kobe beef, nonetheless, town itself has rather more to supply. Stroll across the port, go to a gallery, take a cable automobile as much as Mount Rokko, or hike as much as the Nunobiki Waterfalls…

There are various prospects for find out how to spend right here a pleasing day.

Nara

I wager a lot of you heard of Nara and wish to go to this charming little city, which is situated lower than an hour prepare trip from Osaka station. Nara is legendary for its giant park with over a thousand of free-roaming deer that like to simply hold round and you may feed them.

Apart from the deer, Nara has many superb temples, breathtaking gardens, and a singular meals scene so it’s undoubtedly a spot to go to for at some point!

Katsuo-ji Temple

Katsuo-ji is a mysterious Buddhist temple set within the mountainside within the north of Osaka. It’s lovely all 12 months spherical however significantly in autumn as it’s surrounded by numerous maple timber.

You may get to to Katsuo-ji by crimson Midosuji metro line (leaves from each Umeda and Namba stations) after which take a bus that can take you proper to the temple. The temple grounds function Zen gardens, a koi pond, a number of halls, a memento store, and a restaurant. It’s a good half-day journey from Osaka.

Minoh falls hike 1
Minoh falls fried maple leaf 2

Minoh Falls

One other nice autumn vacation spot is Minoh Falls within the north of Osaka (it’s truly attainable to hike there from Katsuo-ji temple, however heavy rains usually make the trail inaccessible so verify upfront if there was any injury previous to your hike).

Minoh Falls is a simple hike from Mino-o station by way of a magical forest with essentially the most lovely colours in autumn. In Mino-o, they’ve a specialty that you must attempt as soon as there. The realm is all coated in maple timber and the locals truly go to select up the leaves and deep-fry them.

It’s a unusual however yummy and crunchy deal with! Have you ever ever eaten a leaf?

Mount Koya

Mount Koya, or Koyasan in Japanese, is likely one of the most unusual and exquisite locations you’ll be able to go to in Japan!

This UNESCO Heritage Website is situated in Wakayama Prefecture on the south of Osaka and the journey there may be a bit longer (one thing over two hours included a cable automobile that can take you to the mountain high), however it’s absolutely value your time!

Koyasan is the middle of Shingon Buddhism and it is a crucial pilgrimage place. The entire space is just breathtaking. You may even spend an evening right here in one of many older temples that have been became lodgings for pilgrims.

Hoshi No Buranko

In case you are craving a day in nature, Hoshida Park will welcome you with open arms. Positioned within the Ikoma Mountains that stretch on the borders of Osaka and Nara prefectures, this forest park is certainly one of Osaka’s greatest secret spots to observe autumn foliage.

Hoshi No Buranko is certainly one of Japan’s largest wooden-floor suspension bridges and its title poetically interprets into English as The Star Swing. Apart from the bridge, there are different sights in Hoshida Park, like a climbing wall, and the hike is satisfying all 12 months spherical.

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Useful Ideas and Enjoyable Info

On Tipping

Tipping in eating places will not be a typical customized in Japan and a few waiters and enterprise house owners could also be even offended if you wish to depart them a tip (they attempt to at all times ship impeccable service and so they don’t really feel they should be rewarded for it).

Nonetheless, in case you are becoming a member of a tour, it’s at all times good to depart a tip to your tour information.

Comfort Shops + Merchandising Machines

In Japan, comfort shops and merchandising machines are on each nook. Should you determine to buy one thing, don’t devour it whereas strolling, in any other case, you’ll be able to expertise some appears of disapproval.

In Japan, everybody appreciates their clear streets in order that they merely cease to get pleasure from their drink or snack after which transfer alongside, in order that they don’t make mess.

Possibly you heard that there’s a lack of garbage bins in Japan and that’s true! You may often discover them close by merchandising machines and comfort shops, so for those who eat and drink there, you have got a spot to throw your rubbish away.

Taking the Prepare

Trains are a quiet place in Japan and the identical stands in Osaka. Listening to loud music, speaking in your telephone, or talking loudly is taken into account very impolite.

Attempt to All the time Have Money on You

Japan is a rustic the place individuals nonetheless use money, moderately than credit score/debit playing cards. Though they’re turning into an increasing number of frequent, not all of the locations settle for playing cards and particularly not worldwide ones.

ATMs in Japan might be fairly old-school and never all of them settle for playing cards of various banks. Your greatest shot to withdraw money is at 7-Elevens. You could find a 7-Eleven on virtually each avenue and so they even have customized ATMs in some prepare stations.

Which Aspect of the Avenue to Be On

Should you journey throughout Japan and also you go to Osaka, you’ll discover that folks right here stroll on the sidewalk and stand on escalators on a unique aspect than the remainder of the nation.

Osakans stroll and stand on the suitable aspect, whereas in different cities it’s on the left. And why is that you could be ask? The reason lies previously when Tokyo was town of samurais and Osaka town of retailers.

Samurais most popular to be approached from the left so they may draw their swords extra simply, whereas retailers often held their cash of their proper hand to have the ability to defend them higher from strangers (notice – this extra of a rumor and a comic story to inform moderately than an actual historic reality).

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I hope you loved my little information to Osaka. When you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us within the feedback!

Have you ever ever been to Osaka? What are your impressions of this metropolis?

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