Osaka, a city often overlooked by tourists who travel to Japan. With Tokyo and Kyoto to compete with, Osaka is not on everyones must-see list.
We chose to fly back from this city so we wouldn’t have to travel all the way back to Tokyo to fly back home. When I was doing research on what to do in Osaka, the websites that helped me with all the other cities didn’t have much information about Osaka. Most of them recommended seeing Universal Studios, but we just visited Universal Studios in California last September. What else was there to do in Osaka?
The sun was shining and our hotel is located just across the Osaka Castle Park. We decided to head over there, enjoy the sun and have a look at the castle. The park was very busy with lots of people eating and playing in the sun. We had some barbecue (food is fantastic everywhere in Japan, but in Osaka they take it to a higher level!) as well and took some photos of Osaka Castle. We wanted to go in, but the line was huge! Viewing the castle from a nice bench in the sun was good enough for us 😉
I added some shaved ice to my menu and walked around the park. We found another temple where people could rest and even make use of a free foot bath.
While walking around the park, we saw a lot of kids dressed in judo/karate outfits. A little while later, they were all headed to one of the buildings in the park. We followed them and watched them fight for a while. We’re still not sure which martial art they were performing, but it was great to see those kids exercising their sport with so much passion. I was surprised by the girls that fought the boys!
We haven’t really taken the time to go shopping yet (boehhh for not shopping much in Tokyo!) and read that Osaka is one of the best places to go for all kinds of merchandise. I decided to go to Namba, one of the two city centers of Osaka. We weren’t the only ones who wanted to go shopping there that day 😉 Namba is filled with department stores, but the best place to go is Shinsaibashi Suji. This is a covered shopping arcade filled with all kinds of stores. It’s very popular and it took us a while to pass through it. There were SO many people! Mark couldn’t see the end of the masses and trust me, with his 6ft 6 height he can see more than I can.
The end of Shinsaibashi Suji marks the beginning of another shopping arcade: Ebisubashi Suji. It’s not that different, as it’s still covered and still offers the same types of stores. This shopping arcade however runs parallel to one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations called Dotonbori. Dotonbori is best enjoyed in the evening when it is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign as you can see pictured above. Dotonbori is a popular shopping and entertainment district and is also known as a food destination. There are lots of cuisines available, but of course we chose (conveyor belt) sushi.
We’re taking a day trip tomorrow to Nara, to see our very last temples and shrines in Japan. It will only take us about 40 minutes to get there. I can’t wait to see the deer!