We took the train from Tokyo to Osaka station which was only a couple hours and made it to our hotel by mid afternoon. We stayed in a fairly central area surrounded by walking streets that were filled with shops, pachinko and restaurants. There are a couple different districts in Osaka and we were within walking distance from most of them.
The Shinsaibashi Suji shopping street is a must see, there is everything from vintage to modern and international to local shops. The diversity of people as you walk around is enough to keep anyone interested. There are tons of great restaurants around Dotonbori and walking along the river is a nice change of pace from the streets.
The temperature while we were there was around 35 degrees celsius and we were all drenched the moment we stepped outside. We had already gotten used to the heat and overwhelming crowds but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with either. We spent most of our time exploring and finding places with air-conditioning and cold beers to keep us cool.
I would highly reccomend taking a trip to the Tsutenkaku Tower for sunset, it is a beautiful building with a spectacular view of the city. You can walk from there to Shinsekai district where there are tons of boutique shops and restaurants and even a ferris wheel next to the mall. Feel free to explore more of the walking streets but be warned, as night falls this area can get a little seedy.
The Osaka castle is worth a visit but definitely not something that should take more than an hour. It’s interest lies in the giant moat that surrounds the castle which they offer boat rides on but seemed a little boring to me so we opted to walk instead. The huge walls, giant doors and ornate decorations are a wonder and worthy of some great pictures, there is an option to pay to go inside the castle but from what we heard it’s pretty empty on the inside.
We spoke a bunch about food in Japan and what we should eat so we did some research and found a really authentic restaurant only a short walk from our hotel. That night we had some of the best Sukiyaki we have ever experienced. There is nothing like having an authentic meal in the heart of Japan.
Each room is designed to make you feel like you’re in a traditional Japanese house, the table is set low to the ground and you sit on a pillow while a traditionally dressed woman prepares the meal right in front of you. We were blown away with the delicious thin cuts of marbled beef, noodles and beer and found ourselves perfectly full by the end of it. The woman preparing our meal gave us directions on how to eat each bite. We had to crack an egg into our bowl and whisk it all up and once the beef was ready we would take it and dip it into the raw egg. It created a creamy and savoury, salty and delicious bite.
Also, keep your eye out for fresh watermelon juice as its very popular along the pedestrian streets and super refreshing during the hot days and nights. Remember to have fun, Osaka is a great place to try new things and meet new people. We are so excited for the time to come when we can go back to Osaka!
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