In this new journey I entered for the first time in the land of the rising sun, Japan. During my 6 days in Nipponese land I had the opportunity to visit two of its most historically significant cities: Osaka and Kyoto. If you want to know how was my adventure and the things to do in Osaka, do not hesitate and read on.
Things to do in Osaka
Osaka (Osaka-shi, literally big hill) is, with about 2 million inhabitants, the third largest city in Japan after Tokyo and Yokohama. Located on the main island of Honshu is part of the Kansai region and is the core of the metropolitan area Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto home of over 18 million people. Capital for a few years and a key point on maritime connections with neighboring countries such as Korea and China, Osaka continued its gradual development until the early twenty-first century, when it was overtaken as the center of political and economic power by the current capital, Tokyo. However, Osaka still has vestiges of the great city that was and still is.
After landing at Kansai Airport from Kuala Lumpur, I went immediately to my hostel, stopping before that to buy the “Icoca & Haruca” card. Paying 4,060 yen (about 31 €) the card allows you to get around the city without any problem, return trip from the airport and even travel to nearby cities like Kyoto and Nara. Remind this: you have to have a little patience and imagination to understand the subway. Remember also that, by an application and a code that you will get when buying the card, you can enjoy free wifi access in many parts of the country.
After locating the hostel and spend a first cold night there, I decided to “climb” to the top of the tallest tower, of the tallest building in the whole country, the Abeno Harukas. Up there, 300 meters above the ground, you can enjoy panoramic views of the entire city thanks to the glass floor and walls at 60th floor. If you also want to eat there, you can go down to the 58th floor where you will find a nice cafe. If you do not like heights, you can also stay on the 16th floor observatory and you would be saving 1,500 yen (11 €).
My next stop was one of the oldest temples in Japan and the first to be built by the state, Shitennoji Temple. Founded in 593 by the main driver of Buddhism in the country, Prince Shotoku, the temple had to be rebuilt several times due to various fires that have taken place. However, all reconstructions followed always the original appearance of the design of the sixth century. Opens every day from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and it is one of the points that are worth visiting, its price helps, just under 3 euros.
After Shitennoji, a 6 km walk, a “bizcochito” (aka one muffin), a fizzy Japanese drink and 6 “Takoyaki” balls (a kind of octopus dumplings with cheese), I arrived at Osaka Castle.
Like many other monuments in Japan, the castle’s history is replete with battles and restorations. Built in 1583, was the general Toyotomi Hideyoshi who attempted the building became the center of a new and unified Japan under his rule. However, when he died, Tokugawa troops attacked and destroyed the castle thus ending the Toyotomi lineage. After this, Tokugawa built the fortress in 1620; however, a fire produced by a lightning ended with the main tower in the year 1665.
It was not, however, until 1931 when the current version of the tower was built. Later, in the seventies, many restorations were also carried out in order to provide the castle with modern interior look and an elevator for easy access to the upper floors.
During my visit to Osaka, I was lucky to run into a beautiful Christmas market at the foot of Umeda Skybuilding. Everything was full of small houses and sweets in a true German style. An unforgettable experience, coupled with the night view from the top of the building made the night even more special.
I have left for last the two areas I like most in Osaka; Shinsekai and Dotonbori (Namba). The first one, Shinsekai, was developed before the war and forgotten decades later. People say that Paris and Coney Island (New York) were the models followed in order to develop Shinsekai.
Proof of this is that the Tsutenkaku tower was built in 1912 after completion of the Eiffel Tower. This tower stands in the heart of the district and has become a symbol that evokes nostalgia Shinsekai.
Finally, my favorite part of the city: Dotonbori (Namba). Dotonbori has become one of the main attractions for those visiting Osaka because of the large number of shops and restaurants in the area.
There you will find the most characteristic icons of the city, the giant athlete on a blue track, which is the symbol of Glico candy. Every day, hundreds of people decide to immortalize imitating the brand slogan. Beside him, another big light panel rises announcing the country beer, Asahi. No doubt, there is no better way to end your visit to Osaka that taking a photo here.
Remember also that in the same area you can find Amerikamura Namba, Shinsaibashi and Den Den Town, neighborhoods that will make your visit even more endearing to Osaka. I hope you enjoyed this post and that it can help you to know the things to do in Osaka. Do not forget to subscribe and to share the video!