Osaka is our last point during our 10-day trip to Japan. We started in Tokyo and ended in a city that is equally loud, glittering, and a bit overrated (literally!). A little in a hurry, a little already tired, but we still found the strength to see at least some of the most interesting places.
Table of contents
Journey to Osaka
We arrived in Osaka around noon on the 9th. day of our Japan trip. This was our last stop, during which we planned to see a bit of the city and in the evening head directly to the airport. We arrived in the city by train using our JR Passes to Osaka/Umeda station.
Osaka is the third largest city in Japan. After bustling Tokyo, quieter Kyoto and many smaller towns, we were looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the city, the bright neon lights, giant screens and advertisements. Osaka is just the equivalent of Tokyo – an entertainment, commercial, industrial and cultural center. Life here picks up speed, color and clarity, relegating historical and monumental sites to the background. Anyway, the symbol of Osaka has become one of the famous advertising neon signs, not temples or chrams (remember that Osaka Castle still competes valiantly with the neon sign…). So we set off to the center to feel the beating heart of the metropolis.
It wasn’t until Osaka, at the end of the trip, that we were able to capture special carriages in which only women can travel. We are writing as a warning so that no white man accidentally takes advantage of them ;) Anyway, not only because of the restrictions on passengers we took a picture of the train.
However, before heading to the most interesting places in Osaka, we decided to look for something to eat. It was to be tasty and fast, which means the choice was something we all know as fast food. Bad luck that just where we left the station there was nothing like that to eat, but after a short walk we managed to get to the local equivalent of McDonalds.
And here’s a pleasant surprise, or even several. First of all, looking at the elderly ladies behind the cash registers, we had a lot of doubts about whether we would be able to get along with them. Fortunately, they spoke very good English, were happy to explain everything, and we were finally able to easily express what we wanted to eat. Second, the food was really decent! And what place are you referring to? About Mos Burger – about the Japanese-originated fast-food chain.
Flavors typically Asian and extremely tasty! It’s worth a look for a break from typical Japanese food. We were tempted by something classic, Japanese and green (we especially recommend the shrimp burgers) ;)
Sightseeing in Osaka
However, back to the topic of the entry…. For starters, however, before diving into the city’s hustle and bustle, we decided to head toward a more peaceful, yet one of Osaka ‘s more recognizable sites, the Ōsaka-jō (Kin-jō) Castle, known as the golden or brocade castle. From afar you can see a white building rising above the trees, with golden ornaments and a distinctive green roof. Its origins date back to the 16th century, however, it was destroyed and rebuilt. The current appearance is due to reconstruction work in 1931 and a refresh in 1991.
The castle can be viewed inside, and a terrace on the 8th floor is also open to the public. The castle itself is surrounded by a moat and walls, and there are more than a dozen buildings, including a shinto chram.
The castle grounds are the equivalent of Tokyo’s imperial palace – a large, green area in the center, which is so hard to find in cramped urban developments. We no longer count the times we regretted being in Japan when the branches are adorned with flowers. However, if we were counting them, we would have just added another one.
We then took the JR Loop line to Shin-Imamiya station, which we used to reach the next designated point on the map – Shinsekai.
Shinsekai is a district that was established in the early 20th century for the World EXPO. One of its parts was built on the model of Paris (the northern part) and the other on the model of New York (the southern part). The district was destroyed during World War II, but was rebuilt soon after the war.
In addition to numerous bars and stores, here you can see the Tsutenkaku Tower, which is more than 100 meters tall.
The place is not to be seen more as a curiosity, a place where fewer tourists look in. By far, the district looked better during its heyday (we recommend looking at historical photos, such as here).
Wasting no time, we continued along the tight, winding streets to Osaka’s most important and famous entertainment district – Minami.
Along the way we saw such wonders:
Minami is located at Namba Station. Here we could almost feel like we were in Shubuya. Well… it RIGHTLY makes a difference though.
We walked around with our heads held high looking out for the famous runner – an advertisement for the Glica company. The skyscrapers in the district are almost one big advertising space. Ever-larger billboards, ever-brighter neon signs and fancy graphics – there is far too much of that here. Although we were looking forward to feeling that urban bustle, lights, dynamics, here it overwhelmed us.
The aforementioned runner, is located in a popular spot among tourists – Dotonbori, which stretches along the canal of the same name. Here, too, is another symbol – the moving crab, which is the restaurant’s logo (seriously, we don’t know where the popularity of this place comes from).
It is a place full of stores and restaurants, some of which are open 24 hours a day. Probably in the evening it looks even more luminous.
Ahh… that fame… ;)
But that’s not all…
In general, there is much more to see while in Osaka. We were severely limited by time. A place we would definitely go to if we had an extra day on site is Universal Studios Japan – after all, it’s an entertainment city, so entertainment is something to take in a bit. The studio is located on the waterfront and you can spend a leisurely day there visiting such “neighborhoods” as Spiderman, Back to the Future, Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park. Not to mention the rollercoasters :) Next time we will definitely not let go of this point….
Osaka Airport (Kansai Airport)
Slowly that time was approaching, the time of departure. After a short walk in Minami, we returned to Osaka Station to get to Kansai Airport directly from there already by the“JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service” train. Our return flight (to Dubai, where we had a few days’ scheduled layover) was quite late. Late enough that the airport itself was practically empty, and our flight was one of the last. This is hardly a normal sight at this airport….
Flight from Osaka to Dubai
This time Emirates airlines again did not let us down. Flight on time, very comfortable, entertainment on board great, food excellent. And very well. The flight took place at night, which meant that we were in Dubai at 4 a.m., and we had a long day ahead of us there. Anyway, you can read about our several-day layover in Dubai here.
Summary of the trip to Japan
Can you sum up this trip briefly, succinctly and to the point? No, but we will try. Japan is a country that we will recommend to those who want to experience a completely different culture and society. Hidden among developed cities, skyscrapers and high-speed trains are places hiding beautiful temples and chrams.
We are unsatisfied and we know that Japan is a country we would love to return to as soon as the opportunity arises :)
And how to sum up our trip to Japan? In one sentence? You absolutely must fly there, on your own. Tickets can often be found for 1600 zl two-way, and the rest is no longer important ;)
Yes I know, it was two sentences.
We also recommend you:
…and a photo gallery from this post: