Sunday, July 5, 2009

8 Things To Do In Osaka

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"Why should I go to Osaka?", you may ask. For me, the main reason to visit Osaka is to experience the friendlier and warmer side of Japan. Osakans are known to be accommodating, funny and outspoken (in a good way). Yes, Osaka may be a little shabbier compared to Tokyo, but it will make you feel like you are at home. Aside from this, Osaka is synonymous to good and cheap food, so if you are a foodie like me, you must visit Osaka. Based on my experience in this city, I came up with a list of 8 things to do in Osaka. Here they are.

1) Eat in Dotonbori
Dotonbori is a whole street filled with restaurants and food stands. Here, you can get local Osakan foods such as okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), takoyaki (octopus balls), kushikatsu (deep fried skewers) and battera (a modification of sushi). So basically, this is a street for kuidaore or eating yourself to ruins which the Osakans love to do. Oh, don't you just love Osaka :D

Big Crab in Dotonbori (taken on August 3, 2008)

Near Dotonbori Bridge (taken on August 3, 2008)

Dotonbori Street (taken on August 3, 2008)

a) Osaka Subway Midosuji Line Namba Station
b) Osaka Subway Midosuji Line Shinsaibashi Station

2) Shop
You can buy anything - clothes, electronics, kitchenware - in Osaka for a cheaper price (compared to Tokyo). Some of the popular shopping districts for clothes include the Shinsaibashi/Namba area (including Shinsaibashi covered street, Namba, Horie, America-mura, Ebisubashi, Midosuji Street) and Umeda. There are also underground shopping centers in these areas and you can easily locate them when you exit from the subway stations. For electronics, you can either go to Denden Town in Nipponbashi, or to big stores like Bic Camera and Yodobashi camera in Namba and Umeda respectively. For kitchenware, try Douguyasuji in Namba. Osaka has other shopping places like Tenjimbashi but they are not as popular as the ones in Shinsaibashi/Namba and Umeda.

Shinasaibashi Suji Covered Shopping Street (taken on August 3, 2008)

Inside Shinasaibashi Suji Covered Shopping Street (taken on November 30, 2008)

Near Douguyasuji (taken on August 3, 2008)

Namba Parks (taken on August 3, 2008)

Midosuji Street in Autumn (taken on November 30, 2008)

a) Namba-Shinsaibashi Area:
  • JR Namba Station
  • Osaka Subway Namba Station
  • Nankai Electric Railway Namba Station
  • Kintetsu Namba Station
  • Hanshin Namba Station
  • Osaka Subway Shinsaibashi Station
b) Denden Town
  • Osaka Subway Namba Station
  • Osaka Subway Nipponbashi Station
c) Umeda
  • JR Umeda Station
  • Hankyuu Umeda Station
  • Hanshin Umeda Station
  • Osaka Subway Umeda Station
  • Osaka Subway Higashi-Umeda Station
  • Osaka Subway Nishi-Umeda Station
d) Tenjimbashi
  • Osaka Subway Tenjimbashi-suji-6-chome Station
  • Osaka Subway Ogimachi Station
  • Osaka Subway Minamimorimachi Station
  • JR Tenma Station

3) Go Up Umeda Sky Building At Night

You can clearly see Umeda on top of the Umeda Sky Building. I recommend going here at night because the sight is just magnificent. Here are some shots of Osaka at night. Entrance fee is 700yen and the observatory is open from 10am to 10:30pm (entry until 10pm only).

a) JR Umeda Station
b) Hankyuu Umeda Station
c) Hanshin Umeda Station
d) Osaka Subway Umeda Station
e) Osaka Subway Higashi-Umeda Station
f) Osaka Subway Nishi-Umeda Station

4) See Osaka Castle
This is one of the famous landmarks of Osaka. This castle houses a museum just like that of Himeji's, and is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is 600yen. If you do not want to shell out some cash, you can relax in the park around the castle grounds.

Osaka Castle (taken on August 9, 2008)

View From Osaka Castle (taken on August 9, 2008)

a) 9-minute walk from JR Osaka-jo Koen Station
b) 15-minute walk from JR Morinomiya Station

5) Visit Universal Studios Japan (USJ)
Yes, THE Universal Studios, but with a Japanese twist - meaning everything is dubbed in Japanese haha! I have never been to Universal Studios in the States so I cannot make a comparison, though. I went to USJ one day before I came back to the Philippines, so this place was memorable to me. Come here during the Christmas season and see the beautiful lights from the giant Christmas Tree in the middle of the park.

Universal Studios Japan (taken on December 10, 2008)

Christmas Tree in Universal Studios Japan (taken on December 10, 2008)

Christmas Tree in Universal Studios Japan (taken on December 10, 2008)

Access: JR Yumesaki Line Universal City Station

6) See Tsuutenkaku in Shinsekai and Eat Kushikatsu
The Tsuutenkaku is another landmark of Osaka located in Shinsekai. However, Shinsekai is considered a slum area so it is better to avoid it at night. You can go here during the day and enjoy the cheap food and shopping around the Shinsekai area. You can also go to the nearby zoo. This place is popular for Kushikatsu or deep fried skewers. There are several kushikatsu restaurants in this area and it is hard to choose one. However, I got a tip for you. Be it in Osaka or anywhere in Japan, look for restaurants with long queues as these are the most popular and considered the best :D

Tsuutenkaku in Shinsekai (taken on November 1, 2008)

a) 10-minute walk from JR Shinimamiya Station
b) 10-minutes walk from Nankai Railway Shinimamiya Station
c) 3-minute walk from Osaka Subway Sakaisuji Line Ebisucho Station
d) 10-minute walk from Osaka Subway Midosuji Line Doubutsuenmae Station
e) 3-minute walk from Hankai Tramway Ebisucho Station

7) Ride the Tempozan Ferris Wheel
This is considered as one of the biggest ferris wheel in the world. You can have a great view of the Port of Osaka aboard the ferris wheel. Entrance fee is 700yen and it is open from 10am to 10pm. After riding the ferris wheel, you can go to the nearby aquarium which is also considered as one of the world's largest. Entrance fee is 2000yen.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel (taken on November 15, 2008)

Osaka Port From the Ferris Wheel (taken on November 15, 2008)

Aquarium (taken on November 15, 2008)

a) 5-minute walk from Osaka Subway Osakako Station
b) Ten-minute by boat from the Universal City Port in Universal Studios Japan
c) Bus #88 from Osaka Station, get off at Tempozan
d) Bus#60 from Namba Station, get off at Tempozan

8) Osaka River Cruise
There are lots of river flowing in Osaka so one nice way to see the sights of the city is through a river cruise. There are four stops in this river cruise including Tenmabashi, Osaka Castle, Yodobashi and Osaka Amenity Park. For more information, check Osaka River Cruise's Site out.

Ookawa River in Tenmabashi - one of the stops in the river cruise
(taken on November 15, 2008)

Access: Refer to Osaka River Cruise.

1) Fireworks Festivals
If you go to Osaka around July to August, you may be lucky to chance upon the fireworks festivals held all over Japan every summer. The most famous festival in Osaka is the Yodogawa Festival usually held around the first or second week of August.

2) Tenjin Festival
This is one of the three great festival in Japan held in the last week of July in Osaka. This is a two-day event and is usually centered around the Okawa River mentioned above.

3) Baseball Game
If you love baseball, try going to a Hanshin (baseball team of Osaka) Baseball Game. I have never to been one though, but they say it is one great experience.

So there you have it, feel free to add or comment on this post :D

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  1. I'd love to ride the ferris wheel

  2. Hi,
    It seems you love Osaka from bottom of your heart.
    I too enjoy the photo visit.If I drop in to Japan someday I will surely make time to visit my friends all time favorite city OSAKA.
    Till then I will keep visiting your blog to know the latest.
    Happy blogging.
    Your friend always.

  3. hey,

    nice work, you have collected a huge amount of info abt Osaka. it seen very useful too me...

    so i'm now following your blog.. keep it up..

    Best Regards,

  4. This is a terrific post, I really want to go to Japan someday, as soon as my blogging income is sufficient = )

    - Jessica

  5. @alwayswinner786 Thanks! Yes, Osaka is a city close to my heart :D

    @AFK Thanks for following my blog and glad you found it useful :D

    @Jessica You can do it! :D

  6. @Lorraine yep! when we go to Osaka, let's ride it! hahah

  7. Hi MJ,
    Thanks very much for stopping by my site and commenting about your beautiful country. I can't wait to go!

    Osaka is one of my favorite cities in Japan. We loved everything about it. You've got a great list going here. We hit all eight while we there and had a blast!

  8. @Carrie thanks for reading my post :D glad you had a blast in Osaka. I wanna go back, I miss it already haha!

  9. wow that's a whole lot of information about OSaka....interesting suggestion you have there i'bet i did visit this places onces i get to JAPAN

  10. @Deviki @ Viki keep me updated when you visit Osaka :D

  11. I wonder if you've heard about the small town of Taiji just south of Osaka. This is where thousands of dolphins are slaughtered by Japanese fishermen from Sept. to March every year.

  12. @The Nomadic Pinoy Sorry I have not heard of it... That is just so sad.