Everyone seems to be flocking to Tokyo. However what a couple of metropolis that provides all of the deliciousness, tradition, intrigue and sweetness, with out as a lot bustle and customarily some higher costs too?
Osaka is rarely the primary metropolis most individuals consider once they begin planning their Japan journey. With so many bloggers writing entries about Tokyo or Kyoto, you’d suppose perhaps these are the one two cities value visiting.
In case you’re keen to dig a bit of deeper and revel in interacting with locals while you journey, then Osaka is certainly a Tokyo different, or journey complement, nicely value exploring. Recognized for its comedians, “Takoyaki” and lighthearted individuals, Osaka and the higher Kansai area undoubtedly has soul.
Osaka is the main metropolis within the Western half of Japan. Stereotypes of the standard Osakan are shrewd enterprise people who find themselves thrifty, but don’t have any qualms with blowing their paychecks on foods and drinks.
It’s inside that spirit that you simply discover that Osaka is a city that isn’t pretentious, generally gritty, however chock filled with inexpensive however top quality consuming and ingesting. 48 Hours in Osaka will go away you with a smile and most undoubtedly an expanded waistline.
Arrival Into Osaka
Most guests to Osaka sometimes arrive by rail from Tokyo or Kyoto on the bullet prepare. Osaka’s “Shin Osaka Station” makes for simple connection to downtown through the Osaka Metro(subway), positioned down the escalators when you exit the turnstiles from the Bullet Prepare portion of the station.
The “Midosuji Line” is a direct connection to Osaka’s two busiest elements of city, Umeda and Minami (residence to Namba and Shinsaibashi)
In case you arrive by a direct flight into Osaka, you’ll find yourself at Kansai Worldwide Airport (KIX). From there, in the event you occur to have a Japan Rail Move, you may take the JR Haruka Airport Specific prepare to Tennoji or Shin-Osaka station and take the metro or a cab to your lodging.
If the Rail Move isn’t an element, the quickest approach into city is the Nankai Rapi:t Airport Specific which takes 45 minutes and drops you off within the coronary heart of the motion in Namba.
Getting Round Osaka
Osaka is a prime 3 main metropolis in Japan, and as such the general public transportation is excellent.
Rail could be your most inexpensive wager, with the JR Loop Line and Osaka Metro Subway traces getting you to just about anyplace value going whereas on the town. Positively obtain an offline model of Google Maps for Osaka earlier than you head out on the streets.
Uber is on the market however solely in Uber Taxi type as of writing.
The place to Keep In Osaka
Osaka has loads of choices for every kind of budgets and varieties of vacationers. Primarily divided into two areas: The North Ward (Umeda and Kita-Ku) and the South Ward (Namba and Shinsaibash recognized colloquially by locals as “Minami” which is Japanese for south).
Don’t go in search of a Kyoto model Ryokan in Osaka nevertheless; it is a huge metropolis! Whether or not you’re balling out or balling on a finances, you could find a spot to fit your pockets.
Resort Choices And Extra
Beginning “North” and heading “South”, Umeda (North) is residence to most chains, together with a Westin, a model new Intercontinental, Hilton and Ritz-Carlton.
For solo vacationers on extra of a finances, you may keep on the First Cabin Nishi-Umeda for a novel expertise. Just like the completely different cabins on a business airliner, the lodge is split into First and Enterprise class.
Top notch has rooms averaging $70USD per night time with your individual 32 inch Televsion, twin mattress, protected and 4.4 sq. meters of private house. Enterprise Class is actually simply sliding door opening to a mattress with 2.5 sq. meters of house.
Don’t fret although as there’s a TV and a protected constructed into the mattress itself. You do get to expertise a Japanese communal bathtub for a “Onsen on a finances” kind of really feel.
Getting A Really feel For The Neighborhood
A couple of minutes south of those accommodations in Nakanoshima, you will discover a quasi model new Conrad and the Rihga Royal Resort, which has been round for over 80 years and whereas thought of a luxurious lodge, has cheaper rooms usually discovered beneath $100 on one facet of the property.
In Honmachi, which is midway between the North and South wards, you will discover the St. Regis Osaka which has a fantastic terrace, full with Japanese backyard, on the twelfth flooring for cocktails.
Honmachi can also be residence to a plethora of mid-level lodging in addition to enterprise accommodations (in the event you ever see the APA model of accommodations or Mitsui Backyard Accommodations present up in your journey web site these two are protected bets for a clear and tidy room that gained’t break the finances anyplace in Japan)
Shinsaibashi is the beginning of the South Ward/Minami and residential to the Nikko Resort owned by the Japan Airways group. Rooms will be discovered for beneath $200 and whereas they aren’t the most important, the situation and entry to the subway station make this a best choice for these staying round Minami.
Provided that it is a extremely touristy space, there are numerous accommodations to select from. By the Namba prepare station is the upscale Swissotel Nankai, which can also be very handy if you’re arriving by air to Kansai airport because the prepare station is linked to the lodge itself.
What to See & Do In Osaka
Osaka Fort is the first landmark in Osaka. I’ll offer you an insider tip: don’t trouble going inside. It’s been gutted and was a museum. What it is best to do is seize a espresso and take a stroll across the citadel grounds as a result of it’s a stunning out of doors park.
The Osaka Aquarium, or “Kaiyukan” as it’s recognized, is a big aquarium specializing in fish and species from the Pacific Rim. The prized spectacle here’s a 9 meter by thirty 4 meter large Whale Shark habitat.
Dotombori Canal in Shinsaibashi/Namba space is the primary photograph op spot for that “I went to Osaka” photograph. Greatest go at night time, when all of the neons are lit up. Think about it Osaka’s model of Piccadilly Circus. Bonus factors for posing because the “Glico Man” in entrance of their Neon.
Need that good “I Went to a Temple” photograph with out having to schlep round Kyoto?
Head to Sumiyoshi Taisha. Full with temples, a fantastic bridge over a pond, and a surrounding neighborhood which is sort of a stroll again in time, Sumiyoshi Taisha is an ideal option to spend a bit of time within the afternoon.
Tsutentaku Tower is one other well-known Osaka landmark positioned within the Shinsekai neighborhood. Whereas recognized to locals as a seedier a part of city, it initially was made to reflect the extra posh international cities like New York or Paris (With Tsutenkaku Tower being the Eiffel Tower-like centerpiece of the realm).
Issues to eat on this a part of city? Fugu, or Japanese blowfish, on the well-known Zuboraya restaurant and Kushi-Katsu, fried skewers of meats and greens however we’ll get to that within the meals part beneath for higher choices elsewhere.
Meals Highlights Not To Miss!
What Osaka may lack in huge ticket vacationer sights and glitz and glamour it absolutely makes up for in meals. Neglect Jiro and the notion that Japan is all about unique eating places and financial institution breaking dinner tabs.
It is a city that’s about providing you with most bang for the buck and imagine me, in the event you can’t pump out most taste on your yen, savvy Osakans will put you out of enterprise shortly.
For the place the locals eat? You may’t miss with hopping round Osaka’s full of life Fukushima neighborhood, accessible by the JR Loop line (Fukushima Cease) simply west of Umeda within the North. There’s actually a whole lot of little eating places and pubs throughout the prepare station and you’ll wander across the little alleys and sneak into a number of locations.
Let’s begin with Takoyaki, THE Osaka dish.
It’s a starchy, round puff full of a bit of Octopus, some tempura batter and finely chopped ginger and scallion. Smothered in a savory sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and finely floor seaweed and bonito shavings, most neighborhoods in Osaka have avenue facet distributors flipping these for a fast take residence meal or a spot to face and revel in a beer with buddies.
My favourite spot? The low key and full of life “Takoya”. Attempt the “Sauce Mayo” takoyaki for a conventional begin in your takoyaki journey. If octopus isn’t your factor, there’s loads of different attention-grabbing and enjoyable Japanese pub-style plates to select from in addition to some prime flight sakes.
What’s a visit to Japan with out some prime ranked Wagyu?
Additionally a couple of minutes stroll from the Fukushima station is a tremendous Japanese BBQ restaurant, “Ushigatari”. The proprietor Mr. Yamaguchi, is from a household of Cattle ranchers from Yamagata Prefecture, residence to a beef so unique, it solely makes up for about 5% of all Wagyu consumed domestically and by no means for export.
Kobe beef? performed out. THIS is the true deal. He solely makes use of meat from his household’s ranch and recent cuts are delivered day by day.
Making our approach south, within the basement of the aforementioned Rihga Royal Resort, is an Osaka Sushi institution with roots relationship again to the 12 months 1653. “Sushi Man” makes a speciality of Osaka model sushi, which is completely different from the Edo-mae (Tokyo) model of sushi (and a dialog available together with your chef in regards to the variations while you arrive as a part of the enjoyable).
Whether or not its a la carte, or a coursed Omakase, you gained’t discover pretentious cooks right here or the necessity for a reservation months upfront. You’re welcome.
Heading additional South again to the Namba space, one other Osaka staple is Kushi-Katsu. Kushi that means stick, and Katsu being a Japanese-English abbreviation of Cutlet. Meats, fish and greens all skewered up, dipped in a batter and deep fried to a golden coloration is a must-eat whereas in Osaka.
There’s loads of locations to select from which might be very low key however my suggestion on your first time is “Kushi No Bou” in Namba. It’s a extra upscale model than you’d discover in comparison with the road meals, standing room solely kind of locations. Right here too you are able to do both a la carte or an Omakase model.
How about some Korean meals? Osaka is residence to the biggest enclave of Koreans and Korean descendants in Japan. In case you’re feeling adventurous and don’t thoughts getting misplaced in a maze of distributors of Kimchi and BBQ eating places, make a journey on the JR Loop line to Tsuruhashi station and get misplaced within the maze of markets beneath.
Need a better different? Head to ”Shokudoen” simply previous the well-known Dotombori Canal on Soemoncho Road. The place has been round eternally and you may get some superb beef to grill and eat some scrumptious Korean dishes as nicely. The place has a a very distinctive vibe that could be a journey again in time. Can’t miss it!
That’s it! Take pleasure in Osaka
In case you occur to have further time or a number of further days, Kobe is a superb place to go to and near Osaka. If world heritage websites and buddhism tickle your fancy, you may head south to Wakayama and go to Mt. Koya and keep at an precise buddhist temple as nicely.
Kyoto in your thoughts? right here’s a professional tip: lodging in Osaka goes to be less expensive and Kyoto is just a 15 minute bullet prepare trip away with the rail cross, or a 40 minute commuter prepare trip away.