Dave and I spent the long weekend visiting Osaka. We caught the Shinkansen from Shinagawa on Saturday. It was about a 2.5 hour trip from Tokyo.
Taking the Shinkansen is always my favorite part of trips around Japan. This time we even splurged and bought Green Car Tickets. The additional ¥4000 ($40.00) gave us more room and fancier seats. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t cleared and we didn’t get a view of Mt. Fuji.
Osaka is a large port city in the Kansai region of Japan. It is the second largest city in Japan, after Tokyo. I think I’ve mentioned before how orderly everything is in Japan. Especially, the lines waiting for the trains and escalators. So far, everywhere we have traveled in Japan, it is expected that you stand on the left of the escalator so people in a hurry can pass you on the right. The first thing we noticed in Osaka, everyone stood on the right! Just when we thought we knew what to do… Fortunately, we caught on quickly.
Osaka is known for modern architecture, shopping, and street food. After checking into our hotel, we set out to explore the Dotonbori. Dotonbori is the area along the canal known for its restaurants and shops. Many had elaborate store front displays.
We walked and walked around the shopping area. There was so much to see! We stopped for sushi dinner. The tuna sashimi and avocado dish was delicious. I wasn’t going to share. But, I needed help dissecting the recipe. I ate most of it and then decided to share and order a second! It was so good!!
More street views of the city. The shopping area was expansive and filled with so many people. It was covered in many places making it great during bad weather. We could actually smell the Lush store before we saw the sign! Check out the Don Quixote store. It actually had a Ferris wheel!
We went back to the hotel in time to catch the Happy Hour at the rooftop lounge. It wasn’t the highest building in the city but it was still pretty to see the sparkling lights of the city.
Sunday morning we were up and moving before many people went to bed. Dotonbori was formerly known as a “pleasure district” of Osaka. We saw several groups each morning who clearly enjoyed an all night party!
Sunday morning we walked down to the Nambayasaka Shrine. The small Shrine has a very large lion head stage. It was on my list because it is so different than most Shrines.
The second Shrine we visited was the Namba Shrine. It was a small Shrine near our hotel.
It was apparent they were having a small festival. Later that same morning, as we were shopping, there was a small Mikoshi parade down the shopping street near the Shrine. The man carrying the lions came over to us and shook the lion’s head above our heads. I’m assuming for good luck!
We continued shopping and by noon we were ready for lunch. We decided since we were so close to Kobe, we should try Kobe beef ramen. I would give it a four out of five stars. It made my Japan ramen top 10 list. Maybe at number 6 or 7.
After a bit more shopping, we decided to work our way over to the Umeda Sky Building. The Umeda Sky Building is one of the most iconic buildings in Osaka. An escalator crosses the atrium between the two towers. It is the World’s highest outdoor escalator.
As we were walking back to the train station, we came across a meat and beer festival. We of course had to stop in and check it out. We bought tickets and purchased beer and meat! There were crowds around what we think were Japanese Pop Stars. But, we may have just made that up!
Another highlight walking back to the train station was the green bear fountain. I mean who doesn’t want a green bear sitting and spitting outside your office building…
For dinner Sunday night, we found a nice dive bar that offered burgers. There were about 10 places to sit in the bar/restaurant and only one person working. He had his burger making down to a science. They were delicious.
We enjoyed tasting our way around the city! Thank goodness we walked so much each day to help burn calories. Saturday we walked over 10 miles and Sunday we walked over 14 miles! Monday morning we walked around the shopping district one last time before catching the Shinkansen back to Tokyo.
Osaka was an interesting and exciting city. It had an intense party vibe. We enjoyed the chance to see and experience another area of Japan. Thanks for reading about our adventure!