Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Four Awesome Things to do in Osaka

As Japan’s second largest city (After Tokyo), Osaka should definitely be on your must-visit list when you travel to Japan. It is located in the Kansai region, and reachable via the Kansai International Airport or via a bullet train if you’re coming from Tokyo. Osaka is known for its food, shopping and night-life and I myself was able to experience the good time that this city can offer. So, here are four things I suggest that you can do to make that Osaka trip awesome:
    1.    Check-out Osaka Castle
The more than 400 year-old castle is the symbol of Osaka. The nine-storey high castle is set in the middle of a park surrounded by gates, stone walls and moat. The huge park area is surrounded by cherry trees. Inside the impressive castle is a museum containing historical materials from Japanese Imperial times and interesting dioramas and holograms. Upon reaching the topmost portion of the historic castle, you will be treated with a breathtaking view of the city.

Admissions fee to the Castle Tower cost JPY 600. The recommended approach to Osaka Castle is through Otemon Gate at the park's southwestern corner. The closest station is Tanimachi 4-chrome Station along the Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line.

    2.    Shopping at Shinsaibashi
The most famous shopping street in Osaka is none other than Shinsaibashi. At almost 600 meters long (excluding the side alleys), it is lined with about 200 trendy boutiques, retail chains, department stores, souvenir shops, pharmacies, and cosmetic shops. From high-end to affordable; and from international to local brands – whatever your choice – it can be found here (Uniqlo, H&M, Gap, Forever 2 and Zara, among others) In between these fashion shops are various eateries, cafes and restaurants. But be warned, it can get too crowded here as everyone wants to shop or just people-watch!

Located in the Minami area, Shinsaibashi can be reached via Namba Station or Shinsaibashi station. Shinsaibashi connects Dotonbori and Namba area, amd is parallel and east of Mido-suji street.

    3.    Dining at Dotonbori
Since Osaka is known for its food, then you better head over to Dotonbori, Osaka’s “culinary capital.” This place is definitely a foodie heaven as you have a plenty to choose from. The entire area of Dotonbori is thronged with restaurants – serving crabs, ramen, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, etc. Food is definitely amazing and what’s more, it is affordable! We tried the famous ramen from Ichiran, and the famous way of eating it via an isolated table. Proof that this is a must-try is the long line of those who want to try their savory ramen.

Dotonbori is not only a feast for the tummy but also for the eyes. The throng of restaurants has oversized decorations like a giant crab with moving arms, giant blowfish, etc. Be mesmerized with giant billboards in neon lights. Dotonbori’s iconic landmark is actually the Glico Man billboard. This is a symbol of Glico, a famous Japanese company that manufactures Pocky.

The nearest subway station would be Namba Station on the Osaka Subway. Take Exit 14, and you can walk for about 5-10 minutes to the Dotonbori Canal.

    4.    Temple-hopping at Tennoji
There are many religious sites around Osaka. The Tennoji district in particular has a number of beautiful temples and shrines.

One such temple is Shitenno-ji. It is the first Buddhist temple in Japan. It consists of eye-catching gardens and outer temple buildings. It can be reached via a 10-minute walk from the Tennoji station.

One of the most visited temples in Tennoji is Isshin-ji. It is a Buddhist temple known for its enshrining dead bodies. Isshin-ji is located between Tennoji Park and Shitenno-ji.

The Ikukunitama Shrine may not be as grandiose as the other shrines in Japan, but it exhudes an aura of peace. It also has a unique architecture. It is just a 3-minute walk from Tanimachi 9-chome Station.

So, what are you waiting for?  Do these things too and feel awesome in Osaka!

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