Before I get into all the details about where I stayed, where I shopped and where I filled my belly I thought I should do a little debrief. So we went to Japan for 2 weeks in total (Nov 21 – Dec 4 for those reading this in the future). It took us long enough to look through the photographs we took during our trip. Honestly, we were shocked by the amount we have used for this trip. There were at least 24000 shots and videos have been taken. Therefore pardon us, we will be still taking some time to organize and share with you our Japan trip!
To think back that we almost do not have a place to stay on our first night. It’s pretty scary. I wasn’t in the best state and flare up quite a few time, which I believed that it wasn’t for my sister, Joe. I could have been worst.
Before the Trip
Where to Stay?
In my opinion, staying around Namba is like having the whole Osaka at your doorstep. I highly recommend that area, but unfortunately, not my Guesthouse. However, we totally fall in love with our the place we stay Guesthouse Oshiteruya that we booked through booking.com.
Simple and minimalistic, yet excellent! We chose Modern Style Private Room and loved the minimalism and cleanliness. Even though we are late for our check-in, the host was welcoming, firm in explaining rules and friendly.
Osaka Amazing Pass
We bought our Osaka Amazing Pass on Klook website and pick them up at
Osaka City Air Terminal at Namba Station. I am sure you’ve heard some great things about the
Osaka was the first stop of our two week trip to Japan, and we had originally planned to spend two full days there. However, due to our lack of planning, we ended up arriving in Osaka late at night. That only gave us 36 hours to explore the city. Of course, one day in a metropolis as big as Osaka is nowhere near enough, especially since Osaka has so much to offer. But it was enough for us to get a small taste of this amazing city.
Start your morning by heading to Osaka’s iconic castle. The castle opens it’s doors at 9 am and the park surrounding the park is open all to the public at all times.
We really enjoyed the views from the park and spent most of our time here getting photographs and enjoying the scenery. To go inside the castle it will cost you 600 Yen, however with the Osaka Amazing Pass you are able to enter it for free. The inside has been transformed into a multilevel museum that can get quite crowded in the afternoon.
The highlight of going inside the castle includes the view of Osaka from the top floor. If you are short on time, skip going inside the castle. We ended up climbing up the stair than waiting for the life as it was really crowded.
Nearest Subway Station: Tanimachi 4-chrome Station
Entry Fee: 600 Yen (free for OAP uses)
Shinsekai is an infamous neighborhood regarded as the seediest place in Japan. To break this stigma, we decided to visit the area first and set the record straight.
Shinsekai can be directly translated into “new world”. However, the district is far from being new. Developed before the war, Shinsekai has been around for decades, except that it was much neglected before recent years.
Back in 1912, the neighborhood was constructed with New York and Paris as the model. The symbol of Shinsekai, the Tsutenkaku Tower that stands 103 meters high in the center of town, was an attempt to recreate the Paris Eiffel Tower before it eventually developed its unique identity.
With an Osaka Amazing Pass, you’ll be granted free entry into the main observatory at a height of 91 meters. You can also get 300 yen off if you are visiting the newly (2015) open-air deck (Viewing Paradise).
What to eat? Have some Kushikatsu!
Before you go, do your growling stomach a favor by having brunch in a Kushikatsu restaurant. Most of these restaurants are open 24 hours, so there is really no such thing as being too early or too late! Kushikatsu is one of Osaka specialties: a variety of meat, seafood, vegetables or even fruits battered, deep fried and served on skewers.
Nearest Subway Station: Ebisucho Station
Tsutenkaku’s observation deck is open 9 am- 9 pm, the admission fee is 600 yen (300yen for OAP uses)
Umeda Sky Building
As we headed Osaka during the early autumn season, it has a short day time. Which means the sunset ended early here! We planned to watch the sunset at the tallest building of every city and we did it! If you think the Umeda Sky Building is just a stone throw away, if not just next to the Umeda station itself, you got it all wrong. I was fooled as well. Luckily we get to figure up the map in a little while.
After 15 minutes trying to find the place, we made it at 3.30 pm, which was about 30 minutes to sunset during early autumn. When we went through the see-through escalator, we were enchanted… I never loved a city that much, the architecture in Japan was simply too mind-blowing!
Nearest Subway Station: Umeda Station
Fee: 1000 yen (free for OAP uses)
We ended the first 12 hours by heading to Dontonbori. From Umeda Station, take the Midosuji Line (Red) to reach Namba Station. Dotombori is by far the most razzle-dazzle touristy neighborhood in Osaka, and there is where you can find the Glico man! But first thing first, you need to go exchange tickets for the Tombori River Cruise before anything else… and then go order your favorite takoyaki, take a selfie with Mr. Glico, shop some cosmetics, sit around doing nothing, whatever!
Tombori River Cruise
The boarding point is located in front of the Don Quixote discount store just by the Tazaemon Bridge. You need to be there 10 minutes before the ride. This 20-minute cruise will bring you down the Dotombori river, passing through the bustle of the Minami area and the 9 bridges over the river. It is a fun way to get to know downtown! Plus, the boat will make a quick stop in front Glico man for a photo session.
Nearest Subway Station: Namba Station
Fee for the Tombori River Cruise is 600yen (with the OAP it is free!)
As the main purpose of the trip is to see the autumn leaves. If you ask a local where the best place is for autumn color in Osaka and you’re likely to hear ‘Minoo Park’. It’s a short train ride from the city into the suburbs but well worth it for a nature escape and some of the best leaf color around. While the area is really popular with locals it’s a little off the tourist trail so it makes a welcome respite from the busy city.
Before heading to Minoo Park, we check-out our hostel and head to Umeda Station and left our luggage at the locker there.
It is indeed a good choice that we had made, although it is crowded due to the season. However, we didn’t regret making the choice to head there. As we are heading to Kyoto next we didn’t spend much time there. However, we are glad to enjoy the view with some maple tempura!
Nearest Subway Station: Minoo station
Fee: Free of charge
What to eat?
Since Osaka is food heaven we will only list down a few of the must eat! If not I don’t know how long this post is going to be.
Onigiri-ya Hitotsubu – Onigiri (Rice Ball) at Umeda Station.
Kushikatsu – a variety of meat, seafood, vegetables or even fruits battered, deep fried and served on skewers.
551 Hori – BEST steamed bun and sui
Tako Tako King – You can spot this Takoyaki shop right away by finding the giant octopus at Dontonbori.
There is so much that I want to share with you, but it is impossible for me to type out my whole trip here. Thus, leave us a comment below and tell ask what else do you want to know most about the trip. We hope we will answer your questions for any enquire and recommendation. Have a great week ahead!