Osaka, the kitchen of Japan, a city we definitely had to visit while we were in the country. And so we did.
If you have read my other two travel diaries of my time in Japan -if not, what are you doing, here are the links: Travel diary: 3 days in Shinjuku, Tokio and Travel diary: 3 days in Taito, Tokio– you know my sister and I spent three nights in both Shinjuku and Taito. In Osaka however, we spent four nights, just a little bit longer. We could have spent so much more time in both of these cities, but we just didn’t have the money.
Four nights just isn’t a lot though. Usually when people go on a holiday they spend one to three weeks in the same place: plenty of time to explore! We had to shove all of the activities that you’d normally want to spread out over a week or one and half into just four days. We did manage to do this for the most part. Keep on reading if you want to know everything we did during our time in Osaka!
Arriving in Osaka
We went from Tokyo to Osaka by night bus. The bus was the cheapest option, which is why we chose it, and we chose the nightbus so that we would not waste any precious daytime on traveling to another city when we really just wanted to spend it on exploring. The busride only took about 8 hours, which means we arrived in Osaka at around 6 in the moring. Waaaaay too early, but this did mean we had the whole day to spend in Osaka. When arriving at the first and second location of the trip, we only had half of the first day to explore.
Getting here so early however, did mean that everything was still closed: the shops, the cafe’s and restaurants. Even the information desk at the station was closed. Luckily we had bought our breakfast the day before so we just got out of the bus, walked into Osaka station, sat on a bench and slowly ate our breakfast. We watched all of the businessmen and women (mostly men) get in and out of the metros with what seemed like hundreds at a time. They all had to be at work at the same time of course. They all looked the same too, which was really funny. And I don’t mean this in a ‘all asians look alike’ kind of way at all, because I’ve never thought that. I just mean that they all have black hair, were all wearing a white blouse, black crossbody bag or backpack and fancy dark pants. We were looking at them from above so we didn’t see their faces.
After sitting here for a while we went to find the metro that would take us to the hotel we booked. It was called the JR metro, Osaka loop line. It was the only one we used while in Osaka because it took us everywhere we needed to go and also it was the cheapest. Unfortunately everyone else also seemed to only use this line because it was always busy haha. This first time we got on this line was the busiest of all of course because it was still peek hour. We were all squished into the metro and for some reason everyone also had to get out at the same station we had to get out at. Such a coincidence, but I never understood why because it didn’t seem like a place that offered lots of jobs at all. No tall office buildings or anything. Anyways, we got out of the station at the right exit and walked a 3 minute walk to our hotel. The hotel itself looked pretty funny because it was the only tall building on the street. Since we got here super early, we just dropped off our suitcases and went out to our first stop of the day: bird garden.
Turned out that the bird garden was part of the zoo and not only was this zoo still closed, since we had already been to one in Tokyo, we didn’t want to visit a zoo again. So we just looked at the birds from the outside for a bit and then walked on to the next stop, stopping at 7eleven for second breakfast on the way -bonus points if you know what movie ‘second breakfast’ is from!- . Abeno Harukas was next on the list. Sounds like we were visiting some old, wise man with a long beard, but really it’s just the name of a large building. The bottom part of it is filled with shops and as you enter that part there is a statue of a friendly blue bear greeting you which we thought was just extremely weird but apparantly that’s kind of the mascot of the building or something.
The top part is offices so we were obviously not allowed to go there. We were allowed to get up to the 16th floor though and get on the observation deck. All for free! It kind of looked like a nice garden, there was even a foodtruck! The view was gorgeous as well, the mountains were so much closer than they were when we were at the 45th floor of the Metropolitan government building in Tokyo.
After this we almost walked all the way back to our hotel, which is where a Daiso 100 yen store was located and my sister really wanted to go in so we did. I think I just bought some food. We walked on to Dotonbori, which was only about half an hour away. Along the way we bought melon at a small greengrocer and two huge apples at a grocery store. We saved them for later. Food was also the reason we went to Dotonbori. It’s the streetfood-street of Osaka. If you’re looking for some great food, this is the place to be. That’s what I was told by Youtube anyways haha. Turns out to be true! Awesome street! The streets surrounding it are awesome too. We bought some icecream first, then a smoothie and we went shopping for a bit after that. We both bought some stuff at Forever21. I know I know, it’s not a Japanese store. Terrible right? Does the fact that I never ever shop at Forever21 help? No? Well, all of the clothes the Japanese stores were selling didn’t suit us at all you know. We loved the clothes, they just didn’t work for us. Haha, I love the pieces I picked up from Forever21 🙂
Shopping eventually made us hungry and so we walked back to Dotonbori to try some Okenomiyaki, a very typical Osaka dish so we had to try it! It was delicious 🙂 With our bellies full we went back to the hotel to chill for a bit and get some sleep.
We decided to sleep in this morning and so we did. Well, I still woke up quite early but my sister would have slept untill noon if I hadn’t gone to the toilet at around 10.30am or something haha. We also decided that we would skip the Nara deer park that we had planned on visiting today. One, because it was the only thing planned for today that was located out of the city and two because of the rainy weather. Instead, we went to the Osaka castle first.
It was raining when we stepped out of the hotel to go to the castle. Luckily we were able to borrow some umbrellas from the hotel. Funny fact: most people have seethrough umbrellas here because, well, it does rain a lot in some months and everyone of course uses an umbrella and with all of those people walking in the same streets you’d just constantly bump into eachother if you were not able to see anything through your umbrella. We did expect it to rain as well. There was a weather alarm on our phones that said it was going to storm actually. Now there was quite some wind and rain but we didn’t experience the storm luckily. It was just really annoying walking around with an umbrella in the wind that was constantly changing directions lol. My sisters umbrella flipped backwards two times haha.
We didn’t spend an awful lot of time at the castle and in it’s gardens because of the weather. I’m sure it’s a very pretty place when the sun is shining. We just walked straight to the castle, found it, had some lunch first and then actually went to see it up close and took pictures of it. It’s a really pretty castle.
After visiting the Osaka castle we walked to Wasobi. Not wasabi, which you all probably know what that is, but Wasobi. It’s a kimono rental shop. The only reason we went here was because I really really really wanted to try on a kimono while in Japan. It was kind of a bucketlist thing for me. My sister didn’t care for it. I still don’t understand why. I picked a nice, pink, floral kimono, took some pictures in the shop while wearing it and took it off about half an hour later. If you’d like to go to this place, they don’t have their own website but this is their Facebook page: Wasobi Facebook
We then went for a walk again, to the Gudetama Café this time. A place my sister really really really wanted to visit, so it made us even, lol. It’s located at the top floor of Hep5, a department store. So after our snack at the cafe we went shopping for a bit. I don’t think I bought anything. We also had dinner and desert in this building, at the korean restaurant at the top floor. It was very good! The reason we stayed in the same building for all of this was because we wanted to go on the ferriswheel during the evening, which is what we did right after our desert. It was gorgeous to see the city light up at night and we went quite high up. After the ride on the ferriswheel we went bowling -I won- and then back to the hotel.
And that’s it. That’s what we did during our first two days in Osaka. We had a lot of fun and we saw many pretty things. The people of Osaka also saw us though lol, they would stare at us sometimes haha. You’d think they would be used to seing foreigners by now since it’s such a popular place to visit. Lots of kids also stared at us, which was just super cute.
Best part of these two days: definitely putting on the kimono.
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