Japan 2015: Osaka

Most lovers of Japan will at some point talk about the amazing contrasts the country provides. The modern versus the traditional, the cities versus the rural areas – Japan is a country made of the very oldest and very newest elements, and it’s fascinating. It was with this thought in mind that I arrived into Osaka (大阪) having that very morning woken up to pray with Buddhist monks up on Mount Koya. Osaka couldn’t be more different to Mount Koya, but I love it for everything it is, and everything it’s not.

Osaka is, quite frankly, a bit bonkers. My hotel was right in the heart of Namba (難波), the entertainment district of Osaka, and my only plan for the evening was to explore the neon-lit streets, shop a little, eat a little, and people watch.

The main stretch in Namba is called Dotonbori (道頓堀), featuring a street full of shops and restaurants that never seem to close and the Dotonbori canal and bridge which are surrounded by giant neon signs. This is pure Blade Runner country – the Japan of every sci-fi nerd’s dreams. And I love it.

Pictures tell a thousand stories, so here you go…

Dotonbori

Dotonbori – where electricity bills are high!

Osaka

The famous Glico running man (sixth edition – now running on LED rather than neon)

Osaka

The most famous view in Osaka

Dotonbori

Dotonbori – covering all of your shopping and dining needs!

Dotonbori

This is Osaka.

Pachinko

Men playing pachinko

Portrait of an Osaka salary man

Portrait of an Osaka salary man

Dotonbori

Meat on a stick, with a side of ‘grr’!

Dotonbori

Osaka: Kansai’s kitchen

Takoyaki

It’s against the law to visit Osaka without eating takoyaki…

Takoyaki

…so naturally I ate some takoyaki.

Crab fun times!

Kani kani kani!!

In the morning, as I headed for the station, I noticed that Osaka also has some pretty interesting street art, as well as a number of cool ‘lamp post people’ lining the streets…

Mural/street art in Osaka

Peace on earth

Osaka Lamp post people

Osaka Lamp post people

Osaka Lamp post people

This one’s covered in graffiti and stickers

Osaka Lamp post people

Very cool.

Osaka street art

Love a shutter mural

Osaka is crazy, that’s for sure, but it makes a brilliant one night stop and has some of the best food in all of Japan! 😀 This takes us up to the morning of 2nd December – I still have so many more adventures to write about! Next stop: Tokyo!

11 thoughts on “Japan 2015: Osaka

  1. I love Osaka! I don’t think I’d ever want to live there (well, I personally wouldn’t want to live in Tokyo either, or any other huge city for that matter), but visiting is always great. There’s so much to see and do, the food is awesome, and it’s just always struck me as an incredibly vibrant yet surprisingly friendly place. As far as big Japanese cities go, it’s still my favourite.

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  2. For all that Osaka is the worst for graffiti and air quality, it still has much to recommend it.
    The aquarium is brilliant, the Umeda Station is a city in itself, the river cruise is charming, DenDen Town is more human scale and accessible than Tokyo’s, it’s a simple rail trip south to the kofun (if that’s of interest) and Kishiwada Castle: quite different from many others if overly tourist-friendly (less authentic interior).

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  3. ” Men playing pachinko”? Just like ten thousand other venues, sadly: an obsession for vast numbers. Definitely a ‘downside’ of Japanese culture – and the noise is defining!

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