Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Post of 2012: Osaka

I promise that Matt and I are still alive! For those that don’t regularly Skype with us, we visited Osaka after Christmas. This was our biggest trip so far (since moving to Japan), and we stayed in a hotel for 3 nights and took the train down instead of driving.

Ōsaka (大阪) is the third largest city in Japan (after Tokyo and Yokohama), with a population of over 17 million people in its greater metropolitan area. It is the central metropolis of the Kansai region and the largest of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto trio.

The areas we managed to visit include: Namba, Shinsaibashi, Amerika-mura, Umeda, Bay Area, Nipponbashi, and Osaka Castle. We managed to see and do almost everything we wanted. The only thing we didn’t do was eat takoyaki – one of the many foods Osaka is famous for – but at least we’ve tried it before at other places.

Also, many of my Japanese acquaintances asked if I visited Universal Studios Japan, which we did not. Theme parks are never cheap, and I’m much more of a Disney fan. I’d much rather visit Tokyo Disney and save the Universal trip for Florida, where we have Harry Potter World! Alas.

( Click the link below to read the rest! )

A back street in Namba. 

It’s been 5 months since I had fro-yo! It was time. I didn’t even mind that it was self-serve.

Dotonbori, a famous area somewhat like Times Square, only not as crowded. In general I enjoyed this area since there were so many neat stores in the shopping arcades.

The subways were decent in Osaka. Most of them were about the same as any other city, but a certain line had nice, clean stations and pretty music for when the train arrived.

UFO Catchers that I never win. These are always in arcades, and arcades are everywhere in Japan – Osaka was no exception! I thought the alpaca were especially cute~

Nipponbashi had a lot of cool shops and restaurants. I’ll spare the details, but it was definitely one of my favorite areas of the city. We let ourselves get lost in the stores for a good part of the day.

We escape to the city to eat non-Japanese food! The first night we had some amazing Mexican at El Pancho, which I definitely want to come back for. The next night we had Italian at some little place in Shinsaibashi. It was nice to kick back with some sparkling wine, pasta, and pizza.

Cool club with a live show, in Ame-mura. I used Foursquare to find this place and it was pretty neat! The interesting thing about this place was that no one was really dancing, but Matt and I did so anyway.

Osaka-jo, the castle. It was a cold day, but warmer than our town! There is a park around this castle, but I think the garden in Okayama is still my favorite.

The Kaiyukan is Osaka’s aquarium, and is pretty famous in Japan. I think some things weren’t as epic as the Atlanta Aquarium, but Matt and I agree that this one is laid out MUCH better. You start at the top and work your way down. The hallway controls the flow of people. There was also a nice area around the coral reef where you could sit, listen to classical music, and watch the fish! I even had my favorite snack, taiyaki.

Afterwards, Matt and I rode the Tempozan ferris wheel, with a lovely view of the city at night! We even had a special cart with Mickey and Minnie for some reason!

For our last big dinner, we ate at a place called Christon Café in Umeda. It seemed to be themed after a church / wedding chapel…? It had chandeliers, flowers, cherubs, and other girly motif. Definitely a place for dates or a girls’ night. The food was pretty good, and I enjoyed all the girly drinks they had to offer.

The last day in Osaka was spent juggling luggage, buying reserved seats on the train, shopping for last-minute gifts, and enjoying the view at the top of Osaka Station.  This was a lovely trip, definitely my favorite so far since we've been here. Matt even prefers this city over Tokyo. A few days ago we also took a quick trip to Kyoto, so I'll post those photos next and work on getting a slideshow of Osaka.

Again, Happy New Year, everyone! May 2012 be filled with more travel experiences!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed visiting the Aquarium in Osaka!

    And Japanese nightclubs are kinda weird, like I've noticed EVERYONE dances facing the DJ, instead of in groups/couples.


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