Known for its fantastic food, nightlife and shopping… But outside of these things there are very few sights to see. I could list a variety of places to visit but you can find that on any other website. Instead, I will list a few things that I felt were worth doing in the city.
Things to see and do:
- Visit the supermarkets especially Tamade and the convenience store Lawson- They’re awesome.
- Daiso- 100 yen store
- Don Quijote- discount chain store
- Dotonbori area- great at night with tons of amazing eateries
- Osaka Castle Park- From the outside, I wouldn’t suggest paying to go in
- Shinsaibashi- Markets and shopping arcade
Things to eat and drink:
- Monja Yaki- pan fried batter cooked on a hot plate in front of you and then eaten with a spatula utensil
- Okonomi Yaki- savoury pancake
- Yaki Soba- fried buckwheat noodles
Osaka is an interesting part of Japan and the people here differ from those in Kyoto and Tokyo; their dialect is harsher and their behaviour is slightly less polite and conservative… It was interesting to walk past older men urinating in the street here after having been in Kyoto and Tokyo where this kind of behaviour in public is practically non-existent. But the people here are still super friendly and helpful.
The supermarkets in Osaka are some of the best that I have seen whilst travelling around the world. The fresh ready meals you can buy here are just as good as the restaurants and are an excellent way to save money as a budget traveller. The only downside is that the price of fruit and veg is quite high (compared to other cities in Japan).
The fashion in Japan is spectacular. Their street style and day to day fashion is quite like the French; palettes of black, grey, white and navy are real winners here and after 14 days it was difficult not to purchase a few key pieces from Zara and Uniqlo.
Japan also has some amazing homeware stores with the most exquisite crockery and cutlery. I almost became my mother as I walked around these stores trying my best not to purchase household items.
Nevertheless, despite some cheap retail buys, Osaka highlighted how insane consumerism has become in Japan. There were so many bizarre items for sale and at high prices... Sushi or pizza earrings anyone?
One of the best memories of visiting Osaka has to be the time I spent at one of the most sociable hostels that I have ever stayed at; where the employees and guests dined together, where the manager was extremely helpful in booking buses and translating tickets, where the guests were super friendly and the atmosphere was extremely homely.
But the major highlight for me was catching up with LK, a Japanese friend that I had met in the States. Hanging out, chatting and having lunch together was a perfect reminder of the benefits of travelling; it’s meeting new people, sharing experiences, catching up with them years later and knowing that you will always have a friend in another part of the world.
So, if you need a rest stop for some normality in your travel life Osaka is a good stop, but if you’re pushed for time whilst in Japan, give it a miss.