Japan has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, and in October 2014 I finally went.
I’ve wanted to go to Japan for ages because of all the crazy stories I’ve heard. Like vending machines that stock everything from drinks to underpants, crazy products like fans on hats, and even something I’d heard about rats on sticks for street food… Let’s just say I didn’t see that, thankfully.
After our tour of Kobe we visited Osaka.
Osaka has a population of 2.5 million people, and is Japan’s third largest city. I found Osaka to be very fashion forward, which makes sense are there are large shopping centres everywhere in close proximity to each other.
Here’s a rundown of my Osaka trip:
Crowne Plaza Ana Osaka
This hotel was my favourite. It’s located inside a shopping centre BONUS, and each morning and night the staff delivered some delicacies to your room. I highly recommend this hotel.
Situated along a canal is this gorgeous area full of neon lights, billboards, restaurants, and shopping areas.
I highly recommend you come here for dinner, but be open minded. There are few English translations on the menus, and when there were I saw food options including third stomach, tongue with salt, heart sashimi, and even high quality diaphragm – because I definitely wouldn’t dare order a low quality one.
Apart from Universal Studios, this area has a wide variety of restaurants consisting of traditional to chain, including TGI Fridays.
Try to get here before 7pm; otherwise you’ll have to push your way through all the people who have spent the day at Universal Studios.
Apart from Tokyo, Osaka was the only city I visited that had multiple shopping centres located closely together.
There are heaps of shopping options here from large shopping centres, to smaller shops along the surrounding roads.
Two shopping centres to check out here are the North Gate Building and the South Gate Building, which both host a number of department stores, cinemas, sports clubs, and gardens.
As well as the variety of food choices Nanba is a terrific place to shop, but allow yourself the better part of a day to do this.
A great place to start is Namba Parks, which houses 120 retailers from local to international brands, a cinema, amphitheatre, and a roof top garden.
Keep walking around the centre of Nanba and you will find yourself in another huge shopping area called Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade. This arcade is an undercover area with food, stalls, clothes, and accessories.
Umeda Sky Building
I came here to see the Floating Garden. However, there isn’t actually a garden here. There is an open air observation deck, which is 173 metres above ground level. The highlight here was my Halloween ice cream.
Nara afternoon tour
The following attractions were covered in this tour:
Todaiji Temple and Deer Park
Todaiji Temple is one of Japan’s most famous Temples. It sits on expansive grounds housing historic structures, many, many deer that roam around freely, and for me the best part – a giant bronze Buddha.
I’ve mentioned before that I love giant Buddha and this one was terrific.
The Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) is one of the largest wooden buildings in the world, housing Japan’s largest Buddha. Make sure you visit this attraction, you will not regret it.
Also, don’t be scared of the deer that come from the surrounding 1,250 acre park.
There are actually over 1,000 tame deer that roam this attraction looking for those who purchased deer food at the gate.
This Shrine has approximately 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. It’s a beautiful Shrine where you can leisurely stroll around and take in the garden views.
To learn about shrine rituals, click here.
That’s all I had time to do in Osaka, but if given the chance again I’d love to revisit.
If you’d like to see my other Japan posts, here’s the links:
Please also feel free to visit my Japan Pinterest page.
(This blog’s previous name was The Creative Canvass, hence why some of the images in this post are labelled www.thecreativecanvass.com)