From a minute I arrived in Osaka I could tell that it is a fun city. The party vibes were in the air! The number of restaurants and bars full of people drinking and eating was incredible. There is apparently a saying that people in Kyoto spend all their money on clothes and Osakans will happily part with money to satisfy their appetite. I could believe it – for the love of food indeed!
When I arrived on Sunday it was actually a long Bank Holiday weekend in Japan so everyone was out and about making the most of wonderful weather and warm evenings.
I started exploring with a visit to Shinsekai, an area with a bit of a retro feel and the Tsutenkaku Tower – one of the landmarks. Osaka Castle is certainly another postcard-like symbol of the city. The castle and the park around it were impressive. Nice views of the city were worth buying a ticket to get in but the collection on a display was rather underwhelming. On the other hand I am a snob when it comes to museums and heritage sites so maybe I am being picky. In terms of design and architecture highlights I really enjoyed spending my time around the National Art Museum and Umeda Sky Building.
It was Dōtonbori with its bars, restaurants, neon signs and famous Glico Man where I had my share of fun. While hanging around there I tried takoyaki, a ball-shaped snack filled with octopus and fantastic sushi.
On my second day in Osaka I spent time with my friend Guillaume as he was in town on his way back from Hiroshima and we did karaoke! I was over the moon that he did not need much convincing to be a part of that madness. Karaoke in Japan! Now I just need to go to roller disco in the US and my pop culture goals will be achieved and my life complete.
My hostel was perfectly located, just round the corner from Fukushima station and walking distance from Umeda station. It was also surrounded by many cool places to eat, some of them hidden in the arches of the railway bridge. Ideal location, clean dorms and friendly and attentive staff. I could not ask for any more from J-Hoppers Osaka! Dear fun-loving friends add Osaka to your travel list.