With a population of 2.5 million people Osaka is Japan’s 3rd largest city and only 2.5 hours from Nagoya, so of course we had to check it out. Recently there was a train deal where a 5 day JR railway pass cost only 11,800 yen, so we bought one of those for our train journey and ultimately saved ourselves 3,800 yen on transportation cost!
We booked ourselves 2 nights at the Ark Hostel where we slept in bunk beds with 20 other people for only $25 per person per night. Not a bad deal! The hostel was in a good location and the beds were clean and comfortable. Only problem was 3 out of the 20 people snored all night so I basically couldn’t sleep. I guess that’s the risk you take when stay at a hostel! But hey I’ve got 1 more year left in my 20’s so I should be able to handle this! Maybe my 30’s will bring me a bit of luxury.
Osaka is known for it’s food we even heard of a saying “osaka no kuidaore.” Which means “to eat yourself bankrupt” and that’s exactly what we planned to do on this trip!
Here’s a few pictures of what we sampled during our 24 hours in Osaka:
Okonmiyaki– Mostly a cabbage and egg pancake and you can choose your own ingredients to add into it. We chose shrimp, cuddlefish, pork, cheese and onions and then its smothered in Mayo and a special kind of molasses sauce. Sounds disgusting but it was amazing!
Gyoza– Pork filled dumplings
Kushikatsu– Basically deep fried tempura anything on a stick. My favorite was shrimp and avocado.
We had one full day in Osaka so we visited a 3 major sites:
Osaka Castle: We didn’t actually go in the castle, but we spent a fair amount of time walking around the park that surrounds it. The park was full of Cherry blossom trees that were in full bloom, which made it a perfect place to stroll around in the early morning. As you can see from the pictures its a VERY popular place to be. At 10 am many people were already picnicking and drinking; which is the thing to do during Hanami season.
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum: About 30 minutes outside of Osaka is the Cup of Noodle museum! We went there mostly because you can design your own cup and choose the contents on the inside. For only 300 yen per cup this was a fun experience. We made 4 cups in total 2 for ourselves and 2 to send back to friends in Colorado. Can you guess who?!
- 1958-Instant Ramen was Invented
- 1971-Cup of Noodles was created
- 2005-Space Ramen was developed to give to astronauts.
Namba Yasaka Shrine: There’s a really unique shrine tucked away in Osaka but not too hard to find. The shrine has been turned into a huge lion face!This huge mouth is believed to swallow malevolent spirits and attract good luck, and so many people wishing to do better in their studies or to build their companies come to worship here. It was extremely peaceful and an aw to look at.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wondering the streets of America Mura which is where Osaka’s youth go to shop, listen to music, and hang out. It does have a little bit of an American vibe to it as in there are shops like Gap, H&M etc…it was a neat place to people watch for bit and eat some cheescake which was a 675 yen impulse buy.
* Mike ate the entire thing since I quickly realized that its not really cheesecake but fluffy egg cake. *
We found a really cute french cafe that was along a canal so we stopped here for a bit to drink some wine and people watch.
Osaka really comes to life at night. Everything starts to twinkle and people just come out of the woodwork its seems. Our last night in Osaka really consisted of eating, drinking and seeing what kind of weirdness we could find. We happened to stumble into a building that was lined with many many tiny bars and shops and we decided to just poke our head into a few of the mystery doors. Well as luck would have we found a Magic Bar! As we were probably the only westerners to ever stick thier head into this place curiously the old men that filled this bar immediately took a liking to us. The going rate of this place was 5000 yen per person ($50) for a Magic show and unlimited drinks, but since we literally only had 3000 yen left ($30) we kindly told them “Eigo no kyoushi desu” which means = We are English teachers therefore broke. That didn’t seem to bother them so they kindly gave us a 30 minute free show! The magician’s name was Mr. Shin who was hilarious and really good! I didn’t take my eyes off the cards and I still had no idea how he was doing it! In 30 minutes we experienced free drinks, an awesome magic show, a karaoke duet where we sang “Piano Man” and last but not least I was fed my first bite of Takoyaki from an old mans chopsticks! Up to this point I had been avoiding it because its basically fried octopus balls which I’m not a huge fan of. Anyways, when an old man tries to feed you with his chopsticks you don’t say no! After we were politely kicked out we had to wonder to ourselves did that just really happen or was it just MAGIC?!