Written by Amanda
Osaka has always been a destination I’ve dreamt of visiting. I finally made my way to Osaka last Spring in search of the best Japanese food, entertainment and nature Japan can offer. Osaka is only a short shinkansen ride from Tokyo, but has a very different personality to Japan’s capital city. It is also known as the “nation’s kitchen” by the Japanese. There is aplenty to do in Japan’s 2nd largest metropolitan city of Osaka.
This was my personalized itinerary during my memorable trip to Osaka.
One of the must-see spots in Osaka is the Osaka Castle. Originally built in the 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the castle was destroyed multiple times before finally being reconstructed in 1931 thanks to donations from locals and fully restored later in 1995. Surrounding the castle is a massive moat, some of the still-standing original walls and turrets, and a gorgeous, sprawling park.
The clamoring walkways and scaffolds that run along and over the Dotonbori waterway have been the site of Osaka’s entertainment districts since the 1600s. Initially the area of numerous theaters, in the wake of firebombing during WWII demolished a great part of the zone, it was reawakened as a prominent eating and nightlife area and is portrayed by huge neon signs, most strikingly the “Glico man”, that reflects brilliantly in the water every night.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
Locally referred as USJ, this amusement park is strategically placed simply outside the city on a man-made island and highlights attractions known and cherished – like Jaws and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – just as selective ones like Cool Japan. At USJ, guests can pose for pictures with Hello Kitty, become a Monster Hunter or a Sailor Scout in one of the 4-D encounters or get pursued around the recreation center by zombies during Halloween.
Another district worth visiting whilst in Osaka is Nara. Nara Park is a large park in central Nara. Established in 1880, it is the location of many of Nara’s main attractions including Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum. It is also home to hundreds of freely roaming deer.Considered the messengers of the gods, over 1000 of Nara’s deers have become an image of the city and have even been linked to good fortune. Deer saltines are available to be purchased around the recreation center, and some deer have figured out how to bow to guests to request to be fed.
After, I left Japan with a smile on my face, I enjoyed every single second I was here and hope to return again one day. Osaka is a wonderful mix of traditional culture and modernity.