Osaka is pretty much all about shopping and eating, it’s a foodies paradise and known to be the street food capital of Japan! There are a few tourist attractions but chances are you’ll be so caught up in the hustle & bustle of the main streets you won’t really have time for anything else! Here’s what we got up to…..
Shopping & Attractions:
Dotonbori – The street runs parallel to the Dotonbori Canal, it’s a popular shopping and entertainment district loaded with eateries. A couple of the most famous landmarks of Dotonburi are the mechanical crab on the front of the Kani Doraku restaurant, it sits at 6.5m and can move its legs and eyes and the Glico running man, a giant neon sign of an athlete which represents Glico candy. I bought a lot of souvenirs and novelty foods from the quirky shops in this area.. Visit at night if you can when the hundreds of neon signs are light up!
- Shinsaibashi Suji – A 600m long covered shopping street, it’s one of Osaka’s oldest and busiest places to shop! It caters for all with a variety of shops ranging from brands and boutiques to chain stores. There’s also a good selection of restaurants here so you can satisfy your hunger after shopping up a storm!
- Amerikamura – On the west side of Shinsaibashi has a very large teen presence due to the youth fashion stores and cheap boutiques. Some of the shops and buildings here have unique street art on them, not really seen in other areas of Osaka.
- Mido Suji – In the centre of Shinsaibashi, this is where the designer/luxury brand shops are located.
Den Den Town – Is an electronics district, similar to Akihabara in Tokyo but not quite as big, Den Den Town is a lot easier to navigate and easier to grab a bargain though! Home to gaming, hobby, appliance and computer stores, one could say it’s a tech geeks paradise…Sanjay enjoyed it! It’s also known for its maid cafes and Anime stores.
Umeda District – In and around Osaka Station is where many of Japan’s leading department stores are located, Hankyu, Daimaru and Hanshin to name a few! (The Takashiyama flagship store is in Namba).
100Yen Stores (Daiso) – There are many brands of 100Yen stores but the most popular is Daiso. These shops offer an amazing range of products, all for only 100 Yen. The products sold here are of a reasonably good quality and you can even buy licensed merchandise from brands such as Disney.
Osaka Castle – This spectacular castle was built in the 16th century by Hideyoshi Toyotomi a warlord
of medieval Japan. It took 60,000 labourers 18 months to complete the castles tower. The castle was embellished with silver and gold as a symbol of the warlords wealth. Two years after Hideyoshi’s death, the castle was destroyed in a great battle. It was subsequently rebuilt then destroyed and rebuilt again several times over the centuries before being painstakingly restored to what it is today.
Umeda Sky Building – Is a 173m tall highrise, the building has two main towers which are connected to each other by a donut shaped bridge, which is also called the ‘Floating Garden’ (Don’t be fooled like we were…there are no trees or flowers up there!) Visitors can buy tickets to go out onto the viewing deck which offer 360 degree views of Osaka, there is even a heart shaped viewing deck for couples to celebrate their love and buy a heart shaped lock to attach to the fence – which we did!
Takoyaki – One of Osaka’s specialties, it translates as fried octopus, a piece of octopus coved in batter then fried and garnished with mayonnaise and spring onions. You can buy these from street stalls & speciality restaurants. We got some at Osaka Castle Park, they weren’t for me but at least I can say I’ve tried this famous dish!
Okonomiyaki – Another of Osaka’s specialties, made of flour, egg and cabbage with different ingredients mixed in then cooked on a griddle, it’s then topped with an okonomiyaki suace (soy, worchester, ketchup and a little sugar) Aonori (shredded seaweed) dried bonito flakes (smoked fish flakes, bonito is a type of tuna) and Japanese mayonnaise. I usually had mine with shrimp….it was scrumptious!
Chicken Katsu set – Katsu (breaded and deep fried) is served with a tonkatsu sauce (similar to a thick worschester) try buying it as a set to changes things up and make it interesting. The set will typically include a shredded cabbage salad, rice, miso soup and some pickles.
Taiyaki – Is a fish shaped cake that can be bought from a street stall, traditionally filled with a red bean paste but can also be filled with custard or chocolate. It’s made with a waffle batter and served hot and it’s soo good! (I would recommend the custard filling!)
Happy travels, Priti x