It’s super close to Kyoto though and worth taking a day or so to see the sights before you move on to bigger and more cultural things.
But, let’s not nay say the city, I enjoyed it a lot and there’s still plenty to see there. I have a friend who is from/ lives in Osaka, so I was at a bit of an advantage on this trip. It’s probably easiest if I just give you a rundown of our itinerary and a few places I think you can’t miss.
Day 1: After flying into the Kansai airport, the express train will take you straight into the city where you can switch to a local line. We stayed at a small hotel in the Yakuza part of town, Mikadao, (according to my friend), but it seemed safe enough really. It wasn’t a bad place to stay and it was a good price.
It was also near the Tsutenkaku, a tower filled with ridiculous things and a small observation deck. The museum of art and a small zoo were also nearby.
Depending on how much time you have, you could take the day to go see the Osaka castle (which we didn’t go in because it was expensive) or you could go to the Osaka aquarium.
The aquarium is awesome. One of the best I’ve ever been to simply because they have a manta ray that looks like it belonged to King Triton. I mean, that thing was huge. Mind blowingly huge.
It’s a can’t miss for tourists and a popular first date spot for Osakans.
In the evening you can go to the Shinsaibashi shopping district which specializes in technology and cosplay items. There are also huge signs of fake food.
Day 2: Having lived in Taiwan for three years prior to this trip, my friend and I hadn’t seen snow in a long time nor had we experienced any winter activities. So, we decided to go ice-skating. The rink was nice and not expensive to use. Just remember that you’ll need a pair of gloves; it’s required. I’m not sure where exactly the place was (since our Osakan friend guided us there), but there was a super delicious Raman place nearby.
The second hotel we stayed at, Hotel Sunroute Sakai, was a bit out in the middle of nowhere, but I loved it. Mostly I loved it because they provided us with little Japanese robes to sleep in and I thought that was great. I only picked the place because it was cheap, nice and near the station where we would catch a train to catch the train to make our way to Kyoto (by JR).
Near the train station that you use to get on the express train to Kyoto, the Umeda Sky Building is waiting for you. We lucked out and happen to catch the place at sunset. It’s awesome and worth it. If you go up to the middle, you can actually cross a sky bridge for free (like we did) and do some exploring in the building. But, I think the top is actually worth the fee.
You can take a stroll around the top of the building out in the fresh air, or inside the protection of the windows in their 360 view area. I loved it, and could’ve spent even more time there.
Welp, that’s Osaka in a nutshell. When you’re there, just be sure to try Osaka Sau and Takoyaki; they’re the delicious traditional dishes.