The Discoverer
The Discoverer
Osaka, Japan
Edition 114   |   3:59 read time
Osaka | @chopsticksontheloose
Japan’s second-largest city by population, Osaka is #1 in the hearts of countless visitors and natives. Some might say it’s less conventionally beautiful than other major cities, but Osaka is bursting with character — not to mention more amazing food than you can shake a chopstick at, hence its long association with the word kuidaore ("to ruin oneself by extravagance in food"). Once you whet your appetite, you’ll have a hard time not going back to Osaka for seconds (or thirds, or fourths…).
Fun Fact:
Osaka has served as Japan's capital several times, with its most recent tenure ending in 745 AD.
Osaka | Travelerpix
March — April
When should you plan your trip? Why, during cherry blossom season, of course! Sakuras usually bloom at the end of March and beginning of April, with entire websites devoted to tracking this awe-inspiring phenomenon down to the day. The pale-pink flowers make the city look like a fairy tale come to life, with temperatures in the 50s and the crisp spring air making layers a welcome necessity.
#osakacastlepark | @jordhammond
Capture the Castle
If it’s cherry blossoms you seek, there’s no better spot to see them than Osaka Castle Park. This is an essential stop regardless of when or why you visit the city, however. The public park dates back to the 16th century and teems with history — not all of it pleasant, as it was occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Today there’s a shrine, garden, souvenirs, buskers, and all manner of other activities occurring on any given day.
#dotonbori | @frankie_b_87
Osaka by Night
The heart of Osaka’s nightlife, Dōtonbori comes alive when the sun goes down like few other districts you’ve ever been to. The sheer amount of bright lights and attention-grabbing signs make it not unlike the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo. But the bustling energy created by an endless parade of locals and tourists alike navigating the countless restaurants and bars is unique, even in Japan. You could go there every night for a week and find something new each time, whether it be karaoke in Sōemoncho, walking down Hozenji Yokocho, or even taking a river cruise.
Osaka Dome | @leikikilino
Buffalo Baseball
Other than the United States, no country loves baseball as much as Japan. Osaka is represented in Nippon Professional Baseball by the Orix Buffaloes, who have existed in their current form since 2005 and play at the Osaka Dome. Going to a game is a unique experience, especially if you’re used to the American version. The crowds are calmer, the snacks (like yakitori and bento boxes) are arguably tastier, and the rules of the game are slightly different. The Buffaloes aren’t exactly one of the best teams in the league, but they have a loyal following whose energy fills the Dome.
#nambayasakashrine | @sorchin
The Lion’s Den
Namba isn't known as one of Osaka's more serene neighborhoods, making the Namba Yasaka Shrine all the more remarkable. With a 36-foot-tall stone lion said to bring good fortune by swallowing evil spirits, it's a mini-getaway popular among students preparing for exams and salarymen hoping for a good financial year. It's worth a visit even if you don’t believe in spirits. If one shrine isn’t enough, try Hozen-ji Temple. Its moss-covered statue of the deity Fudo is strangely beautiful, and easily the best place in town to throw a coin for good luck.
Tina’s Discovery
"Osaka is a beautiful city that offers many beautiful sights like the Osaka castle, Hirakata T-SITE bookstore, and the lively Dōtonbori. But it’s not as crowded with tourists as cities like Tokyo or Kyoto. I feel it has more to offer than most people think!"
Hanamaruken Ramen Osaka | @charzzy
Slow-Cooked to Perfection
Osaka is commonly referred to as “the nation’s kitchen,” and restaurants like Hanamaruken Namba Houzenji are the reason why. Ramen is a quick, easy staple in Japan, and though the city has countless great noodle spots, Hanamaruken stands above the rest. That's due not only to the slow-cooked pork-rib ramen, cited by many as the best they've ever had, but also the gyoza and fried rice. Sushi is also a must, of course, and you can do no better than Harukoma. As tasty as it is affordable, the small restaurant puts a premium on ultra-fresh ingredients that have customers literally lining up to get in.
St. Regis Osaka | @bobbygonz
Raise the Flag
Opened just last year, Hotel the Flag Shinsaibashi has an excellent breakfast buffet and ultra-sleek decor. Japanese lodgings tend to be a bit smaller than their western counterparts, but the rooms in this designer hotel are nothing if not, well, roomy — comfortable, too, what with the air purifiers, electric kettles, and smartphone docking stations. The five-star St. Regis Osaka is an equally classy choice, centrally located on Midōsuji Boulevard — which has been described as Osaka’s Champs-Élysées — and featuring one of the most beautiful rock gardens you’re likely to see.
#osakajapan | @fontesvisuals
Osaka From Above
"I'd recommend Kuromon market to get some fresh food in the morning, and Umeda Sky Building to get a chance to see Osaka from the top." – @setiawan_jati
Be Prepared
"Don't forget to keep coins or a Suica card with you at all times. This can save you from unexpected transportation or even purchasing something from a nearby vending machine!" – @b0nyy
1550 Wewatta Street, Denver, CO 80202