Big in Japan: Osaka

Welcome to Osaka, a small Tokyo (not my invention!) but more affordable (but still expensive) and famous for it’s Takoyaki (octopus fried in batter) and Glico Man! Wait… whom again? Well, I don’t know. I asked and nobody seemed to know why the guy is so famous. But it’s rather distinctive and a certain attraction in the ever lit-up heart of the city – Dotonbori district. But first things first 🙂

Osaka Glico Man 2

Let’s take a shinkansen and leave Hiroshima. It’s a 2.5h ride on a direct train. There are some beautiful sights to be seen on the way but unfortunately the weather was not on my side. I wasn’t complaining while on the train as that did not bother me at all, but I have to say I complained a little bit when I left the train station and was supposed to explore the city. I thought at least the place wouldn’t be crowded and I could get around easily. Wrong!

Lets join a queue

There is a small story to the above though. And it’s not about me being so tall and everyone else short… ekhm… Either way… I got off the train and walked down the main street towards the castle (looking closely at the map I had printed earlier). I wasn’t pleased with the rain so hoped to get there fast. As I was getting closer to the castle I noticed a long queue lined up towards the castle  (next to the sign directing there). I decided to join the queue. A really long one! I imagined the castle to be one of the main attraction in the city. I should have suspected something as I was the only non-Asian person in the 1.5-hour long line. As we got really close I noticed the entrance was nowhere near the castle. “Where is this one for?!”. Well. It turned out it was a queue to buy some souvenir stuff from the anniversary tour of some Japanese pop stars in Osaka-jo Hall. Wrrrr! I bought a small towel to remind myself never to assume anything and simply ask! And what a deer towel it was…

And because of the time I wasted spent in the queue I almost missed the opening hours of the right castle! Rushing through the bridge I managed to get in just in time before the closure.  And as it turned out the castle had been turned into a museum. It does not even look like a proper castle you can see in Europe. Oh my ignorance. It’s more like a observatory tower but still rather entertaining and insightful! And the views from the top are really good and I enjoyed them a lot despite the weather!

Osaka Skyline 3

Right when I left the castle it started to rain again (just because the cloud knew I was out so it could piss down rain on me!). I did not want to let the weather win and decided to go for some ice cream! A tasty local-green-tea sick looking goodie! 🙂 And so I was ready to head off to the capsule hotel to leave my bag and carry on discovering the city. And by capsule I mean a capsule. A small box where you barely have any room for anything else but yourself. A very Japanese experience!  Wish I was of Japanese size though…  But I did not take a nap because an amazing city was awaiting for me be explored! And I was glad I did! I stayed in the city centre close to the Dotonbori district. It’s a very cheerful and colourful districts with quaint canals and shimmering lights from huge advertisements.

Osaka busy nightlife 2

With all honesty I loved Dotonbori. The lights gave it the big city feeling and the huge variety of pubs and bars and restaurants made it a great place to hang around. Want more? There is canal cruises, there is karaoke, there is gaming machines, there is countless anime shops. Obviously one evening was not enough to experience and taste it all. But I wanted to try something very Japanese soup and in a very Japanese place 🙂

Traditional seating

All fed and amazed I could finally go back to my small capsule. I was worried I could hear dozen people snoring or would simply feel claustrophobic. Non of that. It’s actually a good business as they charge about 25 pounds per person. And there were dozens of capsules in the room… do the counting. But really good experience and highly recommended!

Time to go to sleep

Hope you enjoyed this little tour. Have a look in the below gallery. Thanks!

 

 


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