And this series professing my undying love for Japan will go on and on, simply because it’s still my favorite country (after the Philippines)…as of yet! Pardon the excited tone of my writing, but memories of my Japan experience will always make me all giddy. ALWAYS.
OSAKA—the food capital of Japan! I could even call it as the world’s greatest food city! And yes, food trips were very much part of our every move while we were in Osaka, another favorite place in Japan! We were like in a food lover’s heaven as we strolled and savored every bit of Osaka, overflowing with history, character, and culture. Every step needed to be accompanied by a savory bite of something delectable we bought from the lovely streets of Osaka!
But not only is Osaka known for its gastronomic encounters, it is also well known for its unique culture. Of course, the adventurers in Pao and I did not let that opportunity pass!
1. SHITENNOJI TEMPLE
We started our day with the Shitennoji Temple also known as the Temple of Four Heavenly Kings, one of the oldest temples in Japan. It was built by Prince Shotoku in 593. The five-story pagoda was burned seven times, but it was restored at present time and rebuilt to faithfully recreate the style of the time.
Because Japan is an Asian country, pagodas are almost ubiquitous as pagodas are part of their Buddhist culture and beliefs.We visited a beautiful 5-story pagoda the previous day in Nara, and we are just too fortunate to be able to visit another one in Osaka. Pagodas are considered important relics in Buddhism, and mostly, pagodas found in Japan are five-tiered with each layer having significance. The bottom story of the pagoda represents earth,while the topmost represents sky.
2. OSAKA CASTLE
Osaka Castle was the next on our list, and wow, the entire park area was so vast that we practically got lost in between the moats of the castle. But what I loved the most in the castle area was Nishinonomaru Garden, with its exquisite cherry trees, plum trees, and a tea house!
Osaka Castle experienced a number of destructions, then reconstructions, and even being burned by fire after being struck by lightning. But finally, the castle underwent ferro-concrete reconstruction and it even miraculously survived the war despite the city-wide raids. Now that’s sturdy! Like what I mentioned earlier, the castle is not just a castle because of the vastness of its land area, it contains secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats.
For the adventurous, Osaka Castle is definitely a place to visit, because it is not only the castle that is exciting, but the entire of the castle area is already entertaining.
3. DOTONBORI AND NAMBA
Dotonbori and Namba were our favorite places in particular. You may ask why. I would gladly indulge, it is our favorite spot in Osaka because it was a melting pot of all the yummy goodness the Japanese cuisine has to offer!
From takoyakis, ramen, okonomiyakis, name it, they have it! We ate like 4 servings (8×4=32 balls of takoyaki) all in one sitting! It was that good!
“Dotonbori is a large scale downtown along the south bank of the Dotonbori-gawa Canal. Osaka is known as the gastronomists’ town, and thus the entire area of Dotonbori is thronged with an unbelievable number of restaurants and amusement facilities, and is dearly loved by the locals” -Japan National Tourism Organization.
I would not be able to describe it in a better way. But yes, may I just repeat, you will find yourselves in delightful gastronomic heaven once you sample all there is to eat in that very awesome area!
4. UMEDA SKY BUILDING
When Pao and I travel, we just get our happy dose of the travel bug and scratch the itch with our restless feet! We knew we just can’t stop at feasting in Dotonbori, as we gladly welcomed ourselves to see the beautiful skyline of Osaka.
Umeda Sky Building is perhaps one of the best things that happened to us while in Osaka! It provided us with the best city view of Osaka (well, the best skyline we’ve seen among all the countries we’ve visited). It was not limited, but very much interactive, making it one of my favorite observatories ever!
Unlike normal view decks from other countries, the Umeda Sky Building Observatory is not limited by viewing behind a glass. You see the beautiful skyline, get mesmerized by its beauty as the cold evening breeze blows through your face as you admire the view.
5. OSAKA STATION CITY
Osaka Station City is perhaps the most beautiful train station I’ve ever been to! Osaka Station City’s landmark is a large glass roof that spans over the railway tracks and gives the station a lot of new open space! It looks like an airport already! It has a mall inside the train station making it convenient for travelers waiting for their trains.
On some other days, we just could not resist Osaka during the night that we kept going back to Shinsekai and Dotonbori (again) during night time!
When you’re in Osaka, make sure you you experience KUIDAORE. Kuidaore is a Japanese term that means ruining yourself because of extravagance of food. I believe it’s different from gluttony as you are trying to experience the best of what different cultures have to offer. Food, food, food will always be all good!