OSAKA

 

Japanese food. Ahhh, I just love it. When it comes to trying different street foods, Tokyo is great but Osaka is even better, known as Japan's kitchen, you can easily find anything from sweet desserts to savory Kobe beef - all in carts along the streets! 

EXPLORE EVERYTHING! 

After leaving Tokyo we took the infamous Shinkansen Bullet Train straight to Osaka. If you don't know anything about the Bullet train, I suggest you look into it... this train is the fastest in the world getting up to nearly 200 mph! Aboard the 2.5 hour train ride we were able to take in the amazing greenery and countrysides of Japan, along with a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji (which we'll definitely be making that a pitstop next time we visit Japan). Although the Shinkansen is a bit pricier than a standard train ride, it really is an amazing experience... not to mention it does get you into Tokyo in less than half the time as it is insanely fast but surprisingly such a smooth ride. I highly suggest trying it. 

 
 
 

As you can see on this map, Osaka is pretty centralized in comparison to a few key places that we wanted to experience and visit, Kyoto and Kobe. Because of this as well as, Universal Studios, we decided to make this our "home base" for the remainder of the trip. And we are honestly so glad that we did... it is such an amazing city with such easy access to even more must-see places... I might even like it a little more than Tokyo... maybe. 

 

Just like Tokyo, Osaka too has the huge tall buildings just waiting to be discovered. While exploring one of the many tall buildings, on the first floor we watched a kid kill it on the Dance, Dance, Revolution game before heading up a floor to play darts, then going up even higher to enjoy an amazing night of karaoke!  

 

OUR OSAKA EXPERIENCE

Click the links below and plan your own experience :)

SHINKANSEN BULLET TRAIN

Now, like I said... this may be a little speedier than a standard train ride. But in my opinion its worth it! On bullet train, we went across the country from Tokyo to Osaka in just over 2 hours! Which gave us plenty of extra time on our "travel day" to explore! Not to mention, you do have an option (which obviously is a little more money) of upgrading your seat to first class which is even more spacious. Not to mention it runs like any other train, you do not have to book a specific date and time to leave. You have a list of times that the Shinkansen departs and you choose which one works best for you. If you are running a little late... don't sweat it, they have a woman that walks up and down the aisle selling beverages, snacks, sandwiches, and so much more.

DOTONBURI STREET

YES!!!! Foodie heaven so make sure to bring cash!

Now this is the famous area where you can indulge in anything and everything. We kept calling this the "ghetto" version of Tokyo (in the best sense possible, of course) - because let's be honest, Japan is anything but ghetto. Anyhow, if you are planning on going to Osaka - Dotonburi Street is a MUST!

Remember when we said to look up (into buildings) in Tokyo? Yeah, well it's the same thing here. We explored a few floors on Dotonburi street and had dart tournaments in the bowling alley... and then we went up a floor and found the karaoke rooms!!! (See below for details).

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

So since the previous year in Tokyo, we experienced DisneySea... we thought how fun would it be to check out Universal Studios and Harry Potter World!

This of course is a pricier activity... but what theme park of this caliber isn't?

Now - we had such good time riding the rides but here's a HUGE tip if you are considering going to Universal Studios Japan - buy your tickets ahead of time. Lines are insane. When you purchase your tickets you have an option of picking your rides that you really want to ride and reserving your ride time so that you can just walk up and get on without any of the annoying lines.

 

KARAOKE ROOMS

DO IT! It's so much fun! After a long night of stuffing our faces on Dotonburi Street, we picked a tall arcade-isa building and went up until we stumbled upon the karaoke rooms!

So the way it works is you rent your own private room for how ever many hours you want and you sing your heart out! They do have a bar (not sure about snacks as none of us were hungry to even think about food)... We started off by renting the room for 1 hour... which we ended up extending a few times for I want to say like 4 hours or something. We dang our hearts our and drank a decent amount of sake.

Hangover sucked, but it was all worth it. Karaoke rooms are everywhere, not just in Osaka, try it out!

OSAKA CASTLE

How gorgeous is the lit up castle at night? Unfortunately for us, we were unable to go inside of the castle as we got there too late and the touring was closed for the evening. But we did explore in the moats that surrounded the castle as well as the beautiful park just outside.

Definitely look up the touring times if this is something that you are interested in seeing. If I were to do it over again, I would've planned to tour inside first and then take these beautiful night pictures afterward.

OWL CAFE

Again last year we did experience the Bunny Cafe - so this time I did want to try out something a little more unusual.

I'm sure that people are shaking their head that we even paid money to support this... so maybe it isn't the best thing to post about. But it is something that we did experience. We did have a good time learning about the owls, feeding, seeing and holding all the various types of owls in all different sizes.

If you are interested - there are animal cafe's all over the country and this is not the only Owl Cafe in Osaka, let alone Japan.

If this is not something that you are into, its fine... skip it. There are so many things to be discovered in Osaka.

 

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS FESTIVAL

This is definitely an activity that you can either do for free or spend some money on a little tree light decor as well as some food.

In the spirit of Christmas, we did decide to get a small little tree light to which they have you draw a smiley face and place your light in the forest of lit up trees/plants in the park. The trees were so beautiful all lit up in different colors with everyones smiley cartoon faces.

If you just want to walk around and explore, this is a very pretty park to do so.

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SHOPPING

Ballin’ on a budget?! You can find knock off anything here for a great low price!

We don’t generally shop when we’re on vacation but that doesn’t mean that we don’t like to explore everything that Japan has to offer!

Plus, it was a perfect spot to stop by and buy a pair of gloves and a belt to hold us over through the trip! :)