- Nicolette Stathopoulos
OSAKA Japan Guide
One of my favourite cities in Japan would have to be Osaka. Osaka has an amazing balance of a fun lively city, as well as many old historical places to visit. A few of my favourite things to do would be to visit is Kuromon market, the instant noodle museum, Osaka castle, the Osaka aquarium and the Tempozan ferris wheel. A must see in Osaka though is Universal Studios. Read along to hear about all the fun things I got to see and do in Osaka.
Universal Studios Osaka was one of my favourite experiences in Japan. Get there early and stay until the evening if you can. I got there just when it opened and the lines to get in were crazy. Expect long waiting times on all the rides. I went on one ride as soon as I entered the park, and by the time I was off the ride, the wait times for most rides were at about 70 minutes. Because I was travelling alone I was lucky enough to go into some of the single ques, and waited about 10 minutes, instead of the usual 70-90 minute wait. Harry Potter world was so much fun, and all the installments looked so real, I felt like I was in the movie. The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride would have to be one of my favourite in the whole park. And it seems to be everyones favourite as I waited about 2 hours for this one. Universal Wonderland was super cute, and had some very fun looking rides for kids. Other rides I absolutely loved would be the Spiderman ride, Hollywood Dream ride, Space Fantasy and The Flying Dinosaur. Like most theme parks the food at Universal Studios was a little average. I’d recommend eating a big breakfast beforehand, and snaking on the snacks in the park during the day. A must try at any theme park are the smoked turkey legs. I also had to try the minion waffles as they looked so cute.
Momofuku Ando Instant Noodle Museum
Another favourite of mine in Osaka is the Momofuku Ando Instant Noodle Museum. Located in Ikeda, the cup noodle museum is a must see. Take a walk through the history of cup noodles and cup noodle ramen. For English translations you can borrow a headset at the front entrance, otherwise its all in Japanese. Once you’ve walked though the instant noodle tunnel you'll be able to sit down and create your own cup noodles. You can get creative in this place by buying an empty cup, drawing whatever you want on the package, and then designing and choosing what you’d like in your cup noodles. Chose your flavourings, toppings, and then package it all up to take home with you. Once you’ve got your noodles don’t forget to visit the gift shop, for cup noodle candles, erasers and much more.
If you haven’t already eaten enough food by now, you must go to the Kuromon Market. You really cant resist all the beautiful fresh produce. Do yourself a favour and get a grilled scallop, honestly one of the most delicious things I ate over in japan. They cook these massive scallops over the hibachi grill, with some butter and soy sauce. Don’t forget to drink up all the yummy juice once you’ve eaten the scallop. They range from about $8-15 (AUD) but trust me its so worth it. Another must try at the Kuromon market is the Kobe beef. Kobe beef has an amazing melt in your mouth texture. I tried the Kobe beef lightly grille with some soy over rice, and wow it was delicious. I’ve tried Blackmore Wagyu before, and these two beefs are probably my favourite I’ve ever had. Its lovely to just walk through the market and see all the produce these stores have to offer, I love the vibrant pickles all lined up perfectly, and its so nice to see all the amazing seafood Japan has to offer.
If you’re looking for something a little more historical Osaka Castle I absolutely beautiful. The main building of Osaka Castle is located on a piece of land that’s about one square kilometer. The square grounds cover a space of about 15 acres, which makes up a beautiful garden surrounding the castle. The area is made up of thirteen structures, which are important cultural assets of Japan. Take a walk up to the top of the castle and see some amazing views of the surrounding gardens.
For the little ones I’d recommend going to the Osaka Aquarium. This place has a heap of aquatic creatures to visit, and will keep kids entertained for a few hours at least. I loved seeing Nemo, and the penguins were very cute.
Tempozan Ferris Wheel
After going to the Aquarium right across the road is the Tempozan Ferris Wheel. I absolutely loved this ride overlooking Osaka and the wharf. I chose the see through cabin to ride in, and honestly you really cant see much through it, as the base is acrylic and scratched, so your view is a little blurred. I waited a little longer for this cabin, so if you’re in a rush just go with the normal cabin. The views at the top part of the wheel are amazing. With a height of 112m you can see so much of Osaka. As I was travelling alone, I was in the cabin by myself, I didn’t realise how high I really was until I was just about at the top, if you’re not good with heights I would not recommend this one, or maybe just don’t look down as much. But overall this really was amazing and I would very highly recommend it, especially if you're in the area.
Lastly one of my favourite parts of Osaka was walking through Dotonbori. The night life here is so much fun, theres a heap of restaurants to visit and so many cute little bars. I love walking just walking through the strip of restaurants with the oversized food that they served on the outside. The restaurants with the big crabs on the outside obviously serve crab, gyoza obviously they sell gyoza and so on. I walked through here almost every night I was in Osaka to find somewhere to stop off for dinner. I also loved walking through here during the day, early in the morning, where theres almost no one else around. If you walk through in the morning its so nice to see all the produce being delivered to the various restaurants. Overall I just loved Osaka, and my best advice would be to try something new. Whether it’s a different type of seafood in the market, or conquering your fear of heights on the Ferris wheel, or just trying the amazing street food Osaka has to offer, you really cant go wrong in this city.