Japan has never been in my travel wishlist even though my favourite cuisine is Japanese food (pretty ironic isn’t it). However, I am absolutely glad that I’ve paid a visit there with my family last year. Japan does not disappoint me, in fact it exceeded my expectations. The food, the people, the architecture, the culture, — it was bliss. I’ve visited Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto during my trip, but I’ll be breaking down the content into 3 different articles. So, if you want to check out those posts, stay tune!
1.Visit Osaka Castle and Nishinomaru Park
Osaka’s monuments really don’t get any more iconic than this majestic Osaka Castle. It was surrounded by breathtaking Nishinomaru Park, which happened to be a great spot for Hanami during the Cherry Blossom Season (I wish we went there a week early to catch those beautiful scenes!) Osaka Castle park is free so make sure you stroll around, you can even have picnic there.
The castle opens it’s doors at 9 am and the park surrounding the park is open all to the public at all times. It will cost you 600 Yen to go inside the castle.
Don’t forget to grab the delicious Matcha ice-cream while admiring the Osaka Castle!
2. Go Kuromon Ichiba Market
If you are a hungry soul (like me) craving for mouthwatering fresh seafood, and street food, you must not miss this market which has more than 190 years of history and tradition. There are tons of shops (approximately 150) selling food from sweet to savory.
Food to try:
Grilled Scallop, Tuna Fish, Sashimi, Takoyaki, White Strawberries
3. Shop until drop and Eat all you can at Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi
Going to Osaka without making a stop at Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi is like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Shinsaibashi Arcade is the premier shopping area in Osaka. Around 600 meters long, it’s filled with trendy boutiques, retail chains, and luxury department stores. Whether you’re looking for Japan designers’ shops or international brands, you’re bound to find what you love here! When you walk into this open area and see that large Glico man sign. That’s when you know you’re in Dotonbori. The giant Glico Man is Dotonbori’s most iconic landmark.
Food You Must Not Miss In Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi
Ichiran originated from Fukuoka offers Classic Tonkotsu Ramen from the 1960s. It is an extremely popular ramen place in Japan even the locals will queue up for their ramen! I can literally have this every day, it totally taste different (in a good way) with what I had in the past!
Ever since I had my first burger and lobster experience in London, I will not miss any possible chance to have a bite of it, and I’m glad I did.
Pablo which originates from Osaka as a takeaway cheesecake shop has attracted long queues for its signature “Rare/Medium” cheesecake. Recently, Pablo have even packaged its products as Osaka souvenirs targeting at travelers.
Authentic Japanese Street Food
When in Japan, eat Japanese food (including their delicious street food) as much as possible. Don’t lie, you’re going to miss the authentic taste when you’re back home.
Try Sashimi, Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, Yakiniku, Kani.
4. Visit The Universal Studio
If you enjoy the adrenaline rush or want to reminisce your favourite movies’ characters. Universal Studio can never be wrong! The prior reason I visit USJ is of course the sake of Harry Potter!
Make sure you grab yourself a mug of butterbeer! I had the frozen version and it tasted like caramel root beer! I swear it is soooo good! There are few rides which are extremely enjoyable. For instance, Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey (duh! even though it’s in Japanese version, I still enjoyed it a lot!), Hollywood Dream Backdrop (utterly thrilling), The Flying Dinosaur (if you have a strong heart make sure you go for it despite the long queue)!
5. Visit The Convenience Stores!!!
You might be thinking am I serious? Why include convenience store in a travel list. Trust me, you’re gonna thank me later when you find out how much you get to save while getting yourself some delicious meals and snacks. There are three main stores name you should know, which are 7-11, Family Mart and Lawson Station. You can literally grab so much things here, ranging from light breakfast (sandwiches), to bentos, coffees, beers, and ice-creams!
6. Grab Great Deals at Rinku Premium Outlet
If you’re a shopaholic, or wanted to grab cheaper designer pieces, seek no further than Rinku Premium Outlet which has more than 200 brands including some of their local brands.
Make sure you grab the discount coupons at the information counter to get some further deductions.
If you are planning a visit to Rinku Premium Outlets, you can plan it on your Day 1 or your last day since it is located so near to Kansai International Airport.
If you’re not aiming to shop, I still recommend you to drop by Rinku Town as you get to see the breathtaking city scape from this huge Tempozan Ferris Wheel. You can even visit the Marble Beach to catch sunset.
P.S Make sure you visit Nara since you already plan to visit Osaka.
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