Help a Kanto gaijin have a good one night trip in Osaka
June 8, 2012 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Looking for places to go, eat, and stay in a very, very short trip to Osaka.

By random chance, the Mrs. and I finally have two consecutive days off together (which has happened only once this year up til now), and we're going to Osaka. We're flying (she's got miles she needs to use) out of Haneda in Tokyo on the morning of Sunday, June 24, and flying back to Tokyo on Monday, June 25. The plan is to go to Universal Studios on Sunday (yes, Monday would be less absurd, but we've got to be back at the airport by 6pm, so Sunday gives us more time to play).

The thing is, that weekend pretty much marks 12 years in Japan for me, and I've never been to Osaka. I know nothing about the city, and my wife has never been either. We're looking for a good district to stay in on Sunday night, and possible hotel recommendations, though pretty much anywhere will be okay, as it's only one night. After that, or even before, is food, since that's what Osaka is famous for. Where to go, what to eat, any possible recommendations for things to see or do on Monday would be greatly appreciated. Obviously Sunday night isn't a big night out for most people, but we'd like to try to get something of a feel for the city. The closest I've been to the city is living vicariously through No Reservations, and we're both big into street food. If anyone can help us out, we'd appreciate it.
posted by Ghidorah to Travel & Transportation around Osaka, Japan (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You should stay near Shin Imamiya station on the loop line/ Dobutsuenmae station on the subway. There is lots of info about really cheap hotels in this district online.

The best okonomiyaki can be found at Chiyo 寺田町 千代
near Teradacho station (loop line)
The best takoyaki can be found at Yamachan やまちゃん 天王寺 near Tenoji station (many trains lines have stations here)

If it is your first time in Osaka you should just go to Dotonbori and the Minami district. Sunday nights there is lots of people watching to be had.

I would show you around but I am out of town on those dates.
posted by Infernarl at 6:37 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I know nothing about Osaka myself, but you may be interested to see that the NY Times' 36 Hours travel feature focuses on Osaka this week.
posted by mchorn at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2012

I have had friends eat nothing bur ramen while visiting Osaka, and suggest peeking over this list of ramen joints in the area.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:29 AM on June 8, 2012

we stayed here hon our first trip to Osaka, the spa was great! On subsequent trips we've stayed at the Hearton line of hotels, not a lot of character but clean, reasonably priced, etc.
posted by snowymorninblues at 1:01 PM on June 8, 2012

Hey there! We stayed in two different places on our trip to Osaka (which I just loved, btw). I don't know if these are in your budget or not, definitely low mid-range.

1. Kaneyoshi Ryokan.. This is right near Dottombori so it's in a great spot for you to go out an wander round at night, get some of that delicious okonomiyaki or crab, etc. It's kind of scruffy, but in a loveable way, and the concierge was very helpful. Apparently the in-room meals are quite good, we didn't get any.

2. Hotel Kinki. This was Western-style (not sure if they had any traditional rooms or not), and is in an equally central, but totally different part of town (closer to Osaka station), more of the dept store experience, HEP FIVE, Hankyu, Hanshin, and Daimaru etc. Staff were really lovely here, and it's located kind of in/next to a huge arcade, Hankyu-Higashi Dori - which has a shitload of restaurants and stuff. So many. Like literally hundreds in a small area, so it was fun walking around there, too (though bitterly cold as we were then in february and it was snowing at the time!).

Kinki in particular, was a bargain for the price/location.

Regarding general things to do, it's a bit of a cliche I suppose, and I'm a sucker in particular, but Kaiyukan was amazing, and the best aquarium I've ever been to (and I love aquariums so have been to a few!). It was so cool, and I could have easily spent a whole day there, though depending on how much you love aquariums, a morning could suffice.

Osaka Museum was also really good/interesting I thought; has a really nice history of the region; it's a social history museum not a natural history one. It's also in an area that close to Osaka castle (I wouldn't pay to go inside, having been inside now, it's mostly just bloody placards summarising shogun wars the castle participated in, hardly any primary objects, but the grounds etc are nice and it's in a massive park), the ceramics museum (also very good if you're interested in ceramics), and a big television studio (can't remember which, it's kind of joined to the museum. I think Japanese tv is almost uniformly terrible so wasn't really interested but whatever floats your boat).

Have fun, and post an update and let us know what you did and how you liked it.
posted by smoke at 4:02 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The trip this far, flight at 8:30 from Haneda, direct to Universal Studios. They have a nice roller coaster. Other than that, I never thought I'd think nice things about Disney Sea in comparison to anything.

We're staying in the Hotel Nikko, which has the benefit of being one of the exits to Shinsaibashi, and being part of a coupon deal through Mrs. Ghidorah's company. We're wandering around, and are in the Dotonbori area, currently taking a break in a basement Irish bar, drinking things we don't get on tap in Chiba. After, we will probably go in search of some sort of octopus balls (I know that takoyaki has nothing to do with that hideous western name, but it's still kind of fun).

Tomorrow, it looks like rain. We're thinking of okonomiyaki for lunch, and a trip to doguyasujishotengai, which looks to be Osaka's version of Kappabashi.

My first impression of Osaka vs Tokyo: more tattoos, more smokers, and people aggressively don't look where they are going. It's... different. The Fuller's London Pride is delicious though.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:40 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

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