Day in Osaka
August 29, 2006 4:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm landing in Osaka early on Friday morning, and I'm looking for some interesting ideas on how to spend a day there. Any ideas?
posted by oferhalevi to Travel & Transportation around Osaka-Shi, Japan (12 answers total)
Eat takoyaki from a street vendor. Get it with mayonnaise!

Have a gawk at Osaka castle!

See Osaka from the "air" from the Umeda Sky Building!
posted by gomichild at 4:16 AM on August 29, 2006

The official Osaka tourist website is pretty comprehensive:

IMO, if you're there during the night you should probably hang out around Shinsaibashi and the Dotombori canal. Streets of neon light, restaurants, and funny looking people to entertain you for hours.
posted by Jase_B at 4:24 AM on August 29, 2006

You gotta checkout the Shinsaibashi area (as mentioned above). Very, very cool place with tons of food and gift shops. Some of the best okonomiyaki I ever had was in that area.

Nearby is a place called Amerika-Mura, which is a neat place to see the local hipsters. It's within walking distance of Shinsaibashi and packed with vintage clothing stores, record shops, and kids! Plus there's a dirty little park in the middle of it that's a fantastic spot to people-watch.

Also, go check out Osaka castle, as mentioned above. Most castles in Japan are overrated but the views this one affords make it one of the most magnificent places to visit. Very cool.
posted by dead_ at 6:34 AM on August 29, 2006

The Osaka Museum of History was nice, if a little corny. It's housed in a fantastic new building with an aerial view of Osaka-jo.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:34 AM on August 29, 2006

Actually, one of my favourite memories of Osaka a visit to Media Cafe Popeye in the basement of the Yodabashi Camera / JR station building. More than an internet cafe, you can rent a sleeping booth, a "couples" booth, a booth with couch and playstation, or a tv to watch the stacks of manga which line the wall. It was a bit expensive, but drink refills are free. The expat who showed it to me said he often spent the night there when he missed his train out of town. Definately a "Japanese" experience.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:51 AM on August 29, 2006

The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world and well worth the visit (and the 2000 yen admission fee). The main central tank actually has a whale shark.
posted by Gortuk at 8:49 AM on August 29, 2006

Amerika-Mura was a lot cooler than I expected and I wish I had spent more time there. I thought it would be a disney-like hip-hop area, but it was way more authentic (in a Japanese way) than I would have expected. I also loved wandering around the electronics district, especially all the vintage Nintendo stuff.
posted by dripdripdrop at 9:00 AM on August 29, 2006

Agree with dripdripdrop on Amerika-mura. And with Jase_B on Dotombori at night. But I'd say Shinsaibashi only by day -- seemed to shut down early, in my experience. As for the Umeda Sky Building, beware that scary escalator! And although the rock walls of Osaka Castle are amazing, be advised that the castle itself is a concrete reconstruction which historical purists sneer at.
posted by Rash at 9:45 AM on August 29, 2006

You very very much want to check out Shinsaibashi and Umeda on a weekend night after everything's closed. You'll find street vendors, musicians, and even the occasional magician.

Beyond that, Den Den Town in Ebisucho is pretty cool if you enjoy consumer electronics and videogames. Also make sure to see Ebisubashi -- it's the Japanese Times Square as far as big neon lights are concerned.

In the area, you'll find Himeji Castle if you're willing to make the trip out there, and alternately there's the entirety of Kyoto, only about half an hour away by train if you take the Hankyuu line. There's extra-cool historical stuff out there, too, like my favorite place in Japan (Arashiyama's Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, full of awesome amateur statues -- doesn't have a lick of English on it, tragically).

I also highly recommend the Kaiyuukan aquarium on the Osaka waterfront. Take the Chuo line to the Osakako stop and look for the giant fucking ferris wheel. It's right nearby ( The aquarium is very tourist-friendly and boasts the world's largest single indoor tank, or something like that. All I know is that the English on the signs is good at least at the start, though it does gradually degenerate into Engrish as you work your way through.

And so forth, and so on. Part of the joy of travelling is doing your own exploration, of course. Just make sure you eat at a restaurant specializing in udon -- it's a western Japan thing that you won't commonly find in Tokyo, apparently.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:39 PM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Just make sure you eat at a restaurant specializing in udon -- it's a western Japan thing that you won't commonly find in Tokyo, apparently.

??? You can't spit and not hit an udon restaurant in Tokyo. Are you thinking of a particular type of udon or way of serving?
posted by gomichild at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2006

When in the Namba-Shinsaibashi area, definitely check out the Ebisu-bashi (bridge). Featured in Ridley Scott's Black Rain among other things, it has a wicked view of the Dotonburi canal which has a pretty fantastic collection of lighted billboards- impressive at night! Oh, and giant crabs on the sides of buildings, restaurants shaped like boats, hotels with big heads out front, giant octopi on the sides of buildings, etc. It won't be difficult to find something you don't see just anywhere.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:49 PM on August 30, 2006

(I meant, like, kitsune udon and its ilk... apparently the region is known for it, but hey, I could be mistaken)
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:49 PM on August 30, 2006

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