Travelling Japan: part 4. Osaka

Only a short train ride from Kyoto is the second largest metropolitan of Japan: Osaka. When we planned the trip, we were not sure if we wanted to stay in Kyoto and make a daytrip to Osaka or find a new place to sleep there. We choose the latter after reading some discussions about this topic online. I noticed a lot of people really liked the city and its own special vibe. Now it was time for us find out what this “vibe” was!

We stayed near the Tsutenkaku Tower, a famous landmark of the city. The area was full of shops, arcade games and food stalls. Very touristy, but not in an annoying way. I choose a place to sleep with tatami mats. Being Dutch and tall, maybe not the best option for a comfortable night. But then again, you’re in Japan… so why not?

We noticed right away we were located near a big shopping street. We walked it a long, long way but it never seemed to end. And we walked for maybe 10 kilometers, that’s crazy! That’s one of the fascinating thing about Japan. In the Netherlands a lot of shops are closing because people order online, but in Japan we only saw a couple closed shops.

In Osaka we had time to do something very traditional: karaoke. After looking for a nice pub, we met some Americans and had a good laugh. They invited us to karaoke and after that things get a bit blurry… We had a lot of sake, had a lot of fun and before we knew it we were the only ones left. Maybe we party too hard or our singing is really bad, I’m not sure. But we had a great time and a nice Japanese guy helped us with finding our way back to our tatami mats.

Luckily the alcohol made the sleeping a bit more comfortable, but it was not the best night we had in Japan sleeping-wise. After a relaxed and slow morning, we went to a local temple to inspire us. Isshinji Temple is a real peoples temple. Impressive statues, spacious and with a nice view of Tsutenkaku Tower. People bring the ashes of their beloved ones to the temple. After the ashes of 200,000 (!!!) people are collected, they are molded into the shape of a Buddha statue. Currently there a six Buddha’s at display at the temple. Which gives you a stunning impression of how many people are remembered here.

Osaka was a great city to visit. Well worth giving it some extra time and staying there. We met really nice people, had a good time shopping, had some great food and we could finally cross karaoke off our list. Tokyo would be our final stop, but before that we added some extra miles on our train pass. We went all the way to Hiroshima, 350 km to the west of Osaka. But with the bullet train it took us only one hour and a half to get there.

Jan van der Mei | Instagram

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