From one city to another, Kyoto onwards to Osaka, two different cities yet in their unique way both are vibrant destinations with a comprehensive history and beautiful tourist attractions to get excited about in Osaka Japan. It was sad to Farwell Kyoto after four days exploring the region, but it was time to have an adventure in Osaka.
To recap the travel diaries of Japan so far, you can read Edition 1 and edition 2 by checking on the link. To review the Kyoto part of the trip for a moment, I visited many temples, shrines and breathtaking gardens that added much beauty to the region. Arashiyama was a pure delight and I can recommend it to any traveller to put it on their to-do list in Japan. In total during my time in Kyoto, I walked a crazy 88-kilometres in the short amount of time I was in Kyoto and it may seem a good stretch, but there is so much to see there.
Enough about Kyoto, it’s time to move on, reluctantly, and have an adventure in Osaka and check out the significant highlights days five to six of Osaka-Kyoto diaries, which I will admit from the top was a little laidback than the previous days’ edition in Japan.
Osaka – Kyoto Diaries: Days 5-6 – An Adventure in Osaka
On the train to Osaka from Kyoto
Travelling between Kyoto and Osaka isn’t any major ordeal with the trip taking around an hour in total by using either the JR Line or the multiple metro lines that run between the cities. For me, it was an easy trip along the Hankyu line and required a quick transfer that took me to the Kitahama station that was only 400-metres from my hotel in Osaka. A journey from Kyoto to Osaka can cost from around 600-yen, depending on the train company you travel, with all train lines accepting the ICOCA Card.
Staying at the Mitsui Garden Hotel in Osaka
The Mitsui brand hotels were again the choice of stay in Osaka as it were in Kyoto, this time the choice of accommodation is the Mitsui Garden Hotel in the Kitahama area of Osaka, with nearby attractions including Umeda and Osaka Castle.
It’s another boutique hotel that had the necessities for my solo adventure in Osaka, I stayed in a single room, with a private bathroom, local television and air-conditioning, it’s all I needed for the bare minimum that I would spend in a hotel room. In the common area of the hotel, there was the main reception area, with a lounge area where you could relax and help yourself to complimentary coffee or tea, I used it occasionally.
The Action Heats up in Dotonbori
When in Osaka, you will most certainly visit the busy streets of Dotonbori on several occasions, much like I did during my time in the city. Dotonbori is the tourist hub of Osaka, and it’s crowded with everyone making their way down to the area for a bite to eat with some fantastic street foods, especially the famous Takoyaki that is little balls of wheat filled with diced octopus, and it’s a treat.
Along the Dotonbori River, the atmosphere continues to heat up with tourists keen to take photos of spectacular signage that rises up the buildings and turns it into an art show more than advertisement, especially the famous Gilco Sign that has been in that location since 1935 and has everyone including myself, attempting to get the perfect selfie. Gilco is a hit with the tourists.
For me, it was about taking in the crazy atmosphere of Dotonbori and wandering about and capturing the life of the city. It’s easy to understand why tourists love visiting Dotonbori with the ample shopping, a vibrant nightlife and restaurants located within the area, and it’s a 24-hour party in Osaka.
Watching the Aussies in the World Cup at the Coolabah Bar
World cup fever had certainly hit Japan with the World Cup in Russia about to commence. Being an Aussie, I was keen to find a suitable place to watch Australia’s opening match against France and what better place than an Aussie Bar in Dotonburi called, the Coolabah Sports Bar.
Appropriate name for a pub that had a few Aussies crammed into the bar to watch the football game that France were favourites to win, and while the French team got the chocolates in the end, the mighty Australiansgave the fancies a massive scare in a 2-1 loss, with the winning goal coming at the death.
The atmosphere at the Coolabah was through the roof during the spiteful clash, and afterwards, I shared a few drinks with a Frenchmen who had made his way in amongst the Aussie crowd and remaining friends long after the Japan trip concluded.
A brief Walkthrough Tempozan Area
On my way to the ball game on a Sunday after a big sleep in and a hangover thanks to the Coolabah Bar the previous nights, there was a little time to spare, so I thought I would take a wander over to the Tempozan area.
It’s an area that is great for families, and if I had travelled to Japan with my own family, I’m sure I would have spent a whole day here with all the family-fun attractions. Tempozan is the home of Lego Land, The Osaka Aquarium and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel and If all else fails, you can make your way over to the nearby park and look over the Aji River with the boats going by.
After a short time in Tempozan, it was time to head off to the ball game at Kyocera Dome.
My First Experience at a Japanese Baseball Game at Kyocera Dome
I remember when I was in Seoul, South Korea one of my favourite experiences was at a Baseball game at Jamsil Stadium. It only made sense to go to a game in Osaka for Japanese baseball and that is exactly what I did.
Kyocera Dome is on the Western side of Osaka and a 10-minute train ride from the city centre. It was fascinating to watch a game at an indoor stadium that has a capacity of 55-thousand, and the stadium was about three-quarters full for a match between the home team Orix Buffaloes who were playing the Yokohama DeNa Baystars.
The noise in the stadium was loud depending on who was batting, with the away team fans making a fair amount of noise on their side of the stadium. I sat with the home team supporters, and they were undoubtedly the happier of the two fans as they ran out convincing 7-1 victors, it helps create a very happy atmosphere amongst the fans with plenty of singing, cheering and balloons getting thrown about the stadium.
A day at the ball game was a good afternoon out, and it was nice to keep off my feet for a few hours, before having a 40-minute hike after the game back to Dotonbori for another glimpse of the fantastic tourist strip.
It was days five and six in Japan, and my adventure in Osaka had undoubtedly had a soft yet thrilling start. Which leaves me to think, what is install for the last edition of Osaka-Kyoto Diaries? An earthquake perhaps!