It is debatable but Osaka could possibly be the food capital of Japan. When you search through Vlogs on youtube on ‘must try foods’, many of them are in Osaka.
This is the rival city to Tokyo, they want to be different so badly that they even make you stand on the opposite side of the escalator than they do in Tokyo!
Probably the most famous area in Osaka is this street. Known for its incredible array of street food, giant billboards and hoards of people lining up for food, this was always going to be our first stop.
This street was exactly as we imagined it, flashing lights, over-the-top restaurant signage and of course, people everywhere!
Now the main dish we wanted to try on this street originated in this city, and it’s called Takoyaki (i.e. squid balls), and man was every second vendor selling these bad boys. Watching them make the dish is an artform in itself. First they pour the batter all over the round moulds, sprinkle in some ingredients, and after a few minutes, they use two sticks to quickly turn each piece until they can shape them like balls. Now the ones we tried were melt in your mouth wonderful. They had a bit of a bite to them followed by the ooze of batter afterwards – absolutely delicious! We followed this up with an actual meal – ramen. Now the line for one of the most famous Ramen places (the one with the giant dragon our front) was huge and it took a lot of walking around for us to pick another place. Eventually we stumbled on another joint which was a bit more tucked away but lucky for us, turned out to be exactly the same Dragon ramen restaurant but with no line. Typical of ramen places, you place your order and pay at a machine at the front which gives you a ticket to give to staff. This place was nothing fancy, in fact I’m sure the furniture has been the same for 30 years, but who cares, the ramen was good! A slightly clearer broth and not too salty, just delicious, and all for just 600 yen (AUD $7)!
Kuromon Ichiba Market
This is a much less touristy market than the ones we visited in other cities, but still well worth a visit. There was a bit more of a seafood focus at this market. We definitely enjoyed the cheesy toasted crab!
The main reason we wanted to visit here was not for the rides or the newly opened ‘Minion World’ but to see the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’. So we decided to visit around 4pm where the tickets are slightly discounted and headed straight to see Harry Potter. The walk there was lined with trees and slightly eerie music and of course the crashed Weasley car from the 2nd book. Our jaws dropped the moment we arrived to see the whole of Diagon Alley come to life. Every major store features in the movies were there including: Olivander’s Wand shop, Weasley’s joke shop and the Three Broomsticks. So many visitors were dressed up in their Hogwarts uniform making us slightly jealous we weren’t doing the same (though we were quite happy not to when we saw the exorborant price tag). Standing high above the park was a life-size replica of Hogwarts which was absolutely incredible. We managed to get into the walking tour after a 20 minute wait which took us through the hallways with the talking portraits, Dumbledore’s office and tue classrooms. Of course after our tour we had to have a cup of Butterbeer which had froth made from vanilla icecream and butterscotch soda – delish!
After a few hours enjoying this magical world we decided to explore the rest of the park, but despite it being quite late in the evening, most rides still had a 120 minute wait which was waaaaay longer than we were willing to wait. Instead we walked around for a bit and quickly realised there was a special halloween event on. This involved zombies and evil clowns chasing visitors around with chainsaws! Suffice to say this scared the shit out of us and we were more than happy to escape!
Osaka Castle & Park
After doing a lot of travelling over the years, seeing a lot of castles and churches and buildings in general, we have come to stage where we realise that we no longer want to pay to visit them. So of course we did the cheap thing and visited the park, saw the castle and didn’t go in. The park was absolutely beautiful, and had we had more time, we could have spent all day having a picnic. The castle was also stunning with the unique green roofs.
Cup Noodle Museum
This is located in a little town out of Osaka and is a a free museum dedicated to the famous Nissin noodles, the first instant noodle companies. It’s a small museum lined with all the noodles ever made arranged in a timeline. Now the main reason people come, is for the ‘Make your own Cup Noodle attraction’. For 300Yen, you get your own noodle cup you can decorate, then you stand in line and choose you seasonings and toppings. It’s a pretty fun experience and our flavour combos were pretty on point if I do say so myself.
About a 45 minute train ride from Osaka, the castle was built on a hill which is a 20 minute walk from Himeji station. The walk there is flat, but in the blistering heat, felt like we were getting burnt alive. Luckily the last shop on the left of the mall was a soft serve store with about 15 flavours – seriously a must visit. We got as close as we could to the castle for some tourist shots and of course, saved some dosh and didn’t go in. It was actually worth it to see just how grand the castle is.
Overall, with very minimal expectations of Osaka, we had a great time. By far the highlight was all the eating we did.
Til next time
Ann & Jason xo