August 15, 2018
Trip Report: Three Days in Osaka, Japan
Osaka castle is pretty much the first thing you’ll see on any travel page discussing Osaka. It’s a giant 16thcentury castle located in the center of Osaka park. The architecture and design were gorgeous and exude old world Japan vibes.
If you purchase a ticket and enter you can walk around several floors displaying Japanese historical artifacts and artwork as you make your way to the top. The top floor has an observation deck with nice views of the park and the surrounding city.
Shinsekai is a district full of small shops and local restaurants. The decorations are a bit ‘out there’ and very Japanese. This is also where the Tsutenaku tower is located (it’s just a big tower, nothing special). I didn’t like this area and wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have nothing else to do. Everyone talks it up but there isn’t a whole lot to see here.
These are restaurants where you grill your own meat and vegetables. There’s tons of them all over Osaka. You choose which cut of meat you want (they come marinated) and grill it yourself over hot coal. It tasted great!
Bunraku is a very old and traditional form of Japanese puppet theater. The national bunraku theater is located in Osaka so we decided to watch a performance. It’s a cast of puppeteers controlling large puppets performing a play of sorts. There’s also a narrator who explains what’s going on and a musician playing simple music.
It was cool to see this as it’s definitely an authentic Japanese experience. That said, it was extremely boring. I was struggling to stay away watching Japanese puppets with a Japanese narrator. You’ll probably appreciate this if you enjoy puppeteering or serious performances. It just wasn’t for me.
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with Osaka. It’s not as large as Tokyo but it’s still a big city with all the headaches that come with a large city. It was cool to see but it’s not somewhere I’d want to visit again. I much prefer smaller and more rural cities like Kyoto. If you do intent to visit Osaka, I think two days will be enough.