So, when was the last time you used a phone box? Probably not in a while, right? Well, the marvellously innovative Japanese are finding new uses for these relics from our past. Japanese art collective Kingyobu has installed goldfish tank phone booths all over Osaka streets. The phone cord floats in the water and goldfish swim around the booth. Want to know more about this creative city? Read on.
Australian passport holders can holiday in Japan for up to 90 days without a visa. However, you’ll need to make sure you have enough money for your trip, a return ticket and accommodation booked. While it’s easy to stay for a holiday, Japan has a very strict immigration policy. When you enter Japan, you’ll have your fingerprints scanned and your photo taken. If you want to find out the latest information on entry and exit requirements to Japan, get in touch you’re your local Consulate or Embassy of Japan before you leave home.
Japan uses the Japanese Yen. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and Japanese Yen fluctuates according to the market, so it’s a good idea to monitor the exchange rate and purchase your Yen when the rate is at its best. For safe spending while travelling in Japan, consider using a credit card or debit card.
All over Japan you can chow down on delicious takoyaki (octopus balls), ramen (noodle soup) and the best sushi you’ve ever eaten. But there’s only one place that invented the sushi train – Osaka. The conveyor-belt delivery of sushi was invented here by Yoshiaki Shiraishi after he watched bottles on a conveyor belt at the Asahi Brewery. The local sushi speciality is oshi sushi – rice soaked in vinegar and topped with marinated fish. Try it where the sushi train craze began at Mawaru Genroku Sushi. The sushi trains aren’t the only special thing about dining in Osaka, this city has quickly earned a reputation as the gastronomy capital of the country. There’s everything from street food delicacies right through to Michelin-starred restaurants and Osaka even has its own Michelin guide. A particularly special restaurant is Hanagatami at the ever-so elegant Ritz-Carlton, which specialises in kaiseki cuisine, a multi-course meal with sashimi, sushi, soup, tofu, vegetables, fish, hotpot and dessert. Another notable dining district is Dotonbori – said to have inspired Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’. It’s a spectacle of colour with neon billboards, outlandish shops and teens with ‘tude. You’ll find loads of street stalls and cheap eats here.
Not only is Dotonbori a great place to eat, it’s also the centre of Osaka nightlife, so why not start your night out at a takoyaki or okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) bar?. Order delicious octopus balls or a Japanese pancake and ask for a biru or nama (beer). Then hit the neighbourhood bars and clubs in Dontonbori and the neighbouring Namba area. There are a few hostess bars in the area, that can leave you Yen-less. So if that’s not your thing, avoid places with signs that mention ‘girls’. If you’re feeling a little homesick you can go to an Aussie bar called Coolabah – it's super friendly and has darts and regular events for Aussie expat locals.