Introduction to Osaka
Let’s be upfront here. Osaka is the Aussie expat capital of Japan. This means we can’t guarantee your return home. You might just fall in love with Osaka and not want to leave. While Osaka may not rate as high as Tokyo in the tourist guides, it sure is a charming city. It’s kind of like the Brisbane of Japan – to really appreciate it’s awesomeness, you have to visit it for yourself.
Located in the heart of the Kansai region, just an hour from Kyoto and Nara on the main island of Honshu, Osaka is famous for its down-to-earth locals, its own colourful dialect of Japanese (Kansai) and its incredible food. They even have a saying here, kuidaore, which means ‘eat ‘til you drop’. The food in Osaka is said to be the best in Japan, by the way.
Osaka is not particularly well known for its architecture or tourist attractions – it’s a business city first and foremost. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You won’t get suckered in by tourist traps with simulated cultural experiences; you’ll get the real deal in Osaka. It's also a fabulous place to people watch. Hang out on the Ebisubashi Bridge in Dotonbori – a local pick-up spot. Whether you pick up or not, Dotonbori is the place to be when night falls.
Some of Osaka’s highlights include the Osaka Aquarium (the largest and possibly the best aquarium in the world), the Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses and Osaka Castle. Osaka also has some really great shopping districts – the biggest being Umeda and Namba with their large department stores, arcades and underground shopping malls. All the cool kids get their clothes from the Amerika-mura fashion district; there’s stacks of small and affordable boutiques here.