ŌSAKA We leave Tokyo, after the small day trip to Nikkō, heading to Ōsaka (literally “large slope”). Once landed in town, we understand Japanese people are not so strong in English; however, they seem to have an innate availability: the girls we stop to ask for directions take us to the Hotel. They are curious and amused by the presence of foreigners while we are intrigued by the chaotic metropolis…
The bad weather forces us to walk around the centre with umbrella. The small neighborhoods are close to each other and Ōsaka appears quite different from Tokyo, a little more like we can imagine a Chinese city could be. The buildings alternates restaurants with an uncountable amount of stores. You can find shops on the road, tunnels and underground. Yes, there’s also an underground shopping mall along the subway line.
We visit Amerikamura (アメリカ村 – American Village – for locals: Ame-mura) with its “Statue of Liberty”, climbing on a building with a 70/80’s look and we’re still in search of a refuge from the rain. Prior to land at Starbucks – where we are surprised by a huge library that rivals the most stocked libraries – we find Beams, a boutique for true fashionistas.
The day after we cross the city by metro to get to the Umeda Sky Building, where the are two twin towers with a “garden” rooftop from which it’s possible to observe Ōsaka from on high. The view is beautiful and the height is perfect for my dizziness. At the bottom of the towers there’s a faithful reconstruction of Japan from another era, in which numerous restaurants are settled up. We lunch here with excellent tempura and rice.
In the afternoon, we visit the Osaka Castle. The huge park around is elegant and well preserved but, despite the outward beauty, the building inside reveals a very expensive hoax. Here you find a collection of old videos and some ugly heirloom. Anyway, the view of the park repays the hard work of climbing the eight floors. For dinner, we take some excellent sushi made to order and enjoy it at the counter; here I try, for the first time, the revolutionary respiratory liberation of wasabi – and I survive.
This city is the perfect place if you want to have fun in an infamous “purikura” – (プリクラ) the Japanese photo booth, also known as Photo Sticker – or if you need to renew your wardrobe from the first to the last piece, devoting whole days to shopping. In fact, we didn’t fall in love with Osaka but before leaving, we spend a day in Nara…
NEXT STOP > NARA