The first stop on our three week Japan adventure was Osaka, the second-largest metropolitan area in the country and home of delicious street food!
We arrived late afternoon in Osaka and headed straight to our hotel, Hotel the Flag Shinsaibashi, a hip hotel located in the city center.
Since it was already late when we arrived, we just walked around the neighborhood and stumbled upon a hole in the wall okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) restaurant for a quick casual dinner.
We always need something sweet after dinner so we stopped by Pablo, a well-known cheesecake chain. Their signature cheesecake is super jiggly with almost a fluffy texture with a thin crust and a layer of tart fruit jam on top. Yum!
The following morning we started off our day bright and early with some breakfast at our hotel. I love Japanese breakfast as it’s a complete nutritious meal with protein and vegetables and doesn’t weigh you down.
After breakfast, we walked to Namba Shrine, then to Umeda Sky Building (unfortunately the top observatory was closed), and then Osaka Tenmangu, another Shinto shrine.
Our next stop was Osaka Castle, where the original building dates back to 1583 but was later rebuilt in the 1620’s. The castle grounds are beautiful with a moat surrounding it.
For an afternoon snack, we went to Takoyaki Yamachan to savor piping hot takoyaki (octopus balls) with seaweed and Japanese mayonnaise. So good!
On our walk to our next destination, we saw the cutest Shiba Inu puppy and our hearts just melted. That face though!
We ended our day by visiting Isshinji Temple, a Buddhist temple founded in 1185, and then Tsutenkaku Tower to get a view of the city.
After our first full day in Osaka, we were excited to dine at Shunsaiten Tsuchiya, a phenomenal kaiseki tempura restaurant.
The following day we went Namba Yasaka Shrine and Shitennō-ji, a temple that some have called the first and oldest Buddhist temple in the country even though it has been rebuilt numerous times.
After the temple, we went to Kuromon market where vendors sell fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits, and other delicacies.
After the market, we walked around Dōtonobori, a tourist district and later went to Mizuno, a popular okonomiyaki restaurant for lunch where they cook your food right in front of you.
After lunch, we continued to walk around Dōtonobori and saw a sign for a Mame-Shiba Cafe which intrigued us. Mame Shiba Inus are actually different than Shiba Inus as they are breed to be smaller than typically Shiba Inus. I prefer traditional Shiba Inus as I think they are cuter but I am definitely biased as I’ve only had traditional Shiba Inus my whole life. However, they have the same personality as Shiba Inus: stubborn and indifferent.
We ended the day in Amemura also known as “American Village”, a trendy shopping district where tons of young Japanese hang around. We also got an afternoon sweet of candied strawberries.
Our last night, we dined at Fujiya 1935 which was a great way to end our time in the city.
Osaka was such a fun introduction to Japan with its “big city feel” without being overwhelming. With tasty street food and friendly locals, no wonder it’s one of the country’s most popular destinations.