Day 8
We ended our Arashiyama trip and headed back to our first and final destination, Osaka.
After a little over an hour’s train ride, we arrived in Osaka. After checking into my hotel and dropping off my luggage, I set out to explore the bustling streets of downtown Osaka. My first stop was Kuromon Market, and stepping into it for the first time was like entering a culinary wonderland. Stretching for several blocks, this bustling market is filled with vibrant stalls and bustling with vendors and tourists alike. The air is filled with all kinds of tantalizing aromas, from sizzling seafood to delicious grilled meats and freshly baked pastries.
As I made my way through narrow alleys and busy sidewalks, I encountered a variety of delicious foods at every turn. Giant crabs, plump oysters, and iced, glistening fish beckoned from seafood stalls, while grilled chicken skewers and crispy tempura tempted my taste buds from barbecue stalls.
Every corner of Kuromon Market seemed to offer a new culinary adventure, with vendors proudly displaying their best ingredients and culinary creations.
But Kuromon Market is more than just food—it’s also a feast for the senses. The bright colors of fresh produce, the lively sounds of the teppanyaki grill, the bustling crowd, and the alluring aromas wafting through the air all create an unforgettable sensory experience.
We tried Osaka red king crab, oden (Japanese fish cake soup), eel, and grilled crab sticks.

The second stop was Dotonbori, and as I strolled along Dotonbori’s bustling canals, I was mesmerized by the dazzling sights and sounds. Towering billboards were adorned with lifelike characters and advertisements, and boats glided gracefully across the water, offering sightseeing tours of the area.
The aroma of hot street food filled the air, tempting me to try Osaka’s cuisine at any time. From the iconic takoyaki stands serving piping hot octopus balls to the mouth-watering aroma of grilled skewers at the yakitori stands, Dotonbori is a food lover’s paradise.
But Dotonbori is more than just food—it’s also a feast for the senses. Street performers entertained the crowds with mesmerizing performances, from energetic dance performances to amazing acrobatic feats.
One of the highlights of Dotonbori is the Glico Running Man sign, an iconic symbol of the area that has become synonymous with Osaka. Towering above the crowd, this neon-lit figure seems to embody the spirit of Dotonbori—energized, alive, and vibrant.
We stopped by the Nakaza Cuidaore Building to see the Osaka mascot Kuidaore Taro.
The phrase Kuidaore Taro has some historical roots in Japanese folklore, originating from folk tales or plays from the Edo period. It is said that Kuidaore Taro was originally a very poor man, but he loved eating so much that he often ate all the food and ended up eating himself into poverty. This story may be used as a humorous way to describe people who are very generous and even a little “spendthrift” when it comes to shopping or spending.

As we approached the Shochikuza Theatre in Osaka, we immediately noticed its elegant exterior, adorned with traditional Japanese architectural elements. Located in the bustling Namba district, this historic theatre has been a cornerstone of Osaka’s performing arts scene for over a century.
Walking through the doors, you’re transported into a world of theatrical splendour. The theatre’s interior exudes an air of timeless elegance, with ornate décor and plush seating reminiscent of the glamour of a bygone era.
The Shochikuza Theatre in Osaka is renowned for its kabuki performances, a traditional Japanese art form characterized by elaborate costumes, stylized makeup, and dynamic storytelling. Kabuki has been performed at the theatre since it opened in 1923, delighting audiences with tales of samurai, love, and honour.
But the theatre is more than just a venue for kabuki performances – it also hosts a variety of cultural performances, including bunraku puppet shows, traditional Japanese dance, and contemporary theatre productions.

As I stepped into Ukiyo Koji, I was immediately struck by its nostalgic atmosphere. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with traditional wooden buildings, whose facades are decorated with lanterns and intricate lattice patterns. The soft glow of the lanterns created a warm and inviting atmosphere, beckoning me to explore further.
Ukiyo Koji, which means “the path of the floating world,” is a quaint and atmospheric alley that takes you back to Japan’s Edo period.
Wandering along Ukiyo Koji, I couldn’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to experience this hidden oasis of tranquillity and tradition in the heart of modern Osaka. It was a journey back in time, a brief glimpse into Japan’s legendary history, and memories that I will treasure for years to come.

The third stop was American Village. Stepping into American Village for the first time felt like stumbling upon a vibrant slice of American culture in the heart of Osaka. and it immediately caught my attention with its lively vibe and unique sense of urban chic.
As I wandered the streets of American Village, I was surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colours, sounds, and styles. Graffiti walls and street art murals adorn the buildings, adding an edgy charm to this neighbourhood. Hip-hop music blasted from trendy clothing stores, while vintage boutiques and thrift stores beckoned with their eclectic fashion finds.
A highlight of American Village is Triangle Park (Sankaku Park), a bustling square in the heart of the neighbourhood. Here, I spotted a diverse mix of locals and tourists mingling among vibrant street performers and makeshift food stalls. From bubble tea stands to food trucks serving fusion dishes, this park is a melting pot of Flavors and cultures.
We visited the Statue of Liberty, the murals, and Triangle Park (Sankaku Park).

Fourth stop Tsutenkaku
Before heading to Tsutenkaku, we first visit the largest Don Quijote: MEGA Don Quijote Shinsekai. But nothing special.
At night, Tsutenkaku in Osaka, Japan presents a spectacular sight in the night sky. You’ll see the tower itself illuminated by lights in various colours, forming a striking silhouette in the skyline. In addition, from the observation deck, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Osaka’s city lights extending in all directions, which is particularly mesmerizing at sunset and at night. This is a great place to enjoy Osaka’s vibrant cityscape after dark.
I found myself drawn to the bustling streets surrounding the tower, which were alive with the spirit of old Osaka. Traditional izakayas and street food stalls lined the narrow alleys, serving up local delicacies and warm hospitality. As I wandered the historic streets, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic, imagining the generations of visitors who came before me to experience the magic of Tsutenkaku.

Day 9
We chose the 2-day Osaka Amazing Pass to see as much as we can in Osaka, and in order to visit more attractions, we chose to visit more attractions in one place to save time on the ride.
The Osaka Amazing Pass is truly a game-changer for visitors exploring Osaka, offering a range of incredible benefits and experiences so you can make the most of your visit to this vibrant city. It’s a special sightseeing and transportation pass that gives you access to a wide range of attractions, activities and facilities across the city. With the pass in hand, you can enjoy unlimited rides on Osaka’s extensive subway, tram and bus network, making it easy to get around the city and reach your desired destinations with ease.

On the first day of the Osaka Amazing Pass, we chose Osaka Castle, Osaka Museum of History, Umeda Blue Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory and HEP FIVE Ferris wheel.
We also got up early to enter Osaka Castle to avoid the crowds, and we exchanged our tickets for the Osaka Castle Goza Boat before entering Osaka Castle.
As I sailed along the tranquil waters surrounding Osaka Castle on a Goza Boat, I was completely mesmerized by the blend of history and tranquillity. The gentle rocking of the boat allowed me to glimpse the majestic castle from different angles, each revealing its historical and architectural grandeur. The tranquil atmosphere of the boat ride was in stark contrast to the bustling cityscape outside the castle walls.
Arriving at Osaka Castle, I gazed in awe and wonder at the magnificent structure before me. Surrounded by vast grounds and a moat, the castle’s towering walls and imposing presence speak volumes about its rich history and cultural significance.
As I approached the main gate, I was struck by the grandeur of the castle’s architecture, with its majestic towers and intricate wooden details. The gleaming gold decorations on the roof added to the sense of splendour and majesty.
Crossing the stone bridge over the moat, I entered the castle’s grounds and found myself immersed in a world of history and heritage. Lush gardens and manicured lawns stretched out before me, providing an oasis of tranquillity amidst the bustling city.
Walking inside the castle, I felt as if I had stepped back into Japan’s feudal past, and I learned about the castle’s rich history by touring the museum’s exhibits and displays. From samurai armor and weapons to artifacts and artwork, every corner of the castle gave a glimpse into Osaka’s turbulent history and the legacy of its rulers.
Climbing the castle’s main tower, I was treated to a panoramic view of the surrounding cityscape, including the vast grounds below and the Osaka skyline in the distance. From this vantage point, I gained a new appreciation for the castle’s strategic importance and its role in shaping Japan’s destiny.
But Osaka Castle is more than just a historical landmark—it’s also a symbol of resilience and perseverance, having been rebuilt multiple times throughout its history, most notably after the devastating bombing of World War II. As I wandered its hallowed halls and explored its soaring ramparts, I couldn’t help but feel in awe of the castle and the enduring spirit of those who have preserved it for future generations.

Then we walked to the Osaka Museum of History. The main purpose of visiting the Osaka Museum of History is to overlook the entire Osaka Castle from a high place. So, I went directly to the top floor of the Osaka Museum of History. In order to save time, we visited the Osaka Museum of History in a hurry and quickly and also stayed at the Osaka NHK Broadcasting Centre for a while, then went to the next destination, the Umeda Sky Building & Kuchu Teien Observatory.

We took the subway to Umeda Station to find a place for lunch, but Umeda Station, like all Japanese stations, is so huge that we got lost for almost an hour. After lunch, we headed to Umeda Sky Building, but encountered road works along the way and finally reached Umeda Sky Building after some hard work. The most memorable thing for me was the escalator of the Kuchu Teien Observatory Deck. Entering the escalator felt like entering a time tunnel. Stepping onto the observation deck, I was immediately struck by the feeling of floating in the clouds. The open-air observation deck is designed to allow people to take in an unobstructed view of Osaka’s vast skyline, stretching in all directions as far as the eye can see. The view from the Kuchu Teien Observatory is simply spectacular. From this towering vantage point, I could see Osaka’s towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and winding rivers, which were spread out in front of me like a patchwork quilt. The city seemed to stretch endlessly, a vibrant tapestry of lights and life. One of the highlights of my visit to the observation deck was the magnificent sunset I witnessed. As the sun dipped below the horizon, a warm golden glow enveloped the city and the skyline became a mesmerizing picture of colour. It was a magical moment that I will never forget. As I reluctantly returned to the ground, I couldn’t help but feel thankful for the opportunity to experience the Floating Garden Observatory. It was a truly unforgettable experience that provided me with a unique perspective to observe Osaka and left me with memories that will last a lifetime.

Approaching the HEP FIVE Ferris wheel, I was struck by its imposing presence against the backdrop of Osaka. The red carriages towering above the surrounding buildings made me want to experience an aerial journey.
It was already evening when I stepped into the spacious carriage, and as the doors closed, the Ferris wheel began to rise, revealing the night view of Osaka below us. I marvelled at the vast cityscape below, with its gleaming skyscrapers and bustling streets. The view was constantly changing, with new perspectives at every turn.

As it was close to Christmas, we headed to Osaka City Hall to see the Christmas lights before heading back to the hotel. I was greeted by a dazzling display of festive cheer, and the entire area was filled with warmth and wonder. The square surrounding the City Hall was transformed into a magical winter wonderland, with lights twinkling, decorations glittering, and the air filled with the scent of pine.
Approaching the entrance of the City Hall, I was immediately struck by the grandeur of the building, whose majestic architecture was the perfect backdrop for the festive celebrations. The exterior was adorned with thousands of colourful lights, creating a spectacular light show that danced across the façade in a mesmerizing display of festive joy.

Day 10
On the second day of the Osaka Amazing Pass, we chose Tsutenkaku Tower, Osaka Bay Cruise Santa Maria, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Glion Museum (Osaka Antique Car Museum), Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum and Tombori River Cruise.

On the first day, we visited Tsutenkaku at night. Today we visited Tsutenkaku again during the day and it felt different. In the morning, Tsutenkaku was less crowded, quieter, and the views were more expansive.
Arriving at Tsutenkaku felt like stepping into a fantastic time capsule that transported me back to an ancient era in Osaka’s history. Towering above the surrounding buildings, the iconic Tsutenkaku is a symbol of the city’s resilience and spirit, its distinctive silhouette creating a stark contrast to the skyline.
As I approached the base of the tower, I felt the buzz of activity, with throngs of tourists strolling the surrounding streets, eager to explore this beloved landmark.
Climbing to the top of Tsutenkaku Tower offers a stunning panoramic view of Osaka and its surroundings. From the observation deck, I marvelled at the vast cityscape below, dotted with the Tennoji Zoo, Tennoji Park, and Isshin-ji Temple.
But Tsutenkaku is more than just a viewing point, it’s a cultural icon that’s deeply rooted in Osaka’s identity. Originally built in 1912, the tower has undergone several transformations over the years, evolving into a beloved symbol of the city and a cherished destination for locals and visitors alike.

Boarding the Osaka Bay Cruise Santa Maria is like setting sail on a journey of discovery through the scenic waters surrounding Osaka. Upon boarding the elegant cruise ship, I was greeted by a friendly crew and a warm atmosphere, setting the stage for an unforgettable adventure at sea.
As the ship pulled away from the dock, I stepped out onto the spacious deck to enjoy the stunning view of the Osaka skyline disappearing into the distance. The gentle rocking of the boat and the soothing sound of the waves lapping against the hull created a sense of relaxation and tranquillity, allowing me to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse myself in the tranquillity of the sea.
As the cruise progressed, I was treated to a feast for the senses, with stunning views in all directions. On one hand, I marvelled at Osaka’s iconic landmarks, including the spectacular Minato Bridge, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, and Universal Studios Japan. On the other, I watched lush green islands and rugged coastlines pass by me, each more beautiful than the last.

I felt excited and anticipating when I stepped onto the Tempozan Ferris Wheel. It can be awe-inspiring to see such a huge Ferris wheel against the backdrop of the city skyline. The view from the top is breathtaking, offering a unique perspective of Osaka Harbor and its surroundings.

We had planned to visit the Antique Cars in Glion Museum, but for some reason it was closed on Sunday. We just looked from outside and took photos before leaving.

Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum, is a private museum dedicated to ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), located in a three-story building in a private residence. Many of these prints were once used as advertisements for Kabuki Theatre.
Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese woodblock print known for its intricate details, bright colours, and capture of daily life and cultural themes. The museum will provide a window into the history of Japanese art, showcasing works by masters such as Hiroshige and Hokusai, whose iconic prints depicted Japanese landscapes, actors, and scenes of daily life.

The last stop is the Dotonbori River Cruise. We take the evening cruises, which offers a chance to see Dotonbori illuminated by colourful neon lights and signs, crowds of locals and tourists crowd the narrow sidewalks, attracted by the food, entertainment and unforgettable city experiences. We also sampled Takoyaki from a street vendor and marvelled at the colourful scenery around us.

Day 10
In the morning, we went to Expo Park, visited the Tower of the Sun and shopped at Lalaport EXPOCITY. The journey was remote and we returned empty-handed.

Back in Namba, we headed to Namba Yasaka Shrine. About 10 minutes away from Namba’s neon lights and modern skyscrapers, it is hidden in an alley. Although it does not cover a large area, the shrine is home to a giant lion hall. The lions are majestic. According to legend, standing in front of the hall will suck bad luck into it and bring good luck.
This historic shrine is far away and exudes a sense of tranquillity and awe, providing a peaceful sanctuary in the hustle and bustle of the city.
Inside the hall, I felt a sense of sacredness and tranquillity, as believers bowed their heads in prayer and made offerings to the enshrined gods. I followed suit, offering my own prayers and wishes for health, happiness and prosperity.

After visiting the shrine, we hurried to Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi-Suji Shopping Street, and Sennichimae Doguyasuji Shopping Street for some last-minute shopping. We also ended our trip to Osaka, Japan after the shopping.

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