Osaka, you always know how to make me feel more alive and younger! The shops at Osaka train station are actually pretty dead in the morning. Everything comes to life around 10 am …and suddenly there are all sort of sounds and amazing smells – think of freshly baked bread, cake, waffles, tempura, perfumes – ohhh, that butter smell is so irressistable. There is a big gaming centre near Osaka station that has so many claw machines with massive potato chips that you can win!
TIP: you are planning to roam around the city quite a bit, do check out the train passes on offer. They can save you some money, depending on your itinerary. I decided to get the one day pass (800 yen on weekdays or 600 yen on weekend) which allows me to take any osaka trains/subway unlimited times.
I met up with a friend from high school who moved to Osaka 5 years ago. I was very excited as I had not seen her for at least 16 years! We went to Nakazakicho, an area that has super old houses (apparently older than 100 years and from the World War 2 period) that were reformed into either a cafe, art space or bars!
My friend told me that Osaka is the kitchen of Japan during edo period. She brought me to eat Udon for lunch and said that the udon soup you get in Osaka gives you this extra ‘kick’ compared to the ones in Tokyo.
After parting ways with her, I went to visit Hogoken Dog cafe near Dotonbori area. This was my first time visiting dog cafe and I didn’t realise how smelly it could be! Having said that, I did get used to the smell after 5 minutes and who cares about the smell when upon entrance, all these curious cute dogs started coming over to greet you. I absolutely adore these dogs – so gentle, fluffy and cute. A perfect way to spend your afternoon if it is rainy in Osaka!
After that, I decided to walk around Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi area. So many people, so many shops & drug stores, so many restaurants!
This area can also be a bit dodgy though – a lot of male hosts/female hostess looking for clients on the street and R18+ shops/services.
I find that it is still a safe area – as long as you stick to rhe main touristy area as there will be loads of people around. Just be cautious of your surrounding and if you get approached by dodgy people just say “wakarimasen!” (I don’t undersand).