Japan 2.0: Osaka Castle, Umeda views and Dotonbori at night

Osaka castle - The cat, you and us

After the traditional Japan of Hakone, our new stop is the neon Osaka. Do you want to share takeaway takoyakis with us while we stroll around?

One of the things that’s most striking as a visitor about Japan is this perfect balance between being a technological, fashion, art, you-name-it mecca with this strong traditional omnipresence feeling you get from every corner. Osaka may be the perfect example of this in a more quaint way than Tokyo.

We travelled during the morning from Hakone and had lunch – in a Japanese fashion – inside our bullet train ride. Since the journey to Osaka takes around 4 hours, we knew that we would be able to spend just an afternoon & evening thus planned accordingly: we were going to visit Osaka Castle before the sunset, then climb the steps of the Umeda sky building to have views of the city at night, and end our day dinning one of the delicious specialities of the area at Dotonbori (the foodie neighborhood)

Osaka castle manhole - The cat, you and us Osaka castle - The cat, you and us

I was far more impressed by Osaka castle than I have originally anticipated. Although the building and its surroundings are undoubtedly interesting, being one of the few last-minute visitors added a magical charm to the sighting. The castle, unlike Himeji (which we were going to see the next day, stay tuned!), is a reconstruction of the original after its demolition at the end of the 19th century. The modern inside hosts a museum which we missed because it had already closed at that hour, but apparently there are encountered opinions about its interest. Nevertheless, I’m sure it would be a good way to learn more about its history besides what we read on our guide.

Osaka castle - The cat, you and us Osaka castle - The cat, you and us Osaka castle - The cat, you and us Osaka castle - The cat, you and us

Can you spot all the flies around me? :) There were like thousands of them, but they didn’t diminish my love for this special little spot next to the bridge.

Osaka castle at night - The cat, you and us

We stayed admiring the castle until the sun set waiting for a shy little moon to appear. This may look very late but it was actually around 6pm-ish, so we still had an evening to enjoy Osaka a little more.

We opted to see the city from up high at one of the most famous spots, the floating garden at the Umeda sky building. This building is something similar to the Top of the Rock in New York, but with a more peculiar top floor: a clear floating circle suspended between two towers. In fact, the experience consists on two floors, the 40th which is a closed area only reachable by a clear staircase and the open garden itself. It also has another particularity that I’ve never seen before, the 40th floor has lifted benches for two, which provide a romantic place to enjoy the views with your partner.

Umeda sky building - The cat, you and us

Even with my vertigo, I was brave enough to climb this clear staircase (which was suspended in the air) to get views of the city while going up. Although I have to admit that I was mostly closing my eyes the whole time, ha!

Umeda sky building - The cat, you and us Umeda sky building - The cat, you and us Umeda sky building - The cat, you and us Dotonbori at night - The cat, you and us Dotonbori at night - The cat, you and us

Back at ground level we took the subway to Dotonbori. Trying to find the subway entrance, which resulted in an unexpected challenge (ha!), we found a street musician playing j-pop music on his guitar. We don’t have him in a camera shot, but I will find the way to show it to you soon, promise! This was one of my favorite surprises of all the trip.

Dotonbori consists of several streets with restaurants one next to the other. It combines big (most of them covered) avenues with tiny alleys, which is what gives the neighborhood that unique modern/traditional look. At one of those small alleys we saw a queue next to a restaurant and since it is always a good sign, we decided to stand without really knowing what the restaurant served but convinced that it must be good. They had a menu outside but all written in Japanese characters, sadly we are still not good enough understanding them (only some words) and had to use the google translate app to discover that they were cooking “pancakes”. That word was enough to know that they had okonomiyakis, score! Okonomiyakis are a speciality in Osaka so it was one of those “must eat” on our wishlist.

With a full belly we walked through the big avenues and the tiniest alleys, finding a temple, the famous Glico sign and the river bridge. At that time Osaka had already won us over many times!

Okonomiyaki - The cat, you and us

Okonomiyakis are an omelette made of mainly cabbage and then adding the ingredients of your choice, it is always topped with a special okonomiyaki sweet sauce, japanese mayo and bonito flakes. We ate two different okonomiyakis, one with spicy kimchi and the other with pork. Mouth-watering! Never had one as good before.

Dotonbori temple - The cat, you and us Dotonbori temple - The cat, you and us Dotonbori temple - The cat, you and us Takoyakis - The cat, you and us

Takoyakis are maybe even a bigger deal in Osaka than okonomiyakis. They are octopus fritters that you get from a street stand.

Dotonbori at night - The cat, you and us Dotonbori at night - The cat, you and us Dotonbori at night - The cat, you and us

I’ve read that it’s currently snowing in Japan, aw! If you are in a freezing place, hope you are keeping toasty & safe at home. And for those on Australia and warmer places, you know how we envy you right now, ha!

More of our Japan 2.0 adventures:
Tokyo – Part I
Tokyo – DisneySea
Hakone and the Takuminoyado Yoshimatsu onsen
Share this adventure


  1. Nieves ADDS...

    Qué maravilla de fotos, es precioso el castillo de Osaka, todo es de una belleza y sencillez arrebatadora,besos.

    24th January 2017
  2. Osaka is so beautiful! I mean, even the manholes are stunning! :D // Coldness I can deal with but wetness is another story T_T -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    24th January 2017
  3. Cassandre ADDS...

    Ohhhhh I love the picture of the castle by night, magical ! I am very happy you took the time to go to Osaka, as we did not and this way I get to see your pictures. It looks like a great city ! And as always, I felt there with you for a second, I always compliment you on the pictures but your words are perfect to take us on the journey too, congrats friends !
    I hope there is more Japan posts to come !

    24th January 2017
  4. Fiona ADDS...

    Ooooh Osaka at night how awesome! I definitely have such love for Osaka – it definitely has so many things rolled into one, as you said :) Hopefully Ben and I can go back again one day and I can convince him how awesome Osaka is (definitely not driving through it next time!). Very brave with those stairs, I think I may have felt an urge to get on my hands and knees and crawl :P :P Oh oh and your boots are sooooo cute!!! They look like slip on docs!

    25th January 2017
  5. Jane Y. ADDS...

    Oh I so long to go to Japan on day. It has been on our list for too long. <3

    25th January 2017
  6. liliana ADDS...


    28th March 2017

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