🇯🇵 大阪市 (Ōsaka)

This post begins the first in a series on our honeymoon trip in Japan. We also visited Seoul, South Korea. Have a read of part 1 of our Seoul adventures if you haven’t yet – and stay tuned for the rest of our adventures in various locations in Japan!

A view over the bridge in Shinsaibashi-suji

Our flight from Seoul to Kansai Airport in Osaka was not too bad, and we flew by Asiana airlines. The flight was only a couple of hours and we had a meal that was OK by airplane food standards. Once we got off the plane we spent a long time waiting to get through immigration as there were so many people.

We got the JR 7 day rail pass, which we picked up before we boarded the train from the airport to the heart of Osaka. I highly recommend the rail pass, especially if you plan to use the shinkansen (bullet train) to travel between major cities. It’s otherwise really expensive without the pass, and flying between cities is a much longer process given that you have to travel to the airport and consider the time taken for security checks and boarding. I got a 14 day rail pass several years ago when I visited Japan, and used that on all the JR train lines while I bought individual tickets for other trips. This time though, Nick and I got a 7 day pass to use mainly to travel between Osaka, and Nagoya (en route to Gujo), then got a Pasmo card for subway and local train usage in Tokyo.

The Pasmo is a rechargeable card you can top up with credit for travel; the Suica is another option. You don’t get a travel discount but it just makes travel easier. Both cards can sometimes be used as a method of payment at kombini (convenience stores). For the Kansai region (Osaka and Kyoto, for example), you can use an Icoca card. All these cards work with most major railways and buses but since I won’t list them all here, I recommend doing a bit of research to check before your trip! You will just have to buy individual trip tickets for the railways or buses if the card you choose doesn’t cover it.

A tray with some chicken don (rice bowl), udon and miso soup
Our first meal in Japan was don for lunch. I chose a lunch set

When we arrived we dropped off our luggage at the Airbnb we were staying at, and explored Shinsaibashi for most of the afternoon. We walked a couple of kilometres at least. Shinsaibashi is an area in Osaka which has a lot of seemingly endless shopping streets (thus the walking), the biggest one being Shinsaibashi-suji. It brought back many odd memories of my previous trip and it didn’t feel as busy as my last visit, not to mention the stores didn’t seem as interesting to me anymore. I guess I had realised a lot of them were repeated clothing and jewellery stores, and my style is not as inspired by Japanese fashion as it once was.

Me and Nick with the famous Glico man sign in the background
The huge Glico man in Osaka is famous and it’s hard to miss!
A view down Shinsaibashi-suji, one of the major streets in Shinsaibashi
Sooooo. many. shops.

In the evening we browsed Dotonbori, another area closer to the river that contains a lot of entertainment (including purikura – sticker photo booths), restaurants and street food.

A moving crab sculpture above a store
You will find these moving crab sculptures in lots of places
The busy area of Dotonbori
The busy area of Dotonbori
A squid sculpture in the background, displayed above one of the takoyaki (squid balls) stores
Squid or octopus sculptures in Dotonbori indicate takoyaki (squid balls)
Down Ebisu Bashi-suji
Looking down another street, Ebisu Bashi-suji

Nick had found an okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) restaurant online that was off the beaten path, but you could see that it was quite popular. A line had even formed after we had our meal and left! We were especially keen to have good okonomiyaki following our bad experience at Abeno in London last year. Abeno had such good reviews, and continues to receive them, but the inauthentic experience and tasteless food left us pretty disappointed.

This restaurant was warm inside, inviting, and full of locals. It was busy too – always a sign that you’re in a good place. We shared a bacon, egg and cheese okonomiyaki and both got plum wine with soda. That is officially my favourite cold drink to have in Japan now! I remember having plum wine back at home at a Japanese restaurant, but I just had it with ice so I had to get used to the taste.

The okonomiyaki was very tasty. Although it looks like they put a lot of sweet sauce and mayonnaise, it evens out once you put it in your mouth. And you can even add more if you want. The flakes on top are bonito (a type of fish) flakes, which the Japanese put on lots of food, like okonomiyaki, takoyaki (balls of batter and squid/octopus pieces) and some sushi.

Chefs creating okonomiyaki on the hot stove
Okonomiyaki being made
Bacon, egg and cheese okonomiyaki
Bacon, egg and cheese – our first okonomiyaki
Pork, egg and green onion okonomiyaki
We had to have another! This time with pork, egg and green onion

We definitely wanted more after that. You can create your own by selecting the ingredients you want, and we chose pork, egg, and green onion. That was really tasty and got a thumbs up from us.

Afterwards we had a quick spot of dessert at a cafe, and walked around Dotonbori some more. We looked in some of the supermarkets and walked along the river. There were a lot of game arcades and we poked our head in but didn’t play anything.

The next day we planned to do a fair bit of sightseeing around Osaka. We went to Shinsekai (literally Japanese for “new world”) but there weren’t a lot of shops open.

The Tsutenkaku Tower as seen from Shinsekai
Shinsekai was quiet at this time of day but we could see Tsutenkaku Tower
Another view (landscape orientation) of Tsutenkaku Tower
Another view of Tsutenkaku Tower
A walkway in Shinsekai with a lot of signage, taken from a low angle with the Tsutenkaku Tower in the background
One of the busier and more lively walkways. I’m particularly proud of the low angle of this shot showing a lot of the action
A squid sculpture above the store in Shinsekai that sold different flavours of takoyaki
Whenever you see a little squid or octopus sculpture you can be sure there’s takoyaki!
A takeaway box of takoyaki
Yummmm… takoyaki. I actually refrained from eating too much squid until recently, but this was pleasant
One of the side streets near Shinsekai
Walking out of Shinsekai, we saw this street

In Japan, breakfast isn’t a big thing and a lot of shops don’t open until later in the day, but do open fairly late into the night. I got six takoyaki (battered balls with squid), which Osaka is famous for. Unfortunately Nick is allergic to squid so he had to settle for a crepe instead.

One of the shrines in Osaka
We passed a shrine as we explored (I forget the name of this one)
Nick walking up stone steps in long strides
I took a photo of Nick walking up the stairs in long strides. Look at those legs! Haha

We arrived at Osaka Castle in the afternoon. It felt like a long walk and we were taken into an elevator and browsed the museum inside from the top level downwards. This obviously meant reducing congestion because you’d be at the exit once you finished looking through the whole thing. Pretty efficient if you ask me!

A view of Osaka Castle from the bottom of the castle
Osaka Castle
A view from the top of the castle
We could see Osaka and more gardens from the top of the Castle
A view down a path in the plum tree grove on the grounds of Osaka Castle
I have been enjoying the use of plum in Japanese cuisine so of course I wanted to see the plum grove (even though it wasn’t really what I expected)
A path in the plum tree grove with me posing in it with my knees slightly bent
I’m really just showing off my new kicks.

We got ourselves to Umeda Sky Building next, a unique structure with amazing views up top. I would say it is a little on the pricey side compared to other attractions, but worth it especially if you specifically came to Osaka. After going up an elevator high enough, you go even higher as a long escalator takes you to the “sky park” area. This area provides a 360° view of the city of Osaka. We got there at a good time – it was sunset and everyone was silent in roughly the same spot. You could hear just a few camera clicks and shutters.

A view up the escalator that takes you to the top of the Umeda Sky Building
I’m opting for more portrait orientation shots lately – sometimes it works better with some images
The skyline view from the top of the Umeda Sky Building
A beautiful coloured sky greeted us at the top
The sunset from the top of the Umeda Sky Building
This sunset was being photographed by everyone

Then the most random thing happened: a man, who was photographing the sunset on his phone as well, all of a sudden let out a very loud fart that lasted several seconds. It was enough time for us to look around in confusion, and for a split second I made eye contact with another man who looked equally puzzled. The man who farted didn’t even flinch. He just kept taking photos of the sunset. I suspect he probably meant for it to be a silent fart? After that, Nick and I just found it hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing about it.

For dinner we met up with my online friend Sydney! She recently moved to Osaka from Las Vegas. I don’t remember how long I’ve known her for but it was really awesome to finally meet up in person. We went for ramen at a place called Zundoya, another spot that Nick had found some positive reviews on on the internet. It ended up being really, really good. I’d say it’s the best ramen I’ve had!

Ichiran Ramen is a chain that is famously good as well, but both Nick and I preferred Zundoya!

A bowl of ramen from Zundoya
This is definitely the best and tastiest ramen I’ve had!
Me and Sydney
It was great to finally meet Sydney

We had dessert afterwards at a cafe. I don’t usually have “room” for dessert but in Japan I always feel like there’s room for a little something. 😆 It may have something to do with the smaller portion sizes, even though most Japanese dishes have rice and rice can really fill you up. Or maybe the food is just so good that I can’t pass anything up?!

My next post will be about our day trip to Hiroshima and Kobe!


Photos in this post were taken by myself or Nick on our iPhone 7s.

You can follow our honeymoon adventures with the hashtag #thecookeshoneymoon on Twitter (mostly me) or on Instagram (mostly Nick). 💖

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Comments on this post

I absolutely loved meeting you (finally!) and Nick! It was a lot of fun chatting with you and the ramen was delicious. 😍 Thanks for taking time out of your honeymoon to meet up!

The rest of your adventures look like a blast. 😊 Osaka is so much fun, and I think there’s a lot to see here. It helps that the people here are so friendly and open. I haven’t been to Tokyo yet, but everyone says that Tokyo people tend to be a little less welcoming in comparison. So I hope Osaka and Osaka people treated you well!

I love the Umeda Sky Building sunset photos. I went at night so the sun was already set, but the sunset photos are fantastic. I love how you can see all of the buildings and details of the city. Those are my favorite types of photos! 😊

There are a lot of places I haven’t yet explored in Osaka, so if you have any recommendations from your travels please let me know! I want to start exploring more on the weekends. 💙

Oh my, I thought those photos were taken by a dSLR. 😱 Awesome captures! I love both of your photography here, the result is not overly processed. How did you edit your photos, btw? Did you use Lightroom or Photoshop?

I just had my favorite okonomiyaki at a local Japanese resto here, but to have tasted it in Japan must have been bomb! Okonomiyaki sauce + mayo + bonito flakes = HEAVEN. Yaaaay for food trips there, Georgie.

Osaka looks so peaceful, with the castles and trees. I also forgot to mention that there is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter there, if you’re a fan. Osaka is really a nice place for sight seeing.

And LOL at that man who farted… Must have been a pro farter. 😂 🤣

It’s great that you got to meet Sydney! I read about that in her post too. Must have been awesome! 😊

Lovely post with lovely pictures! Lately we’ve been aching to visit Japan, haha.
I’m a bit late to the party, since I’ve only just started watching anime, and now I can say I’m Japan-hooked as well. Japanese restaurant-hopping has been a hobby of ours recently.
That don lunch set looks awesome. I love gyudon. ♥️
Glad to see you and Nick enjoying your honeymoon!