Day 2, Distance Walked: 14.2 km (8.8 miles)
Day 3, Distance Walked: 9.7 km (6.0 miles)
Osaka has a few tourist attractions (such as USJ and Osaka Castle) but the city is really known for its food. So much so, in fact, that the first question everybody asked me upon returning from Osaka wasn’t “Oh, what did you do?” or “How did you like it?” — no, the first question I was asked was, “What did you eat?”
And the answer is, lots of this:
Yes. Osaka is very well known for its tako, or octopus. So much so, that there is a giant octopus along Osaka’s main shopping/tourist street, Dotonbori. So I ate takoyaki (octopus balls) and tako yakisoba (fried noodles with octopus) several times during my three day holiday. If you look closely, you can see that the Dotonbori octopus is even holding a takoyaki ball! Although, fun fact: in real life, octopuses have been seen engaging in cannibalism, so I guess it isn’t impossible.
Dotonbori also features a few other famous sights, the most famous of which is by far the giant Glico Running Man poster. I’m still not sure why he’s famous, but like every other tourist, I waited on the bridge for the other tourists to clear out so I could snap of photo with him.
It’s cheesy, I know, but it was also kind of fun.
There’s also the giant crab (which lots of people were taking pictures of, so I figured he was famous for some unknown reason) and this angry-looking dude who I found hilarious. Dotonbori seems famous for these kind of characters, all of which appear above restaurants. The crab and the octopus I could understand… and even the angry chef guy, I can understand. But there was also a restaurant with a huge dragon above it, and I really don’t know what kind of food that was selling…
Our second day in Osaka consisted entirely of eating and walking. We did spend an hour or two at Dotonbori, but we explored other parts of the city as well, breaking up long periods of walking with well-deserved meals or snacks.
Our third day in Osaka really only consisted of Sunday morning (we had reserved seats on a bullet train back to Tokyo for 1:30 Sunday afternoon) so we saved Osaka Castle for last.
Japan seems to have a preoccupation with naming a “Top Three” of everything, so it was a chance for me to cross off one of Japan’s Top Three Castles. It was also my first time at a Japanese castle, and it was refreshingly different from the French and English castles I’ve been to. Like many of Japan’s castles (and to be honest, like many castles worldwide), the current Osaka-jo is a reconstruction — the original was built in 1583, destroyed numerous times by conquering armies or lightning strikes until it was finally burned down in 1868, and then restored for good in 1931.
We arrived at the castle grounds on Sunday morning in time to witness a fantastic 10-minute downpour, which created huge puddles perfect for reflection shots once the rain cleared. Time prevented us from going inside the castle in the end–soon enough we found ourselves on the bullet train back to Ibaraki.