1. Osaka Castle, 2. Nara Deer Park, 3. Streets of Osaka
Osaka was an interesting city, that I again, unfortunately didn’t dedicate enough time in to fully immerse myself in the culture and experience what it fully had to offer. But alas, work and life duties were calling, and you can’t see everything! So, what I did have time to see was impressive nonetheless.
If we saw nothing else in Osaka, we knew we wanted to see the famous Osaka Castle. If you like traditional Japanese-styled architecture, then this will not disappoint you. I think this was my favourite architectural design I saw in Japan. The intricate detailing of the building surrounded by trees was a very pleasant oasis in the metropolitan city that is Osaka. It is surrounded by a small park and a moat with water below. Allow for an hour to walk here and meander around the grounds.
4. Nara Deer Park, 5. Osaka Castle, 6. Electronic games/gambling hub in the middle of the day
The latest trend in Japan is to visit an animal cafe. They have cat cafes (but we thought this was too mainstream as Australia has lots of cats), hedgehog cafes (I thought this was a bit mean as they are so small and innocent), and owl cafes (we decided this was probably the most exciting and possibly the least inhumane? No, you’re right, probably not. But we were sucked in to the tourism trap anyway).
We went to Owl Family Osaka. I nearly ran away when I first got inside out of fear and sadness for the animals. But in all honesty, the owls didn’t seem too mind… much. And it was a really cool experience that I wouldn’t do anywhere else in the world.
7. Owl Family Cafe, 8. Dotonbori, 9. Nara Deer Park
The next day, we ventured into Nara to visit Nara Deer Park. I got to live out my Snow White fantasies and feed woodland animals from my bare hand. If you forget to bring food to feed the deer, don’t worry as there are little street vendors selling snacks for cheap. Buy a few bundles if you want a lot of photo opportunities, as they eat quickly and some even tried to eat my shirt when I didn’t have any snacks left to give them! They won’t hurt you, but don’t show them fear or the larger ones may be able to push you over in their quest for food.
10. Osaka Castle, 11. Nara Deer Park
On our last night in Japan, we went into Dotonbori for dinner. If you venture here, I am telling you it is a must to visit this restaurant. Order the Kobe beef and the bibimbap dish, and it could soon be a contender for the most delicious meal you will ever eat. Keely and I sat there with tears filling our eyes as the Kobe beef melted on our tongues. I’m making myself hungry and a little sad just thinking about it.
12. Owl Family Cafe, 13. Kobe beef before it was cooked
For our last days in Japan, we decided to spoil ourselves and stay in a hotel in Osaka. We stayed in Hotel Sun White Osaka. This was in a really good location, only a 15 minute walk to Osaka Castle and a 2 minute walk to the closest train station. The pillows weren’t very soft, but if location is what’s most important to you, then I’d recommend staying here if you don’t mind spending a bit more money.