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With over 100 cities in Japan, there is bound to be something for all travelers. With a population of around 4 million, Osaka is one third the size of Tokyo. Despite its smaller size, Osaka can correctly be called the Commercial Capital of Japan. It’s interesting to know that the night time population of Osaka is about 2.75 million which swells to 4 million during daytime – evidence of the city’s importance as a commercial hub. Osaka drives Japanese economy to a large extent. On a recent visit to Osaka, yogoyo‘s roving travel writer Prakash Bang gives us tips, tricks and advice for safe and adventurous travels.
Like all major cities in Japan, Osaka has an efficient and comprehensive subway system. There are 9 important subway lines and between them one can easily stay in touch with Osaka. A day pass costs ¥850. If you are likely to hop on more than 4 times, it would make sense to go for the day pass. Otherwise, buying individual trip tickets is ideal.
After spending an hour more walking around, we took a taxi to come over to Shinsaibashi area. Actually, by the subway it was just a couple of stations away, but since we were all tired by too much trekking in Kyoto, we paid the price. Dinner that evening was in a Japanese restaurant, Shinsaibashi. Since it was early spring, a salad made from bamboo was the highlight of the meal. Of course, there were dozen other things to dig in… each tasted as good despite not knowing the art of using chopsticks!
Next off to the Osaka Business Park station – the gateway to the Osaka Castle. The walk from the station to the castle is about 20 minutes but does offer great views of skyscrapers, the moat, the castle garden and the castle itself.
The Osaka Castle has had a very turbulent history. From 1566 to 1931, with the help of public donations and recognition, escalated the constructions of the main tower which is a museum today. Between 1566 and 1931 the castle was burned down 3 times. The massive gardens around the castle were brutally damaged during air raids of World War II
Just outside the Osaka Castle premises is the Osaka Hall. A massive enclosure that houses exhibitions and events. Right in the front of the Osaka Hall is where Nishio Trains (toy trains for tourists) makes a halt. ¥200 will give you a fun ride of about 10 minutes bringing you to Kyobashi Station on the JR (Japanese Railway) Loop Line. Our next stop was to Expo – a destination pretty far away.
The subway day pass does not allow usage of ground trains. Instead of walking another 20 minutes to the nearest underground station, it made sense to spend ¥230 to use the JR Loop Line arriving at Osaka Station. From here, one can change to the Midosuji Subway Line and reach the line’s last stop – Senri Chuo.
The Expo ’70 Commemorative Park is situated on the site of the 1970 Japan World Exposition. It is a multipurpose park surrounded by flowers and greenery and is equipped with cultural, sporting and recreational facilities built in tribute to the successful event. The scene of hundreds of cherry trees is an amazing site to see.
A quick trip through the park took 2 hours, with just enough time to rush back to town to do some walking around Shinsaibashi.
No visit to this lively neighborhood would be complete without walking through Shinsaibashi Suji – a covered street reserved exclusively for pedestrians. This street must be at least a mile long, with stores, restaurants, pubs, tea houses, entertainment arcades.
Running parallel to Shinsaibashi Suji is the Mido Suji Avenue and perpendicular to it is Nagahori Street; Home to upmarket boutiques and commercial buildings, these roads are indeed for people in the fast lane… literally.
Japan is more than just big cities and bright lights. It has so much more to offer, and is suitable for both young and old.
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