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Tour leader, and Osaka resident, Robert Kodama knows the best places to escape the crowds in this down to earth city, most famous for its culinary delights.
Five places to escape the crowds in Osaka
With an array of delicious (albeit mostly unhealthy – the best kind) options to satisfy any foodie’s taste buds Osaka is commonly known as ‘Japan’s Kitchen’. The city, in contrast to Tokyo, has a laid-back and somewhat edgier atmosphere. Its unique character makes it a must-see on any Japan trip, but be sure to get off the beaten track to explore some of these great hidden spots dotted around the city.
Osaka is home to one of the largest zainichi (population of Korean descent) communities in Japan, so it’s little wonder there’s an incredible Korea Town here. Exit the JR station at Tsuruhashi to be welcomed by a maze of shopping arcades darting in all different directions offering Korean supermarkets, restaurants, and clothing stores. Be sure to head out of the maze and visit Ikuno Korea Town for a younger, hip vibe of modern Korea.
Dotonbori is a sure hit for those looking for nightlife in Osaka. It has neon lights, plenty of restaurants, and an abundance of bars and clubs. However, for a local vibe, head over to Tenma near the main Osaka station. Small alleyways filled with small bars and eateries (some only fit people at a time!) contribute to the overall chaotic atmosphere. There are some great wine bars that won’t put a hole in your pocket, too.
3. Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine & Market
Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine, located on the outskirts of Higashi-Osaka, is unique for the two stone pillars in front of the main worship hall; people circle them 100 times to meet and pray to the gods enshrined. Be sure to visit the narrow street going up the steep hill just off the main shrine area for plenty of local snacks, souvenirs and clothing shops.
4. Nakanoshima Park
If you get tired of sightseeing in Osaka, head over to Nakanoshima Park, located on an island between the Dojima and Tosabori Rivers. The rose garden has around 3,700 rose bushes with 310 different species; there’s a large green area to take in the sun; great coffee shops nearby; and a Museum of Oriental Ceramics to spend a relaxing afternoon.
5. Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park
This park, home to the International Garden and Greenery Expo in 1990, is perfect for anyone wanting to get away from the city, or join locals donned in anime/cosplay outfits… The expo left behind icons of various participating countries around the park and it’s become a go-to spot for cosplayers wanting an international background for photoshoots/video projects.
The park has expansive fields to play sports in and a botanical garden. Not something you’d expect just 13km from the neon wonderland of Dotonbori.
Join one of our knowledgeable tour leaders in Osaka on Classic Japan, or go independent on enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a self-guided trip on Best of Japan.
Want something completely tailored? Get in touch! Our travel consultants have plenty of ideas up their collective sleeves.
Did you know? This year, British Airways launched direct flights from London Heathrow to Osaka, making it easier than ever to reach this laid back city.