After spending two hectic days in Tokyo, we took the bullet train to Osaka.
The bullet train (Shinkansen – Nozomi) is awesome. It cost $125 and took two and half hours to get from Tokyo to Osaka. Talk about efficient! You can buy the tickets at any JR station in Japan.
Grab a bento box and something to sip on, and you’ll be there in no time. (I get motion sick if I even sit too close in a movie theater, so I always go for sparkling water on trains to keep my sensitive little tummy stable.)
Osaka (“large slope”) is the third largest city in Japan. Most of its important monuments were destroyed during World War II and have since been rebuilt. Osaka is famous for its hospitality, thriving nightlife, and street food.
Since our time in Osaka was limited, we followed the guidance of a few friends/bloggers and went straight for the heart of Osaka – Dotonbori.
Dotonbori is a popular street that lines the Dotonbori Canal. Lights, people, food, everywhere! I was overstimulated, to say the least.
Part of me wanted to crawl back to our hotel and cuddle up in my fluffy, fluffy refuge of a bathrobe, and the other part of me wanted to grab every fish-themed appetizer within reach and stay out all night.
I ended up landing somewhere in the middle, wandering wide-eyed with a paper tray of fried octopus balls in hand (I’d hate to spoil your fun, so I won’t tell you how they taste).
This area was AWESOME. Definitely overwhelming, but not in a punch-everyone-in-sight way like a lot of Tokyo. We spent hours exploring the alleyways, checking out all of the shops and food.
This post, like our time in Osaka, is short, but we wanted to point out the highlights of our night in Dotonbori. Check them out if you do find yourself wandering wide-eyed and lost through these neon streets.
Take in the larger than life displays
When you arrive at Dotonbori, you won’t miss the Glico billboard. This billboard was originally put up in 1935. Also, find the giant moving crab on top of the restaurant called Kani Doraku.
Honestly, you could spend hours staring up at the flashing lights and colorful billboards, but then there wouldn’t be any time left for trying the street food!
This brings me to my next point.
Order the Best Ramen in Japan from a Vending Machine
We learned that Osaka is affectionately called “city of Kuidaore” (then we learned that “kuidaore” means eating delicious food until your stomach is full. lol).
Make it a point to try some street food. Why I decided on fried octopus balls is beyond me, but there are plenty of choices.
When you’re ready for a real meal, head to Ichiran for the best bowl of ramen you may ever have. The line is long, but you’ve had a couple of appetizers to hold you over.
Once you get inside (the line will direct you), place your order at the vending machine.
You can choose your desired spice level and broth thickness. If it’s your first time, we suggest not doing anything more than “½”. You can also add on toppings like an egg or seaweed (add the egg, just trust me).
Once you’re seated at the counter, hand your order to the chef behind the curtain in front of you. Wooden panels divide each seat from the one next to it at the bar. You can pull that down if your neighbor happens to be your significant other (or perhaps a cutie that you’d like to make small talk with?)
Huddle in the smallest bar in the world (or Osaka, at least)
I can’t remember how we managed to stumble upon Bar Core, but we will never forget this place. It’s literally the size of a closet, and only 6 customers can fit at a time. The bartender/owner is quiet, focused, and witty as he pours fine Japanese whiskey for patrons huddled around his wooden booth.
Tyler loves whiskey and was practically losing his mind here. It was very entertaining. We definitely recommend finding this place and ordering yourself a glass of Yamazaki whiskey.
We woke up early the next morning to head to Kyoto for the rest of the weekend!