We stayed in Osaka for 2 nights because we decided after 8 nights in Tokyo, we only needed 48 hours in another big city before heading to the more traditional areas of Japan like Hiroshima and Kyoto.
I have visited Osaka twice in the past and remember it to be Tokyo’s smaller and quieter sister. But years of development and growth have seen this gorgeous place morph into a cosmopolitan, vibrant and hip place to work and live.
After a 2 and 1/2 hour trip on the Shinkansen (bullet train), we went for a swim in the gorgeous hotel pool and hot tub.
Our 2 bedroom apartment located within the Inter-Continental Osaka was simply amazing. 31 floors in the sky, we were spoilt with views of the river, bridges, buildings, boats and trains passing by in the world below.
We decided to use these 2 days to have some downtime, catch up on sleep, visit the gym, launder clothes and prepare for sightseeing in southern Japan. I think people would be naive to assume that we are sightseeing every day, visiting museums and playing tourist all the time. In reality, we all need a break from that vigorous schedule of trains, tours and exploring.
Our first night, we walked to the mammoth Grand Front Osaka development which was next door to our hotel. The 3 office towers include restaurants, office floors, bars, shops and gardens. We chose dinner carefully from the signboards on the ground floor and cruised up to Level 7 for some dim sum. This stylish Chinese restaurant offered views over Osaka while serving up modern takes on dim sum. The children really enjoyed tomato and buffalo mozzarella dumplings, coloured in red and white. It DID taste different but delicious nonetheless!
The waitstaff seem to love practising their English with us and take time to find out details about our family, the trip, and seek our opinion about Japan and what we think of it.
After an amazing night sleep and buffet breakfast, we headed over to the shops near the main part of town. The children enjoyed dumplings with rice, while James had beef ramen and I indulged in chilli wontons. James took the kids up the Hep 5 wheel which they thoroughly enjoyed. We treated the kids to an hour or so in an arcade, playing video and skill games. I have to remind myself to see the trip from their perspective and give them a break from the sights and shopping combo we so often filled our days with in Tokyo.
We cabbed it over to Dotonbori, a neon signed, chaotic shopping & entertainment area of Osaka. Photos can’t capture the colours, sights, sounds or smells of this place. We kept the kids pretty close here, it was extremely busy with tourists and locals soaking up the experience.
Photos were taken. We watched neon lights blink and flash. The kids were in awe of their surroundings. Once the sun set and the young locals arrive in droves, we hightailed it back to the hotel to pack for our early morning bullet train to Hiroshima.