Osaka was the first Japanese city I set foot in, and you could say that it was love at first sight.
The thrill of these first days in Japan -excited to the point of photographing traffic lights- combined with the unbelievable variety of the city left a powerful mark.
The strangest thing is that nobody seems to like Osaka, when you read about Japan it sounds like Tokyo and Kyoto are all there is to see. Osaka is dubbed a commercial-hub and left aside. The truth might be more that only a few foreigners have been there, let alone took the time to explore it.
What makes it so good then? All and its contrary I would say, since paradox is a national sport and Osaka is said to be at the core of Japanese identity.
There are gigantic streets, yet barely any cars since everybody ride bikes or takes public transport, but also plenty of small alleys, filled with tiny restaurants. One minute you’re walking next to sky-high buildings and the next it’s as quiet as a small-town street. The architecture itself -which deserves a couple of posts of its own- is also pretty surprising, with a distinctive late 80’s sci-fi vibe that cohabits with concrete temples, wooden houses and traditional statues. Food is a local obsession, and judging by the incredible amounts of eateries and the variety of products on display, you can bet that even though it might be scary to eat, it is fun look at!
There was so much to explore, from the cool streets of Minamihorie to the lit-up alleys of Higashishinsaibashi and the futuristic sights of Honmachi!
For some reason life seemed good here, not the kind you would expect in such a giant city.
______________ The best introduction you can get to the city is spending some time with Angelo and let him guide you through the city on one of his Osaka Safaris. He speaks English, French and Japanese and will make you feel like the city’s best kept secrets are within reach. Do not pass this opportunity if you visit the city! Osaka also gets pretty incredible at night, but that’s for another post! Flying to Osaka means you land at the Kansai airport. Taking a taxi to the city center is extremely pricey, so I would recommend taking a bus. It’s called the Airport Limousine and it almost lives up to its fabulous name. The service is excellent, it’s clean, it’s punctual, you know…Japan!