Once I’d checked out Kobe and met up with my sister and brother-in-law, we took to the streets of Osaka, ready to taste its many culinary delights. Our first stop was to Amerikamura, a trendy “American” style neighborhood full of cafes, shops, and food. We first grabbed amazing iced coffee at Lilo Coffee Roasters and brought it with us as we popped into Village Vanguard next door, a kind of Japanese Newbury Comics.
After hearing my students talk about their class trip to the Kansai area, I knew all about the different snacks to try. Before heading into Dotonburi, we tried melon bred ice cream and giant cotton candy from Totti Candy Factory. The melon bread ice cream was a favorite, and we ate it again the next day after getting tasty curry for lunch at Harijyu. At the shop, they put a slab of ice cream inside a warmed up, sweet melon bread. The sign at the shop says that Americans, the world’s biggest ice cream eaters, shouted “amazing” when they tried it, and I don’t think they’re wrong.
We passed through Dotonburi shortly before sunset, and we visited the Glico Sign and Juhachiban for takoyaki, a favorite of mine after I was stuck in Osaka for a night. For dinner, we tried Osaka style okonomiyaki at Chibo. We wound back through Dotonbori and Amerikamura and had a nightcap at Banco, a great streetside Italian style bar and cafe that serves wine and even Aperol drinks.
The next morning, after a run along the Dojima River, we hopped on the subway to Osaka Castle, the first Japanese castle I’ve visited this year. The surrounding moat and park are relaxing, with people going for a Saturday morning stroll or jog. The view from the top was great, and the museum inside is full of eye-catching exhibits and info.
Later in the day, we walked through Shinsekai, the New World. It’s much more dated than Amerikamura or Dotonburi and it was eerie walking through the empty streets. In the center were more people, and we passed by its many kushikatsu restaurants, but we’d already eaten lunch and had to pass.
After a quick rest at the hotel, we got back on the metro to head to Koshien Stadium, the home of Osaka’s Hanshin Tigers where we saw them play against the Fighters. Koshien Stadium is one of Japan’s oldest ballparks, and it’s the only one outdoors. The exterior is covered in ivy, and its fans are famously rowdy and excited.
We grabbed some great takoyaki for dinner from Gindaco, and then beer from the famous beer girls who walked around selling Kirin. The game was much more exciting than the one I’d seen before in Sapporo. For one, the Tigers won, so fans cheered together nonstop, and the atmosphere felt a lot lighter as it was outside.
Before heading back to Sapporo, I also visited the Umeda Sky Building for a view over the city. The view was really good, but I felt tepid about it having just said goodbye to Cara and Kevin. Once I’d seen enough, I had kushikatsu at Daruma back in the station and then made it back to the airport, where my Peach flight was once again delayed.
On my first quick visit to Osaka, I hadn’t had much chance to explore what the city has to offer, but this time around I was pleased by its friendly people, beautiful neighborhoods, and amazing food.