La Carmina’s Alternative Osaka Travel Guide

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For those who’re in search of an alternate Osaka journey information, you’ve simply landed on the correct web page. Japan professional, La Carmina, shares her greatest suggestions and recommendation for exploring the extra underground facet of Osaka.

Solely three hours from Tokyo by bullet prepare, Osaka is a turbo-charged setting for a protracted weekend getaway. Though it’s price seeing historic landmarks akin to Osaka Fortress, vacationers shouldn’t miss out on exploring the underground tradition for an alternate perspective of the town. As an example, Osaka is house to a gritty and raucous music scene that’s matched solely by its consuming holes — the place the employees has feathered and dyed hair, the audio system blast Def Leppard, and the partitions are adorned with grinning skulls.

I’ve been writing about Japan and visiting Osaka for nicely over a decade on my La Carmina travel blog. Listed below are a few of my favourite subculture hangouts within the metropolis, which I hope you’ll get to take a look at in your subsequent journey.

See additionally: A day in Osaka, Japan

La Carmina, Japan journey and vogue blogger of LaCarmina.com

Osaka procuring information

Let’s begin off this different Osaka journey information with a number of classic, indie and distinctive procuring spots in Osaka.

Shinsaibashi

Shinsaibashi’s Procuring Arcade is a bustling treasure hunt: search for indie and classic boutiques, akin to Harmful Nude, amidst the mass retailers. Close by Amerikamura is the cultural equal of Tokyo’s Harajuku, with Goths, punks and rockers hanging out in Triangle Park (here’s a map of the very best shops). Poke your head by way of the beaded curtains for cyber vogue, tarot playing cards and 1980s toys.

Osaka travel guide recommending a Satanic-themed 666 clothing shop in the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka.
A Satanic-themed 666 clothes store within the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka. Picture by La Carmina Weblog.

EST Heart

A stone’s throw from Umeda Station, EST is a younger ladies’s “procuring city with dream and pleasure.” The boutiques lure you in with frantic J-pop music and the stylish outfits seen in Cutie and ViVi magazines. If the hundred-plus indie and different retailers aren’t sufficient, throughout the road is Hep Five, a procuring and leisure megalopolis with a pink Ferris wheel.

Osaka travel guide recommending Pokemon Center, Osaka. Photo by La Carmina
Pokemon Heart, Osaka. Picture by La Carmina Weblog.

Sightseeing in Osaka

Listed below are a number of extra distinctive sights to go to in Osaka.

Pokemon Heart

Consider it or not, the Pokemon Center is without doubt one of the prime vacationer points of interest in all of Japan. The gargantuan Umeda, Osaka retailer is stocked with each character conceivable. Youngsters in Pikachu hats will remind you that the model’s motto is “gotta catch em all,” so convey your pockets.

Kaiyukan Aquarium

Kaiyukan is without doubt one of the largest aquariums on the planet and a household favourite. Younger Osaka resident Takumi Tanaka reminisces on his childhood visits. “It’s at all times enjoyable to see the penguins and dolphins taking part in, however my favourite factor to do is go to the Floating Jellyfish tanks. It’s so stress-free to observe the intertwining tendrils,” he says. “Additionally I like to observe the employees feed the ocean otters, who play like youngsters.”

Osaka Fortress

Tanaka additionally encourages first-timers to go to the historic Osaka Fortress, particularly throughout the cherry blossom season. “There are at all times festivals and gatherings within the stunning park, and little stalls that promote conventional meals like takoyaki. It’s enjoyable to simply sit on the benches and watch individuals go by,” says Tanaka.

Associated tour: Guided Walking Tour around Osaka Castle

Alternative Osaka travel guide
Fu-Ki pours a devilish drink at laborious rock Bar Midian, Osaka. Picture by La Carmina Weblog.

Bars and Nightlife in Osaka

What’s an Osaka journey information with no listing of the very best bars and nightlife?

Associated tour: Osaka: Nightlife Experience

Bar Midian

Followers of Visible Kei/J-rockers Blood had been heartbroken when the group disbanded. However like a Goth Elvis, vocalist Fu-ki is alive and ominously wielding an ice choose behind the counter of his Bar Midian.

The Umeda dive is near-impossible to search out, so I recommend finding out these detailed instructions on my La Carmina Blog. Midian’s decor is a heavy steel wet-dream: a dripping candle sits in a Dracula wine bottle; an axe rests within the umbrella stand. That evening, we sat with tattooed rockers who headbanged to Black Sabbath movies and scandalized us with their boy-on-boy antics.

Drinks are 500 yen and have names akin to Black Rose and Devil. Fu-ki mixes a powerful cocktail and can gladly make you a particular one, or pour you a Belgian Devil Beer. He’s additionally identified to choose up the tab for newcomers, particularly should you bond over music — so don’t overlook to ask him about his Motley Crue cowl band.

Bar Moonwalk

When steel and rock bands tour Osaka, they continuously cease by Moonwalk, a bar that pumps Marilyn Manson and Japanese glam steel to a younger, heavily-pierced crowd.

My journey comrade and I had an instantaneous crush on our eyeliner-smeared server Kouta, who performs bass in a brand new Visible Kei band. The fantasy light a bit of when he went into the kitchen to cook dinner our orders: tasty 315 yen plates of Korean fried rice and lotus pork truffles. There’s a 400 yen cowl cost, however the drink menu — which has over 300 choices for 200 yen every – greater than makes up for it. Acquired a candy tooth? Strive the raspberry yogurt cocktail. Extra of a hardcore sort? Go for the brandy ginger mixer. And don’t be stunned if the charming bartender brings over free pictures.

Bar Rock Rock

Alice Cooper. Dangerous Faith. Motley Crue. Metallica. They’re among the many a whole bunch of famed faces who’ve raised hell at Rock Rock for the reason that bar opened in 1995, abandoning autographed images and tales of destruction.

The environment jogs my memory of a very chill jazz membership, solely with screamo vocals. The bar performs something from punk to steel and has occasions all year long that usher in throngs of rock followers. These embody particular DJ nights akin to Hell’s Bells (AC/DC), Emotion is Useless (emo) and the self-explanatory Loud & Heavy.

The menu is a typical choice of pizzas, pastas and salads (600-800 yen). The drinks are requirements, plus a choice of fruity cocktails (500-800 yen). Slightly pricy, however price it once they’re poured by movie star bartender “Noxl Rose.”

Alternative bars in Osaka, Japan
Cute octopus balls, or takoyaki: an Osakan favourite meals. Picture by La Carmina Weblog.

Meals in Osaka

Take your tastebuds on an journey.

See additionally: Japanese Pork Chop in Downtown Osaka

Okonomiyaki

Non-Japanese audio system, memorize the phrase “okonomiyaki.” It’s a tragedy should you go away with out tasting the grilled savory pancake (normally with seafood, and topped with bonito flakes and brown sauce) that’s Kansai’s soul meals. Search for household eating places akin to Tengu, the place recipes are handed down from a number of generations.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki — grilled octopus balls constituted of pouring batter into molds — are one other Osaka specialty. Each main avenue has a stand the place you should buy a dozen for 500 yen. Twists on the unique embody egg or melted cheese toppings, and takoyaki stuffed in a crepe. However nothing beats mom-and-pop retailers, akin to Tako Home at Umeda station, the place a shy grandma oversees the cooking.

Yuzu (citrus fruit)

Yuzu is a divine mating between a lemon and a tangerine. In Osaka, you’ll discover the flavour in seemingly each sort of dish: sorbet, sake, shochu. The fruit is never discovered contemporary outdoors of Japan, so don’t hesitate to gorge on it at each meal.

Associated tour: Eat Like a Local Street Food Tour

Alternative Osaka travel guide
A pentagram coaster from Gothic, fetish and occult themed Bar Concept in Kobe, Japan. Picture by La Carmina Weblog.

Day Journeys from Osaka

If you wish to escape from Osaka for a day, try a number of of those close by locations.

Kobe

Take a jaunt to Kobe to discover its excellent parks, zoo, and harbor. For a stroll on the darkish facet, go to Gothic / fetish / occult / Satanic Bar Idea. The pleasant girls behind the nail-spiked bar will chat with you and carry out darkish rituals, together with shibari or rope bondage demonstrations.

Nara

Get away from the grit with a day journey to Nara, solely an hour away by subway. The cultural capital dazzles with six Buddhist temples, a Shinto shrine and the Imperial Place. However the greatest thrill, for vacationers of all ages, is petting the sacred deer that roam in Nara Park.

Associated tour: From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

Kyoto

Kyoto is situated north of Osaka, and residential to 1000’s of well-preserved locations of worship akin to Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion). First constructed within the 14th century, the three-story gilded construction holds the Buddha’s ashes and is about in an beautiful backyard with a mirror pond.

Associated tour: From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

Japan travel expert, La Carmina
See extra Japan journey tips about La Carmina’s social media @lacarmina and her award-winning journey weblog.





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