A British Girl in…Osaka! (Exploring the Dotonbori, Osaka Castle, Floating Garden Observatory and Some Delicious Meals!)

It would have helped if I had remembered to print out the details of my hotel in Osaka, as it happened I had to leap in a taxi and pray the driver knew where it was. The good news was that he did. The bad news? That the short journey cost me almost $50! Had I remembered to check out the details before I went (as I am usually always so good at doing!) it would have cost me less than $5. Oh well, lesson well and truly learnt, I deposited my bags in my hotel room (pausing to take in the amazing views from my room – wow!!) and headed out for some lunch in the nearby Dotonbori Canal district. All the travelling was beginning to make me a little worn out, so when I saw a tiny little restaurant selling Pork Katsu Karae it seemed like the perfect comfort food to sort me out. You might not automatically think of curry when you think of Japanese Cuisine but it dates back to its introduction by the British in the Meji Period (1868-1912) and is now one of the most popular dishes in Japan. Pork Katsu Karae is one of the most well known versions of the dish, a bread crumb coated, deep fried pork escalope served with fluffy white rice and a thick roux based curry sauce which you can have topped with spring onions or even an egg. Feeling fortified after a great lunch I wandered the small streets of the canal district near where I was staying before making my way over to Osaka Castle (helpfully located near another JR line station – Osakajo -Koen) Osaka Castle is one of Japans most famous (and important) Castles, dating back to its construction by one of Japans great unifiers Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1597. As with many great defensive structures, Osaka Castle was destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions (most recently after bomb damage during the Second World War, when it was used as an Armoury) with its most recent renovations and repair work finishing in 1997. The inside of the castle is now a museum dedicated to telling the history of the castle, as well as housing some interesting exhibits on Japanese culture and it is definitely worth visiting. From here it was just a short train ride to Umeda where I wanted to see the Floating Garden Observatory, a futuristic structure offering amazing views over Osaka and its Port. You make the 39 floor (or 173 metre) ride up to the top on a glass fronted lift which is quite something! There are 2 levels for viewing, one inside with a small café and gift shop and then the roof itself with a full 360 degree view of Osaka which is quite something, especially if you are there nearing sunset as I was. I was looking forward to getting back to my hotel and relaxing but no sooner had I stepped foot in my hotel room than the phone rang. A colleague of mine had previously lived in Osaka and had mentioned to friends of his that I was going to be staying there and they wanted to know if I wanted to join them for dinner and drinks. Well, I may have been tired but anyone who knows me will know that I’m never too tired for a good night out so after a quick shower and a change of clothes I headed out to meet them. We went to a little restaurant near Dotonburi again and after enquiring into my likes/dislikes (I told them to order anything they wanted!) a procession of small plates for sharing were making their way to our table. There was a salad topped with tiny, crunchy dried fish, edamame, little raw baby squid (which I had seen someone eating at Tsukiji and been intrigued to try – they were delicious!) as well as salmon sashimi, some fried lotus root and cuttlefish, tempura vegetables, a bamboo salad (also delicious!) pickled vegetables, chicken meatball skewer and noodles to finish! I know it sounds like a huge amount of food but the portions were all so dainty and I was able to try a bit of everything without eating too much and getting full. From here they took me to an English Pub (I saw a few of these in Japan!) for a final beer before I headed back for some well needed sleep. It was a lovely way to spend the night in Osaka, such great hospitality and I had a really fun time chatting to new people and trying new things, what travelling is all about really!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi there…sorry you might have left Osaka already but if not and if you like Tantanmen Ramen there is one place not to miss (best i ever had). They don’t have a website so here a fellow blogger’s article about them: http://www.jenius.com.au/2010/11/sisen_ramen.php …enjoy!

    1. beirutibrit says:

      thanks! yes have been back in Singapore for a while now sadly so cannot try it out anytime soon but looks great!

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