After 3 days in Tokyo, it was time to move on and explore the rest of Japan. I left bright and early in the morning, ready for my next adventure: OSAKA!
HOW I GOT THERE
Personally, I purchased the 7-Day Ordinary JR Rail Pass. I exchanged my voucher at the JR Rail Pass Exchange Office in Tokyo Station, reserved a seat, and rode the Hikari Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka, which took exactly 3 hours. My boarding pass displayed the exact time the train departed Tokyo (10:03AM) and arrived in Osaka (1:03PM). The accuracy and precision was truly impressive.
The commute was fast, smooth, and futuristic; the trains reached up to 170mph! The cars were well-kept and had tons of leg room. The 3-hour ride felt like 1 hour. I even had a glimpse of Mt. Fuji, which was definitely an added bonus!
WHERE I STAYED
J-Hoppers Guesthouse Hostel
Address: 4-22, Fukushima 7-chome, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-City
$47 for 2 nights, shared 6-female dormitory room
Although brief, I loved my stay at J-Hoppers Osaka! They offered tips and maps of Osaka, which made navigating super easy! It was my very first experience staying at a hostel, and it exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect and was slightly paranoid, but all the staff, Mr. Yano, and the fellow travelers I met (99% of whom were Australian) were so incredibly friendly that it made my stay in Osaka that much more memorable! Mr. Yano is definitely a character I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Check out his Youtube channel!
WHAT I SAW
Due to my tight schedule, I only spent two days and two nights in Osaka. My time was very limited, but I managed to still make the most of it, exploring Osaka Castle and Dotonbori during my first day and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and learning how to make takoyaki balls during my second day, which also happened to be my 25th birthday!
- Osaka Castle – Definitely worth seeing not only from the outside but from the inside as well. Admission is ¥600 for adults, and it covers both the museum and observation deck. Also, I had my second favorite matcha ice cream from an ice cream shop just outside the castle!
- Dotonbori Street (Gilco Man) – it reminded me of the area near Shibuya Crossing: lots of stores, restaurants, and the crowds were mostly the younger generation.
- Universal Studios Osaka (Wizarding World of Harry Potter) – very touristy and the crowds are 90% students, but well worth it!
WHAT I ATE
- Chocolate banana flavored popcorn at Universal Studios – why don’t we have these in America?!
One of my favorite activities in Osaka was learning how to make takoyaki! J-Hoppers Osaka hosts different activities on different days for their visitors. During my stay, I was able to experience “Takoyaki Tuesdays,” where Mr. Yano brings his guests to a local takoyaki vendor. Takoyaki is one of Osaka’s famous streetfood. They are octopus balls made with flour, eggs, water, various veggies, and diced octopus. I even had the chance to cook them myself! It was a fun experience not only learning about Japan’s culture first hand but also getting to know my fellow travelers!
Thanks for reading!