Prior to this trip, I was convinced that I am not a city person. After visiting Osaka and Kyoto, I realized I’m just stuck in the wrong city. Metro Manila has ruined urban life for me but Osaka and Kyoto turned that around.
Our stay in Osaka was brief but it was enough to make me want to stay for good. Since that is not yet possible, I just vow to return. I’ve never been to Tokyo so I cannot compare the 2 cities but I am assuming that what I like about Osaka are also true of Tokyo and other cities in Japan.
So what are my favorite things about Osaka?
- The reliable public transport (read: train/subway systems) although confusing and anxiety-inducing AT FIRST. Trains stick to schedule and pretty much run everywhere in the city. You can get from one point to another in a matter of minutes. Good Lord, how I wish the same for Metro Manila.
- The low carbon footprint! Everyone rides the train or their bikes. Everyone walks. There are not many cars on the roads. The streets outside the major/busy areas are mostly car-free, therefore air pollution is minimal (!!!) and traffic jams are rare (!!!). Totally the opposite of Metro Manila!
3. The locals are so nice. They are polite, friendly and go out of their way to help you with directions. We were saved by strangers numerous times and we are forever grateful to the man who assisted us during our first encounter with a ticket vending machine. Staff at restaurants and shops are also very nice and happy to serve.
4. Osaka is safe and clean.
5. Kyoto is a train away!
6. The airport is a train away!
7. Everything is a train or two away! How efficient!
I can go on and on! Japan is amazing in all aspects (people, culture, transport, technology, nature). I fell in love and did not want to leave. I was converted. City life ain’t bad at all if the city is a Japanese city.
Where we stayed in Osaka:
Daikoku Hostel is affordable, clean and conveniently located near Daikokucho Station, one station away from Namba. The location is ideal because it’s a quiet neighborhood along the Midosuji Line. You just ride the subway for 2 minutes and you’re transported to Namba, where the crowds and happenings are.
Namba has the famous Dotombori and Shinsaibashi (food and shopping districts respectively). The Nankai Line which connects to the Kansai International Airport can also be accessed here.
From Daikokucho or Namba, it is easy to transfer to Umeda (another busy area) and Tennoji (another shopping haven).
TIP: Grab maps and guide booklets from Daikoku Hostel’s front desk. The ones showing train routes are extremely helpful! Supplement this with the app “Japan Travel” by navitime and you’re all set.
I am officially an Osaka fangirl!
I’m glad I picked Osaka when I booked piso-flights last year. I never thought I would actually love it. I only chose it over Tokyo because it’s near Kyoto, where I really wanted to go. But Osaka turned out to be special ❤ It was a refreshing and very welcome change vs. what I’m used to in Metro Manila.
I will write about Kyoto’s charms in a separate entry. Sayonara for now!