Osaka Travel Blog – For first-timers heading to Osaka, this complete travel guide is all you need to plan your trip. It covers all the questions you might have about entering and exploring this wonderful city in Western Japan, and includes helpful tips on how you can make the most of your stay here. Whether you’re planning to stay over the course of a week and want to include day trips from the city centre, or you’ve only got a spare few day and need to max out your hours in the day, we’ve got the necessary information below for you to make the most of your visit.
Osaka Travel Blog – The Accommodation
One of the biggest questions that most travellers to new places ask is “Where is the best spot to stay?”.
Of course, the answer will vary for different types of travellers; some people thrive on the never-ending buzz of the crowds and actually prefer staying smack bang in the city so that the white noise of conversations never really drowns out; others will prefer staying at a location that’s relatively convenient on the outskirts of town so that they can get as much peace and quiet as possible, and don’t mind a little bit of extra traveling. Others still, will not care where they stay as long as it provides easy access to everything that they want to do.
We’ve curated a short but detailed list of areas of Osaka that you might want to familiarise yourself with, as they are some of the most popular destinations in Osaka. We’ve also recommended some highly rated accommodation in each area which might interest you also.
Check out our blog post to choose the best area guide for your accommodation in Osaka: Where To Stay In Osaka >>
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Cause bathing with a rubber duck is too mainstream!
In the list of #OnlyInJapan activities, please add bathing in onsen with real ducks..
It may sound like a joke but this is very real. 😀
Arai-san, Tamagawa Onsen manager, was raising two cute little ducks at home. For the 10th anniversary of the onsen, he thought why not bring these lovely creatures to the onsen!
Well, as you can imagine, the regular customers of the bathhouse were a bit surprised to see these new guests. But they loved them, specially the kids.
From that point, the ducks started to make regular appearances during the weekends and holidays.
Who needs a rubber duck anymore? 🙂
To get a bit more info about Tamagawa Onsen, it is located in Saitama prefecture, in the North of Tokyo. Here’s the exact location of the onsen: Tamagawa Onsen On Google Maps.
So, would you soak in an onsen with real ducks next to you? Let us know in the comments!
As a popular and historic tourist attraction in Tokyo, Imperial Palace is visited by numerous visitors all year round. The current Imperial Palace is built on the former Edo Castle grounds and is surrounded by a moat and large stone walls. It contains several buildings, including some residences for the Imperial Family. It will be impossible to visit these parts of the park-like area, but there are many ways to enjoy the palace buildings and parts of the grounds. For locals the loop around the Imperial Palace is a popular running spot, where they can enjoy a 5km running course around the scenic palace and its natural surroundings. Despite its […] …continue reading
Together with Japan’s indigenous religion Shintoism, Buddhism is strongly embedded in the Japanese culture. Despite the majority of the Japanese people not considering themselves to be Buddhist, or belonging to any particular religion at all, the two religions are strongly reflected in the daily lives of Japanese people. Temples and shrines are located everywhere, between the skyscrapers of the city of Tokyo as well as on the top of remote mountains. When travelling to other countries that you have never been to before, exploring the local culture and religion will help you to understand the country better. It will be easier to enjoy your time better by knowing the stories […] …continue reading
Traditional Japanese Sushi Rolls – Sushi is to Japan what a croissant is to France. Both types of food have become somewhat of a symbol of the nation’s promise to deliver an unimaginable food experience. Whilst you’ve probably eaten these types of food multiple times, there is something rather exciting about finally being able to experience it at its origin.
In most countries around the world, adaptation of traditional sushi has meant that types such as California rolls, prawn tempura rolls, and tuna mayo rolls are amongst the most popular.
However, in true Japanese fashion, most traditional sushi rolls are modest in filling and don’t contain many fried options.
If getting the full traditional sushi experience is on your list, then we recommend you run through this list. Familiarise yourself with these 12 most traditional Japanese sushi rolls and let us know which one you prefer!
Before to read our list, if you want to make sushi rolls at home, get our Sushi Making Kit and enjoy preparing and eating yummy sushi rolls at home with your friends and family!
1. Tuna Roll (Tekka Maki)
Tuna rolls are probably one of the most common and most popular types of sushi rolls you can get around the world. However, whereas you would probably be more used to cooked tuna mixed with mayonnaise with a side of cucumber, the traditional tekka maki roll has only one filling: raw tuna.
Raw tuna is enjoyed in Japan as a common delicacy due to its soft flesh and easy availability. Around the world, it might be a pricier menu item, but in Japan you will find it readily available at most sushi stores.
It’s a simple sushi roll with only raw tuna encased in sushi rice, rolled within one sheet of nori.
2. Cucumber Roll (Kappa Maki)
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Simmered Sardines with Pickled Plum is the dish that lets you eat the entire body of the sardine including the bones. The umeboshi (pickled plum), sake, and ginger in the simmering sauce eliminates the strong fishy smell of the sardines. They also make the bones so tender that you can eat them.
Looking at all the images of sardine dishes on the internet, it seems that Simmered Sardines is a unique way of cooking sardines. Most sardine recipes are either grilled, fried, or roasted. And of course, some recipes use canned sardines.
Today’s recipe, Simmered Sardines with Pickled Plum, is a typical Japanese home-cooking recipe. The dish goes so well with rice, but I think that it can also be a great appetiser with Japanese sake or other drinks.
Sardines used to be extremely cheap in Sydney. About 40 years ago, sardines were $1-2 per kilo. Aussies perhaps used sardines only as fishing bait. Now, the price has gone up to over $10, although they are still cheaper than most fish. And they are good for you.
When you simmer fish, meat or vegetables in a broth/sauce with umeboshi (梅干し, pickled plum), the dish is called ‘ume-ni‘ (梅煮). It translates to ‘simmered with plum’, but in this case the plum means pickled plum, i.e. umeboshi.
There are many different kinds of umeboshi, and I talked about them in my post Daikon Salad with Pickled Plum Dressing. In the case of ume-ni, you need to use large, brown, soft umeboshi, like the on in the above photo.
The sourness of umeboshi can vary and some soft umeboshi might even come with other seasonings such as bonito …continue reading
Japanese gardens are breathtaking. One of the core principles of Shintoism, Japan’s native religion, is to respect and appreciate nature. To this end, Japan has some of the best gardens imaginable. There are traditional gardens that take one back to feudal Japan as they walk on the same trails as ancient samurai warriors and philosophers. And there are modern gardens that borrow design queues from European parks and other international sources. Here is a compilation of 11 of the best gardens to visit across Japan. 1. Kenroku-en (Ishikawa) Kenroku-en is located in Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. It is considered one of The Three Great Gardens of Japan. It was created […] …continue reading
The quaint onsen town of Shuzenji has long stayed off the path of popularity and tourist crowds, but if you’re looking for a short and wholesome getaway to get away from the noise, leisurely explore on foot, and get lost in Japan’s nature, Shuzenji Onsen might be a great option. Located in the hillier district of Izu Peninsula, don’t expect to see vast ocean views here; instead, you will be blessed with historic buildings and stunning forests.
It’s a town where there is not an extensive list of activities to do, but that is the beauty of it: you can explore the town on your own terms, and whatever activity you do want to do, you know has not been altered by the commercial touch. Shuzenji Onsen is a pure and authentic Japanese experience that goes hand in hand with rest and relaxation.
One of the reasons why people choose to visit this small town is because its appeal has, in the past, helped creatives get in touch with themselves and come out on the other side more inspired and refreshed. It’s also got a history that involves a monk creating an onsen bath out of his own tool, the death of a famous intelligent shogun, and is the birthplace of one of the most quintessential Japanese ingredients ever to grace the face of this earth: wasabi.
How To Get To Shuzenji Onsen?
From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo bullet train to Mishima station, and alight here to change for the Sunzu line for Shuzenji station. Both train rides will take roughly 90-minutes and they are covered by your JR Pass. From Shuzenji station, you will need to catch the Izu Hakone bus to Shuzenji Onsen (10-minutes).
Where To Stay in Shuzenji …continue reading
Shimoda Japan – The Izu Peninsula is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Tokyo. Located southwest of the main city, it is only a relatively short train ride away from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s capital.
Across the entire peninsula, you can expect to witness stunning coastlines lined with beaches and jagged rock formations, and mountain peaks and troughs in the near distance wherever you go.
In particular at Shimoda, you can also engage in the interesting experience of learning about a significant and integral part of Japanese modern history.
Shimoda is arguably one of the most popular resort towns located along the peninsula. It’s characterised by its easy-going atmosphere all-year-round, popular beaches that are perfect for splashing and surfing in summer, and simply being a relaxing getaway for you and your loved ones.
How To Get To Shimoda
Shimoda is directly connected to Tokyo via an express train. From Tokyo, simply hop on the JR limited express Odoriko train and you’ll be there in 2.5 hours. It will cost 6,000 yen one way.
From Ito, we recommend using the Izukyu Line Pass. There are three versions of this pass: 1 day, 2 days, and 3 days. This pass will allow …continue reading
To make tea with this method, use a ratio of one to two tablespoons of tea leaves per liter of water.
Place the tea leaves in the bottom of a large teapot or container.
Add water, cover the container, and place it in the refrigerator to steep. Let it steep in the refrigerator for about three hours.
When your tea is ready, give the finished pot a gentle swirl or a stir before you drink it, since leaves may settle at the bottom during brewing.
Cold Brewing Japanese Green Tea (Iced Method)
Cover tea leaves with quality ice from purified water. Let the tea melt. It takes about 30 minutes to one hour.
Pour into a teacup or glass. Enjoy a healthy and delicious serving of cold Japanese green tea!