What better way than to celebrate my birthday in Japan? With the freshest sushi! And ramen! In Japan! (April 20th btw). Needless to say, I was more than excited!
During this city trip to Japan, we only traveled to Osaka and Kyoto and included a visit to Arashiyama, the place famous for its bamboo forest and macaque monkeys. Now that we’ve had a taste of these two Japanese cities, I can’t wait to explore more of the country!
For our first meal in Osaka, and hungry as we were, we randomly entered the first ramen place we saw and ended up in Hanamaruken Ramen. Before we visited Japan, my knowledge of ramen was basically nihil and perhaps just limited to instant noodles. Now we can’t get enough of them (we ate ramen every day after we came back from Japan) and I’m still on a quest to find the perfect ramen. My favorite is the pork rib ramen.
Anyway, back to Osaka! The first (half) day we kept it quite calm and visited Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. Dotonbori, Osaka’s iconic street, parallel to Dotonbori Canal, is one of Osaka’s major tourist destinations. Filled with bars, restaurants, and shops, the area is dynamic throughout the entire day. You should definitely have a stroll around Dotonbori at night when the area lights up with neon lights from the billboards and shops.
Located just next to Dotonbori is Shinsaibashi, Osaka’s shopping area. In this 600m long covered shopping street, you’ll find a mix of popular western chain stores as well as small local shops and expensive boutiques.
Travel guide to Osaka coming soon! In the meantime, here are some pictures from our first day in Japan!