After studying abroad in Korea, my family and I took a week trip to Osaka, Japan (with a brief trip to Kyoto. It’s been two years since my last trip to Japan. This time around, however, I had more time to explore Osaka and Kyoto and appreciate Japan’s culture and history.
Day 1 – Dotonbori
The night after arriving at Hotel Elsereine in Osaka, I explored Dotonbori, a major tourist destination. Dotonbori runs between the Dotonboribashi bridge and the Nipponbashi bridge in the Namba district. It’s known for several famous landmarks, such as the Glico Man and the Kani Doraku crab, and a large variety of Japanese restaurants and shops.
Day 2- Kuromon Market and Nara
During my second day in Japan, I visited the famous Kuromon Market. There is a wide variety of fresh seafood, making it a huge tourist attraction.
After exploring the Kuromon Market, my family and I took a quick day trip to Nara. According to Japanese mythology, the deer in Nara have been regarded as heavenly animals which protect the city and the country. In places like Nara park, tame deer wander around and tourists have the option of purchasing crackers to feed them. At Nara, I visited Todaiji during a candle lighting festival and the temple was absolutely stunning.
Day 3- Kyoto (Fushimi Inari-Taisha and Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu)
On our third day, we took a side trip to Kyoto where we stayed at a hotel in Uji. After checking in, we visited Fushimi Inari-Taisha and Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu. Fushimini Inari-Taisha has been on my bucket list for quite a while now, and being able to see it in person was an absolutely amazing experience. However, I do recommend visiting the shrine during times it is less crowded. Since I visited the shrine in the middle of the afternoon on a weekend, it was very crowded which made it possible to fully appreciate the shrine without worrying about bumping into people. After Fushimi Inari-Taisha, we went to Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu, which was a less well-known shrine in the mountains. We had to take a cable car and hike in order to reach the shrine and there was an amazing view at the top.
Day 4 – Uji
On our fourth day we explored the area near our hotel room in Uji and Gion. For matcha tea lovers like myself, Uji is a paradise with different green tea shops around every corner. Being able to spend the night at such a tranquil place was the perfect escape from the city life of Osaka. After exploring Uji, we went to Gion, one of the most well-known geisha districts in Japan. Local geishas refer to themselves as Geiko in Gion and the rest of Kyoto.
Day 5 – Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium
After returning to Osaka, my family and I went to the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, one of the largest public aquariums in the world. I loved exploring it and was shocked by variety of sea creatures that were in the aquarium. However, it was incredibly crowded which made it difficult to get around and take pictures.
Day 6 – Osaka Castle
On our last day in Osaka, we went to explore the Osaka castle. Since I visited the castle two years ago, it wasn’t exactly novel for me, but it was still an amazing sight.