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Going “Walkabout” In Osaka: Part 2

By 5 min read 1

Having completed an energetic and enthralling morning of walking around Osaka, taking in Minato Ward, Namba and Nipponbashi, and having enjoyed a light lunch in one of the delicious bento restaurants around Kuromon Ichiba, it was time to continue our Osaka Walkabout and start our afternoon adventure.

From Nipponbashi station, take the Sakaisuji Line (the brown one on the subway map) two stops to Dobutsuen Mae station. Once you reach Dobutsuen Mae station, change to the Midosuji Line (red line) and travel one stop to Tennoji Station.

If you’re feeling particularly energetic you can walk from Nipponbashi to Tennoji. It will take around 35-40 mins. We walked in a south-easterly direction from Nipponbashi, periodically turning as we followed signposts for Tennoji.

Some 30 minutes later, we arrived at Tennoji Station. As you exit Tennoji Station, you will see a huge, hulking skyscraper towering above all the others. This building is Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest commercial building. Once you enter Abeno Harukas, you will find a variety of fashion stores, and other interesting, if somewhat expensive, shops. The 58th to 60th floors of Abeno Harukas house the observation deck.

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Admission to this 300m high platform is 1500 yen for adults. This may seem a little pricey but believe me, the 360 degree views of Osaka City make it well worthwhile. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe it.

If you’re lucky you may even have the chance for a photo-op with the “Abeno Bear”, Abeno Harukas’ loveable sky coloured mascot. The mascot’s costume periodically changes in accordance with his mood, which is determined by the weather on that day. Thankfully, although it was cold that day, the clear skies gave our oversized friend a somewhat sunny disposition.

Having taken in the glorious views, and indulged my companion’s compulsion for window shopping, we headed out of Abeno Harukas and headed in a north-easterly direction. It was time to head to Tsuruhashi, Osaka’s own Korea town.

You should, for the most part, be able to follow the route of the Osaka Loop line past Teradacho and Momodani up to Tsuruhashi. Again, the walk should take you around 35 minutes.

Once you reach Tsuruhashi you will soon find yourself surrounded by all the wonderful sights, sounds and most of smells of a classic Korean district. The intoxicating smell of beautifully grilled yakiniku fills the air. Although we had had our lunch only 2 or 3 hours previously, our stomachs rumbled and our taste buds cried out for stimulation. We headed into a local eatery to indulge ourselves.

Tsuruhashi is definitely a hidden gem which showcases the diversity and value to be found in Osaka. The food is delicious, authentic and very reasonably priced. My companion and I enjoyed a delicious meal set for around 1500 yen.

Our appetites sated, we continued north, towards Osaka Castle Park.

Whilst Osaka Castle Park does have its own designated station on the Osaka Loop Line (Osakajokoen), I actually recommended beginning your tour one stop earlier, at Morinomiya.

Morinomiya is less than 2 kilometres north of Tsuruhashi, and one can easy walk there in around 20 minutes. Directly to the northwest of Morinomiya station is Osaka Castle Park. This stunning park is best viewed during the April “cherry blossom” season, however even in winter, the views are beautiful. In the centre of the park, surrounded by a deep and often frozen-over moat is the castle itself.

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Osaka Castle has a long and storied history. It was originally built in 1583 by the warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi to serve as a symbol of the tremendous power, wealth and influence he held across Japan at that time. It later passed into the hands of the Tokugawa Shogunate, how maintained control of the castle until they were deposed at the time of the Meiji Restoration. It was later repurposed as a military installation in the 1930s.

Today it houses a museum, showcasing its colourful history, and that of Osaka City itself. The Museum is housed in the main tower and is open from 9am until 5pm. At certain times during spring and summer, these hours can be extended, so please check before you head out.

Leaving the castle behind, we continued north, towards Kyobashi, before heading west across the river, towards Umeda. Next stop, Umeda Sky Building.

Whilst neither the tallest, nor the most advanced building the city has to offer, the Sky Building has a special place in the hearts of many Osaka people. Young couples often come here to enjoy the beautiful views together, some even host weddings in the building lower levels.

Admission to the Sky Building’s “Floating Garden” Observatory, which straddles the building’s twin towers is 700 yen for adults, which comes down to 630 yen if there are more than 10 people in your group.

On the 38th and 39th floor of the building you will find a bar, restaurant café, souvenir shop and lots of seating from which to enjoy panoramic view of the surrounding area. Not only is this a great place to relax, it’s also the only venue I have found in Osaka thus far that serves my favourite drink, my beloved Newcastle Brown Ale! Time to let the diet slide for a moment and allow myself one glass.

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We reached the Floating Garden on the 40th floor just in time to enjoy the sunset. As the sun descended over Osaka Bay, we watched in awe, and I allowed myself a moment to reflect.

Osaka is a wonderful city, home to great history, diverse cultures and fantastic people. The Sky Building, with its soothing background music, soft lighting and overwhelmingly positive mood embodies all that is great about this city.

There are taller buildings in Osaka, but none quite have the scope, ambience and romance of the Sky Building. It was the perfect way to conclude a great day out.

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  • John Dunsmore says:

    I loved my short but memorable stay in Osaka. Thanks very much Liam for using my photo too! Im counting the days till September till i’ll be back!

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