On a hot, sweaty day in Osaka, after an overnight ferry ride and still not showered, I get to my hotel, only to be greeted by a happy robot…
The overnight trip had been fine. I had a cabin to myself on the boat, had a tasty dinner and a couple of beers before a reasonably early night. And the following morning bumped into the only other European on the trip; some good chat on the way into the city.
I hadn’t appreciated the size of Osaka before visiting. A metro area of over 19m people, it isn’t a particularly walkable city, purely because of its size, and for an overnight stay this isn’t ideal for exploring. But one night is what I had and my plan therefore became: explore the area around the hotel; visit the castle; grab a beer and some food; sleep.
My hotel was the Sunroute Osaka Namba, located in Nipponbashi. It’s convenient for the subway, for a walk along the canal and the shops/restaurants alongside, and for the Kuromon Ichiba Market. If you’re looking for a large, Japanese market to sample some food and buy some souvenirs then look no further.
With such a short time in Osaka, and with the hotel not budging on an early check-in, I jumped back on the subway and headed north. Keen to see something other than the city, I stopped at Osaka Castle. The 16th century castle and grounds provide a bit of serenity in a busy city. There’s also an interesting view from the main tower if you choose to head up that way.
A good walk from the hotel, largely along the canal and then a few blocks north, is Craft Beer Works Kamikaze. Japan’s beer culture – while behind the likes of the USA, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Russia – is improving and this is a great bar for working through some Japanese beers. Two buildings south, a place I can’t find the name of online, was a clothes shop which, oddly, also served pour over coffee. An utterly random find on my part and a free coffee after a bit of chat with the two people in there.
Fed, watered and ready for bed, my one night in Osaka was over. It felt like a shamefully short visit but my main interest in Japan lay further north. So the next morning I was up and about early and on my way.