Osaka Rising: Japan’s Most Overlooked City?


Tokyo and Kyoto certainly get their fair share of attention from the world. But Osaka has it’s own thing going on, and it’s rather unique.

Photo by Michael Johnstone

Photo by Michael Johnstone

I ended up in Osaka by accident, in a way. With a long weekend rapidly approaching, I only had a few days left to book a flight. Since I live in Seoul, and Japan is just a hop across the pond, I had resolved to find a flight there. Now it was simply down to the cheapest airfare.

Fukuoka and Osaka immediately made themselves known with their inexpensive pricing. It came down the fact that by chance I knew someone who was living and working in Osaka. He had been visiting Seoul for a few days and we had met quite by accident.

Photo by Michael Johnstone

Photo by Michael Johnstone

A few days and a short flight later and I found myself standing in Osaka. I knew little about the city; as most probably would. Osaka is typically a stopping point on the way to Kyoto or Kobe, two well-known tourist destinations. Osaka itself doesn’t draw so many visitors for its own sake. But it should.

Namba Station takes you into the heart of the city. If you arrive at dusk as I did, the searing neon lights will guide you to one of it’s most beautiful sights. Running through the city is a small canal off the river which has been transformed into an alternate universe version of Paris: picturesque bridges and French street lanterns collide with vibrant color. Namba is a great launching point for adventures in the city.

After a few days of exploration I left with a smattering of new memories and sights, and a heightened appreciation for the destinations less travelled. If you’re ever in Japan, you should give Osaka a fighting chance. It just might surprise you.

Photo by Michael Johnstone

Photo by Michael Johnstone

More to come on this destination for sure. Stay tuned.

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