Osaka Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know Before You Go to Osaka

– Yellow Productions presents… 10 things to know before you visit the
city of Osaka, in Japan. I’m Chris, this is Topher,
this is Yellow Productions. We do travel guides that
are fun, informative, and entertaining. This is part of our series on Osaka, and our larger series of
almost 100 videos on Japan. You can find links in the
description below to more of them, but in this video we’re gonna tell you everything you need to know
to visit this amazing city. We’re starting this video
in front of Osaka Castle, right behind us, and this
is the major icon of Osaka. Each one of the numbers
in this travel guide of the 10 things will be in
front of a different attraction, so you’ll get to see a little bit of Osaka while you get the
information at the same time. All right, so, here we go! The first thing to know
before coming to Osaka is just some general
things about the city. One, it is Japan’s third
most populated city, with about three million people
living in the city limits, though the metropolitan
area has 19 million. Osaka is often overlooked
by visitors to Japan for people who are
going to Tokyo or Kyoto, but I will tell you Osaka is actually a
really great destination, particularly as a base to
visit Kyoto, Nara, Kobe. It’s actually only 20
minutes by train to Kyoto, and it’s a great city in and of itself. Osaka airport also often
has cheaper flights to it than Tokyo Narita does. I think Osaka is worth about
three days of your time if you’re just visiting the city. If you’re visiting some
of the other things like Kyoto and Nara, which Nara’s famous for the
deer that roam the city, then you could spend five days in Osaka, never have to change hotels,
and that’s pretty nice. So I’d highly encourage
you to consider Osaka, but you probably are, because
you’re watching this video. The second thing to know
before you come to Osaka is about food. Osaka is a foodie city. It is often referred to
as the nation’s kitchen. And no place is more foodie in Osaka than Dotonbori Street. How can you tell? Well, they’ve got big things
of their food in front. There’s a crab, there’s one
down there that has a big thing of pot stickers, there’s one
that has a big fish, anyway. If you come to Osaka, they do
all Japanese food really good, but they’re particularly
well known for takoyaki. This street in particular has
a number of takoyaki vendors, they are these fried batter
that has octopus in it, that are often translated
as octopus balls. They got mayonnaise, they are
pretty good, check ’em out. My tip to you is not to wait in line for the one that has the longest line. Pretty much all the ones on this street will all be pretty good. Just as famous as takoyaki,
maybe even more, is okonomiyaki. It’s like a seafood
pancake, you’ll find a ton of okonomiyaki restaurants on
Dotonbori, and all over Osaka. Another popular thing in
Osaka, what it’s famous for, is kushikatsu, which is
essentially fried things on sticks. I’ve got a whole video on kushikatsu and the famous kushikatsu restaurant, you can find the link to that
in the description below. You’ll also find ramen to be particularly delicious in Osaka. Osaka is kind of a gritty, businessy city, and so ramen is particularly
fit for this city. So eat the ramen restaurants. One of my favorites, it’s from
Fukuoka, it’s called Ichiran. And they have a location
here in Osaka, on Dotonbori. Just like a block or two away from it. Osaka is also home to over 200 plus Michelin-starred restaurants, so whether you wanna
eat low-end or high-end, it’s all here for you. One of the thing I love
about restaurants in Japan, if you can’t tell what
they sell by their name, you can tell what they sell based on the plastic food in the window. Sushi. And you can see the sets,
how it looks in the window is almost exactly how it looks
once you get in the store. Many of the restaurants on Dotonbori in addition to having inside seating, have some takeout food that’s
prepared fresh out front. For example, the crab restaurant, well you’d definitely get
some high-end crab inside, but if you want something
cheap on the outside, they’ve got charcoal grilled
crab you can take to go for a bit less money. One of my favorites on
Dotonbori is Osaka Ohsho. You can find it because it has
the huge pot stickers on top. I got a review on that, link
in the description below. If you’re coming to Dotonbori
at peak eating hours, expect to wait. Here’s a ramen restaurant,
and then there’s the line. The third thing you need to
know about coming to Osaka is there are two major districts. We’ll talk about the first
one here in number three. It is the Kita district,
the north district often referred to as Umeda. This is Osaka’s financial
and business heart, and at the center of it is Osaka station, which is basically just down
there from where I’m standing. There’s a great observatory,
there’s the Umeda Sky Building. It looks like two buildings with a bridge that connects
the two, or a spaceship. This is, you pay 1000 yen, you come up to this
observatory, really great views. It’s been voted one of
the top hundred sunsets, not clear if that’s in
Japan or everywhere, but they always post a
sign with the sunset time. This is a great place
to get your bearings. And definitely when you’re
here, check out Osaka Station. It used to be a pretty
run-down, crappy station, but it’s been rebuilt, the
whole area’s being rebuilt. Grand Front Osaka, right
next to the station, is a amazing shopping center. And so, check out this district, particularly this building at sunset. A couple other great spots
in the Umeda District, and this is a perfect spot for me to stand ’cause I can get both in one shot. One is Yodobashi Umeda. Yodobashi Camera, it is Japan’s biggest
electronics and camera store, and they’ve got a huge
location right there. It’s like Best Buy on steroids,
it’s like eight floors, six floors of electronics,
tons of electronics. And then just this way is
the Hep Five Ferris Wheel. 500 yen, you can ride that ferris wheel, Japanese love their ferris wheels and this one’s really close
to this train station. Something else to know
about the Umeda district is they’ve got a lot of
these rooftop gardens on the new building. Right now I’m on top of Osaka Station. There’s a rooftop garden
up here, it’s free, you can admire great views from here. That’s the Grand Front Osaka, they’ve got an outdoor garden as well. You can pick up some takeout
food from a cheap restaurant, come up to one of these
gardens, and enjoy. And then from here, well,
maybe from a little bit down this way, you can actually
see the Umeda Sky Building. That’s the one that I
paid 1000 yen to go up on. While the view was a little bit better, there, you’re just viewing, here, you’ll be relaxing. And, on top of this
Osaka Station, there’s a, they call it a light hiking course up to this farm that’s on the building. So I’m heading over to check that out. And up two more floors,
where I’m standing, there’s this farm, a farm on
the roof of the train station. And as you see this can be
quite a peaceful place to relax, plenty of benches, great way to get away from the crowds that are just
eight floors down below me. The fourth thing to know
before you go to Osaka is about Minami, the southern district, often known as Namba. This is Osaka’s neon, big signs, crazy, it’s sort of like the equivalent of New York City’s Time Square, in Osaka. One of the most famous parts
of it in kind of the center is where I’m standing right now, it’s in front of the
Glico Running Man sign. There’s a canal that runs right behind me that you can see. And there’s boats that
run along that canal. And then just parallel to the
canal is Dotonbori Street. Dotonbori Street, if
there is one place to come that you have to come in
Osaka, it is Dotonbori Street. That’s where you saw me on
number two, talking about food. It is the Mecca for food,
it is amazing, it is crazy, but it’s really super neat. And the other big attraction
right around here to check out is Shinsaibashisuji, which is a big covered shopping street. Osaka is famous for its
covered shopping streets, which makes it a great
place to be in the rain. There’s a ton of shops down there, but it also feels like a sea of people. I mean take a look at all those people, they feel like they’re kind of
running kind of like a river. The fifth thing to know
before you go to Osaka is about Den Den Town. Right here, it’s about 10
minutes from Namba Station, it’s on this street, Nipponbashi Street. And there’s a lot of
electronic shops here, there’s a lot of pop
culture, manga, books, DVDs, cosplay, if you’re looking
for Japan’s famous maid cafes, you’ll find a number of those here too. Big signs plastered up on
buildings directing you to them. So if you wanna see weird
wacky interesting Japan, or electronics, check out Den Den Town. Just be slightly careful
of what you walk into, some of these shops can be
a little on the risque side. The sixth thing to know
before you go to Osaka is about the language. And Chris, what do you mean the language, don’t they speak Japanese in Japan? Well they do, but Osaka
has its own unique dialect. Yes, they end the sentences differently and they have a different
intonation here in Osaka. So if you learned textbook
Japanese and you’re confused when you hear the locals
speaking, well now you know why. And now let’s also talk
about the other language you might be using when you’re
here if you watch my videos, which is English. So English in Osaka, I’ll
say they are pretty good at English signage, English menus. If you go into a restaurant, I generally say hello when I come in, that way they know that
English is my first language. I’ll often be presented
with an English menu, sometimes I have to ask
for one, failing that you can always use the
point and order technique. And one of the English
phrases in restaurants that they always know is “this one.” So if you want to order something, just point at the picture
and say “this one.” They’re typically also
very good with numbers. If you find yourself in the train station, you’re stuck, you don’t
understand what’s going on because maybe the signage isn’t clear, they will often have
English information desks in the train stations, with a little sign that says they speak English. So I think if English is
your only language you speak and you don’t speak any Japanese, I think you actually can get around Osaka. They’ve tried to make it
pretty friendly for Westerners. The seventh thing to know
before you go to Osaka is about riding escalators. And in most parts of Japan,
you stand on the left, and you walk on the right. But not in Osaka. It’s the other way around,
you stand on the right, and walk on the left. I will say though, that
the Japanese government is trying to have people
just stand on both sides, to hold the handrail, but I
think it’s really ingrained to stand and then walk on both sides to have more capacity going through. Just watch what other
people do, and do the same. The eighth thing you need to
know before you come to Osaka is about getting to Osaka. And I’m in the train station, so I’ll talk about trains first. The way I got into Osaka, and
the way a lot of people do, is via Shinkansen, the bullet train. If you’re coming from
other parts of Japan, the thing you need to know about that is the bullet train does not
bring you into Osaka Station, it brings you into Shin-Osaka Station. And Osaka’s about three hours from Tokyo, or if you’re coming from
Fukuoka in the south, it’s about two and a half hours. Also, if you’re going to Kyoto,
it’s just like 20 minutes, that’s pretty convenient. The other way you’d probably
be coming into Osaka is by plane. And if you’re coming into Osaka by plane, there’s two things you need to know. And that’s that there are two airports. There’s Kansai International Airport, KIX, and that’s where you’ll
primarily be coming in if you’re coming in internationally. And if you’re flying domestically from some other part of
Japan, then chances are you’ll be coming into what
they call Itami, I-T-A-M-I, Itami International Airport. It’s got the name International
because they used that before they built Kansai
International Airport. If you’re coming in to Kansai, it’s about 45 minutes
into the city by train, and if you’re coming into Itami, then it’s about 30 minutes by bus. Those are gonna be your best options. Again, taxis are pretty expensive, and if you’re coming from Kansai there’s a few different
train services you can take. The ninth thing to know
before you come to Osaka is about getting around Osaka. And I’m doing this video in Osaka Station, the major train station here. And so what you should
know about getting around is that you should take trains,
and the subway, and walk. That’s primarily how
you should get around, that’s the best way to get around. Buy an IC card, your Suica card from Tokyo will work just fine. Their variant here is called ICOCA, but pretty much any IC card from Japan, they’re pretty much interchangeable now. Busses I would say, avoid them if you’re a first time visitor. While they’re good, they can sometimes be
a little bit confusing. Taxis are very nice, but
they can be expensive. Also, if you have a JR pass, save the JR pass until you leave Osaka. There’s very few JR lines in the city. You’ll be spending most of your time on the private company
lines going through here. And if you’re thinking
about driving, well, don’t really drive in Osaka. Parking’s expensive, traffic can be bad, the streets can be kind of confusing. So don’t really try to drive in the city. I mean renting a car in Japan’s okay, and I do it to go to the outskirts, but I find driving in the cities to be a little bit of
a maddening experience. And if you wanna know more
about taking the trains, or things like that in Osaka, watch my video on how to
ride the train, subway, and Shinkansen, in Osaka. The link’s in the description below. And the 10th and final thing to know before you go to Osaka is just about some of the other major
attractions that I didn’t show you. This is gonna be kind
of a rapid fire list, just so you get a taste of
some of the other cool things to do here. The first one I’m gonna start with is the Abeno Harukas Observatory. This building, it’s the tallest in Osaka, and there’s an observatory
on the top floor of it, it has one of Japan’s best night views. Great time to come: at night, best time to come: probably at sunset. If you like fish, visit the
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. It’s located in the Osaka Bay Area. It’s a little bit outside of the city, so this is probably a good attraction you wanna visit if you have
three or more days in Osaka. It is one of the world’s
largest aquariums, it is truly amazing. The route through is about
one kilometer in length. They’ve actually got
little things on the floor that tell you how far you have left to go. The tank in the middle, it is
a huge tank with amazing fish. Everything was really very clean, because they’ve got people
inside that clean it. When you come, if you want to, try to get here when it’s not too busy. Either come early in the
morning when they first open, or late in the night before they close, because this place can get really busy, because it is just that cool. And so I’ll say even
if you don’t love fish, it is worthwhile checking this place out. I am not a huge aquarium lover, but this is one amazing aquarium. Allocate at least a couple hours to check out the Osaka Aquarium. Kaiyukan is how it’s called in Japanese. Also, when you’re in this part of Osaka, you’ll realize that Osaka
is really a port city. From the aquarium you can see
views of the working harbor with the cargo ships. And a couple other things
to do when you’re out here in the Osaka Bay Area, there’s
a big ferris wheel back there that you could ride, it’s
in the shopping center next to the aquarium. Also there’s Universal Studios, which is a big American style theme park, which they do quite well here in Japan. Another really neat shopping
street in the Namba district is the Kitchenware Street, Doguyasuji. And what I think is really
cool about this street is you can pick up
everything you’ve ever needed for the kitchen, including
some things you don’t need. And it’s also home to many shops that sell Japan’s famous replica food. Yes, that plastic food that you
see in all the store windows that I showed you earlier, you can buy it and take it home here. And actually a couple of these stores, they have classes that you can
make the fake food yourself. To take the coolest
Instagram picture ever, visit the Namba Yasaka
Shrine, to take a picture in front of the shrine,
with a lion head stage. And one bonus thing to
know before you go to Osaka is that it’s not Osaka, it’s ohhh-saka. It’s a long O. And you can even tell by the way they announce
it on the trains here… (woman speaking in Japanese) – [Announcer] The next
station is ohhh-saka. – That it is in fact ohhh-saka. So make sure you say it right. Well thanks for watching. If you enjoyed this video, please click on this yellow
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one of our other videos, up here, up here, for
more fun, informative, entertaining videos from Japan and beyond. All right, bye-bye.

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