Osaka – A Concrete Jungle

Hello everyone,

I’m currently in Osaka, the metropolitan center and biggest city in the Kansai region (I.e. Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe). Often called a smaller version of Tokyo, Osaka has a charm in its own right – a veritable sea of buildings, telephone wires, flashing neon billboards, and lots and lots of people.

A small glimpse of the constant crowds in Osaka

A small glimpse of the constant crowds in Osaka

After arriving yesterday from Kyoto, I checked in at my hostel, well located in the Shinsaibashi district of the city (the shopping and nightlife area). Going by the suggestion of the receptionist at my hostel, I headed towards the transportation center of Osaka, Umeda. Just a few stops by train, Umeda is known for housing much of Osaka’s business districts, and is thus scattered with skyscrapers that blink all kinds of colors once the sun goes down.

Umeda Sky Building - two 40-story towers

Umeda Sky Building – two 40-story towers

Since I’m a big fan of views of cityscapes, particularly at night, I went to the architecturally-brilliant Umeda Sky Building, a complex of two high-rises connected near the top by tunnel-like escalators that take you up to the Floating Garden Observatory.

Looks like an endless escalator

Looks like an endless escalator

The building itself isn’t that tall (I think around 134 meters), but it’s situated really well and has unobstructed 360-degree views of Osaka below. I spent some time taking photos, both right before and after sunset, but it was also nice to just enjoy the skyline view.

Looking into the circular observatory

Looking into the circular observatory

Osaka coming to life at night

Osaka coming to life at night

I also coincidentally met one of the guys from my hostel at the observatory, so we headed back to the hostel together and got dinner with some of the staff there. The staff then wanted to check out an 80s bar nearby, so I went as well and enjoyed myself there even if I recognized a grand total of zero songs they played.

Today, I spent some of the afternoon checking out the shopping streets of Namba and Dotonbori, two areas packed with thousands of shops (ranging from Zara and Chanel to little trinket stores), restaurants, convenience stores, and people everywhere.

Entrance into Dotonbori

Entrance into Dotonbori

Even after being here just over 6 weeks, it still surprises me how bright, loud, crowded and larger-than-life the cities here are (especially Tokyo and Osaka). I think they’ve done a great way of maximing the limited available space in Japan by building most structures vertically rather than horizontally (I have yet to see a Starbucks that didn’t have at least 2 floors), and the blaze of sound and neon lights almost give the streets a futuristic feel.

Bridge into Dotonbori and Namba

Bridge into Dotonbori and Namba

Anyway, I leave Osaka tomorrow for Koyasan (Mt. Koya), a mountain south of here full of hundreds of Buddhist temples (one of which where I will be staying 1 night). I think it highly unlikely a simple Buddhist temple located on a mountain path will have WiFi, so my next post will probably be back in Kyoto!

Thanks as always. Here are a couple more pics from Osaka:

Looking west into Osaka Bay

Looking west into Osaka Bay

The escalators between the Umeda towers

The escalators between the Umeda towers

Looking south into Osaka's business center

Looking south into Osaka’s business center

Advertisements

5 responses to “Osaka – A Concrete Jungle

  1. Osaka seems to be a developed city like any other
    city in the world. But its beautiful, town planning is
    good. Its truly a concrete jungle. However, if some one
    wants to do lots of shopping, its a good place.

  2. Hustle & bustle of the city must be so different from the very quiet serene atmosphere u have gotten used to these past few days. However, both have their individual charm. Gr8 pics of the city both in the day & at night. Thought that the shopping area would have been a veritable haven for ur sis 😜 Enjoy ur trip to Koyasan. Looking fwd to pics from the monastery 🏯
    Stay safe & JSK.
    Luv always ❤️
    Mom.

  3. Osaka is in my bucket list of cities to visit. I am very much impressed with the business and shopping district. Japanese people probably have lot of disposable income. I was wondering, what is the unemployment rate in Japan? Have you come across a homeless japanese or have you seen any kind of poverty?

    • Hi Dad, I’m not sure about the unemployment rate, but yes I have seen a few homeless people, primarily in the big cities. It’s really rare to see them though from my experiences so far.

  4. Hi Bittu
    Wow to all that you’re experiencing. I’m sure you know you’re getting opportunity of a lifetime!
    Happy Travels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s