Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:40 pm

Planning on a trip to Osaka for 2 weeks. What are some must see, must do things in the city or surrounding area? Sounds like it will pretty hot and humid. Grew up in piedmont region of NC, so shouldn't be a huge deal. Will be my 1st time in any foreign country for more than a day and have never been to Asia even though my mother is Japanese. I'm over 50 and thought I should go and see some of my heritage before it's too late.

bmr12
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by bmr12 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:58 pm

I’d strongly recommend at least spending some time in Kyoto and Nara, both of which are near Osaka. Hiroshima is also an option as a day trip on the Shinkansen.

Calli114
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by Calli114 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:08 pm

When I went on a group tour last year, we went out in the evening for a "foodie tour" to sample the street food. There's a very popular, crowded area there (Dotonbori) loaded with little places to buy from. It was just fun to soak up the atmosphere, admittedly it was not hot when I was there.

Volkdancer
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by Volkdancer » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:51 pm

Besides doing Dotombori on your own, the Cup Noodle Museum about the invention of instant ramen is fun and visiting the ethnographic.museum on the site of the Osaka Expo. Details about how to get there will be in any competent guidebook.

Karl V

ResearchMed
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:28 am

It may not be as specific to Japanese culture/history, but the Osaka Aquarium was very special.
We aren't all that familiar with aquarium styles, but we found the way this one was arranged to be very impressive.

As for other things nearby, we agree with Nara. See the deer there. They are truly tame.
And the Buddha there is... huge...!
It all made for a special and peaceful afternoon.

We spent a couple of days in Kyoto, and really enjoyed seeing the bamboo forest in person, especially as it wasn't very crowded when we were there.

Do you need to "stay" in Osaka for the entire 2 weeks? That's enough time to stay in some other locations, and absorb more of the local flavor than just Osaka.

We LOVED our trip to Japan almost 2 years ago, and really hope to go back.

RM
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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:40 am

Can break up time in other areas. How many days worth spending in Osaka?

cessna210
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by cessna210 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:00 am

Check out to see if there's a baseball game. It's definitely a different experience than US baseball. We enjoyed interacting with other fans during the game. We saw the Orix Buffaloes vs. Hanshin Tigers at Koshien stadium.

My daughter mentioned that Osaka is the food capital of Japan. She also wandered the streets of Shinsekai and experienced the Onsen at Spa World.

Other nearby places that come to mind are the Osaka Castle, the gardens of Kyoto, and the Todaiji Temple in Nara where the deer roam free among the visitors.

caffeperfavore
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by caffeperfavore » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:10 am

You have to go to Kyoto. It's the heart of Japanese culture. There is just so much beauty in that city. I could spend a week there alone. Enjoyed visiting the Arashiyama area and the bamboo forest just west of Kyoto.

I also agree with a trip to Nara.

I would add a trip to Hōryū-ji. It's the site of Japan's oldest buildings and some of the oldest wooden structures in the world. I also enjoyed being out in the countryside in a smaller town for a bit.

All of these are a short trip by train.

As a baseball fan, I really regret not going to a game in Osaka.

lhl12
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by lhl12 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:16 am

Volkdancer wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:51 pm
Besides doing Dotombori on your own, the Cup Noodle Museum about the invention of instant ramen is fun and visiting the ethnographic.museum on the site of the Osaka Expo. Details about how to get there will be in any competent guidebook.

Karl V
+1 for the Cup o' Noodles Museum! It might sound a little odd, but it is actually a lot of fun and educational for adults and if you have kids 12 or younger then I'd put it on the "must do" list.

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kramer
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by kramer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:22 am

I did a 15 or 16 day trip to Japan and it was a great experience, I flew into KIX airport and out of Tokyo. On the trip I experienced Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima/Miyajima Island, Hakone, and Tokyo. I only bought a one week unlimited rail pass and I did all the traveling part in a 7 day period. I had a Japan sim card sent by mail to me before the trip and it worked great. Don't let middle distances scare you there, the trains are fast and efficient and comfortable and I encountered no security checks, just walked into a station, waited a few minutes for my train, and hopped on.

You have enough time to see that whole region at a slow pace if you will spend two weeks. Personally, if I really wanted to see the region in that way, I would fly into KIX, take the train to Kyoto and base myself there. Next, go to Hiroshima for at least a couple of days and also see Miyajima Island. I felt like Hiroshima was worth more than a day trip to see the Peace Museum. And then end in Osaka (doing a day trip to Nara). This way, you could buy only a 7 day unlimited rail pass, also. This would be a leisurely pace and give you time to overcome jet lag.

Osaka is well known for the best food. Some go there for several Michelin type experiences over a series of evenings.

I agree that seeing a baseball game in any of these places would be well worth it.

The Open Air Museum in the Hakone area (one hour south of Tokyo) was one of the highlights of my life. But it probably isn't worth it if you are not going to Tokyo, also.

harrychan
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by harrychan » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:37 am

@kramer

May I ask where you got the Japanese sim from? I was looking for something similar.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

yaychemistry
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by yaychemistry » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:41 am

I was in Osaka last May. I really enjoyed the food, especially an open air market called Kuromon Ichiba, which had a bunch of open air food stalls - I had a delicious Scallop that was cooked directly in its shell and a tiny Octopus stuffed with a quail egg on a stick. Osaka is also known for Okonomiyaki (which is a pancake of sorts) and Takoyaki (fried dough and octopus balls on a stick).

Also, a big +1 to a baseball game. We went to a game in Tokyo (go Swallows!) and found it hugely entertaining. It's the same game as in the US, but the experience in the stands is completely different. There was a brass band and people sang different songs for each batter. Lots of fun. I think the Osaka team is the Hanshin Tigers.

We also went to a Sumo tournament (in Tokyo). There are only 5 a year, but there's going to be a tournament in July in Nagoya, which isn't too far from Nagoya (and a trip on the Shinkansen bullet train could be a fun experience). This was definitely a highlight of our trip. There's so much tradition around Sumo wrestling and its quite amazing to watch people that big move so fast! Each match happens so quickly, but it's still full of so much drama. Tickets can be quite hard to get, so we ended up purchasing a "tour package" from a travel agency which also meant we got a tour guide to help explain what was happening.
http://www.sumo.or.jp/EnTicket/year_schedule

Depending on your budget, there's a super fancy (and expensive - like $150/person IIRC) style of dining called Kappo that has its origin in Osaka that's kind of like Kaiseki, but you sit at a counter and get to watch the chefs skillfully prepare your meal. I would suggest using a reservation service (like your credit card concierge) to find a place and to make the reservation because a lot of these places don't speak any English and don't have much of a web presence. Half of the fun was trying to figure out what we were being served between my horrible Japanese (I tried to learn Japanese for the trip, and at the time I could remember some simple words like "fish" and "milk" and "vegetable") the chef's pantomimes and Google translate and image search on his phone. We went to a place called Yuuno (or Yuno) - I think it has one Michelin star, and even though it was very expensive, for a once-in-a-lifetime trip it was worth it.

ResearchMed
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:54 am

ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:40 am
Can break up time in other areas. How many days worth spending in Osaka?
If you are interested in/willing to stay in other towns in the Tokyo to Osaka area, this is what we included two years ago...

- Some nights in Tokyo (including one full day for jet lag like we never even considered!);
- 2 nights at an Onsen Ryokan (traditional hot springs inn) in the Goya area, near Lake Ashi;
- Some time in Kyoto (bamboo forests, several gardens, castles, etc., and formal tea ceremony in a house owned by same family for something more than 10 generations);
- 2 nights at a Buddhist monastery;
- Ending in Osaka (we flew out of KIX).

AMAZING trip, beyond our dreams.

RM
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robphoto
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by robphoto » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:55 am

As far as phone service, a lot of the postpaid T-Mobile plans include foreign service; my son's phone worked normally for phones and internet, and for my wife's Verizon phone, she could pay about 10.00 a day (don't remember exactly) and get service. Also if you have Google Fi that works in Japan.

What we mainly used was a mobile hotspot, a deck-of-cards sized thing that makes its own wifi zone; they are cheaper than sims and give you more data. Also these work on most trains, even subways often. The standard speed ones are fine, you don't have to get the super fast model.

We got ours from www.globaladvancedcomm.com. If you've arranged it in advance, you pick it up at an airport post office and drop it in the mail at the end. There are a lot of sources for them, including the sites from which you buy the rail pass (which you need to purchase outside Japan; you can't buy the rail pass once you're in Japan, and you'll need to order it enough in advance so they can send it to you before you leave the US. The rail pass doesn't start counting your days of use till you activate it at the rail station in Japan)

Also late July to August, it will probably be really hot and sticky.
Last edited by robphoto on Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by WhiteMaxima » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:11 am

Eat. Osaka is the foodie capital of Japan.

caffeperfavore
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by caffeperfavore » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:14 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:54 am
ChinchillaWhiplash wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:40 am
Can break up time in other areas. How many days worth spending in Osaka?
If you are interested in/willing to stay in other towns in the Tokyo to Osaka area, this is what we included two years ago...

- Some nights in Tokyo (including one full day for jet lag like we never even considered!);
- 2 nights at an Onsen Ryokan (traditional hot springs inn) in the Goya area, near Lake Ashi;
- Some time in Kyoto (bamboo forests, several gardens, castles, etc., and formal tea ceremony in a house owned by same family for something more than 10 generations);
- 2 nights at a Buddhist monastery;
- Ending in Osaka (we flew out of KIX).

AMAZING trip, beyond our dreams.

RM
Oh yes, I can't believe I forgot. You have to do a ryokan, if only for a night. There are many in and around Kyoto. We stayed in one in Kyoto and it was amazing, a highlight of the trip. Especially for someone with Japanese heritage, I think this and an onsen would be essential experiences.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:39 am

I spent most of my time in Kyoto and Nara, but then it was October and very pleasant.

Consider going to the mountains and/ or north for part of the time to escape the hot weather.

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baconavocado
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by baconavocado » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:21 pm

Wow, these are great ideas. We're planning a trip to Japan in spring 2020. Thanks to everyone who commented and to the OP.

Anyone climb Mt. Fuji?


scophreak
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by scophreak » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:59 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:39 am
I spent most of my time in Kyoto and Nara, but then it was October and very pleasant.

Consider going to the mountains and/ or north for part of the time to escape the hot weather.
Agreed. Did 8 days in Tokyo/Hakone/Kyoto in late July/early Aug last year. It was unbelievably hot and humid (around 100 degrees each day), though I believe that most of the country was in the midst of a well above average heat wave.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by WhiteMaxima » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:22 pm

Just remind you that July and Aug are very hot months in japan.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:38 pm

Right now is the time to go to see Cherry blossoms in the next few weeks. I’m going to time mine to see this when I go. Flyertalk has a thread on this.

KlangFool
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by KlangFool » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:43 pm

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:11 am
Eat. Osaka is the foodie capital of Japan.
+1,000.

Episode 4 of "Ainsley Eat the Street" is about Osaka.

https://www.netflix.com/watch/80221766? ... =200257859

KlangFool

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ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:45 pm

Sounds like a lot of cool things to choose from. Thanks for all the ideas. Will help guide my plans. Will venture to Kyoto for sure. Any nice beaches in the area? Might be worth going to if it is going to be that hot.

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kramer
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by kramer » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:37 pm

harrychan wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:37 am
@kramer

May I ask where you got the Japanese sim from? I was looking for something similar.
I purchased a Japan Rail Pass by Japan Experience, and also bought a Japanese sim card in the same order. In late 2017, the price was $260 for an unlimited 7 day rail pass and $41 for a nano Sim card with a lot of data and 30 days of validity from activation. They were both sent to my US address before my trip.

Both worked wonderfully in the country, my phone was live when my plane landed, and I hadn't even fussed with any APN settings. Once in the country, you can specify any start date for your rail pass.

NOTE: Non-residents can't have a mobile phone number in Japan. You are getting a sim card for data.

harrychan
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by harrychan » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:38 pm

kramer wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:37 pm
harrychan wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:37 am
@kramer

May I ask where you got the Japanese sim from? I was looking for something similar.
I purchased a Japan Rail Pass by Japan Experience, and also bought a Japanese sim card in the same order. In late 2017, the price was $260 for an unlimited 7 day rail pass and $41 for a nano Sim card with a lot of data and 30 days of validity from activation. They were both sent to my US address before my trip.

Both worked wonderfully in the country, my phone was live when my plane landed, and I hadn't even fussed with any APN settings. Once in the country, you can specify any start date for your rail pass.

NOTE: Non-residents can't have a mobile phone number in Japan. You are getting a sim card for data.
Thank you!
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

Volkdancer
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Re: Trip to Osaka in late July early Aug. Must see. Things to do.

Post by Volkdancer » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:24 am

Several other suggestions not already mentioned:

Day trip to Himeji to see the castle

Small canal town of Kurashiki is delightful with lovely Shinto complex in center, lots of traditional craft shops

Koyasan is one of the most sacred sites in Japan, an extraordinary very old cemetery which is where every Japanese would like to be buried, with some good hiking around, excellent, maybe even better in rainy weather, and lots and lots of monasteries in which to stay over, plus a cog train to get to top

Day trip to Kobe, walk from train station to harbor, really nice trail behind train station follows stream, several small waterfalls, takes you to botanical garden from where you can take cable car back down

Karl V

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