"Osaka: The Manchester of Asia" Osaka by OsakaHatter
Osaka Travel Guide: 886 reviews and 2,565 photos
A student of mine recently described Osaka as the Manchester of Asia and as an industrial second city at the other end of the country to the glittering lights of the capital, the description isn't far wrong. And quite remarkable, given that it came from a NOVA student.
Osaka is a special city, and you can read into the use of the world 'special' anything that you will...
Taxi drivers struggle to drive down streets a bus with a broken steering shaft could navigate without difficulty. Japanese pedestrians wander around aimlessly, blissfully unaware that there is anyone else in the street with them. Gaijin stagger around groggily, wondering who turned the lights on, what happened to the last 8 hours, and just how much that last round of car bombs in Murphys cost them.
And then usually fall asleep head down in a bowl of ramen.
Osaka is keeping it real, unlike the rest of Japan which, quite frankly, lost the plot years ago. And, despite comments to the contrary by the unenlightened, is much better than Tokyo. Which we don't like. Arrogant, you see? Typical bloody capital city...
Virtually flattened during the second world war, Osaka was rebuilt rapidly, in classical 60's flat-pack concrete sheet style on a loose grid system.
During the day the mess of hire wires, raised roads, pachinko parlours and identikit apartment blocks, along with a seeming lack of consistent planning schemes has given rise to the city's reputation for being ugly.
However at night, Osaka comes to life and shows the peculiar charm that people fall in love with. Osakans are famously more laidback than many Japanese and their love of eating and socialising is evident in the mass of restaurants, foodstalls and bars spilling out onto the streets, luring people in with their glowing neon.
The rapid rebuild makes Osaka seem as if it has been cunningly designed to make almost all its buildings nigh on identical. This at first would seem to be to bemuse and discourage tourists, but in fact it's a piece of architectural genius that emphasises the few beautiful sights the city has to offer.
Some of the most enduring images in Osaka are not always places to visit as such, or even obvious at first. The lampposts in Ami Mura, such as the one to the left, are a case in point. I'm using the travelogues below to document some of the more unusual sights around the city.
- Pros:Good travel base, excellent public transport, bustling nightlife, down to earth locals.
- Cons:It ain't pretty, and does get very hot.
- In a nutshell:Experience the Urban Elephant Man. Learn to love it.
Dotombori is the heart of night time Osaka, with hundreds of restaurants, bars, karaoke booths, pachinko parlours and... more travel advice
Don't trust these people. Just don't. Don't start drinking with them. Don't engage them in conversation. It'll all end... more travel advice
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