Where to go in Osaka, Japan at Night? Here's a Walking Tour for you.
Glico Running Man
ALL-TIME FAVORITE POST FROM 2010 RE-BLOGGED:
I knew that in Shanghai, they love the light display at night. What i didn't know is that in Osaka, they are crazy about it. I am blinded by the spectacular light shows around the river side. It's a thrilling experience to be in the middle of 360 view 3-D lights emitting from buildings. Osaka is Crazy!
It was around seven in the evening when i had the urge to cruise around the river side of Osaka. With a helpful tip from one girl i met at the hostel, i decided to make my way to this side of Osaka called Minami district via the transport train. She said that once i go there, i will never want to leave. I actually think she's psychic.
It's fairly easy to go to Minami. Most of the train stations are interconnected and stopping at JR Namba station is a good point of reference. Just remember to keep looking at your watch. Trains close at around midnight, so if you live far from Namba/Minami, better be at the station before the closing, unless you want to spend a fortune riding the handsome taxi cabs. But once you go here, you'll most probably do that, anyway.
Dotonburi is named after its creator Yasui Doton. This canal made from the river, is huge complex of entertainment facilities, cafes and restaurants. It's one of the most popular symbols of Osaka. A night strolling along this area is not to be missed.
Wandering around Namba at night is such a delight in all senses and through this self-guided walking tour, you'll know why.
Sense of Taste
Kani Doraku Crab Sign
Restaurants and Izakayas are aplenty here. You can choose from a wide variety of cuisine: International, French, even fast food and of course, lots and lots of Sushi and Ramen. Oh, and if your taste buds are quite ready, watch and see the biggest crab i have ever seen in my life. I guess, people here do really have a sense of humor. Want to know what's even more funny? The crab moves!
Sense of Smell
Walking from Namba shopping district to Dotonburi is a delight to your nose. The cold misty air mixed with freshly grilled seafood near the river side is YUM. As i walked around, i realized that everything works here. All right.
Sense of Sight
Once you reach this spot, i'll place a bet that you will turn around 360 degrees! Amazing is such an understatement. It's visual orgasm to the senses. I just couldn't contain my excitement when i saw the neon colored Glico ads and 3-D displays from those modern exterior buildings. This is, without a doubt, my most favorite spot here in Dotonburi.
But just to warn you, this spot is also where men and women for hire stand by. They are dressed to impress. And as i carefully observe, their market include businessmen, Americans, Europeans and surprisingly, young kids, too. I also saw stout guys wearing black trench coat (typical). They were about six to eight people, standing still and just looking around. I won't be surprised if those men/women were also for hire. If you ask me, i won't advise single foreign women traveling here alone. Just my two cents.
Sense of Touch
Dotonburi is the heart of Osaka's nightlife. And whatever you fancy for the night, you can have it here. While i was walking on the narrow alleys and pebbled streets, i glanced upon what appears to be a concert. Yeah right. It's a show! The red light district of Osaka is popular just because it's frequented by wealthy businessmen and expats. If you want a touch, you can have it here. The only time someone will approach me and say "You want massage" is whenever i am in Thailand. I am quite surprised that they actually thought i could afford it, and would eventually get a Japanese massage. It's kind of weird. If you know the relationship of Japan and the Philippines in the past.
Sense of Hearing
Populated by young kids, you'll find the best deal here. I saw so many young kids, all dressed up on a Friday night. I walked pass by the bridge, and down to the river side and saw these ganguro-esque and harujuku-esque fashionstas waiting to get in at this trendy club. I heard the sound. It was the sound of pumping electro and tech-house. My kind of music. If only i was in the mood to party, i know i could have spent a fortune inside!
If you read notes from travelers who've been to Osaka, they would often correspond to saying that people from this part of Japan are reckless, loud and rude. I don't want to really tackle this matter but for purposes of writing my experiences when i was there, i couldn't agree with the opinions more. Although, i would like to believe that what happened to me was just an isolated incident. It's nothing but a simple thought and an eye-opener for me. I got turned off by Osaka in an instant.
I was walking specifically at this area and i finally got tired. I wanted to sit in one of the benches made out of concrete. I saw a couple of young Japanese kids sitting, so i thought i could do that as well. It's a public area, just like any other park so people are free to roam around, do whatever. I saw people smoking, too. Osaka isn't like Tokyo where smoking is more strict. I've been smoking all day in Osaka and i know it's okay.
As i tried to sit and light my stick, a couple of weird looking guys dressed in black (promo boys) approached me and told me to leave. They were very very rude and i was really disappointed. I left and started walking while smoking. Did someone just tell me not to smoke while i was smoking? No. I sat on the next concrete bench a few meters away. Did someone shoo me away? No. Up until now, the vagueness of his reason for trying to shoo me away still frowns me. I don't know why. Maybe because i expected so much from this city.
There i said it. I am not making a big deal out of this incident. But so far, this is my least favorite city in Japan.
Good thing, a few minutes after as i approached the central park where all the lights are. I saw a young family and i thought i ask the father to take my picture. He smiled and did a great job taking an artsy photo of me (as seen below).
Believing in the goodness of men, I tried to forget what just happened to me. I just enjoyed Dotonburi for whatever its worth. It's really beautiful there at night, and is worth your time for sure. I just hope next time, i won't bump into rude, loud and reckless Osakaites.