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Known as Japan’s food capital, Osaka’s myriad culinary delights from street food to gourmet fare have earned it the reputation as the nation’s kitchen.
But Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area after Tokyo is also famous for its historic attractions and modern architecture. Located on the main island of Honshu, Osaka is the commercial centre of the Kansai region, which is home to other charming cities such as Kyoto, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama.
Whether you’re new to the city or only have 48 hours in Osaka, we give you an insider’s guide into this sprawling city, which offers so many exciting options just moments away from Fraser Residence Nankai, Osaka.
Craving for some fresh seafood or street food? Rub shoulders with the locals at the lively, 190-year-old Kuromon Ichiba Market near Namba. Often compared to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, you’ll be spoilt for choice here with the giant grilled scallops, creamy sea urchin, fatty tuna, fried octopus balls and other tantalising bites.
For a special occasion, head to the two-Michelin-starred Fujiya 1935 in Yariyamachi. Famous for its modern European-inspired cuisine made with local ingredients, Chef Tetsuya Fujiwara’s concoctions are innovative, charming and guaranteed to wow the senses. Do note that reservations must be made in advance and single diners are welcome.
Soba lovers should also not miss Takama. Those taking a casual stroll in Tenjinbashi would probably miss its low-key, windowless storefront. But slide open the wooden door and you’ll enter what feels more like a cosy home.
Only open during lunch, don’t be surprised to see a queue forming outside this affordable one-Michelin-starred restaurant, which offers an experience for the palette. Tip: Ask your concierge for directions!
A night out in Osaka can be just as fun. Like Tokyo, this town offers everything from jazz clubs to martini bars. However, it’s important to remember that the nightlife in Osaka is centred on two areas.
The Kita (north) area that surrounds Umeda Station draws a slightly more adult crowd, including locals that head here to unwind after work.
On the other hand, the Minami (south) area is popular with the younger set. Located between the Shinsaibashi and Namba districts, this is also where you’ll find Osaka’s famous Glico running man.
Towering over the bustling Dotonbori street, this glowing signboard greets all who flock here for the many dining options. Once you’ve had a walk along the canal and admired the dazzling neon lights, pick from one of the area’s many bars and restaurants – or visit a few if you can’t decide!
When it comes to shopping in Osaka, Shinsaibashi is the preferred destination for locals and tourists alike. Home to a number of upmarket department stalls and boutiques such as Prada and Louis Vuitton, traditional kimono tailors and even bookstores can be found here too.
But if you’re on the lookout for quirky gifts to bring home, head to Doguyasuji in Namba. Amid its many shops selling restaurant supplies, you’ll find amazing mini replicas of sushi and tempura. If you’re intrigued enough by these plastic food samples, some shops even offer lessons on making your own!
Despite its reputation as an urban jungle, you can still find greener pastures in Osaka. One of the popular things to do in Osaka is a visit to the Osaka Castle, which was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583 on the site of a temple called Ishiyama Hongan-ji.
Take a boat ride along the moat to admire the magnificent stone walls and beautiful foliage which changes every season, or visit the museum inside for a fascinating glimpse into the history of the castle. The top floor of the castle also offers an impressive view of the city from the observation deck.
Coming during the cherry blossom season in early April? The thousands of cherry trees spread across the entire Osaka Castle Park make this an excellent place for flower viewing in Spring.
A popular hanami spot (flower viewing spot) is the Nishinomaru Garden, a lawn garden where you can snap beautiful photos of the 600 blooming sakura trees with the castle in the background.
Love to combine sports with travel? The castle grounds are also the starting point for the annual Osaka Marathon, which usually takes place in November.
Another green lung in the middle of the city is Namba Parks. The stunning shopping mall is an attraction in itself: the serpentine structure is an architectural marvel that has leafy terraces rising from the ground and a sloping park that connects to the street.
The lush landscaping provides a welcome respite for shoppers who are drawn to Namba Parks for its high-end fashion boutiques, restaurants and entertainment venues such as its cinema complex and outdoor amphitheatre.
Tip: Don’t miss Namba Parks if you’re visiting anytime from now until mid-February. Every year, the area is transformed into a magical sea of lights for the Winter Illumination event known as Namba Hikaritabi. It is truly a sight to behold!
If you’d like to be close to the vibrancy of Namba but want to experience the comfort and convenience of home, just a walk away from the splendour of Namba Parks is Fraser Residence Nankai, Osaka. The building cuts an impressive figure with its sleek architectural design, while the contemporary interiors of the stylish residences offer a sense of tranquillity.
Choose from the studio, one- or two-bedroom apartments that come with modern conveniences such as complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi access, a well-equipped kitchenette and a washer/dryer. You can also take advantage of other facilities here such as the 24/7 fitness centre, the steam room and sauna as well as the meeting room.