What to Do in Osaka Part I - Umeda Floating Observatory, Osaka Castle, Tsutenkaku Billiken, Osaka Shinsekai and Super Awesome Tuna at Roku!

When in Osaka, these wonderful experiences could all be squeezed in one day! How do I know? Because we did! There's a What to Do in Osaka Part II, I suggest you read that one after this. This is a two-part series of a one day long adventure in Osaka.


We had a tour conductor in Osaka and she wanted us to explore the local life in Osaka as much as possible without forgetting time and time again that we were tourists.


The day before, she took us by train to Universal Studios Osaka and arranged a shabu-shabu meal for us. During this day, she kept us walking, ate with us and left me with a yearning to return to Osaka for more of these awesome experiences. Note: A tour conductor is different from a tour guide. A tour conductor arranges the trip, takes care of the backup plan, is not obligated to give you an introduction of the place and all although she can double as a tour guide =)

The Floating Observatory / Umeda Sky Building 35th Floor
We hopped on the tour bus first to the Floating Garden Observatory (700 yen entrance for adults). When we got to the top, there was no garden (maybe I just missed it haha).


I was actually drawn to the structure of this building, the chairs,


the love seats,


how you can go outside where the hearts and love locks corner,


and the unobstructed 360-degree view of Osaka with a blast of wind in your face.


Our guide said that you would find Japanese locals hanging out here at night.


I personally would like to come back here than the other towers. I also found out about the Takimi Lane of Restaurants at the basement and I would come back to check that out as well.

Osaka Castle
The tour bus took us to the Osaka Castle next and I was thankful that we didn’t have to take that very long walk from the subway like my first time here.


I wasn’t attracted to going inside the castle again for the museum. I remember coming out with my head spinning with Toyotomis and Tokugawas during that time. For this second time, I was content with the view,


the stroll (exercise) to get to the castle with the cold air,


the massive stone walls,


the huge ravens


and taking pictures.


Note: Outside, our guide explained to us how trees in Japan are wrapped with this material to protect them from worms.


The last touristy stop with the bus was the Tsutenkaku.


It's a tower with an observation deck and a shrine for the cute and smiley Billiken or the God of Happiness. You rub the soles of its feet to make your dreams come true


This tower is actually not the original Tsutenkaku (built 1912) that was modeled after the Eiffel Tower and burned during the war. This new Tsutenkaku (built 1956) is one of the popular symbols of Osaka.


Official Tsutenkaku Website
How to Get to Tsutenkaku

Osaka Shinsekai (New World)
I loved the area surrounding the Tsutenkaku because this is a walking area full of stores and restaurants.


I was momentarily lost with all the big Japanese characters, multi-colored banners, fugu (blowfish) restaurants and different things around me.


I bet I would be bedazzled at night with neon lights and things to buy and eat in this place.


People are lining up for this store's takoyaki by the way. Just turn left at the end of the middle street after the tower.


This area used to house Shinsekai Luna Park (amusement park, 1912 to 1923) and the original Tsutenkaku Tower. This is the entrance to Osaka Shinsekai today. This is a view from inside going out by the way.


Lots of Japanese people probably used to come here to have a slice of their very own Paris slash Coney Island (also called Luna Park by the way). Imagine a huge 130,000 square meter area with a tower modeled after the Eiffel Tower, cable rides, arcades and mechanical rides..


Kushikatsu, Sashimi and Tuna in Osaka
We were supposed to eat at the very popular kushikatsu (also called kushiage, deep-fried kebab or skewers) place Daruma but the lunch line was too long.


The restaurant is easily identifiable with its mascot Daruma Daijin and is a chain of restaurants (I saw one in Shinsaibashi near the Giant Crab) but the first branch I believe is here in Shinsekai, right in front of the legs of the Tsutenkaku Tower.


We went in to check but the restaurant was really full (even if it was our turn, it was hard to find seats for six people).


We ended up eating at Roku, an awesome sashimi restaurant just across the street! There were no lines here, only warm tea, comfy seats in a booth that easily fits six people and sashimi masters doing their fish and baby squids by the open counter.


I don't eat raw fish (it's a good thing I didn't haha) and our Japanese tour conductor wasn't in the mood either so I had what she had hehehe. The meal was heavenly and it was one of my best meals in Osaka so far. Who knew fried tuna with Japanese rice, miso soup, Japanese salad, daikon and Japanese mayonnaise could taste oh so great!


This was the appetizer by the way and it was also fried tuna (maybe this passes as kushikatsu already haha, hey it was deep-fried and in a skewer).


We all ate this first then all the other people (each) had a plate of the sashimi plate below.. I was supposed to overcome sashimi in this Japan trip but this lunch wasn't planned and I couldn't just eat this much raw food for lunch no way!


I was super glad I had more fried tuna haha. Yumminess!