What to Do in Osaka Part II - Osaka Local Tram, Shinto Shrine, Local Market and Shinsaibashi-Suji!

When in Osaka, these local adventures could all be squeezed in one day! How do I know? Because we did! If you haven't read What to Do in Osaka Part I, I suggest you read that one first. This is a two-part series of a long one day adventure in Osaka, Japan.


Local Osaka Tram
A great and such a filling meal should only be paired with a great walk. The bus would no longer return for us and we were to commute back to Hotel Vista Grande before dinner.


We were off to do something local for a change. We were near the Ebisucho station, the end station of the local Osaka tram!


I was ecstatic for the surprise ding-ding and quickly shelled out 200 yen for the initial ride.


The stops were in Japanese and I didn't even see the next station platforms,


there were no electronic signs that tell you where you were and you have to know where to get off!


I was no match for the grandpas and grandmas aboard this tram.


Sumiyoshi Taisha (Shinto Shrine)
We hopped off the tram and arrived at the Sumiyoshi Shinto Shrine.


I was taken away with the empty spaces and tranquility of the place.


The unique red bridge was one of the highlights for me. I had difficulty crossing it.


By the time I had stopped clicking and started listening to what this place was all about, the introduction had already ended. If you are a believer, most of them apparently already bowed and had a coin with a whole readied before they entered the gates. When they reach the right place, those with intent rang a bell and those who had made a conscious effort got to exchange this coin for a wish or prayer.


I asked about the gods and why there were no statues like Buddhist temples. The people were also limited to praying outside. Based on my understanding on the guide's answer, the Shinto belief is that the spirit is already within you and around you (you are not separate) so you only had to look into the mirror, for example, to remember that it is always with you. Hidden behind curtains inside the structures are not statues but a mirror, a sword or a jewel (symbols of Shintoism). I liked the forked chigi on the rooftops. It made me smile and remember why I was here in the first place. I had won this trip because of a photo I sent to AirAsia X with best represented an X.


How to Get There

Kohama, the Local Market
After that moment of peace, our guide took us to the small alleys near the shrine and we passed by the quiet residential area. She said that she was going to take us to a local market which almost looks like the Shinsaibashi. She said this was where the locals, her for one, shopped.


It was a lot smaller and void of throngs of people. One thing I didn't like about this place were the bicycle riders. Most of the stalls were also not opened.


We still bought chocolates (multi-flavored limited edition KitKat is somehow very popular in Japan),






this potato croquette


and umeshu (like a plum, alcohol drink made of ume fruit).


We had an encounter with the cross-bred grapefruits


and these tubs of pickled veggies.


 Walking around the residential area near the market to the station was eerie but fun.


You get to see local restaurants, people who are most probably going home and the Japanese garage parking lot (insane and innovative use of small space)!


Shinsaibashi - Suji
We made it back to our hotel which was near Shinsaibashi-Suji via Metro (from Tamade Station Blue Line to Namba Station same Blue Line). Click on the image below to enlarge.


Our guide even taught us to buy Metro tickets! Haha.


We were back to reality when we reached Shinsaibashi. Oh, the lights, the signs and the wave of people came crashing in!


I hope I can find our gracious Osaka guide Sachiko-san again in the future. She was uber awesome to be with just because she brought us to these places and answered my tons of questions!