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Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

Austin, Texas
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Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

My husband and I will be spending 2 days on vacation in Osaka: Friday, September 20 & Saturday, September 21st. We bought tickets for a 2:00pm baseball game on Saturday and I was contemplating taking a Cycle Osaka 2:00–5:30pm bike tour on Friday. The bike tour would allow us to see Nakanoshima Island, Osaka Castle Park, Shitennoji Temple, Shin Sekai, Namba, and Utsubo Park.

However, the more I read on this forum, the more I see people recommend that visitors head to Kyoto or Nara and not spend their time in Osaka. Why is this? Will I regret spending a full two days in Osaka?

Please tell me if I should head to Kyoto or Nara for a day trip on Friday and only spend Saturday looking around Osaka. If yes, we'll have to figure out how to walk around the city/travel by train and see some of the Osaka sites on our own. (The bike tour is the same time as the baseball game so we wouldn't be able to do it if we are consolidating Osaka to only one day.)

Hong Kong, China
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1. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

Kyoto and Nara have a lot of historical temples and shrines which Osaka does not. Osaka was heavily damaged during WWII. Many visitors are more interested in what Kyoto and Nara have to offer vs the modern city of Osaka. It's a personal preference. There is no right or wrong.

Hong Kong, China
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2. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

I like Osaka. We spent 7 days there earlier this year for the cherry blossoms. However, as Sammyfloyd has already said Nara and especially Kyoto offer more sights and history. Osaka is a good place as a base for day trips though.

Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

As mentioned, Osaka has suffered heavy loss from shell bombings during WW2.

You might compare the two cities in 1946.

1.Kyoto (barely untouched by war): 00:08-02:25:

2.Osaka (almost completely wiped out by bombings): 02:54-04:59

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHvK1SKwNYA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Osaka

Nothing much from history survives in Osaka, but it is a nice and livery modern city.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIfw9aDlq8w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFJYSqACgDk

Kyoto and Nara had been capital cities of Japan for over a millenium until late 19th century. They remain the most favored among tourists in Japan and from overseas.

Kyoto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h3hUDk58OU

Nara: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JQNKFsKoGU

Osaka-Kyoto; Kyoto-Nara; Nara-Osaka are just 40 minutes away from each other.

Edited: 19 August 2013, 05:47
Tokyo, Japan
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4. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

The bike tour from Nakanoshima to Shitennoji should be fine if you want to explore the city in deep, but it won't be essential or a good way to spend a few hours in a short stay like yours.

I would rather recommend what most other tourists do, that is, spend an evening of walking around in underground shopping malls of Namba and overground through the arcade and with a detour to Hozenji Yokocho, heading towards Dotombori and Shinsaibashi area. This can be done after a Nara or Kyoto day.

Perhaps you might see Kyoto and Nara on the two days but stay in Osaka around Namba, so that in the evenings you can have fun walking around and if you are lucky, get a ticket for the baseball game at Koshien Ball Park for the Hanshin Tigers match.

Edited: 19 August 2013, 07:02
Utrecht
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5. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

Osaka is a great city. I always advice people to stay in Osaka and make daytrips from there to Kyoto and Nara because its cheaper and (personal opinion) I think there is more to do at night and more options for great food. I understand a lot of people would disagree, but i prefer Osaka over Kyoto anytime.

Stockholm, Sweden
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6. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

I find I like Osaka more and more. It's not at all a pretty city (in contrast to the many pockets of beauty in Kyoto), and at first did not seem as cosmopolitan as Tokyo. But I've come to appreciate the city for its vibe - kind of laid-back and casual compared to Tokyo and Kyoto. Osakans know how to have a good time. It's a fun city to hang out in, even though not it's not rich in tourist sights. So I definitely think your two days there could be worthwhile. But not if this would mean you'd skip Kyoto completely. Osaka is a quite nice city - but Kyoto is a unique, first-rate tourist destination - not to be missed imo.

Melbourne,Australia
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7. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

As with the posts, above Osaka is just another big city. We spent 2 nights there staying in Namba which is definitely worth a look for the activity in all the arcades. With tickets to a baseball game on the Saturday I would probably spend the morning looking at some of the sights you have listed. The only place we went was the aquarium , where we spent the afternoon. On the Friday I would visit Nara rather than Kyoto. The main temples are located in a large park close to the train station. It is a relaxing day strolling around the various temples and also meeting the deer who live there. In Kyoto the places you would want to visit are all over the city which means a lot of time is spent travelling between sites (generally by buses which get stuck in the traffic). Kyoto is a busy modern city with the historic sites and old areas tucked mainly around the edges,

Re transport in Osaka, there is a good train network which will probably get you to most places you want to visit quite easily. Personally I would not take a cycling tour unless I was a pretty good cyclist. There are lots of people and traffic to contend with.

Edited: 19 August 2013, 09:46
Tokyo, Japan
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8. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

Kyoto and Nara are a kind of "No1" and "Only 1" cities while Osaka is a No 2 city after Tokyo. I like the city of Osaka(lower prices compared to Tokyo), but if you look at individual "historical" attractions, none can compare Nara, Kyoto with Osaka.

United States
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9. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

There are some people who are excited about Osaka as a travel destination. I recommend the book Osaka Insider: A Travel Guide for Osaka Prefecture, by Patrick Mackey. He also has an informative blog.

http://osakainsider.wordpress.com/

I have no personal connection to the author and am not spamming; this is just a recommendation based on my own personal experience.

London, United...
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10. Re: Nobody seems too excited about Osaka. Why not?

Due to the comparative analysis, Kyoto and Nara offer more to foreign tourists in terms of culture and tradition whilst Osaka is more industrial and for shopping. If you keen delicacy, Osaka is well known for it.

I suppose it is down to a personal choice whether heading to Osaka or Kyoto/Nara. It seems you know what you like to do in Osaka so I think this is a great choice that you know what you want to see and experience. For sure, Nara and Kyoto will not provide professional baseball matches!

If you can combine,Kyoto or Nara into your stay, that would be plus!