‘Ja-fun’ in Japan!

By Kaye Gonzales
Guest Blogger

I always wanted to explore places and share the experience of the adventures that go along with it.

For me, exploring places is a way of healing, both physical and spiritual.

I have been to Japan many times but another trip to Osaka is quite special as I will be meeting my sister Mae together with my nephew Yuto and niece Ailey.

They lived in Saitama ken and since it is Golden Week in Japan they’ve got a chance to explore Universal Studio Japan (USJ).

In Japan, “the Golden Week is a series of four national holidays that take place within one week at the end of April to the beginning of May each year. It is often considered a time of vacation for the Japanese people, and many people receive time off from their secular employment on these bank holidays.”

USJ, located in Osaka, is one of the four Universal Studios theme parks in the world. According to the web, “it attracts visitors from all around the world, and it is one of the most visited amusement parks that invite approximately 15 million people a year.”

I purchased a one-day pass at KLOOK as my gift for my sister’s upcoming birthday and to my nephew who’s incoming high school this year.

Well, well good luck to us as we have to stand for three hours on the queue just to experience the Harry Potter ride — one of the main attractions in USJ.

Since I’m here again, I thought I should never waste time and explore some parts of Osaka that I’ve never been before.

So I went to this area called Den-Den Town.

If Tokyo has Akihabara, Kansai or Osaka has Den-Den Town.

According to japan-guide.com, “Akihabara (秋葉原), also called Akiba after a former local shrine, is a district in central Tokyo that is famous for its many electronics shops. In more recent years, Akihabara has gained recognition as the center of Japan’s otaku (diehard fan) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district.”

Den-Den Town is Osaka’s version of that famous Tokyo place, where you can get the best and the latest technologies, from computer gadgets, mobile phones and other hi-tech products.

And like Akiba, you will also see  here some locals wearing Anime costumes.

So if you’re a cosplay fanatic and if you are into the latest innovations in gadgets, you can make Den-Den Town as part of your plan when you’re in Osaka.

According to insideosaka.com, “Den-Den Town is a truncated form of “Denki no Machi,” or “Electric Town.” The neighbourhood is, in general, a superior alternative to Akihabara. For one, the shops are concentrated along two long, main streets: Nipponbashisuji Shopping Mall on Sakaisuji, and Ota Road which runs parallel. This makes it easy to navigate and find what you need. For another, it doesn’t see quite the same volume of foot traffic as its Tokyo counterpart. Everyone can relate to needing more breathing room when you’re shopping for figurines or keyboards! Many major anime and hobby stores found in Akihabara such as Mandarake, Animate, and Super Potato, can be found in Den-Den Town as well.”

If you’re already in Kansai, never fail to visit Kyoto.

“Kyoto officially Kyoto City , is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. For over a thousand years, Kyoto was the former Imperial capital of Japan but is now a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area,” Wikipedia states.

I have been here twice and it never fails to amaze me.

My piece of advice is carefully plan your day trip and get a one-day pass bus ticket and get a map at the tourist information center.

Many bus stops are just a walk away from most of the beautiful shrines in Kyoto.

There’s also a lot of souvenir shops in every shrine.

And in Kyoto, do not forget to try the matcha soft cream —  it’s the authentic one!

Travelling to Japan is inevitably a food trip!

I’ll never get tired of satisfying my crave in this place called Dotonburi.

This is a lively entertainment area and is Osaka’s most famous tourist destination, “renowned for its gaudy neon lights, extravagant signage, and the enormous variety of restaurants and bars.”

Based on my browsings, the name Dotonbori “generally refers both to the Dotonbori Canal and to Dotonbori Street which runs parallel to the canal’s southern bank. It is one of the most colorful areas in Osaka and an absolute must-visit location when traveling through Kansai region.”

In my food trip this time, I’ve tasted the best okonomiyaki!!!

And the name of the restaurant was “Chibo”.

Take note that Dotonburi is a food strip so you’ll be lucky if you get the best spot for okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakisoba, etc.

I wanted to also visit Kobe but I ran out of time anymore so I just tried the “Kobe Beef”.  I will definitely visit Kobe next time.

Well, I’m a dessert and a chocolate loving person. If you are too, but don’t want to have too much sugar in your blood, Japan is indeed, the place to be!

I had so much “ja-fun” in Osaka.  I look forward to exploring more cities of fun in Japan.

And oh, by the way, I cannot contain my amazement as the Chef prepared our authentic Japanese meal, please watch the short video clip below. Watching him is like watching art.  Join me again soon in my next gastronomic conquests.