Japan is one of the most fascinating countries I’ve ever visited. They have such a rich and traditional culture, yet they have so many quirks and practices that are not always considered ‘normal’ (a post for another day) to the rest of the world. As for the best city to visit, Osaka is my favourite because there is so much to experience and there is still a lot of evidence of the old Japanese ways.
So whether you are visiting for a couple of days or over a week, there are five things that you absolutely must do.
Feed The Deer in Nara Park.
This park stole my heart! Designated as a ‘Place of Scenic Beauty’ Nara Park has a collection of temples and shrines, a tea house and the National Museum. But what is so amazing about this park is the fact that 1200 wild Sika deer roam the grounds.
There is a sweet little man that sells deer cookies so you can feed them. This man is also Dr. Doolittle because while I was there, the deer were queuing up to be combed by him (quite possibly the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen).
Explore The Streets Leading Up To Kiyomizu-Dera, Kyoto
This iconic Buddhist temple is on Mount Otowa, so the views are pretty spectacular if you go on a clear day (we went while it was snowing). And while the temple itself is amazing, I love the streets leading up to, and away from it. They are quite obviously tourist traps, but some of the shops are so cute and amazing for souvenirs. I brought cherry blossom tea leaves from one of them and some beautiful sweets from a candy store.
Fill Up on Street Food
Dotonbori is exactly what you expect Japan to be; bright lights, shopping, arcades and some of the most delicious food I have eaten. This street is particularly famous for gyoza and okonomiyaki– both of which taste amazing. Another popular street food is takoyaki, which is my boyfriends favourite. Word of warning. These balls are super hot so bite with caution.
Explore The Grounds of Nijo Castle
Osaka Castle is something to behold and worth a visit if you have time, but I found the history of Nijo Castle so much more interesting. The grounds here are also beautiful, especially during Cherry Blossom season.
Buy Japanese Honey
This sounds like a strange thing to recommend, especially considering all the other things you could be buying but I promise you, this honey is worth it. The brand is called Yuzu Mitsu, and the honey is mixed with all different fruits. I have one with lemon, for when I’m feeling under the weather, and another with acerola which I use in my yogurts and porridge.