After leaving Tokyo, we took the 3 hour 30 minute shinkansen bullet train ride to Osaka.
Japanese high-speed trains regularly run up to 200 miles per hour. There are 2 classes of seats for the train: ordinary and Green Car. Green Car is like business class on an airplane with rows of 2x2 seats. We sat in the ordinary seats that had rows of 3x2 seats. The seats were very comfortable. If you are traveling in a big group, the seats can be rotated 180 degrees to face each other.
Osaka is the second largest city in Japan (Tokyo being the largest) and we had a lot of fun exploring the city and surrounding cities.
Dotonbori is the most famous entertainment district in Osaka. This area is filled with illuminated signboards, robotic storefront signs, restaurants, food stands, shopping and nightlife. The best time to visit is at night when the area really comes alive with neon lights and people.
One popular local landmark is a big illuminated billboard of a running man for Glico, a Japanese confectionery company.
This sign has been up since 1935, although it has changed slightly over the years. I’m not sure what the big deal about this one particular sign was, but everyone seemed to want to take pictures of it.
While Dotonbori gets really busy and crowded, we found it very relaxing to walk alongside the canal.
Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
Located just next to Dotonbori and across from the Glico sign, the Shinsaibashi shopping area is filled with luxury department stores, hip boutiques and retail stores.
The 600m long shopping area is covered by glass ceilings, preventing the area from getting too hot or too cold. Although this area was packed full of people, the crowd keeps moving at a decent pace.
We loved walking through and eating around Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. Our son kept looking around at all of the colors and lights. I’m sure his visual system was very stimulated everywhere we went. If you ever find yourself in Osaka, you have to check out these areas!