t/s osaka vs tokyo

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if you are going to spend four days in one of those two places (and have never been to either), where would you go?

my sister summed it up as "universal studios" vs "disneyland". i'm hoping for some more in depth analysis.

ken c (ken c), Friday, 5 May 2006 11:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Tokyo! Far more there, and apparently Japanese people thing of Osaka as the Birmingham of the country - big and generic.

Osaka was nice but a bit me too.

Treblekicker (treblekicker), Friday, 5 May 2006 11:29 (eighteen years ago) link

Tokyo ultimately, because I know it so well, but there's no denying that Osakans are cooler, more friendly, less buttock-clenchingly hung up and hug and kiss more. I just wish I'd spent longer there.

darren (darren), Friday, 5 May 2006 13:23 (eighteen years ago) link

Kyoto. But if you have to choose bewteen those two, Tokyo.

Andrew (enneff), Friday, 5 May 2006 13:39 (eighteen years ago) link

I spent January and February in Osaka, but I have to say I had more fun in the two days I spent in Tokyo at the end of January than in the two months I spent in Osaka.

Momus (Momus), Friday, 5 May 2006 13:43 (eighteen years ago) link

yeah, i'd always heard that Kyoto was the jam. but i've never been to Japan.

gbx (skowly), Friday, 5 May 2006 13:51 (eighteen years ago) link

All the cool cats are FROM Osaka and move to Tokyo.

JW (ex machina), Friday, 5 May 2006 14:09 (eighteen years ago) link

apparently you get really nice food in osaka.. is that true?

ken c (ken c), Friday, 5 May 2006 14:51 (eighteen years ago) link

Osaka's better to live in, I think, but Tokyo's better if you're just there for four days.

permanent revolution (cis), Friday, 5 May 2006 14:51 (eighteen years ago) link

dude, it is Japan, you get nice food everywhere.

(osaka has takoyaki and lovely lovely okonomiyaki but you can get all regional specialities in tokyo anyway (like kyushu ramen which is basically food of the gods), so.)

permanent revolution (cis), Friday, 5 May 2006 15:02 (eighteen years ago) link

Ultimately I prefer Osaka, but for first time short visit, Tokyo may be best.

Osaka (well Kansai) food is generally better, except for sushi. Kuidaore!

Music, clubs, art, fashion, and design are generally better in Osaka.

Steve Shasta (Steve Shasta), Friday, 5 May 2006 15:48 (eighteen years ago) link

I just got back from Japan yesterday, and I definitely liked Tokyo more than Osaka, but Kyoto over both. I liked Osaka's record stores better and I'm already in okonomiyaki withdrawal, but Tokyo just has more neighbourhoods.

alex in montreal (alex in montreal), Friday, 5 May 2006 16:44 (eighteen years ago) link



OK OK, I'm just in a volcano mood today... never mind me.

DOQQUN (donut), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:36 (eighteen years ago) link

mixi invite

JW (ex machina), Friday, 5 May 2006 19:41 (eighteen years ago) link

Osaka is more laid-back and also more interesting culturally. They have the best and weirdest love hotels. Tokyo is is less whimsical when it comes to love hotels; they're mainly overpriced and grimly tacky. I think love hotels are a good indicator of each city's cultural offerings and attitudes. Food is also another good indicator. I think it is a draw, except if you like sushi you'll probably prefer Tokyo.

Kyoto is very close to Osaka, so if you think you should visit Kyoto, you might as well stay in Osaka instead of Tokyo.

But as a first time visitor, you should go to Tokyo, especially since you don't have enough time to explore and appreciate the more nuanced pleasures of Osaka. Save Osaka for a later visit when you are weary of the cramped madness of Tokyo.

I never got the sense of Osaka being the Birmingham to Tokyo's London. I lived 20 minutes away from Tokyo, and I preferred Osaka. But maybe that's because I only visited Osaka a few times, and most of those visits were associated with leisure and pleasure, whereas Tokyo is all about that four letter word -- work.

I don't really understood the appeal of a megapolis. I always found the "lesser" metropolis more interesting and quirky, more regional and less generic. However, it takes time to seek out the more regional pleasures of such places.

Melinda Mess-injure (Melinda Mess-injure), Friday, 5 May 2006 22:19 (eighteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
greetings from osaka!

i would post more, but the space bar is tiny and i keep pressing the japanese key instead by accident which is quite annoying, and also there's a sign that says "please refrain from sending mail that violates human rights and writing in the bulletin board" and since this is a bulletin board and is sometimes allegedly kind of nazi about certain subjects anyway i shouldn't really post here! but will posts pics soon. i stay right by a love hotel! (but not inside one)

and omg i should update the ipso fatso thread.

anyway. will update when i get to tokyo tomorrow! i went to kyoto as well! go me. anyways. xo

ken c (ken c), Sunday, 28 May 2006 22:28 (eighteen years ago) link

OTM re: tiny space bars (no jokes please or i kill you)

alex in montreal (alex in montreal), Monday, 29 May 2006 20:17 (eighteen years ago) link

I live in (Nagoya) Japan, and it's great, but I'm surprised whenever anyone actually comes here just to visit for a few weeks, due to the sheer expense involved. If you know someone, and have a couch (or futon) to crash on, then maybe it's alright, but for the price of 2 weeks in Japan you could do 2 months in Southeast Asia.

As far as the original question, Tokyo - in an absolute rout. Osaka isn't even in the top 3.

J-rock (Julien Sandiford), Tuesday, 30 May 2006 04:34 (eighteen years ago) link

hello i'm back! (in hong kong)

first here are some pics.

crazy long street

haha, very sensible love hotel!

sadly not my hotel room, but two doors down!

ken c (ken c), Thursday, 1 June 2006 04:45 (seventeen years ago) link


this bitch + a soup + some salty egg thing was 800 yen!

ken c (ken c), Thursday, 1 June 2006 04:46 (seventeen years ago) link

Excelsior Caffe were everywhere in japan!!!

ken c (ken c), Thursday, 1 June 2006 04:47 (seventeen years ago) link

some quaint street

some temple thing

ken c (ken c), Thursday, 1 June 2006 04:49 (seventeen years ago) link


ken c (ken c), Thursday, 1 June 2006 04:50 (seventeen years ago) link

tuesday gang in harajuku

ken c (ken c), Thursday, 1 June 2006 04:54 (seventeen years ago) link

more to follow! got to go yum cha now.

ken c (ken c), Thursday, 1 June 2006 04:55 (seventeen years ago) link

Looks cool, Ken. In Tokyo, did you get to any clubs and ting ?

darren (darren), Thursday, 1 June 2006 21:31 (seventeen years ago) link

i wanna go to japan ;_;

gbx (skowly), Thursday, 1 June 2006 21:44 (seventeen years ago) link

eight years pass...

I'll be in Osaka from Dec 22 to Dec 29.

Kyoto is a must, I know, but what else?

Any interesting bookshops/music shops/music shows/etc. in Osaka?

If I have time, I might go to Tokyo, but what else can be reached from Osaka? How far is Hiroshima? What other parts are worth going to?

, Wednesday, 1 October 2014 17:13 (nine years ago) link

I've never been to either but I always remember that Acid Mothers Temple guy saying Tokyo is superficial but Osaka has the true spirit of Japan.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 1 October 2014 18:33 (nine years ago) link

in that case why not just go to some farming village in shikoku or aomori prefecture to see the "real japan"

clouds, Wednesday, 1 October 2014 18:44 (nine years ago) link

Perhaps he meant more than the rural vs urban thing? I think he was having a dig at people in Tokyo, maybe. I've always thought that what appealed to fans of modern Japanese culture and cities was the familiar aspects mixed with distinctly Japanese aspects. Maybe that guy was dismissing Tokyo as westernized japan, but he didn't seem to think japan was any better than anywhere else.

I would usually prefer the rural areas and mountains of most countries, but the big Tokyo shops would be hard to resist. Would have liked to have seen the arcades at their height in the past.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 1 October 2014 20:07 (nine years ago) link

when i finally JET i'm secretly hoping i get sent to either sadogashima or some small town on the inland sea

clouds, Wednesday, 1 October 2014 20:51 (nine years ago) link

three years pass...

I think I'll be in Osaka next week for a couple of days. What's essential?

El Tomboto, Monday, 5 March 2018 17:18 (six years ago) link

I went in October. The castle is great, the aquarium also, if you like theme parks then Universal Studios is a must. Okonomiyaki for dinner!

Thomas NAGL (Neil S), Monday, 5 March 2018 17:22 (six years ago) link

castle is on the list for sure.

apparently there's a good craft beer scene?

El Tomboto, Monday, 5 March 2018 19:54 (six years ago) link

the most fun i had in osaka was a sake tasting at shimada shoten. it's a sake shop in an otherwise uneventful part of town. there's a very atmospheric cellar in which you drink sake and eat really good snacks like chunky miso. the owners speak english and are very accommodating.

i also did some good record shopping in osaka but the best record store i went to in japan was parallax records, which is about the size of my bathroom and is on the second floor of a building in a shopping arcade in kyoto, a quick train ride away.

adam, Monday, 5 March 2018 20:16 (six years ago) link

oh and get a rikuro cheesecake

adam, Monday, 5 March 2018 20:18 (six years ago) link

man this thread takes me back

i love osaka

just go to dotonbori and eat takoyaki, okonomiyaki and sushi (weirdly enough osaka is known for their seafood, it's a japanese thing i guess)

osaka is known for its food and osakans are historically known for loving food, so it's a point of pride for them

the people are chill, their koreatown is cool, although different than korean korean culture and food -- it's in the opposite side of town, though, so don't go if you're pressed for time, and it starts getting rougher (though nothing compared to the usa)

tourists flock to nanba, but to be honest, it's not that interesting, but if you want to check it off your list, you can walk around, though it is out of the way from dotonbori. i honestly did not like it

what is your level of japanese? i'll recommend some pubs after you answer

F# A# (∞), Monday, 5 March 2018 21:23 (six years ago) link


El Tomboto, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 21:06 (six years ago) link

we're staying in kyobashi so I think I might settle for the castle and umeda. where is the koreatown?

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 21:15 (six years ago) link

Detailed reports please, I plan to go in June.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 21:24 (six years ago) link

For what it’s worh these are some restaurants that random Japanese foodies I follow on instagram have been to and I like the pictures.

Nagahori izakaya
1 Chome-3-9 Uemachi, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 540-0005, Japan
+81 6-6768-0515

Japan, 〒530-0002 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Kita-ku, Sonezakishinchi, 1 Chome−3−1
+81 6-4796-8222

2 Chome-1-3 Shinsaibashisuji, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 542-0085, Japan

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 21:33 (six years ago) link


oh ya! if you're close to kyoubashi station you're super close to koreatown, just get off at tsuruhashi station

i kind of want to go on and on about it but i won't. just know that it's not something everyone is into, but there is definitely lots of barbecue meats and good food, but not 100% korean, because even though the biggest zainichi korean population lives around there, their korean food is slightly japanized, sometimes milder flavours i guess you can say. you can still get bbq, bulgogi, kimchi, etc though

from kyoubashi you're also close to osaka castle

and fuggit, i'm gonnarecommend abeno harukas, the tallest skyscraper in osaka, and "arguably" in japan (tokyo skytree is twice as tall but some people don't count the antenna that makes it so tall). i think the observation deck at abeno is 300 meters high, while the skytree one is 350 to 400 (you have to pay more to get to 400 meters, which a lot of people don't do because it's kind of not worth it)

but i recommend it because abeno harukas is around tsuruhashi. theoretically you can do a loop from kyoubashi station south to tennouji station then north up to tsuruhashi station and back northish to kyoubashi, if you want something quick and easy to do

F# A# (∞), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 21:46 (six years ago) link

TB: Head west to Tenjinbashi, great local shopping/restaurant district that isn't overrun by tourists.

My favorite restaurant in Osaka is just a short stroll from there, but it caters to locals not tourists so I'd not recommend it unless you are confident with your language ability or are with someone who does. My wife, kid and I dined there about 5 months ago and it was 7500 yen for a 4+ stars on tabelog which is pretty much unheard of. Reservations are rough but your hotel will get you in if you ask: http://sp.raqmo.com/manryou/#t-access
Feels stupid to recommend something so niche & unapproachable but who knows who else is reading this.

There's also a super good Hawaiian (well, "fresh" Japanese-Hawaiian) breakfast spot not too far away, it's really nice to eat on the terrace if weather permits (which is doubtful this time of year):

For craft beer, Dolphins Umeda is great, but for the real local experience, take a short train ride out to Minoh for a half-day. Beautiful mellow hike to a lattice waterfall (lots of monkeys & deer at times), and in that little town they have one of the best breweries in Japan. They make a dwarf maple pilsner that is fantastic. Also get a dwarf maple leaf fried in tempura, that's a regional specialty.

J-Whisky has jumped the shark by spirit speculators, but the Yamazaki distillery is worth stopping in. You can get a pour of sherry cask 25 year for like $50 (like I said, the game has changed).

Namba is crazy touristy (thousands of Chinese, Malay, Korean, Filipinos & Weaboos on every block) but if you can hit the Kuromon Market first thing, you can score some regional delicacies that aren't just doughy glops slathered in kewpie, furikake & katsuboshi... my favorite is the local blue fin & abalone & geoduck.

I go pretty often for work so let me know if you are ISO anything specific, I might be of help!

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 23:46 (six years ago) link

ya sounds weird to say but i don't want to recommend the places i know because they're hole in the walls out of the way run by local families that will be a challenge for tourists to enjoy

last i heard minoo park was heavily damaged and they are still doing work on it, so tomboto you might want to double check conditions before you make it out there

F# A# (∞), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 23:58 (six years ago) link

Feels stupid to recommend something so niche & unapproachable but who knows who else is reading this.

Looking at the map I must have walked past this place 20 times when I stayed in Minamimorimachi - aargh. Dōtonburi is easy for tourist friendly places with decent food - I think there is that famous place run by the ex sumo guy which does chanko nabe. But all the ramen places do the local variety with the dark heavy soup, man that stuff is amazing.
Oh and re the Kyoto vs Osaka vs Tokyo thing - as a tourist I was in all three cities last April and Kyoto is absolutely PACKED with tourists these days, the difference from even 2 and 4 years previous was really noticeable. Large groups from China especially noticeable and, how shall I put this, visibly disrespectful. Osaka is mellower and more personable, but for sheer ease of getting around and limitless interesting stuff, Tokyo remains the better visit for me.

startled macropod (MatthewK), Wednesday, 7 March 2018 01:15 (six years ago) link

ended up finding some good places to chill out in Kyobashi - BE GLAD and J'S BAR were really funky, and the mandatory social at GARB DRESSING was pretty good. Too much work, not enough time to fuck around and check the place out. Osaka is way more my style than Tokyo though - much more relaxed and outgoing

El Tomboto, Saturday, 17 March 2018 20:44 (six years ago) link

like you really can just find a dim storefront bar at 22:50 and wander in and some businesswomen who are all half in the bag will be like OH HEY WHERE YOU FROM? and a big dog will woof at you. One round later you're all practicing language skills on each other, the dog is smelling your butt while you check out the whisky selection, and you're allowed to just grab a cold one out of the fridge and use the bottle opener hanging off the side as if you were at the house of a friend's friend. Except the bathroom is really clean and the aforementioned cold one is actually cold!

El Tomboto, Saturday, 17 March 2018 20:50 (six years ago) link

sounds like heaven ...

startled macropod (MatthewK), Saturday, 17 March 2018 21:40 (six years ago) link

Copy dat
If I had any balls I’d move to NRT

big C (calstars), Saturday, 17 March 2018 21:56 (six years ago) link

By that I mean the airport !

big C (calstars), Saturday, 17 March 2018 21:57 (six years ago) link

fukuoka sounds like my kind of jam

clouds, Sunday, 18 March 2018 18:10 (six years ago) link

The Tower of the Sun in Expo Park reopened, I forgot how psychedelic the interior is:


Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:29 (six years ago) link

three years pass...

Hoping to head to Japan for the first time (COVID-dependent) at the end of February. Traveling with my partner and our 5-year-old son. Two weeks, and thinking of maybe splitting it 50/50 between Tokyo and Osaka. Plus maybe one night in the countryside? Is it foolish to just choose a couple places? Will we regret having so much time in Osaka (vs Kyoto or Hiroshima or more Tokyo)?

Really we just like wandering around and random cultural stuff and food and nature, but we have to rein in our ambitions given the involvement of a very active kid. A lot of travellers do one night each in a whole string of wonderful-sounding places, but I feel like it's probably not worth the travel time and frenzy?

sean gramophone, Monday, 22 November 2021 17:01 (two years ago) link

the cutural contrast is starkest between Tokyo and Osaka (rather than say Tokyo and Kyoto) so those two places make sense. Esp if you're into the more current, 'funky' side of Japanese culture, Osaka makes sense over Kyoto, which has more history...

calstars, Monday, 22 November 2021 17:15 (two years ago) link

You won't regret staying in Osaka too long as it's a great springboard for day trips to Kyoto or Nara - Nara would be a great place to take the kid (if they like Deers) :-)

Stop the tape I got spittle all over my moustache. (Talcum Mucker), Monday, 22 November 2021 17:31 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Tower Of The Sun def the best rec from this thread, whole Expo 70 park worth going - even just the train station where you change to the monorail has so much character. Interior of the Tower super cool. Also in the park we went to the Museum Of Ethnology - no English explanations whatsoever, thankfully it was an exhibit on traditional Japanese masks so very cool to look at.

Dotonbori was frankly hellish, we did go on a Saturday to be fair. No real difference between it and Namba at this stage, nothing but huge crowds of tourists. Did check off the locations from Yakuza tho.

In Namba, the jazz kissa Bird56 was a great night: super friendly guy, good tunes, I mostly don't drink anymore but I knocked back a couple Yamazaki 12. "I'd forgotten how great Japanese whiskey is" I said, dude pushed a glass of water at me and said "Japanese water very good too". Great looking out, what a mensch. Place is sadly stuck in a hellish touristy location and he said he gets 90% foreigners, incredible how he manages to cancel out the shitty atmosphere outside and have this haven of rest and coolness. Previous owner passed away, had had the kissa since the 70's, this guy said he'd been drinking beers there since he was a young student.

Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 12 May 2024 12:41 (two weeks ago) link

Thanks for the report! I’m off again at the end of the year, keen to check Bird56 out

H.P, Sunday, 12 May 2024 12:47 (two weeks ago) link

I mostly don't drink anymore but I knocked back a couple Yamazaki 12.

歪まない思い出が 馬鹿みたい

Was it your first time in Osaka?

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Sunday, 12 May 2024 12:55 (two weeks ago) link

Yes! I'd been to Tokyo and Kyoto before.

The coolest neighbourhood in terms of just hanging out and scarfing down street food I found was Shinsekai, which used to be an amusement park in the 40's. Overall I think the rep as Japan's kitchen had lead me to expect too much in terms of stands and small places...we ended up realising a lot of great stuff was actually in malls, office buildings and such. We went to an underground mall in the business district - where food would go to die in any Western town - and they had great sushi and katsu places, patronised by salarymen.

H.P. make sure to go all the way up the stairs for Bird56! There's another place right below it that has a lot of English signs about its sound system, think it even namedrops Ryo Fukui. I don't know what the actual deal is but my fan theory is it's some newcomer trying to muscle in on the og, and this will not stand.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 13 May 2024 06:09 (two weeks ago) link

Hey, glad to hear you had a good time in Osaka, and yeah Shinsekai has got the funk.
Thanks also for the tip on Bird56, will have to check it out next trip...

m0stly clean (Slowsquatch), Monday, 13 May 2024 07:05 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah thanks for the tip Dan!

H.P, Monday, 13 May 2024 07:46 (two weeks ago) link

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