The Big O - Osaka (大阪)

This is my favorite metropolis in Japan!  Osaka is usually considered the second city after Tokyo.  Historically it has always been a key rival to Tokyo in terms of economy and industry.  In terms of food and nightlife some may say that Osaka wins hands-down! 

One of the most popular areas to visit in Osaka is the Shisaibashi - Dotonbori district.  It is well known for shopping, eating-out and its nightlife. 

From indoor shopping arcades to high-street fashion boutiques to riverside cafes and restaurants, this place is happening day and night! 

Hello Kitty even has a huge flagship store here and for pet lovers there’s Pet Parade.

You’ll see pedestrian traffic day and night, there’s even a ferris wheel by the river promenade.

The longest shopping street in Japan is also in Osaka, it’s called Tenjinbashi-suji.  You might need a bicycle for this one!

Osaka Castle is also a major draw to this city.

Originally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi -  The second of the 3 unifier of the Japanese nation.

It was however destroyed many times since 1587.

Nevertheless it was reconstructed over and over again, as many as five times!

This is the latest reconstruction that was done in 1995.

Inside the Osaka Castle is a splendid museum on Osaka and especially on Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the battle of Sekigahara. 

At the summit of the castle, you will get an awesome panoramic view of Osaka city.

Very favorable weather on that day, I noticed that there’s very little pollution for such a huge city.

Of course this was taken in mid-March, the beginning of the cherry blossom season.

Cherry blossom frenzy near the Osaka Castle.

The Castle is considered as one of the premier spot for hanami (sakura viewing)

Osaka is a transportation hub, by air (Kansai International), by rail (Osaka & Umeda Stations), ferry and coach.  You can hardly miss an opportunity to enjoy this awesome city.

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Night market @ Mae Hong Son.

Travel wisdom dictates that you should ask yourself ‘what are you going to do with it when you get home?’ before making any purchase…

Bought only a fridge magnet. Must say I did pretty well :p

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If you’re in Safranbolu, don’t forget to stop by this dede’s (Turkish grandpa’s) shop.  He’s got one of the kind, great quality handcrafted leather accessories from belts to bracelets and even Turkish slippers! 

I don’t shop much but I really love his stuff and he’s such a nice guy.  Ended up buying a really cool belt and a leather bracelet with evil-eye beads.  

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