Things to Do in Osaka - page 2
Deer Park (Nara Park) sits at the heart of Nara, a city of great historical importance and the birthplace of modern Japanese culture, located 19 miles (31 km) outside of Osaka. A majority of Nara’s top attractions, including Kasuga Shrine, Todaji and the Nara National Museum, are located in Deer Park, making it a popular day trip destination from both Osaka and Kyoto.
Besides the cultural and historical attractions found on the grounds of the park, it’s also famous for the wild (but very tame) deer that roam the grounds grazing on grass and hoping the passing tourist will feed them some deer crackers (for sale throughout the park). The park covers an area of about 1,300 acres (520 hectares) and requires about three hours to explore, particularly if you plan to stop at the temples and shrines.
Osaka is Japan’s third-largest city and also one of the best for shopping. With that said, some of the most distinctive souvenirs can be found in a rather unexpected place called Sennichimae Doguyasuji. The 525-foot-long (160-meter-long) covered shopping arcade specializes in wholesale kitchen equipment and utensils and serves as the spot where Osaka’s chefs come to shop.
Anyone who has spent time in Japan will recognize the plastic models of popular food items placed in many Japanese restaurant window displays. Sennichimae Doguyasuji is the place to find these pieces, which make very unique gifts to take back home. With its hugely discounted prices, this shopping street is also a good place to buy chopsticks, cooking knives and other Japanese-style dishware.
If you want to put your finger on the pulse of Osaka street culture, plan to spend an evening wandering the streets of America Mura, a district near Shinsaibashi. In the 1970s, the neighborhood began filling up with shops selling imported goods from the United States, earning it the name America Mura, or “American Village.”
Today, America Mura serves as one of Osaka’s prime fashion centers, a place where the city’s youth congregates, often sporting some of Japan’s more creative fashions. A collection of record stores, vintage clothing shops and boutiques sell a little bit of everything, from J-pop club wear to gothic styles, but the main appeal of the area is the opportunity it provides for people-watching.
America Mura is at its most lively at night, when the bars, clubs, live music venues and street food stalls open up. Visitors will find takoyaki (octopus balls), a popular Osaka street food, throughout the neighborhood.
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