Fall, Seasonal Events, Spring, Summer

Utsubo Koen – Osaka’s Best Parks

20160512 176

Roses, roses and even more roses, in every shade and shape you could imagine! Like a page out of an English gardening magazine or a scene from Alice in Wonderland, Osaka’s Utsubo Koen is truly an urban oasis. Located just a 6 minute walk from Honmachi Station (Subway Yotsubashi Line) Utsubo is in the heart of the city. At first glance, the size of the park is a bit deceiving but as you begin to walk around you soon realize that it is much larger than it looks.

The reason for this is its unique history once being used as an airplane runway by the United States during WWII. After the war, the space was rebuilt into a park and today contains approximately 160 different species of roses and free to the public all year around. In addition to the April – May Rose Garden, the park also holds a sculpture exhibition from mid-October to November. Both are definitely worth a visit as are the tennis courts located on the western side of the park. There are 16 courts in all but they do tend to fill up quickly so if you intend to play, it’s best to reserve.

Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Japanese Summer Festivals 101
July 27, 2016
DIY Manhole Rubbings
June 30, 2016
Nakanoshima Train Bar – Osaka Events
June 23, 2016
Dinner, Food, Lunch

Machete Tacos – Mexican in Namba

Machete Tacos

Over the past few years more and more Mexican restaurants have been popping up in Osaka, a development that I know I’m not alone in welcoming. This year, as luck would have it, I watched with great anticipation and a few hunger pangs as the old cafe next to my apartment transformed into one more – Machete Tacos.

From the custom-welded cactus window guards and the vintage light fixtures, to the hand-drawn desert motif covering the windows it is easy to see that Machete Tacos was made with love. This attention to detail also extends to the food. The colorfully designed menus offer all the delicious basics; burritos, tacos, enchiladas, nachos just to name a few. For the thirsty, they have a wide range of tequilas and Mexican Beers as well as several soft drinks. I personally love the guava juice.     Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR
August 1, 2016
Art Aquarium – Osaka Events
July 25, 2016
Abanico – Amemura Café
July 11, 2016
Seasonal Events, Summer

Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR

13918826_10208665453987233_1472289207_o

Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR

If you find yourself hungry, thirsty or in need of a little culture next week, well you’re in luck! From the 4th to the 8th of August, Hankyu Sanban Gai in Umeda will be holding a gourmet tour specifically designed to introduce foreign visitors to all the deliciousness that Japan has to offer! Tourists will be able to dine at some of the building’s most popular restaurants as well as experience making green tea first-hand. In addition to all the tastiness, participants will also receive a special coupon booklet for further deals at select Hankyu Sanban Gai shops. English, Chinese and Korean speaking staff will be on hand to answer questions and guide you through the event. It’s important to note that this event is intended for foreign tourists, so Japanese customers wishing to attend should grab a foreign friend to go with. For more information in English on each day’s event click here. Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Machete Tacos – Mexican in Namba
August 16, 2016
Art Aquarium – Osaka Events
July 25, 2016
Abanico – Amemura Café
July 11, 2016
Seasonal Events, Summer, Top Picks

Japanese Summer Festivals 101

IMG_8675

As the food stalls go up, yukatas go on and crowds begin to assemble it’s evident that the summer festival season has officially begun! Although I love nothing more than darting from booth to booth eating everything under a firework-lit sky, navigating a big festival can be trying and tiring to the uninitiated and unprepared. In order for you to avoid the hassles and get the most of your Japanese Summer Festival experience, we’ve offered up some of our top survival tips below!       Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Utsubo Koen – Osaka’s Best Parks
August 23, 2016
DIY Manhole Rubbings
June 30, 2016
Nakanoshima Train Bar – Osaka Events
June 23, 2016
Museums, Summer

Art Aquarium – Osaka Events

IMG_7972

For it’s 10th Anniversary Festival, Art Aquarium, the creation of artist Hidetomo Kimura, has seen the Dojima River Forum event space transformed into a spectacular kaleidoscopic rainbow-colored goldfish universe. At night the space undergoes a further shift, and becomes a full blown night club complete with live DJ sets, light shows and a stocked bar (Night Aquarium).

The exhibition is spread over two main rooms displaying a variety of tanks connected by a smaller fish-lined corridor. The space is kept dark in order to really showcase the fishy focal points, I’ve honestly never seen such vibrant fish! The optical illusion created by the brilliantly designed lighting concept and uniquely shaped tanks make some of the fish give off a spacey neon glow. Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Machete Tacos – Mexican in Namba
August 16, 2016
Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR
August 1, 2016
Abanico – Amemura Café
July 11, 2016
Cafe, Dessert, Lunch

Abanico – Amemura Café

IMG_7928

Located just on the corner of Amemura’s bustling Triangle Park, you’ll find a cozy little cafe called Abanico. Most famous for its homemade cheesecake, which pairs ever so nicely with their creamy chai, Abanico almost feels slightly out of place amidst the loudness of the area that surrounds it. This makes it the perfect pit stop when you need to recharge for lunch, tea or dinner before bounding back into the vibrant Amemura streets. Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Machete Tacos – Mexican in Namba
August 16, 2016
Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR
August 1, 2016
Art Aquarium – Osaka Events
July 25, 2016
Entertainment, Seasonal Events, Summer, Top Picks

Tanabata Festival – Japanese Folklore

Shitenoji Tanabata Festival in Osaka

Star light, star bright…. Make a wish on July 7th in Japan and it might just come true! For it is on this day that everyone celebrates Tanabata Festival(Star Festival) by writing their wish on a strip of colored paper and hanging from a piece of bamboo. Most people choose to make personal wishes; landing their dream job, getting a good grade at school or facing their fears! Although the wish options are endless, there is only one wish allowed per person, so choose wisely….!

 

Today Tanabata is thought as a day of dreams and wishes, but when we take a closer look we uncover a unique legend of love. Long ago, there was a Shinto practice among the Japanese where a specially selected maiden would weave a kimono to honor and welcome God for the upcoming autumn harvest. The kimono would be presented to the God on a tana (Japanese for shelf). The loom that the maiden used was also called tanabata and is now the name given to the 7th of July where we welcome the God.

Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Cafe, Dessert, Food

Gudetama – Osaka Cafés

Image 7-4-16 at 11.21 AM (4)

Yellow stripes, polka dots and kawaii! Cute culture has its own restaurant! I was psyched to find out that one of my favorite Sanrio characters, Gudetama, had its very own café in Umeda that I just had to find someone to go with.

If you’re not familiar with Gudetama, here is a rundown on the character. Gudetama is famous for being one of the laziest characters of Sanrio. One of his most famous lines is, “Ah…darii”, meaning, “meh…” in Japanese. He charms his way into the hearts of fans by flashing his cute little butt cheeks, while occasionally cracking jokes (see what I did there?… hehe). His name comes from a combination of the Japanese words; Gudé Gudé, an onomatopoeic verb that describes an unmotivated person’s movements, and a Tamago, meaning egg. Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR
August 1, 2016
Abanico – Amemura Café
July 11, 2016
Nakanoshima Train Bar – Osaka Events
June 23, 2016
Top Picks

DIY Manhole Rubbings

DSC_0164

With so much to see strolling the streets of Japan, it’s easy to overlook the beauty that lies underfoot. But oh, what a shame to do so! Japan is blessed with having some of the most gorgeous manhole covers that I have ever seen. Designed to highlight the famous facets of each region, covers often depict local landmarks, people, flora, fauna and festivals. According to the Japanese Society of Manhole Covers (日本マンホール蓋学会), there are currently around 6,000 different designs to spot throughout Japan! During my time in Osaka and other parts of Japan, I’ve found myself falling for these unique pieces of functional art and really wanting to take more than a picture of them home with me. Rubbings seemed like the perfect way to do just that! In addition to being a great souvenir to remind one of their travels, DIY Manhole Rubbings also solve the common traveler dilemma of having both limited cash and suitcase space.

Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Utsubo Koen – Osaka’s Best Parks
August 23, 2016
Machete Tacos – Mexican in Namba
August 16, 2016
Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR
August 1, 2016
Museums

Minoh Insect Museum

DSC_0215

Halfway on the walk up to Minoh waterfall we happened across the Minoh Insect Museum. The exterior of the building really isn’t much to behold compared to all the other beautiful traditional buildings in the area and nothing particularly stands out or welcomes you in. We decided however, not to judge a book by its cover and paid the very reasonable ticket fee of ¥270 to enter.

As we went midday on a weekday, we weren’t expecting the place to be crowded but we were both a little shocked to be the only visitors. The museum section is quite small and is filled with what you would expect to find in a small town museum. The facility is designed to be educational and focuses mainly on teaching children about the 10,000 types of insects and 30 varieties of butterflies that are housed within. We passed through the insect section relatively quickly as we were both just really excited to get to the butterfly pavilion.

Continue reading…

Leave a comment
Related posts
Machete Tacos – Mexican in Namba
August 16, 2016
Hankyu Sanban Gai GOURMET TOUR
August 1, 2016
Art Aquarium – Osaka Events
July 25, 2016