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Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya

Atsuta Shrine was founded 1900 years ago in Nagoya. It is one of the most important shrines in Japan, second after the Great Shrines of Ise. Read more

Japanesepod101 for Learning Japanese

Thinking about learning a few phrases before your trip to Japan? Japanesepod101 might be just what you need! There are thousands of lessons from Absolute Beginner to Advanced levels. Read more

Cormorant Fishing on the Nagara River

Cormorant Fishing, called Ukai in Japanese, is a 1300 year old fishing technique that uses cormorant birds to catch fish. Read more

Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle is one of only five castles in Japan designated as a national treasure. The other castles include Himeji, Matsumoto, Inuyama, and Matsue. Read more

Seki Japan

Seki, Japan is a very small town in the countryside of Gifu prefecture, just north of Nagoya city. It is most well-known for its sword manufacturing during the samurai era.

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Dotonbori Osaka Walk

Dotonbori is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Osaka. The street runs next to the Dotonbori canal and is known for shopping, dining, entertainment, pop culture, and street food.

Dotonbori is fun to explore at any time of day, but especially spectacular at night when the whole area lights up.

History

The area was created in 1612 by local entrepreneur, Yasui Doton, with the idea to increase commerce by expanding the river. In 1621, it was designated the entertainment district of Osaka.

By 1662, there were six kabuki theaters, five bunraku theaters, and a mechanical puppet theater.

Iconic Symbols

The Glico Man is an iconic symbol of Osaka. It was first installed in 1935 by the Japanese food company. The current signboard is the 6th version and uses LED lights rather than neon lights.

Kuidaore Taro is a mechanical drum-playing clown that was installed in 1950.

Today, the main attraction is the animated signboards. The 21-foot crab above the restaurant Kani Doraku was built in 1960. There are also giant sushi, blowfish, and dragons.

Hozenji Temple

Hozenji Temple, just south of Dotonbori, is a preserved temple situated in the center of the city. It was built in 1637 during the Edo period and is known for its moss-covered Buddhist statue of Fudo Myo.

It is said that splashing water on the statue will bring you good luck and grant your wishes.

Food

Osaka is famous for food and Dotonbori is the best place to find it!

Takoyaki

Takoyaki started in Osaka in 1935. The recipe includes a batter of egg, flour, and water. Then, tempura crumbs, pickled ginger, green onion, and chopped octopus are added. They are cooked in a special cast iron griddle and topped with Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki has two main styles – one from Hiroshima and one from Osaka. The Osaka style adds shredded cabbage, green onions, and seafood or pork to an egg, flour, and water batter. The batter is poured onto a grill like a pancake and topped with Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.

Kitsune Udon

Kitsune Udon is a variation of Udon noodles served in a hot broth with a piece of sweetened deep fried tofu. Udon are thick wheat noodles in a broth made from dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and topped with scallions.

Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki is the type of Japanese food you typically see in America. You sit in front of an iron griddle where high-grade meat is cooked by a skilled chef.

How to Get There

From Osaka or Shin-Osaka Station, take the Midosuji line to Namba Station. Then, walk north toward Shinsaibashi Station.

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Tokoname

Tokoname is located south of Nagoya city, on the west coast of the Chita Peninsula. This quiet coastal village came to prominence during the Edo period for its prized clay used to make high-quality ceramics.

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Japan Reading List

One of the best parts of giving tours of Japan is the excitement and eagerness our guests have to learn about this unique culture. I am always asked if there are any books I would recommend to gain a deeper insight into the people and their customs. The answer is always YES, and here is my personal Japan reading list. Read more

Japan First Impressions: Hospitality

My first trip to Japan was as a student studying abroad. Upon arriving, I was instantly impressed by the kindness and hospitality of the people. At the train station, strangers went out of their way to help me carry my three large, 50-pound suitcases down the stairs. I had no Read more