After your journey across the Pacific, you’ll land in Osaka and have a free day to explore the city
With a population of 19 million in the larger metropolitan area, Osaka ranks among the world’s most populous cities. As one of the commercial centers of the country, it has the bustle of new restaurants and shopping, but there are also a number of historic sites, from Osaka Castle to some of Japan’s most important temples.
There’s too much to see in only one day, and an early arrival is strongly recommended (G Adventures can assist with arrangements). However long your stay is in Osaka, the castle is a good place to start. You can see this magnificent structure from points throughout the city and, conversely, when you climb to the upper floors, you’ll have views of Osaka below you.
Construction on the original Osaka Castle began in 1583, and while the building you see today is a reconstruction from 1931, the sight is still impressive.
A very different side of Osaka is on display at the surprising Cup Noodles Museum. A celebration of instant ramen, the museum showcases the mind-boggling array of flavors and varieties of this favorite of both budget-conscious and time-starved diners. One highlight is creating your own custom cup of noodles: You design the packaging, pick a soup base, and choose your additional ingredients, then leave with a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Another option is a visit to Universal Studios Japan—there’s something fascinatingly surreal about experiencing some Hollywood magic while in Japan.
Residents of Osaka think of themselves as less stuffy than their counterparts in Tokyo, and this extends to the dining scene. While the city doesn’t lack in fine dining options, you’ll find an abundance of budget-friendly, no-attitude options, from humble noodle stands to hamburger joints. Make sure to try local specialties like yakiniku
, grilled beef, and takoyaki
In the evening, you’ll gather at the hotel, where you’ll meet your fellow travelers as well as your CEO—Chief Experience Officer—who will go over the details of your trip.