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Indulging Oneself in the City of Water

Posted April. 02, 2003 22:27,   


Japanese cite as famous benchmarks 808 streets in Tokyo, 808 temples in Kyoto, and 808 bridges in Osaka.

In Osaka, you can find numerous bridges. Thus, it is inferable that there were many "roads" for "water traffic." In the ancient time, transportation of cargoes was made mainly by sea or water, than over the land. Thus, commerce sprouted out where water roads were well developed. The same applies to Osaka. Three grocery markets got to settle in Osaka from the 1600s to the early 1800s. That is why it is still called the "National Kitchen." Things become clearer when looking at the map. Osaka is located on a delta made by two rivers flowing into the Osaka gulf.

Osaka, what we call the city of water. To experience it in a first-handed way, take the cruise. Now, River Cruise Osaka is serving tourists. This time of year, it is best for "cruising" Osaka. One can enjoy the white banks covered with cherry blossom leaves. Cruising down the river, government buildings like the City Hall will meet you. In addition, you will also see a business park named Osaka`s Manhattan. You may step down in front of Osaka Castle.

Another place one can feel Osaka is Dotonbori, a popular shopping and entertainment area thronged with an unbelievable number of restaurants and amusement facilities. In Japanese, the name means, "eating till collapse." Kimryu and Dakoyaki are the two favorite tourist sites. The former is a noodle restaurant where kimchi and ground garlic are endlessly refillable, while, at the latter, one can enjoy cookies made from octopus.

If Dotonbori is a place for modern food, Isikiri Street is a place for traditional food. Along the street leading to the shrine is lined some 150 traditional restaurants. There are fish jelly, plum juice, Japanese biscuits and many more cooked and served on spot.

Suntory whiskey also represents well the water culture in Osaka region. Suntory opened a distillery in Yamajaki in 1923, an area known for its fresh spring water. You can tour the manufacturing factory and taste whiskey for free. There is also a whiskey museum.

The last course is an `overhead garden` located in Sky Building near Osaka Station. From the structure connecting the twin towers, you can look down the streets of Osaka. `Dakimigoji,` a restaurant located on the base floor, recreates the old streets of Osaka in the 1930s.

Travel Information

① River Cruise Osaka (www.keihannet.ne.jp/suijobus/)

`Aqualiner` operates from 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. A roundtrip takes 60 minutes and costs 1,880 yen (1600 yen after May 10). The cruise stops at Osaka Castle (JR Line, near Osaka Park); Tenmabashi (Keihan Train, Tenmabashi Subway station); Yodobashi (Keihan Train, Yodobash Subway station); and OAP (JR, Sakuranomia Station). Cherry trees will be in full bloom through April 6.

② Dotonbori

Nanba Station. There used be an outdoor theater from the Edo Age near the station. Nanba is where five train and subway lines, including Midosuzi, Senichimae and Yodomashi, meet.

③ Isikiri Street (isikiri.com)

Isikiri Station(Kindes Nara Line). Pass through the northern gate and walk some five minutes to the entrance.

④ Suntory Yamajaki Distillery (www.suntory.co.jp/factory)

Yamajaki Station(JR, Honsen in Dokaido). It takes some 10 minutes to reach the factory. For a group of two or more, a tour guide service is offered. You can book three months earlier. Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. For more information, call 075-962-1423.

⑤ Observatory at Overhead Garden (New Umeda City)

It takes some 10 minutes from Osaka Station to the garden. From 10:00 a.m. through 10:30 p.m. You have to pay 700 yen to get in.