Updated: Nov 1
My friend Andy was in Italy a few weeks ago. Everyday she posted gorgeous photos of Italian cities and their piazzas, churches, and other landmarks. The sun was always shining in her photos and I could imagine myself sitting on a piazza sipping Chianti and savoring a local delicacy. The brick buildings and old architecture of Europe are wonderful.
Walking in Osaka is so different from the streets of Europe. With the hustle and bustle of the city, there are no charming piazzas. There are no neighborhoods made up of buildings hundreds of years old. For two days we stayed in Osaka in a modern building which, from the front, appeared to be in a financial district. However, walking out the back door and just one block brought us to the Shinsaibashi-suji arcade, a covered market area that was about 1.5 miles long.
The mile or so nearest the hotel primarily had small and medium-sized shops that appeared to be frequented by local Japanese. Stores were selling baby carriers and carriages, hair care products, clothes, shoes, snacks, small toys, rugs, towels, and so on. As we walked farther from the hotel, we started seeing food stands and small restaurants. At one point we crossed the Dotomburi river, with its colorful restaurants. A hallmark of Japan are the lines of people waiting for a seat in a restaurant. One eatery provided red umbrellas to protect patrons as they wait. (Image: Dotombori canal).
Restaurants and food stalls in the Dotomburi area call attention to themselves using renditions of what they sell.
Any guess as to what this is? The food stand had quite a long line, so whatever they sell must be fantastic.
This sign isn't doing any favors for its sushi. It looks unappetizing.
This place probably doesn't sell dragon, but it is certainly eye-catching.
Several establishments feature a rather stern looking man, which I'm sure has some significance.
In the midst of all the action is a very old shrine tucked just off the main drag.
A few more images of our Osaka walk.
We finally succumbed to a food stand, Strawberry Mania, which featured candied strawberries on a stick, strawberry swirl ice cream, strawberry smoothies, and mochi with strawberry.
One of the "rules' of Japanese society is that one does not walk and eat. If you purchase something from a food stall, you must plant yourself close to the stand and eat what you purchased. They are so concerned about people breaking this rule that an announcement is made periodically over loudspeakers, both in Japanese and English, reminding people not to walk and eat. We dutifully stood in front of Strawberry Mania as we licked our strawberry swirl. (Image: Mochi with strawberry.)