Disclosure: This post was created in collaboration with InterContinental Hotels Group. As always, all experiences and opinions are my own.
I’ve often written that Paris has my heart. But I bet you didn’t know that Japan has my soul. My husband often jokes that I was Asian in another life, and my love of Japanese culture and food certainly serves as a testament to that. Throughout my professional career, I’ve had the privilege to travel to Tokyo on multiple occasions, and I’ve always extended my trip to explore more.
I loved visiting the capital city, but when it came time to visit Japan for pleasure, my husband and I chose Osaka as one of our destinations. Japan’s third largest city is proudly known as the city of the merchant class. Today, that translates to a place that works hard and plays hard, but you could probably throw in eats hard as well. Osaka is known for “kuidaore,” which means “eat till you drop.” My kind of place!
But beyond eating, which I can write about 24/7, Osaka has lots to offer particularly when it comes to the camera. Whether you’re an amateur or a pro, you’ll have an endless supply of content for your lens. Based on our trip, I want to share five awesome things to photograph in Osaka.
The InterContinental Osaka made it convenient for us to get to Namba Parks via a short walk and subway ride. When my husband first suggested going to a shopping mall, I thought he was crazy. But Namba Parks isn’t just a luxury goods center. It also has great restaurants, movie theaters, and one of my favorite things in the world, a baseball museum!
That’s because Namba Parks used to be a baseball stadium. After years of neglect, the city hired an amazing architect and rebuilt the center to what it is today, an architectural wonder and a great place to take pictures. Whether you capture the buildings from below or some of the wondrous parks from above, you will get a great shot at Namba Parks.
Umeda Sky Building
If you don’t mind heights, then there’s no better place to see Osaka at your feet than the Umeda Sky Building. It’s quite an adventure getting to the top of the two 40-foot towers. Take elevators and escalators, go through a floating garden observatory, cross a bridge, and take another elevator, and you’re there!
But oh, is that view worth it. The city surrounds you, waiting to be captured, particularly at sunset. The mirrored glass on top of the atrium is perfect for reflection shots. Plus, when you’re finished, you’ll be right next door to the ramen district, with hundreds of stands.
Wait, no, it’s not what you think! I’m not just talking about eating food at the market, although, I did do lots of that. With close to 200 years of history, the beautifully covered Kuromon-Ichiba Market, also known as Osaka’s kitchen, is a great place to take photos.
There’s the myriad magnificent munchies on display like the photo above, but there’s also the people and the traditions of knifework and craftsmanship that make awesome portrait shots. If you get hungry after taking all those pictures, just throw a dart and you’ll find something great to eat!
Osaka is a frenetic place, a city of extremely densely populated areas and very few places to breathe. I think that’s why the city’s luxury hotels do such a great job of creating an oasis of zen and why the people of Osaka deeply love those limited green spaces for parks. They’re rare and should be enjoyed to their fullest.
However, the craziness of the street life and the street signs are awesome subjects for the camera, especially in Dotonbori, the entertainment district. While harder for amateur photographers who may not know how to manipulate their settings for the dark, nighttime is the best time to capture all those neon signs!
I’ve always worshiped the Japanese sense of style. In a country where conformity in your work environment is essential, the only way to truly express your personality is through your clothes outside of work. I had such a great time people watching and snapping photos of all the sassy styles.
When walking down the street, have your camera settings prepared for action shots. Otherwise, you’ll get a lot of blurry shots of really great outfits!
Bonus: The Food
Oh, where to start? Osaka has the second largest fish market, so the sushi is great and makes for great photos. So does the delicious ramen, which locals take seriously. Who doesn’t love pretty-bowls-of-noodles-dressed-with-amazing-things photos? Takoyaki, the must-try Osaka street food, is perfect for gritty street scenes.
And the list goes on. Not only is the food delicious, but it also looks great on camera.
The One We Missed
There was one spot in Osaka that we missed getting to, and that’s Osaka Castle. We would really love to visit during the cherry blossom season. I’ve seen stunning photos and think it’s the perfect reason to return to Osaka. Well, and maybe the food…
How about you? Have you been to Osaka and taken great photographs? Where did you take them? If you haven’t been to Osaka, do any of my photo subjects tempt you to go? Do tell!