You have been to Osaka Castle, eaten okonomiyaki, and been shopping in Ame-mura? Well, I think you are ready for some lesser-known delights of Osaka. If you are here for a few days, here are my recommendations.
Japanese food is delicious, and Funky Junk Full Chicken in Namba is a real treat. It is a yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant which also serves half and whole roast chickens. Although there is table seating, I particularly like getting a standing spot with a few friends. Grilling your own meat huddled around a small table is the epitome of Japanese small street dining. Reasonably priced and delicious, this spot is a welcome break from the usual izakaya.
Once you have eaten, walk to The Sound Garden in Dotonbori to get ready for my favourite drag show in Osaka: Gyag Reflex. Created and performed by Haus of Kinki, a collective of drag artists in the Kansai area, Gyag Reflex is a drag performance and club-like event. There are several performances throughout the evening from a variety of acts which never fail to entertain. It is my personal favourite because I can dance with queens and still be in bed by midnight! As a queer-friendly event hosted in both English and Japanese; everyone is welcome. I am a regular, so I hope to see you there!
Travelling can be expensive and exhausting, especially if you visit all the attractions that Osaka has to offer. However, Nagai Park is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon away from the crowds without breaking the bank. Grab a shaded spot for a picnic, let the children run around in the play area, or head to a festival or local sporting event. Above all, Nagai Park is host to its own botanical garden and natural history museum. It is perfect for a day out with the kids, your parents, or even a first date.
DRINKS AND TIPS
To find an LGBT-friendly place to drink, go to Umeda. There are hundreds of small bars in the Doyama area, a short distance from JR Osaka train station. For a more western-style place, try Grand Slam, Frenz Frenzy, J’s Bar, or Explosion. They are all lively, gender-free, and English-friendly. If you are seeking a Japanese-style bar, there are numerous bars in the surrounding buildings of Umeda TRAD, a resident live music venue. These bars are usually small, counter-service, and cater to male clients; although, there are a handful of places for women to enjoy. When going to these places remember the three Ts:
1. Trains – Being close to one of the busiest train stations in the world, check your last train home and leave plenty of time to get there.
2. Tipping – Tipping is not a custom in Japan, but cash is important as using your card is still not common.
3. Tobacco – Bars and clubs usually permit smoking, and the dress code is casual.
Osaka has much to offer! So, whether it is visiting Tennoji Zoo or Universal Studios Japan, I hope you enjoy your stay here.