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Have an Unforgettable Osaka Vacation with These 10 Activities

Osaka temple

Explore Japan’s foodie capital where you’ll find street markets, unique food experiences, and restaurants galore. 

Osaka is Japan’s third most populous city. Dubbed the Nation’s Kitchen, it is the birthplace of okonomiyaki and takoyaki, a couple of Japan’s most popular dishes. 

However, there is much more to this charming city than gastronomy. 

Discover the top 10 things to do in Osaka for an unforgettable vacation. 

1. Dive into the Osaka Aquarium

Osaka’s Kaiyukan is the world’s largest and Japan’s most spectacular aquarium. Its 15 massive tanks recreate the Pacific Rim’s natural aquatic habitats, taking visitors on a virtual tour of the Pacific Ocean. 

Explore Japan Forest, Antarctica, and Pacific Ocean tanks and meet the resident whale sharks, the world’s largest fish species. That’s aside from the other resident sea creatures.

To enjoy the aquarium to the fullest, make sure to dedicate at least two and a half hours.

2. Admire the Osaka Castle Upclose

The Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo in Japanese) is the power and fortune emblem of the famed feudal lord and samurai Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who began ordering the construction of the castle in 1583. The immensely famous landmark played a crucial role in Japan’s unification in the 16th century. 

When planning to visit the castle, make sure to leave enough room for a stroll down the massive park that surrounds Osaka-jo. This is also one of the city’s most popular cherry blossom viewing spots, so don’t miss it if you visit in March or April. 

3. Ascend the Umeda Sky Building

A signature landmark of Osaka, the Umeda skyscraper can be seen from all over town. This Kita district high-rise comprises two towers that are connected by a floating garden of more than 560 feet aboveground.

Enjoy spectacular city views while appreciating the many plants and flowers. If you ever get hungry, you can treat yourself to delicious dumplings from Sangu, a Chinese restaurant on the 39th floor. And if you’re up for a drink with a view, there’s also a bar on the same floor.

4. Ride the Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Looking for family things to do in Osaka? 

Take a spin on Osaka’s world-class Ferris wheel. Within walking distance of the Osakako subway station, Tempozan will take you 367 feet into the air for spectacular views of Mounts Ikoma and Rokko. 

And if you visit Aquarium Kaiyukan, you won’t help but notice Tempozan’s vibrant illumination when you leave.

5. Explore the Sumiyoshi Shrine

The Sumiyoshi Taisha (or Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine) is among Japan’s oldest shrines. Dating back to the pre-Buddhist period of around the 3rd century, it’s completely free of influence from the Asian mainland. 

If you’ve visited other shrines in Japan, you’ll find it interesting that this one has the first three halls positioned as a straight line towards the west and the fourth standing beside the third. This arrangement is rarely seen in most other shrines of its kind. 

Enjoy walking across the streets and sanctuaries of the ultimate Sumiyoshi shrine, the head of more than 2,300 Sumiyoshi shrines across Japan. 

6. Attend a Sumo Tournament

Osaka’s Minami district houses the EDION Arena where you can attend a truly unique cultural event that is sumo wrestling. 

March is the best month for seeing sumo matches in the city, but it can be a bit tricky for tourists to score tickets. In case you don’t get tickets, you’ll want to go directly to the arena on tournament day and ask for “tojitsuken” or “same-day tickets,” preferably on a weekday. 

The unforgettable cultural experience will be worth the hassle. 

7. Shop Like a Local at the Kuromon Market

Kuromon Market, also known as Kuromon Ichiba, is one of the largest markets in Western Japan. With more than 180 stores and almost 200 years old, the locals also hail it as “Osaka’s Kitchen.” 

Don’t be surprised to see people crowd the 1900-feet market all day long. It’s where many Osaka residents buy their seafood and groceries, making it a perfect spot for tasting authentic street foods as well. 

One of the main attractions of this market for tourists is the fresh fish stores, many of which will serve you food to try on the spot!

8. Eat till you Drop in Dotonbori

Dotonbori is to Osaka what Times Square is to New York. The touristy district is known for its billboards and neon light displays and scores of restaurants. 

There are various food crawling and sampling tours that can ensure you don’t leave without tasting the city’s famous specialties. 

The area, also known as the bright heart of Osaka, can be described with the phrase “kuidaore,” meaning “eat till you drop.” It’s definitely not a good idea to enter this area with a full stomach. 

9. Visit the Temples

There are dozens of magnificent temples in Osaka, so it’s impossible to visit all of them in a short stay. However, make sure to stop by the Hozen-Ji on your way to Dotonbori. You’ll be taken aback by this tiny oasis of tranquility amid the city’s most vibrant district. 

You’ll also find the Namba Yasaka Shrine a bit further away, a mere 15-minute walk from the Namba subway station. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you’re greeted by the sight of a giant lion head that is almost 40 feet tall. 

Other temples that are worth a visit include the Tsuyunoten Shrine, Isshinji Temple, and Ikukunitama Shrine. 

10. Reward Yourself with a Spa Treatment

When you’ve had enough of roaming the city and tasting the food, make sure to stop by Osaka’s Spa World for a recharge. This 24-hour facility offers a range of spas, pools, and saunas. 

However, sightseeing doesn’t have to stop here. 

You can swim in the onsens, which are the country’s popular hot springs, and appreciate beautiful views. And once you finish the swimming session, you can pick a more specific spa treatment or even stay overnight. 

More Reasons to Love Osaka

If you’re running out of things to do in Osaka, you should now have 10 new ideas. Foodies will love its endless supply of savory and affordable dishes on every corner, and walkers will be thrilled with the gorgeous parks surrounding the temples. 

There’s never a dull moment in this charming city that’s known for loads of nightlife and entertainment options. 

Hawaii

Most Stunning Beaches in Hawaii

Hawaii

The Most Stunning Beaches in Hawaii You Need to Visit

Hawaii, a tropical paradise known for its breathtaking beaches, offers an idyllic escape for travelers seeking sun, sand, and surf. Each island boasts its own unique coastline, with beaches that range from serene and secluded to lively and bustling. Whether you’re looking to relax under swaying palm trees, explore vibrant marine life, or catch some waves, Hawaii’s beaches have something for everyone. Here’s a guide to some of the most stunning beaches you need to visit in Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Waikiki Beach is perhaps the most famous beach in Hawaii, and for good reason. Located in Honolulu, this bustling beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban excitement. With its golden sands, gentle waves, and iconic Diamond Head crater backdrop, Waikiki is ideal for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. The area is also lined with luxury resorts, restaurants, and shops, making it a perfect destination for those who enjoy a vibrant beach scene.

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Lanikai Beach, Oahu

For a more tranquil experience, head to Lanikai Beach on the windward coast of Oahu. This hidden gem is often hailed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With its powdery white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and scenic views of the Mokulua Islands, Lanikai is perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling. The calm, shallow waters make it an ideal spot for families and those looking to unwind in paradise.

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Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Hanauma Bay is a must-visit for snorkeling enthusiasts. This protected marine life conservation area is home to vibrant coral reefs and a diverse array of marine species. The bay, formed within a volcanic cone, offers calm waters and excellent visibility, making it easy to spot colorful fish and sea turtles. Hanauma Bay is a popular spot, so be sure to arrive early to secure a parking spot and enjoy the pristine underwater world.

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui

Ka’anapali Beach, located on Maui’s western shore, is a stunning stretch of golden sand that has something for everyone. This beach is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. The nearby Black Rock is a favorite spot for cliff diving and offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. Ka’anapali Beach is also home to several world-class resorts, golf courses, and shopping centers, providing plenty of activities and amenities for visitors.

Wailea Beach, Maui

Wailea Beach is another gem on Maui, known for its luxurious ambiance and pristine beauty. This crescent-shaped beach boasts soft, white sand and calm, azure waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The area is surrounded by upscale resorts and lush gardens, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing, high-end beach getaway.

Poipu Beach, Kauai

Poipu Beach on the south shore of Kauai is a family-friendly destination with a diverse range of activities. The beach is divided into several sections, each offering something unique. The shallow, protected waters of Poipu’s “baby beach” are perfect for young children, while the main beach area is great for swimming and snorkeling. Poipu Beach is also a fantastic spot for whale watching in the winter months and has a nearby park with picnic areas and playgrounds.

Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Bay, located on the north shore of Kauai, is a breathtaking bay surrounded by lush mountains and waterfalls. This two-mile stretch of sandy beach is ideal for a variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The tranquil atmosphere and stunning scenery make Hanalei Bay a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The charming town of Hanalei, with its quaint shops and eateries, adds to the bay’s allure.

Hapuna Beach, Big Island

Hapuna Beach, situated on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, is one of the island’s largest white sand beaches. Known for its consistently good weather and clear waters, Hapuna Beach is perfect for swimming, boogie boarding, and snorkeling. The beach’s gentle slope into the ocean creates ideal conditions for both novice and experienced swimmers. With ample facilities and picnic areas, Hapuna Beach is a great spot for a fun-filled day by the sea.

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Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Big Island

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach offers a unique and unforgettable experience. This striking beach, located on the southeastern coast of the Big Island, features jet-black sand created by volcanic activity. The contrast between the dark sand, turquoise waters, and green coconut palms creates a stunning visual spectacle. Punalu’u is also a haven for green sea turtles, which can often be seen basking on the shore. While swimming can be challenging due to rocky conditions, the beach is perfect for picnicking and exploring.

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Conclusion

Hawaii’s beaches are more than just beautiful stretches of sand; they are gateways to adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re exploring the bustling shores of Waikiki, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, or marveling at the unique black sand of Punalu’u, each beach offers its own slice of paradise. Pack your sunscreen, grab your beach gear, and get ready to discover the most stunning beaches that Hawaii has to offer. Aloha!

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Trip Ideas

Best Parks and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, isn’t just a historic gem with its cobblestone streets and antebellum houses; it’s also a city brimming with lush parks and vibrant gardens. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these green spaces offer a perfect escape to nature. Here’s a roundup of the must-visit parks and gardens in this charming city!

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Established in 1676, Magnolia Plantation is one of the oldest public gardens in America. Stroll through the romantic gardens, take a guided tour of the planatation house, or hop on a boat tour to explore the Audubon Swamp Garden. The camellias, azaleas, and wisteria are especially breathtaking in the spring.

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Middleton Place Known for its meticulously maintained 65-acre garden, Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark. The terraced lawns, reflecting pools, and centuries-old camellias create a stunning backdrop for a leisurely walk. Don’t miss the stable yards and the House Museum to complete your visit.

Battery and White Point Garden Located at the southern tip of the Charleston Peninsula, this park offers stunning views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor. Wander among the oak trees, historical monuments, and cannons. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic with a picturesque setting.

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Hampton Park With its grand oak trees and colorful flower beds, Hampton Park is one of Charleston’s largest and most beautiful parks. Enjoy a jog or a leisurely bike ride on the paths, or simply relax in the shade with a good book. The park’s pond and fountains add to its serene atmosphere.

Cypress Gardens Located just outside Charleston in Moncks Corner, Cypress Gardens is a hidden gem. Explore the blackwater bald cypress/tupelo swamp on a flat-bottom boat or walk the trails around the garden. The Butterfly House and Swamparium are also highlights for nature enthusiasts.

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Charleston Waterfront Park Stretching along the Charleston Harbor, this park offers scenic views and a refreshing sea breeze. The famous Pineapple Fountain and the long pier are perfect for a relaxing stroll. It’s also a great spot to catch a sunrise or sunset over the water.

Theodora Park This small but charming park is located in the historic Ansonborough neighborhood. It features a beautiful reflecting pool, artistic benches, and plenty of shade. It’s a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, ideal for a quiet afternoon.

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Charleston’s parks and gardens are not just places to see – they’re experiences to savor. Whether you’re looking for a quiet retreat, a place to exercise, or a spot to enjoy some history and nature, Charleston has something to offer. So pack a picnic, grab your camera, and explore the green spaces that make this city so special!

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Trip Ideas

Affordable Summer Vacations: Explore Gatlinburg!

Downtown Gatlinburg

Are you looking for a budget-friendly summer escape that combines the charm of small-town America with the stunning beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains?

Well, look no further than Gatlinburg, Tennessee! This quaint little town is bursting with fun activities, breathtaking scenery, and cozy spots perfect for a romantic getaway. So, grab your sweetheart, pack your bags, and let’s dive into the magic of Gatlinburg!

Stroll Through Downtown Gatlinburg

First things first, take a leisurely stroll through downtown Gatlinburg. The main strip is packed with quirky shops, delightful eateries, and unique attractions that’ll keep you entertained for hours. Pop into the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen to watch candy being made the old-fashioned way—trust me, it’s a sweet experience (pun totally intended). Don’t forget to grab a couple of taffy pieces for the road!

Feeling peckish? You and your special someone can indulge in a hearty Southern meal at one of the many charming restaurants. Try out the Pancake Pantry for breakfast; their pancakes are legendary. If you’re in the mood for something savory, Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que serves up mouthwatering ribs that will leave you licking your fingers.

Read More: 10 Very Best Things To Do In Gatlinburg

Experience the Great Smoky Mountains

You can’t visit Gatlinburg without exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s right at your doorstep, offering a myriad of trails for all skill levels. Lace up your hiking boots and venture to Laurel Falls for an easy yet stunning hike. The waterfall at the end is the perfect spot for a romantic photo op.

For a bit more adventure, drive up to Clingmans Dome. The highest point in Tennessee, it offers panoramic views that are simply out of this world. On a clear day, you can see for miles and miles, making it a breathtaking backdrop for some quiet moments together.

Read More: Six Family Activities in Gatlinburg

Ride the Gatlinburg Skylift

If hiking isn’t quite your thing, or if you’re just looking to relax, hop on the Gatlinburg Skylift. This scenic ride takes you up Crockett Mountain, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the town and the lush mountains surrounding it.

At the top, you’ll find the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. Walking hand-in-hand across this bridge with the mountains as your backdrop is nothing short of magical.

Explore Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Who says aquariums are just for kids? Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is an underwater wonderland that will captivate visitors of all ages. Walk through the underwater tunnel as sharks and rays glide gracefully overhead.

It’s a truly immersive experience that’ll make you feel like you’re diving in the deep blue sea without getting wet.

Enjoy a Taste of the Local Spirits

For those who enjoy a little tipple, Gatlinburg has got you covered. The town is famous for its moonshine, and there are plenty of distilleries where you can sample this traditional Appalachian spirit.

Ole Smoky Moonshine and Sugarlands Distilling Company offer tastings and tours. Sip on a variety of flavors, from classic corn whiskey to fun options like apple pie and blackberry. Cheers to a memorable vacation!

Read More: The 10 Most Popular Activities in Nashville

Cozy Cabins and Breathtaking Views

End your day in one of Gatlinburg’s cozy cabins, which are surprisingly affordable, especially when compared to big-city hotels. Imagine snuggling up by the fireplace with your loved one or soaking in a hot tub under a starry sky.

Many cabins come with stunning mountain views, providing the perfect backdrop for some relaxation and romance.

Read More: 3 Days in Nashville: The Ultimate Nashville Itinerary

Pack Your Bags and Fall in Love with Gatlinburg!

So, there you have it—a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and romance, all without breaking the bank. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a hidden gem that offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Whether you’re wandering through charming downtown streets, exploring the natural beauty of the Smokies, or simply enjoying each other’s company in a cozy cabin, you’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

So what are you waiting for? Gatlinburg is calling, and you won’t want to miss out on this enchanting summer adventure! 

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