Monday, October 27, 2008

Osaka 1-day/2-day Pass

Osaka offers to tourists 2 types of unlimited passes, 1-day and 2-day passes. The only difference is, as the name implies, one is valid for 1-day unlimited use of city transport, including buses and subways; the other is valid for 2 days. Both will give you free access to 27 places of interest. The cost for 1-day pass is 2,000 yen, 2-day pass is 2,700 yen.

Before you decide to purchase the Osaka pass, you need to know how often you will take buses or subways. Keep in mind that for Osaka subway, it is minimum 200 yen per trip.

For the 27 places of interest included in the Osaka pass, you need to know whether they are your cup of tea. For me, they are ok, but for some, these 27 places are super boring to them. One man's delicacy is another man's poison, so you have to decide for yourself. I will share with you below how I used my 2-day pass.

1. Dotonbori Gokuraku Shoutengai (315 yen)

This is a food entertainment 'theme park'. Well, it is actually just a building in the Dotonbori area. I must say the idea is a bit stupid. Dotonbori area is the centre of Osaka's night life filled with restaurants and shops. While you can just go into any restaurant free other than the cost of your food, why do you want to pay extra to go to a 'food entertainment theme park'?

Grade: 1/5.

2. Osaka Bay Cruise "Santa Maria" (1,600 yen)

This cruise brings you around the Osaka port area, with a good view of the giant ferris wheel, in a replica junk ship. However, the view along the route is just so-so, unless you have a specific interest in the maritime/shipping industry. You have a spectacular view of the Osaka port.

Grade: 2.5/5

3. Osaka Castle Museum (600 yen)

This is in the Tenshu-kaku, the main tower of the Osaka castle. It is almost like the symbol of Osaka city. When I was there, they were having a special exhibition about the history of Osaka castle. There are static displays, and a lot of multimedia presentations catering to the visiting Japanese students.

In addition, you can get a good view of Osaka city from the top of the main tower.

They also give visitors a free post card of the castle. If you complete a visitor's survey with them, they also give you a golden bookmark as souvenir. So if you are a cheapo like me :), complete the survey and get your souvenir. The golden bookmark costs 200 yen at the souvenir shop there :D

Grade: 4/5

4. Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden (200 yen)

This garden is right next to the Osaka castle. A great place to visit when the cherry blossom time, and also a nice place for a family picnic on an Autumn/Winter sunny afternoon; otherwise, it is a bit boring.

Grade: Season dependent

5. Osakajo Park Tram (200 yen)

It is a tram ride around the Osaka castle park, along the castle moat. Again, it is nice during the cherry blossom season; boring otherwise. :D

Grade: Season dependent

6. Osaka Museum of History (600 yen)

This museum is just a stone's throw away from Osaka castle. I highly recommend you to visit this place. They occupy the 7th-10th of a skycrapper, and arrange the exhibites from old Osaka (Namba period) to modern Osaka from 10th floor down to 7th floor.

And, the reason I highly recommend this place is when you take the escalator down, at the corner landing, you have a spectacular aerial view of Osaka castle and the modern Osaka city.

Grade: 3.5/5

7. Shitennoji Temple (300 yen), The Treasure House of the temple (200 yen), Honbo Garden (300 yen)

This temple was built by Prince Shotoku (圣德太子) and said to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. However, all the temple buildings are actually replica constructed after WWII.

The treasure house of temple has some writings from many emperors. I think many of them are in Chinese. I remember I could actually read one of them in the whole. It says the power of the imperial court is directly related to the power of Buddhism in Japan. The stronger the power of the imperial court, more solid the foundation of Buddhism in Japan is. But I can remember which emperor wrote it. Sorry :)

The Honbo garden is a Zen garden with nice landscaping.

Grade: 3.5/5

8. Tsutenkaku Tower (600 yen)

This is another place where you can have a good view of the Osaka city from the top. They have placed a statue of Biriken on the observation deck too. What/who is Biriken? Google it, please :D You will be amused/surprised...

Grade: 3/5

Total cost of the 2-day pass: 2,700 yen
Total cost of all places: 4,915 yen

The pass does not include the more popular places such as the ferris wheel, the Osaka aquarium, the Suntory Museum.

You can get more information on the Osaka pass at this site:

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