To have a complete experience of Koyasan, joining the morning prayer, which usually starts at 06:00, is highly recommended. Be immersed in the calming chants of the monks inside the prayer hall (prayers are only in Japanese but some priests provide a simple explanation in English at the end of the ceremony). Afterwards, proceed to the dining room for a shojin ryori breakfast.
After that, hop on the 2-hour train to arrive in Osaka
, Japan’s third-largest city and unofficial culinary capital, where the motto is 'Kuidaore' ('eat until you drop').
Upon arrival at the station, embark on a delicious street food tour
to sample some of the best morsels that Osaka has to offer. Walk through Osaka’s liveliest and most colorful shopping and dining streets, starting from Doguyasuji
, a unique market that sells anything related to food, from pots and other kitchenware to the lifelike plastic food models widely used by restaurants.
Continue towards Sennichimae
, a lane filled with small eateries that serve popular Osakan delicacies such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and the famed fugu (blowfish). Aside from the local restaurants, Sennichimae also hosts a few game centers and the vibrant Namba Grand Kagetsu Theater, the headquarters of a nationwide Japanese comedy brand. Before reaching the end of Sennichimae, make a quick left turn in one of the narrow alleys to see Hozen-ji
, a small village temple dedicated to one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas. After offering coins, worshippers splash water on the statue of the deity before they pray.
Right outside the temple grounds and just across the humble yet historical Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum is Hozenji Yokocho
, a short, narrow lane lined with expensive restaurants.
From here, emerge to the very busy Dotonbori
, a restaurant mecca which has long-been referred to as Osaka’s former entertainment and pleasure district. A short walk from this street leads to the touristy Ebisubashi
with the famous billboard of the Glico Running Man and a view of Dotonbori River.
Overnight in Osaka.