Biking round Osaka, Japan (2023) – Journey Up

When you’ve ever been to Japan, you understand that biking is a lifestyle there. Whereas within the Philippines, biking for leisure and concrete mobility has solely caught on lately due to the pandemic, for the longest time, individuals in Japan of all ages, occupations, and lessons can handle to bike round safely even in busy cities due to the nation’s superior infrastructure and the self-discipline of highway customers. On a latest journey to Osaka, my household and I all had a free day in between sightseeing excursions to do no matter we needed. So we mixed the standard sightseeing and meals journeys with biking.

At first we tried to utilize one of many native bikeshare techniques since we saved recognizing bikes on each nook. You will discover the Docomo Bikeshare System throughout Japan, however renting bikes apparently requires a bank card, native SIM numbers and knowledge plans (per individual), and registration on an app, which we couldn’t appear to obtain.

Whereas the bikeshare system is nice for locals, it may be a little bit of a trouble for vacationers to make use of, as you continue to must register on apps and can get charged on a per hour foundation by bank card should you don’t have an IC Card like PASMO or SUICA.

Anyway, after spending one morning getting vacationer sims, attempting to register on-line, and asking for assist round comfort shops, we determined to simply search for a store with conventional bikes to hire as a substitute. 

Lunch cease whereas attempting to determine the bikeshare system

After strolling round, we ended up discovering a small store on GoogleMaps known as Uemachi Rental Bicycle with items of folding Japanese mini-bikes. Leases price ¥300 an hour (Php 115) or about ¥1,300 (P495) for complete day use (greater than 5 hours).

The proprietor was very pleasant, may converse English, and didn’t require any prolonged paperwork. We simply needed to replenish a registration type with particulars of our passport and lodge and so forth. He informed us that his store was open late (till 10:00 p.m.) for the returns and he didn’t even require us to pay up entrance. He mentioned we may simply pay once we returned the bikes. Very good man.

He outfitted the bikes with baskets so it will be simpler to hold gadgets and lent us bike locks in case we would have liked to park someplace. He additionally gave us a map of the world and gave some tips on biking round.

Our first cease on our chill journey was Osaka Citadel, probably the most well-known landmark within the metropolis, which we visited the day prior to this with household after visiting Nara, the Kuromon Fish Market, and different vacationer spots.

Past the standard photograph ops with the fortress itself, the grounds are nice for biking and lots of spots are uncrowded and quiet. There have been extra locals jogging and biking across the space with youngsters reasonably than vacationers alongside the perimeter of the fortress.

The principle Osaka Citadel grounds are free to go to, however there’s an admission payment of ¥600 to go inside the primary tower of the fortress itself, which homes a historical past museum and observatory on the eighth ground. When you’re simply up for biking round, you may circle across the moats, discover the shaded paths and walkways at a extra leisurely tempo, and admire the fortress from completely different angles. There are smaller shrines and landmarks scattered about. Close to one gate, you may hire Samurai costumes and props for photograph ops.

If you wish to take a break right here, one space of the general public park has a number of cafes, together with a giant Starbucks. There are additionally merchandising machines and comfort shops in key places should you simply need to purchase cheaper snacks and drinks. It was nice to simply bike round right here with no mounted itinerary and with out speeding to get to a different vacation spot.

Because it was nonetheless early, we determined to see the place else we may bike close by. We purposely averted biking to Dohtonbori as a result of the world will get crowded and there are just a few designated locations to park bikes due to the quantity of vacationers all flocking and consuming there. You possibly can’t park bikes exterior most eating places right here. If you wish to discover Dohtonbori, I counsel you simply go on foot.

On GoogleMaps, we seen Nakanoshima Park, a public park on an islet in the course of a river. The realm surrounding the park incorporates the Osaka Metropolis Central Public Corridor, The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, a Youngsters’s Library, and different industrial institutions. Whereas different spots in Osaka can get fairly crowded, this park provided a really quiet city escape. 

There have been quite a lot of benches and spots alongside the river the place anybody can simply sit and admire the basic and fashionable neighboring buildings. There are additionally just a few cafes, together with a espresso store serving Danish pastries and a Riverside Grill & Beer Backyard that appeared standard with locals. The grill serves Samgyeopsal and Premium BBQ programs with drink-all-you-can specials for about ¥4,400 – 5,500 (Php 1,595 – 2,159) per individual with a two-hour time restrict.

The waterfront park nestled between Dojimagawa and Tosaborigawa rivers has a rose backyard that includes about 3,700 rose bushes and about completely different 310 rose species. The roses weren’t in bloom once we visited, nevertheless it was nonetheless a pleasant place to bike, hang around, and simply sit on the grass. One of many nice issues about Japan is that it has so many parks and inexperienced areas even in the course of busy areas.

For the reason that Riverside Grill was out of our price range, we simply biked alongside the aspect streets in search of a spot to eat on the best way again to the bike rental store. We stopped at a small izakaya for dinner of Yakitori and Kirin beer. 

We additionally got here throughout a giant grocery retailer and ended up shopping for extra meals and beer for post-dinner “snacks” earlier than returning the bikes.

Quite a lot of groceries promote sushi, sashimi, and bento field meals at discounted costs at evening. Plus beer is cheaper in shops and merchandising machines. You may get beer for lower than ¥300 per can versus a minimal of ¥550-800 per mug if you dine in eating places. You’ve simply bought to like the number of meals obtainable at Japanese groceries and comfort shops. 

A few days later after visiting Kobe on a day journey, we returned to the identical bike store for one more journey. The proprietor was out, and there was a “bought out” signal for the day posted, so we determined to simply stroll round and search for different close by bike retailers. Sadly, the opposite locations we checked turned out to be native retailers that bought classic bikes, whereas one other required deposits that price the worth of the bike and closed early at 7:00 p.m.

Whereas looking out round for locations to go close by, we chanced upon Neu, a hidden Rescue Cat and Vegan Cafe in a secluded residential space close to the bike rental store, so we determined to test it out. Apparently, all of the cats at Neu are initially strays or deserted by house owners.

The cafe goals to assist them discover loving new house owners. Taking part in with cats for 1 hour prices ¥1,500 per individual. It was a calming hour and cash properly spent to assist the worthy trigger and to be within the presence of such pretty and pleasant creatures. Beats being round different individuals.

Once we bought again to the bike store, fortunately the proprietor had returned and bikes had been obtainable to hire once more. Although it was getting darkish, we determined to hire bikes for a few hours for an evening journey to close by parks. 

We biked alongside the cycle paths of Sakuranomiya Park, which stretches over 4 kilometers alongside the Ogawa River. The banks of this park are lined with cherry bushes and locals often flock right here throughout spring for picnics and nature walks. Alongside the best way, we stopped at Sakuranomiya Seaside, which has a sandy beachfront space. We encountered some locals enjoying volleyball on the seaside, joggers, and staff on their approach house, however no different vacationers.

We simply adopted the cycle path till we reached a brief uphill climb to Yodogawa River Park, which affords a view of the Yodo River. By this time, it was getting darkish (and we had an early day forward of us), so we determined to show again and go a unique route biking again.

It felt fairly secure biking right here the entire time even alongside the darker alleys and busy highways, although on reflection the riverside route was sooner as a result of we didn’t must hold stopping for site visitors lights. After returning the bikes, we capped our journey with heaping bowls of Tonkotsu Ramen at a ramen store close to the lodge. 

For non-bikers, the rides we did round Osaka may appear nondescript and strange. When it comes to distance, they had been neither epic nor difficult due to the primarily flat route. With no actual plan, we discovered ourselves doing what we’d usually do on a weekend journey round our personal neighborhood—only a easy journey round parks to benefit from the inexperienced areas, consuming out, getting groceries, and having fun with a beer or two.

Whereas we didn’t have time to spare for longer rides, having the ability to squeeze in some biking in between the sightseeing excursions and visiting a crowded amusement park felt like a mini-vacation inside the Japan trip. It felt good to discover and uncover locations for ourselves (irrespective of how strange) with out actually following an itinerary. Biking round Osaka felt much less tiring than strolling and fewer complicated to navigate in comparison with the intensive practice system.

The brief rides round Osaka gave us only a style of Japan’s wonderful bike tradition and infrastructure. I wouldn’t thoughts biking longer in different components of Japan the following time we journey there. 

The place to hire bicycles in Osaka:

We rented bicycles from Uemachi Bicycle Rental service. The store is positioned close to the Matsuyamachi Station or Tanimachi 6-chome Station.

Different bikeshare techniques in Osaka you may take into account embody HUBchari Bicycle Rental, Docomo Bike Share, Whats up Biking, and LUUP (e-scooters and e-bikes).

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