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Dotonbori (or Dotombori) is my favorite neighborhood in Osaka, Japan, and if I were to go there again, I’d probably find an Airbnb in the Namba district. Yes, it’s super touristy, but there’s so much to see (from the Dotonbori canal to the Gilco billboard) and so many yummy things to eat. 

If you’re visiting Osaka, you have to eat takoyaki and okonomiyaki. You can eat takoyaki anywhere on the street that looks fresh; I go anywhere there are a lot of people waiting and/or eating. My favorite okonomiyaki is from Ajinoya (味乃家). It’s quite a wait, and actually I was turned away twice because I didn’t get there early enough before closing. Once I ate it, I knew it was worth the wait and I still think about how fun and delicious that meal was that day.

7

You can’t forget to go to Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) if you’re in Kyoto, Japan. The temple at the base of the hill is brightly-colored and bold, but the real highlight is the walk up the mountain through the gates. The walk will take you about 2-hours but offers a great view of Kyoto from the top. It’ll be crowded at first, but crowds will thin as you continue to walk.

Make sure you wear your walking shoes. Bringing water and mosquito repellent will make it a much more pleasant experience.

The shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station or a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line. It’s always open.