Osaka

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Osaka Money-Saving Tips

Entry regulations

As of November 20, 2007, foreign nationals are required to be fingerprinted and photographed at Immigration Control upon entry into Japan.

Language

Learning a foreign language is always tough, but learning a language you can’t even read to sound out can seem impossible. Luckily, Osakans are very kind to foreigners and Osaka is one of the easiest cities to navigate thanks to plenty of signage in Roman characters and in English.

Addresses

Rather than using street names and numbers, Japanese cities are divided into ku, ku into areas, areas into chome, chome into blocks. It’s confusing to the Japanese, too, so ask your hotel concierge to write addresses in Japanese. You can show it to your taxi driver if you need help finding an address.

Koban

Small police stations, or police boxes, can be found throughout the city. Look for the red lights and uniformed officers, who can help with lost items, or other problems, and have detailed maps of the local area to help you pinpoint an address.

Subways and taxis

Osaka’s extensive, color-coded subway system is clean, efficient, and easy to use. Fares start at $1.65 and maps can be had at any subway ticket window. Like elsewhere in Japan, taxis are ubiquitous.

Safety

Osaka, like the rest of Japan, is very safe. You’re required to carry your passport at all times, so make a copy to keep in your hotel room, and keep the real thing securely out of sight.

Families

Japan is one of the safest and best places to travel with children. The Japanese love and tolerate children and most tourist spots and hotels offer kid discounts. One caveat: avoid crowded spaces, like most stations during rush hour.

Travelers with special needs

An aging Japanese population means wider access for wheelchairs. Osaka has a policy to develop “barrier free” access to major attractions and sites. Train stations, the Imperial Hotel, and Universal Studios Japan are handicapped accessible, but crowds and a lack of facilities will restrict those with disabilities.

Packing

Less is best as everything is smaller in Japan, public transport has little space for baggage, and toiletries, towels and yukata (cotton kimono sleepwear) are dispensed in hotels and inns. Do pack any medications as they may not be available in Japan.

Tourist information in Osaka

English-speaking agents at tourist offices distribute maps, answer questions, provide discount ticket information, and make hotel reservations. You can find them in Namba (011-81-6-6211-3551), at Kansai International Airport (011-81-72-456-6025), at Shin Osaka Station (011-81-6-6305-3311), and at Osaka Station (011-81-6-6345-2189).

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