Japan’s third-largest city is known for its distinctive food and drink culture as well as a rich sense of history and plenty of shopping opportunities.
The city may lie only 250 miles west of the Japanese capital, Tokyo — just three hours by Shinkansen bullet train — but Osaka exudes a completely different feel. As a large port and commercial center, it has long served as a gateway to southern Japan and is known as the “nation’s kitchen” thanks to its historic importance in the rice trade. It’s also the culinary capital of Japan, with a massive tradition of eating out. Make sure you try the famous takoyaki, a kind of octopus dumpling topped with tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion. You can see the best the city has to offer on a foodie tour, where a local guide will take you around Osaka’s hidden spots. No matter how strong your Google skills, you just wouldn’t find some of these back-alley establishments yourself, so it’s well worth the price. Check out tour operators Backstreet Osaka Tours, City Unscripted Osaka and Taste Osaka.
Osaka is also known for shopping, particularly American vintage fashion, so much so an entire neighborhood takes its name from the plethora of stores found there. Amerika Mura, or Amemura, proves a great place to spend time wandering around. You won’t need a guide here as there is more than enough to keep you busy for an afternoon by yourself. It’s central, too, so you may consider staying in one of the many hotels in the area. If you’d rather enjoy some Japanese retail therapy, check out stores from local brands such as United Arrows, Beams and Edwin.
Another option: Take a trip to the 16th-century Osaka Castle, one of the most famous landmarks in Japan. If you want to take a quick spin, opt for a self-guided tour, but those with an interest in history will benefit from a private guided tour. Sports fans visiting during the baseball season can take in a Hanshin Tigers game at Hanshin Koshien Stadium. Just don’t get overexcited and jump off Ebisu Bridge into the Doton- bori Canal, as some fans have been known to do after their team wins.
There may not be snow in Los Angeles this season, but Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is certainly full of the holiday spirit, with Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s events happening in the hotel’s gorgeous event spaces.
Whether it's the people, the craic (fun) or the coasts, travelers always find something to love about the island of Ireland. What fills your heart?
Embracing a life well lived often means embracing a life well-traveled. Every journey becomes a canvas for experiences that shape our lives and at the heart of every adventure lies the indispensable companion: quality luggage.
Everyone loves a good Christmas tree, but these iconic hotels around the world take it one step further with designer-styled trees illuminating lobbies and public spaces, wowing all who enter. From Lela Rose to Louis Vuitton, don’t miss these ultra-luxury trees redefining tree decorating as we know it.
In addition to intimate settings, smaller staff-to-passenger ratios, and personalized food and beverage options, river cruises have the advantage of providing a deeper dive into a region’s culture, food and history. The Rhine, Rhône and Danube in Europe and the Mississippi River and St. Lawrence in North America have much to offer travelers with their itineraries, tying together beloved cities and lesser-known destinations along their routes.
With the holidays right around the corner, travelers are preparing for holiday travels. For those looking for a last-minute getaway filled with holiday cheer, consider Croatia. With a variety of winter activities perfect for travelers and locals alike, the Christmas countdown in Croatia is in full swing. Leading up to Christmas, Advent in Croatia makes it even more worth your while to visit the country with free winter incentives. If you plan on visiting Croatia, here are five cities going all out for the holiday season: