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Taking candy from strangers!
It’s an Osaka thing & so is Pine Ame
There’s one candy in particular you need to know when you’re in Osaka—Pine Ame! Anyone who grew up in Osaka will instantly recognize these pineapple flavored candies. And when you look closely at the shape of these bright yellow candies, they will instantly remind you of pineapple slices. Right down to the ridges, they are so realistic-looking and cute. pine ame, popular Japanese candy from Osaka


◎Candy communication

The origins of candy, run pretty deep, with evidence that it already existed during the Nara period (710–794). In the Edo period (1603–1868), Osaka became known as the Nation’s Kitchen because so much foodstuff, including sugar, was traded through Osaka. Therefore candy manufacturers here were able to procure the raw materials they needed quickly and candy-making flourished. It’s also interesting to note that candy is called ame-chan in Osaka. That endearing “chan” suffix makes it sound like candy is a near and dear close friend. It’s great for striking up a conversation, restaurants offer them at the end of a meal to freshen up your mouth, and taxi drivers pass them out to customers. It goes without saying that chatty Osaka people love to use it as a communication tool.

◎Osaka ladies—the obachan

There’s a well-known stereotype about older women, also called obachan, in Osaka—and really Kansai as a whole—that they carry candy around with them. And they frequently offer it to strangers. Some people say they always have candy to use it as a lozenge, others say it's a valuable communication tool because they like chatting up people in the park and at the station. Either way, it’s true. One survey conducted in Osaka found that about 60 of 100 women were carrying candy with them. You can buy a whole bag at the ¥100 store so they’re pretty ubiquitous and easy to carry in your bag or pocket. How many women carry candy in Osaka graph And among all the different candies and flavors, Pine Ame remains a crowd favorite. Not just the ladies, but young people all across Japan love Pine Ame. They’re sweet, but tart, and oh so delicious!

◎Let me introduce you to Pine Ame-kun!

Osaka Bob illustration with Pine Ame candy This cute character is one of Osaka Bob’s friends and another local mascot. He’s been featured on our social media accounts before. But he’s been around much longer than Osaka Bob. Pine Ame has actually been on the market for over 70 years! The packaging design has changed over time. It’s pretty interesting to see the evolution of this famous candy. [caption id="attachment_7638" align="aligncenter" width="800"]History of design for Pine Ame candies The evolution of Pine Ame candy[/caption] Pine Ame is made by a company right here in Osaka. Their corporate headquarters are in Tennoji and the company name is actually Pine Co., LTD. How cute!

◎Over-performing on social media

Pine Ame twitter account Pine Ame-kun has a strong presence on social media and sends out interesting posts on a daily basis. Just look at their twitter profile. This candy maker has over 150,000 followers. Don’t let the spelling fool you... Their handle really is @pain_ame, not because it’s a painful candy, but phonetically transcribing the Japanese characters turns pine into pain. This is not a typo! Twitter @pain_ame

◎And that’s not all!

The Pine Ame flavor is so popular, it has inspired so many other products that use the same design, flavor, or aroma profile. From ice cream to cocktails to bubble bath, there really is a huge lineup. There are even Pine Ame socks! Japanese candy, Pine Ame product selection [caption id="attachment_7638" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Fueki-kun and Pine Ame collaborationCollaboration between Fueki & Pine Ame[/caption] 〈(Product details here) Pine Ame products are usually bright yellow and they smell great. Use the link above to browse the selection of Pine Ame products available. Did I mention they make a Pine Ame dish soap?

◎August 8th is Pine Ame Day!

Summer is such a great time to get a little pineapple flavor, but that’s not the only reason Pine Ame Day is in August. Apparently this 8/8 is Pine Ame’s anniversary. That and the date has 4 circles, so that is essentially 4 pieces of Pine Ame lined up in number formation. Easy to remember, isn’t it? They also have this slogan that they used in the ’50’s that says something like “When you look through a pine ame candy, what you see on the other side is the future.” That really gets me every time. Today, and tomorrow, and for the last 70 years, Pine Ame has been delivering juicy flavor and a little pep to mouths all over the country. Japanese pineapple candy from Osaka, Pine Ame ▼If you enjoyed this article, read more
Osaka trivia【OSAKA TRIVIA】One of Japan’s most unique places, Osaka has plenty of interesting trivia

2021.06.08Likes 10

A day with the Osaka e-Pass!
Save time and money on your trip[PR]
Osaka is full of fun places to visit! What’s your favorite? Osaka Castle? Tennoji? Cruising Osaka Bay on the Santa Maria and visiting Shitennoji Temple are at the tippy top of the list! But wouldn’t it be great if you could visit all of Osaka’s most popular attractions? Yes, yes it would. And that is why I’ll be introducing you to the Osaka e-Pass today. Let’s see what it can do.

■What is the Osaka e-Pass?

This one QR code will get you free admission to over 20 of Osaka’s best attractions like the Umeda Sky Building Observatory and the Aqualiner cruise boat. The passes are offered in two types, the 1-day pass for ¥2,000 and the 2-day pass for ¥2,500. Of course the amount of savings you earn depends on the admission fees at each establishment. But if you visit a few different places, you will definitely save big! And you won’t need to go through the hassle of buying tickets. Getting in with the pass is so quick and easy. Have you ever heard of the Osaka Amazing Pass? That’s another tourist pass, which has a few similarities, and a few differences. Let’s take a closer look. Osaka Amazing Pass and Osaka e-Pass difference osaka e-pass ticket >Osaka e-Pass website There are some differences in the pricing, admission fees, and participating establishments, but the biggest difference is the transportation charges. The Osaka Amazing Pass allowed you to ride on the Osaka Metro and other train lines for free, but the Osaka e-Pass does not include a transportation pass. And another thing, you can buy the e-Pass online. Please keep in mind that neither of the passes offer a discounted children’s price.

■How do you buy an Osaka e-Pass?

Because the pass is available online, you can buy it anytime from anywhere, even on your smartphone. Here are 3 sites where you can purchase the pass. ・DeepExperienceKlookKKday All of them process online payments and depending on which site you use, you will be able to make your purchase by credit card or other electronic payment services. First, you choose which day you would like to use your pass. (The date may be changed after making your purchase.) How to purchase an Osaka e-Pass purchasing Osaka e-Pass Then enter the number of passes you will purchase. How to purchase the Osaka e-Pass You will need to enter account details, your payment method, and contact information. It’s similar to what you would expect from any online purchase. It takes a few minutes, but it’s easy. After you register your info, you will receive a notification of your purchase. And that’s it!

■Admission is buttery smooth...

Once you’ve come this far, you’re ready to go! I decided to stop at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living first. It seemed like the right place to start my journey in Osaka. And so, all you have to do to get into the museum is display the ticket screen. Osaka e-Pass screen On the top right, there is a QR code, which you show at the reception. The staff uses a special machine to scan the code. scanning the Osaka e-Pass QR code This is all you have to do! It’s so easy! Now, it’s time to take in the museum. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the city. Osaka Museum of Housing and Living entrance Currently, part of the museum is under construction so some of the displays are closed. However, it is scheduled to fully reopen by fall 2022. It’s a bit of a shame that I can’t show you all the museum has to offer, but there is still a lot to see on the 8th floor. When you walk into the exhibition, a huge map of Osaka from 1924 sprawls beneath your feet. Osaka City map at Osaka Museum of Housing and Living It does feel a little strange to walk on top of a map of the city. Unusual and fun! And on the periphery, showcases display elaborate models of the town and buildings. I was really impressed with the model of the original Tsutenkaku Tower and the amusement park that surrounded it. I didn’t know that area used to have an amusement park! model of original Tsutenkaku and Luna Park at Osaka Museum of Housing and Living There’s also a model of the famous tea room Sa-an at Gyokurinin Temple. It is so incredibly detailed and surprisingly big too. Gyokurinin Temple's Sa-an tearoom model on display at Osaka Museum of Housing and Living Gyokurinin Temple's Sa-an tearoom model on display at Osaka Museum of Housing and Living When the construction at the museum is complete, I hope to visit again. It should be finished by fall of 2022.

■Osaka’s iconic Tsutenkaku & cruising the Aquametropolis!

Next up, Tsutenkaku! (Since I saw the model at the museum, it seemed only fitting to go there next.) Tsutenkaku is a symbol of the city from the past and present. It’s one of those must-see sightseeing spots. The surrounding neighborhood, Shinsekai, is the heart of Osaka’s soul-food scene with rows of restaurants serving grilled organ meats (horumon) and fried skewers (kushikatsu) Looking up at Tsutenkaku Tower Before you go up, you have to go down! The entrance to Tsutenkaku is actually located in the basement. Tsutenkaku Tower entrance This is another establishment where admission is easy. You simply show your smartphone to the staff. Using the Osaka e-Pass at Tsutenkaku Then you take the elevator up to the observation deck 87.5 meters (287 feet) aboveground. When you step out, you’ll see Billiken. Go ahead and rub his feet for good luck! Well, actually pre-Covid you could touch his feet, now think of it as an “air rub” like playing air guitar. コロナ禍では通天閣のビリケンさんとエアータッチ 通天閣の展望台 Walk around the observation deck for views of all directions. It’s really close to Abeno Harukas, so peek out the southeast window for a nice photo of Japan’s tallest building. View of Abeno Harukas from Tsutenkaku I decided to pay extra to go on the outdoor observation deck TIP THE TSUTENKAKU. It isn’t included in the e-Pass, but I figured it was worth a few extra yen to climb out on the 92.5 meter (303 feet) tall see-through deck. It definitely was! TIP THE TSUTENKAKU observation deck And here is Tsutenkaku’s rooftop garden. Most people overlook it, but there is actually a garden on the 3rd floor of the tower. Tsutenkaku tower garden Pop in for a look at the Japanese style garden when you’re here! After a nice lunch in Shinsekai, I headed over to Osaka Castle Park. The Aqualiner cruise boat departs from a small dock inside the park. Aqualiner river cruise in Osaka The Osaka Castle Pier is located on the north side of the castle, just beyond the cafes and restaurants at Jo Osaka Terrace. Get your tickets from the reception desk by simply showing your QR code. Aqualiner river cruise ticket And that’s it. Now we’re ready to board! boarding the Aqualiner boat at Osaka Castle Aqualiner boat interior The boat is beautiful inside. You’re so close to the water and the boat is completely covered with windows. Look out over the city and view famous landmarks like Osaka Castle and Osaka City Public Hall from the water. This is what it must be like for all the ducks! And, the boat is climate-controlled, so it will be a comfortable cruise whenever you visit. This is a great way to explore Aquametropolis Osaka. view of Osaka Castle from Aqualiner cruise boat The pass will also get you admission to the Osaka Castle Museum and the Gozabune cruise around the castle moat. But I chose this longer river cruise today. Oh, and there’s one more place I wanted to visit!

■Osaka’s kita area landmark and ninja training!

There’s one place that I’ve always wanted to go—the Ninja Information Center (on the 8th floor of Edion in Namba). Approved by the one and only Japan Ninja Council before opening, this is the real deal. Ninja Information Center entrance I won’t go into too many details and spoil all the fun, but here is a glimpse of the ninja experiences waiting for you here. Children and those young at heart will love solving mysteries and finding the scrolls hidden in the ninja house. There is a time-limit so you have to work fast! Ninja Information Center solving the riddle And you can practice throwing ninja stars. ninja experience, throwing ninja stars in Osaka It’s harder than it looks🤨 I started the day with the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, moved on to Tsutenkaku and then cruised the city’s rivers on the Aqualiner before exploring the Ninja Information Center. That’s 4 so far, but how about one more? I headed up to Umeda for a whirl on the HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel. HEP FIVE's red ferris wheel in Osaka It’s another one of Osaka’s famous landmarks, and the bright red wheel visible from most parts of Umeda. scenery from HEP FIVE ferris wheel in Osaka HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel sunset There’s nothing like riding a Ferris wheel right in the middle of a city. You get great views of Osaka Station and the city skyscrapers. Plus, you can see as far as Mt. Ikoma off in the distance. The station was perfectly backlit by the sunset when I visited. It’s nice all day, but dusk is particularly beautiful.

■Saving ¥2,500 & a few more tips

Here is the course I took in detail with the amount I saved in parentheses.

●Depart from Umeda

↓(Higashi-Umeda Station to Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station via the Osaka Metro)

●Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (¥400)

↓(Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station to Ebisucho Station via the Osaka Metro)

●Tsutenkaku (¥900)

↓(Shin-Imamiya Station to Ōsakajōkōen Station via the JR Osaka Loop Line)

●Aqualiner (¥1,600)

↓(Osaka Business Park Station to Namba Station via the Osaka Metro)

●Ninja Information Center (¥ 1,000)

↓(Namba Station to Umeda Station via the Osaka Metro)

●HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel (¥600)

Combined the admission to these establishments would have totaled ¥4,500.
But with the one-day Osaka e-Pass for ¥2,000 I saved ¥2,500. If you plan your trip well, you could visit even more places and save more. The other thing I loved about the pass was being able to skip purchasing a ticket at each establishment. It was so easy to display my QR code and go right in. There are a few things you’ll want to be aware of before you get your pass.
  1. The Osaka e-Pass is only valid until the closing time of each establishment on the day you use it. It is not a full 24 hours.
  2. The pass can only be used at each establishment once. No matter how much you enjoyed it, you won’t be able to ride twice or re-enter the same facility again.
  3. Transportation fees are not included in the pass. So you will have to pay train and bus fares separately.
For more detailed information, including business hours and closing days for each facility, please refer to the official Osaka e-Pass website. Tour Osaka’s Sightseeing Spots with the Osaka e-Pass 1-Day Pass

2021.11.17Likes 11

Sightseeing on 2 wheels! Experience Osaka with a bicycle from ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN[PR] Maido! Osaka Bob here.
Lots of things have changed since the beginning of Covid, and one of the big changes is related to cycling. I’ve noticed a lot more people on two wheels, people who want to avoid the crowded rush-hour trains and people who are looking for a more healthy lifestyle. It seems like there are a lot more stylish bikes out there too. So I wanted to take a little dive into the Osaka cycling scene. I visited 「Road Bike Rental Japan」 to see what’s going on.

■Nice wheels!

First let’s take a look at some of the road bikes you can rent from Road Bike Rental Japan. They’re perfect for riding long distances. Osaka road bike rental On Japanese streets you’ll see a lot of what are called “Mama-chari,” essentially utility bicycles often equipped with child seats and baskets. These can weigh up to 20kg! But the road bike, the beautiful road bike, weighs in at about 6–10kg. Materials like aluminum, chromoly, and titanium keep them nice and light, and smooth to ride. Osaka Road Bike Rental Japan See! They’re so easy to pick up! They’re light to pedal and of course, these bikes have a few gears on them so you can adjust your setting to match the road conditions. This is a great way to explore the city. And if you're interested in buying a road bike, but want to try riding one firsttry renting one first.

■Easy road bike rental for beginners!

Road Bike Rental Japan is conveniently located near Sakuranomiya Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line. It’s just a 2 minute walk! You might already be familiar with the neighborhood because it’s a hugely popular cherry-blossom viewing spot. ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN, Osaka ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN, Osaka Here are all their beautiful bikes! There’s a lot to choose from! The owner, Gareth, hails from the UK. He began backpacking after graduating from university his adventurous spirit led him on tours of South America, Asia and Australia. He’s a really nice guy, so feel free to ask him anything you’re curious about. ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN owner When he arrived in Japan he had plans to continue his travels, but he liked it so much here that he decided to stay. While working as an English teacher he had the chance to tour Japan on his road bike and saw many of the beautiful sights Japan has to offer. A strong desire to share the joys of cycling in Japan with locals and tourists alike inspired him to open a bicycle rental business. Let’s see what we can see after renting a bike from his shop. First, you want to make sure you have a bike that fits you. If the bike is too big or too small for you, you won’t be able to pedal smoothly. So we’re looking for bikes that are the right size and then do some fine adjustments with the seat to get it at the perfect height. road bike seat adjustment Afterwards, Gareth shared some basic rules about shifting gears. This is important when you’re climbing a hill, so listen carefully! lecture on how to ride road bikes There were a few other minor preparations before we left, which might be difficult for a beginner cyclist. Fortunately, we had Gareth there to help us at every step of the way. The bike comes equipped with a helmet, bottle cage, light, lock, saddle bag, spare tube, pump, and a multi-tool. That means all you have to worry about is wearing comfortable clothes and bringing a drink. I brought two friends along this was their first time riding a road bike. ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN, first-time riders ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN, ride experience So that’s it! Helmets on and we’re off.

■Cycling in Osaka on a road bike

Right in front of Road Bike Rental Japan is one of Osaka’s best cycle paths, in Kema Sakuranomiya Park. The weather was beautiful and we got to ride through the lush riverside park. cycling in Osaka on a riverside bike path Since the terrain is relatively flat, it was easy riding. And this was a good place to practice all the gear-changing that Gareth taught us about. Riding along the river, we could really unwind. first-time cycling in Osaka We headed over to Sakuranomiya Bridge aka Ginbashi (Silver Bridge), as it’s known for its silver color. The breeze feels so good when you’re on the river and we loved how light and easy it was to pedal the road bikes. On the west bank of the river we found a brick building with a spiral staircase. This is the kind of thing you notice when you’re on a bike. brick building in Osaka & rental bikes We would have sped right by without giving it a second glance if we’d been in a car. And I doubt we would have walked this far on foot. This must be the joy of cycling Gareth was talking about. Next we passed in front of the Japan Mint and Tenmabashi Bridge. Then we headed to Osaka Castle. This is a little known spot that has beautiful sunsets. There are people who wake up early on New Year’s Day to see the first sunrise here. The sun comes up between the castle tower and Osaka Business Park. view of Osaka Castle on rental bikes Heading towards Osaka Castle, we crossed another bridge. Osaka is really easy to cycle because it’s so flat, except for the bridges. They take a little effort to get up, but these road bikes are really easy to ride. Way faster than the mama-chari’s my friends are used to. The other nice thing about being on a bike, is that even if you make a wrong turn, you can make up the distance quickly. It’s hard to put into words, but riding around around is so relaxing. All three of us were carefree cruising on our road bikes. And then we arrived at the castle. Kyobashi-guchi gate at Osaka Castle Osaka Castle Park has amazing stone walls. Just look how big these are. Absolutely massive! This is the Kyobashi-guchi Gate on the northwest side of the castle. The rock known as Higoishi is 33 times the size of a tatami mat. Riding bikes on the castle grounds is fun too! exploring Osaka Castle on bicycle We got up close to the tower for a shot with the castle. Cheese! Then we stopped for a much needed break. Not that we were tired of riding, just that we wanted to stop and rehydrate. Make sure you take breaks and drink enough fluid while you’re cycling. Especially if it’s hot out! exploring Osaka Castle on bicycle The park is huge so there is a lot to explore. 大阪でロードバイク体験 Then we went through the impressive Aoyamon Gate. cycling in Osaka on rental bikes Osaka Castle Park is great for cycling because the paths are wide and there are no cars. The long course around the castle is about 3.5km. We stopped at the nearby YTV building to take a picture with the Detective Conan statue and then headed back to the river. It was so much fun to visit so many places by bicycle. cycling in Osaka on rental bikes When you’re on a bike, Osaka doesn’t feel that big at all, especially if it’s a road bike. This is a great way to cover a lot of ground sightseeing. We headed back to Road Bike Rental Japan. I have to say, I was a little worried we would get tired on our trip, but it was way easier on the legs than I had imagined. And Gareth was waiting for us when we got back to the shop. cycling in Osaka on bikes from Road Bike Rental Japan

■Rental, bike-wash, and maintenance!

Reserve your bike rental on the Road Bike Rental Japan website. Osaka bicycle rental, ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN reservation website Official website▶ Reservations are easy to make and the site includes all you need to know about preparing for your ride, rental hours, payment methods, and everything else on the FAQ section. Look here to find out more! ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN FAQs After you make a reservation, just show up at the shop on the day you booked. From there, it should go as smoothly as I described above. Oh, and there is one more very special thing about RBRJ! The


After our ride, we got ourselves a well-deserved treat. [caption id="attachment_12020" align="alignleft" width="800"]homemade waffles at ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN's cycle cafe▲Road Bike Rental Japan homemade waffles[/caption] This hit the spot after a day of cycling. The cafe is a great place to grab a coffee before you head out too! [caption id="attachment_12020" align="alignleft" width="800"]souvenir coffee cups from ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN▲Road Bike Rental Japan coffee mugs[/caption] These are the cutest!♥

Bike-wash time!

bike-wash and bicycle cleaning at ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN The best way to keep your road bike looking good for a long time is to put the time in to care for it properly. If you have your own bike, stop in for a wash or borrow their equipment for ¥100/10 min. What a nice service for local bike enthusiasts. They’ve even got a DIY bike maintenance studio, so feel free to pop in and work on your own bike.

■Here’s why we loved our outing with Road Bike Rental Japan!

To sum up, here is why we enjoyed our time on Road Bike Rental Japan bikes so much!

Road Bike features:

cycling riverside in Osaka, Japan
  1. Exercise is good for you!
  2. Easy to ride with out getting tired!
  3. The wind in our hair feels so good!
  4. Easy to visit many sightseeing spots!
  5. Stress-free activity!
cycling experience in Osaka, ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN

Why we love Road Bike Rental Japan:

road bike helmets at Road Bike Rental Japan
  1. You can easily rent a nice road bike!
  2. The bikes are well-equipped!
  3. The rental includes everything you need. Just wear comfortable clothes and bring a drink!
  4. The location is great, a short walk from JR Sakuranomiya Station!
  5. Explanations are included & road-bike beginners are welcomed!
ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN The owner, Gareth was so kind and friendly. He have us advice on our route before we left. He recommends a trip out of the city to Arashiyama in Kyoto, or Katsuoji Temple in Minoh. A trip outside of the city to breath fresh air and take in new scenery is so refreshing. He told us 
“That’s the best medicine for the stress that we carry with us in our busy day-to-day lives.” Our ride convinced me. I think he’s right! A group ride with friends is a great way to share some fun time together. Solo riding gives you a chance to make time for yourself. A bike adventure really is so freeing. Try it! Explore Osaka on a bike from Road Bike Rental Japan. ROAD BIKE RENTAL JAPAN Start your adventure here! ▼Enjoy this article? Read more!
大阪バイクシェアI’m walking on sunsets! A trip through Yuhigaoka

2022.04.28Likes 7


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