Robin McKelvie spends a weekend in Osaka, Japan, and enjoys the city’s famous food scene and its rich history
Check into the Grasmere (rooms from £105, www.hotelmonterey.co.jp/grasmere_osaka), a tower hotel with sweeping views of the city and free wifi that makes an ideal base with the airport express and subway below.
Enjoy your first taste of Osaka’s famous food scene. Try the local comfort food okonomiyaki, a sort of cabbage omelette laden with extras and thick sweet and creamy sauces. It’s much better than it sounds.
The Osaka International Peace Center (www.peace-osaka.or.jp) is an essential stop to learn about Japan – and specifically – Osaka’s experiences during the Second World War.
Back out on to the streets now for what Osaka does best – food. Try takoyaki, an Osaka specialty of little wheat balls filled with octopus and smothered in sauce.
Explore the canal side Dotonbori district to discover the city’s pulsating nightlife with its many bars, clubs, restaurants and shops.
Learn about the roots of this ultra-modern city at Osaka Castle (www.osakacastle.net). Hike to the top of the reconstructed castle for epic views.
Catch a ferry from Osaka Castle to Dotonbori to find out more about the waterways of this sprawling port city.
Head to the thriving Kuromon Ichiba Market (http://kuromon.com/en.php). At the many food stalls, you can savour melt in the mouth Kobe beef and the notorious puffer fish, if you dare.
Osaka is famous for its shopping so lose yourself in its malls, markets and frenetic streets for a while. Take a break in a surreal Japanese pop-themed cos play café such as 2.5 Base (http://big-step.co.jp/shop/detail/57).
Experience the more refined side of Osaka dining by settling into the slick delights of Kaiseki Tama (www.facebook.com/kaisekitamaosaka#_=_), where a gastronomic feast awaits.
If you love flowers Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park is a must. It is home to myriad species from around the world.
• Etihad (www.etihad.com) fly from Edinburgh to Tokyo via Abu Dhabi from £563.49 return.