Famous for its Bunraku puppet show and foods like Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki, Osaka is definitely a must-visit destination for every tourist going to Japan.
However Osaka is not just about shows, culinary adventures, or shopping. You can also go sightseeing on a ship around the city's bay area.
The ship is similar to the one Columbus (the man who found America) used, but twice as big. In the centre of the ship stood a Columbus statue, making me wonder what Columbus did when he was sailing his ship.
This ship is named Santa Maria and cruises through Osaka Bay, starting from Tempozan Harbour Village. Cruises come in two types: a day cruise and a night cruise. The day cruise is open from 11:00-17:00 and doesn't require any reservations, while the night cruise starts at 19:00 and requires a reservation.
Day cruises last 45 minutes and cost ¥1,600, whereas the night cruise lasts 90 minutes and costs ¥2,650. There is only one Santa Maria Cruise ship, and it sails every hour. If you arrive 15 minutes before the ship is sets sail, you can better guarantee your spot on the following cruise.
I tried the day cruise. Cruising through Osaka bay for 45 minutes felt like a minute. The view was amazing even in the heat of the sunshine. The Tempozan Ferris Wheel looked so beautiful when we sailed further away from the Tempozan Village Port area. The anchored transport and container ships also make it a unique experience, as it's not everyday you can witness such views. Osaka is known for being the trade and industrial city in west Japan, so missing this kind of view would be unfortunate.
What else could you see during the cruise? Giant bridges standing through Osaka Bay, passing vehicles, Universal Studios Japan, and the skyscrapers – it all makes for an epic Osaka Bay experience!
You can't really miss Santa Maria cruise during your visit to Osaka. If you don't like to sail during the daylight, you could always try the night cruise and experience the spectacular and romantic lighting around the bay that the evening promises.