#1. Osaka vs Tokyo – Dialect
It is the first thing you notice the difference. People live in Kansai area, Osaka and other prefectures in Kinki district, have unique dialect, so you may be confused by the difference of Japanese from the one you learned. If you like Japanese comedy show, you may be accustomed to Kansai dialect since a lot of comedians are from Kansai area and use Kansai dialect.
Kansai dialect may sounds a little aggressive, but people are really friendly and kind. They talk to anyone and they don’t care whether the person is acquaintance or stranger. You may instantly become friend with people in Osaka. For example, people in Osaka never ignore a person in lost and talked to him/her to help. They are open-minded, sociable, and humorous. However, people in Osaka are short-tempered and easily get angry if they can’t get dish within 5 minutes at restaurant. Moreover, people in Osaka speak loud relatively in comparison with people in Tokyo. The lively atmosphere is created by people in Osaka. On the other hand, people in Tokyo are always busy and have no time to care others. They don’t complain even if they have to wait for long time at restaurant. They seem to be a little cold-hearted because they are not interested in foreigners as they are seen frequently in Tokyo.
#2. Osaka vs Tokyo – Road
The roads from North to South are called “Suji (筋)” and ones across from East and West are called “Tori (通)” in Osaka, so it is easy to recognize the direction where you are going with just hearing the road’s name.
Mostly, one-way road is narrow in Tokyo, but even wide road can be one-way in Osaka.
It is common for cars to stop when the traffic light turns yellow in Tokyo, but people in Osaka speed up their cars.
Traffic jams can be seen in Tokyo all the time, but it is not so frequent in Osaka. However, on the dates of bill collection which are the 5, 10th, 20th, 25th and the end of the month are relatively crowded because company people directly visit payers to collect money as Osaka is the merchant city and put importance on face-to-face communication.
You will see a lot of bicycles in Osaka in comparison with Tokyo as most roads in Osaka are flat. You should be careful when you walk in the pavement or drive a car because bicycle appears throughout the area.
#3. Osaka vs Tokyo – JR Train
Frequency of trains in Tokyo is high, so you don’t have to worry about missing train. The number of trains is not so many in Osaka in comparison with Tokyo.
JR trains of Tokyo exactly stop at riding position, but they hardly stop at exact position in the case of JR Osaka station.
There are a lot of escalators at stations in Osaka, too. People stand left side for people in a hurry to be able to overtake in Tokyo, but it is opposite in Osaka; people stand right side to ensure the space to let other people pass by. This difference of manner can be seen at not only stations, but also other places.
#4. Osaka vs Tokyo – Shop
In Osaka you may be able to discount by negotiation. People in Tokyo and other areas in Japan never do discount negotiation, but it is possible in Kansai area. Then, shop clerks in Osaka count changes twice to make sure there is no mistake with the amount. Those behaviors, discount negotiation and careful money counting result from the fact that Osaka used to be a city of merchants. In addition, your shop clerk may say “benkyo-suru (which means to study)” when they discount. It is a kind of unique frequently used phrase in Kansai area that you should remember before you go shopping.
At some sightseeing spots, you will find a lot of large and three-dimensional signboards. As mentioned above, Osaka is a city of merchant and shop owners consider how they make their shops noticeable and noteworthy. If the three-dimensional signboards are highlighted, customers may be interested in and enhance their attraction effect. Therefore, a lot of shops in Osaka put up interesting signboards such as moving crab of Kani-Doraku at Dotonbori. No matter whether you come to restaurant or shop, it is fun to look around signboards in Osaka.
#5. Osaka vs Tokyo – Restaurant
People in Tokyo put importance on stylishness and rank of the restaurant, but people in Osaka focus on the taste and inexpensive price. The historical buildings are used as restaurants in Osaka and you may find old signboard there. Old shopping street exists each district in Osaka. People in Osaka are particular about food, so they don’t go the restaurant serving dishes which are not delicious even if the restaurant is inexpensive.
#6. Osaka vs Tokyo – Takoyaki Pan
Takoyaki which means octopus dumpling is one of the representative foods in Osaka. People in Osaka often cook takoyaki by themselves at home, so each home has special takoyaki pan, casting iron with hemispherical moulds. There is a rumor that Osaka’s diffusion ration of the takoyaki pan is almost 100 percent.
Hope you understand how the atmosphere of Tokyo and Osaka are different. Tokyo is stylish and cool urban city and Osaka is friendly and cheerful city. Both cities are attractive with different attractiveness. It must be interesting to visit both cities and feel and compare the differences between them to enjoy the trip to Japan.