Author: Olivia Dausch

Location: Hirakata, Japan

Pronouns: They/Them

In my first blog post, I said I wanted to explore more of Hirakata to see everything it has in store. I can definitely say that I learned a lot about this little city. It has a lot to offer, even though it doesn’t seem like much at first.

Hirakata has a lot of train stations, the largest one being Hirakata Station. It mostly gets express trains during the day, and local trains closer to midnight. Closer to campus, there is Gotenyama Station. It’s smaller and only has local trains, but it will get you where you need to go. Halfway between campus and Hirakata Station is Makino Station. It’s also a smaller station. All three are on the Keihan line, which can get you just about anywhere in the Kansai Region. If you transfer to a different line, getting anywhere in Japan is possible, but also very expensive.

My favorite route to travel is from Hirakata Station to Kyobashi, the connecting stop for the Osaka Loop Line. The loop can get you to a lot of amazing places in Osaka, like Osaka Castle, Tsuruhashi, and even Tennoji.

As for things to do in Hirakata, there are a lot of cool stores to go to. Just past Lawson, there is a road branching to the right, leading to an entrance to a grocery store. That street has a few cool stores, but my favorite is down an alley to the left. There is a tiny secondhand store selling really cool items for almost pennies. I was able to get a pack of Pokemon cards for my nephew for less than $1.50. There is a lot of cool things in that store, I recommend checking it out at least once.

The second store I’d recommend is Aeon Mall. It’s where my friend and I do most of out grocery shopping, especially since there is an ATM that allows us to take out money from our international accounts in less than $100 increments. There’s also an arcade on the 4th floor, as well as a dollar store that has a lot of cool stuff. There are clothing stores, grocery stores, and art stores in this mall. If you head down to the station, it’s definitely worth finding Aeon Mall.

Finally, for really cheap groceries in bulk, there’s a grocery store on the way to the station called Gyomu Super (業務スーパー). It sells a lot of groceries in bulk, including things that are generally difficult to find in Japan, like cheese.

If you want to eat out, there are quite a few options. On the way to Hirakata Station, there’s a fork in the road. Right before Gyomu Super, there’s a little curry shop. I haven’t been in it yet, but it always smells amazing when I pass it.

Similarly, there’s CoCo Ichibanya. If you turn left at the light on the way to the station, it’s on the left. I talked about it in my last post, so there’s not much else to say about it. The price varies greatly, but it will most often be less than $10.

Finally, there’s a little Ramen shop next to Lawson called Ramen Kurawanka that’s amazing. I’ve been there a couple times and I was always satisfied. If you show your student ID, you can get a size up for free. The average price there is about $8. I definitely recommend getting the Aji-tama (seasoned soft-boiled egg) with it. It makes any ramen dish so much better.