Our time in Osaka was coming to an end and we checked out of our hotel, we were lucky not to be charged a late checkout fee as we slept in from the previous night out. Gavin and I split from Tang and Ed as they went to do some souvenir shopping. On the other hand, Gavin and I ended up splitting as well as he had forgotten his wallet or something, so I was left to check out the Osaka Castle myself.
Getting off the train station was this large hall, not sure what it’s actually used for though.
The entrance to the Castle is very nice, it’s surrounded by a moat and lush greenery as well.
So on this day, Gavin and I had split with Ed and Tang as they prepared they prepared to leave and the fact that it would be too costly for them to get a Shinkansen to come along with us to Nagashima Spaland, another amusement park.
So going in, this place was completely deserted! Hardly anyone in sight, this was both a good and a bad thing. It meant that we didn’t have to line up for a ride, but it also meant there wasn’t much of an atmosphere to enjoy the place either.
As it was towards the end of autumn, the weather is quite cold, the bright people in Japan had a very awesome way to solve this problem. Heated vending machines which spit out warm drinks. First up was a warm banana drink, next was a milk coffee, nice and warm and lovely to hold in your hand.
The trip today would be towards Osaka aquarium, train ride wasn’t too far and it looking out you could see the complex network of highways Japan has.
So our day starts off with lunch at a random restaurant, for some reason we decided it would be a good idea to visit one that was downstairs, sorta like a basement. It looked fairly well decorated so it didn’t seem dodgy or anything.
Walking in, the interior was quite nice and we were brought to a little table which was shielded away from everyone else. I treated myself to some udon and sashimi as well as sharing some tempura. It was quite a feast and we didn’t manage to finish off all the food.
While we waited for Gavin to grab his camera, we walked around Asakusa to explore before heading to the onsen there. The temple below was touted to be the oldest one in Tokyo or something, but we weren’t too sold, many places seem to claim their the oldest or biggest or something.
So after boarding a plane from the Gold Coast where a fellow traveller snapped like 10 photos because the camera was on continuous mode (while claiming he didn’t think it worked, it just vibrated a lot), we were off to Kansai International Airport. The flight was Jetstar’s JQ19 with rather comfortable seats for a budget airline.
Slept through most of the flight, probably about 6 hours of it until enjoying a nice chicken wrap and Asahi beer (expensive though at $15 all up). There was a rather nice skyline view as the sun began to set as well.
Landing in Kansai was an easy experience with plenty of English signs to lead us where we needed to go.
There was a short shuttle train trip to get out of the airport and through customs/immigration where we then headed to the JR train station to collect our JR passes and book a seat for the trip to Tokyo the next day, unfortunately we’re stuck in the smoking carriage as the train is full, hopefully it’s not too bad.
I forgot to take a picture of the JR pass, was expecting a techy kinda plastic card, but it’s just a nice folded cardboard kinda thing. Plenty of vending machines around, and I decided to buy something, ended up being a coffee, had no idea what it was looking at it. Quite nice, but wasn’t really after a coffee at that time.
After an hour trip to our stop, Shinimamiya (which I’m still having trouble pronouncing) we wandered the streets to find our hostel. Was a bit hard because when we printed the directions, it didn’t include the Japanese characters making the directions a bit empty, but in the end we made it to Hotel Mikado. Place was rather warm inside and the rooms were actually quite small (I’ll take a picture tomorrow), but the inclusion of a hairbrush, towels, toothbrush, etc was surprising considering the tiny cost of $20ea for the night.
After dropping our stuff of we headed to eat, the hostel recommended this Chinese place nearby and the noodles there were rather good, not too badly priced either, with my bowl costing 680 Yen. No idea what it actually is, but it had a variety of veges, some seafood and meat in a rather thick sauce.
Post dinner we walked around the area finding this nice little dessert joint called ‘Petit Young squared’ with a charismatic old woman running the place, we found it hard to avoid purchasing something from her. I settled for a simple ice cream while the others went for a crepe.
We also walked into a 100 yen shop which was a bit deceiving seeing as everything was 105 yen.
Ended up buy some random things, not too sure what everything is supposed to be. The chip-like things in the middle were rather nice and the candy was rather ordinary, nothing too unique. The Chelsea thing had ‘Yoghurt Scotch’ written on it and had a interesting taste, kinda nice but kinda not. We’re yet to try the chocolate but Gavin said it’d be good.
Bought myself a pair of gloves here as well, not bad for 105 Yen, or a little over a dollar.
We also ventured into a Lawson Station which was some type of convenience store where we bought some water and some alcohol to try out. Kirin Strong, Kiring Strong Zero and a Pink Squash, none of them were very tasty in my opinion and the Kirin’s were bitter with a hint of lemon, not really something I enjoyed. They were cheap though at 148 Yen, equating to less than $2. Not bad for 8% alcohol content.
Anyways, that’s the first night here and the plan for the trip is going to be:
Land in Osaka
Kurashiki, Okayama and Naoshima Island
Hiroshima and Miyajima
Back to Osaka and back to Sydney by midday on the 9th of December
Looks like it’s going to be a very tiring trip with minimal sleep to ensure we have the maximum amount of time available for travelling. Also think we’ll be hitting the clubs tomorrow night so you probably won’t get another post for another couple of days.