Hopefully to inspire myself to take/post more photos, I’m going to aim to put up one photo of mine once a week, feel free to add any comments you may have. I’m thinking it’ll be mostly older photos (unless it’s new and never made it to an album). One for this week will be this shot:
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.
So we had arrived in Osaka early in the morning but for some reason we had difficulties getting to our hotel room despite seeing it on the first night we arrived. It took about an hour for us to find our way around and it was during the walk around we noticed that this area was kinda dodgy. There were people trying to sell random crap on the streets, presumably stolen goods as they included random remotes, gameboys, headunits, etc.
When we finally found our hotel, we couldn’t check in as it was too early, so we left our bags and went to find something to do, luckily we found an attraction nearby, known as Spa World. It however would open at 10am, about 40 minutes after we arrived, so it was more walking around to kill time. They had various shops and cinemas around, but interestingly enough, some of the cinemas would screen adult movies and it’d be freely advertised.
As 10am hit, we got into Spa World for a bargain price of 1000 Yen, as opposed to their regular fee of 3000 Yen. So Spa World, as the name suggests, is a large spa or onsen, this place had heaps of different spas and each differed in setting. Being Japan, these onsens are strictly full nude, bar a tiny little towel, this made it particularly interesting for us 4 guys.
After being vitalised and relaxed by the hot spas, we went to check in and head off to explore. Namba was our destination to be. Exiting the station you immediately see this funky building surrounded by an array of streets and overhead roads.
Our destination in Namba was Dotonbori street, a busy street full of restaurants, bars and shopping, along the way though, you see the area has heaps of love hotels, some quite vibrantly decorated like the one below.
So we had some spare time and decided we would head to DisneyLand, we specifically chose to go on a Monday as we thought it’d be less packed. A short train ride later and we had arrived at the land of happiness.
So what could be more fun than four grown guys going to DisneyLand together?
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.