Japan Trip 2012 – Part 3

May 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm

By this point we have already experienced many aspects of Japan. Tokyo was a modern and trendy metropolis, Kawaguchiko was breathtaking and peaceful and Kyoto was beautiful and traditional. Each city was very different but beautiful in it’s own respect. Here we head down to Osaka, the place I’ve always wanted to visit (mainly for the food). This part we do alot more travelling to different little towns and villages so each part will be fairly short. We used Osaka as our base and went to places all around it.

Osaka

When we first arrived at Osaka, I wasn’t quite as excited as I was in Shibuya. It didn’t have the funky streets, the strange looking young people all dressed up and the interesting shops. At the heart of one Japans biggest train station (I’m talking about BOTH Osaka and Shin-Osaka stations), I can say that there pretty much nothing around it. That is until we discovered Dotonbori and the never ending aracdes of shops but even that didn’t quite save it. So my first impression of Osaka was a rather disappointing one, but of course that isn’t completely true about the city itself. I still had a great time here, but to compare it to Tokyo is like comparing a sour grape to a sweet wine.

Osaka caslte

Osaka castle. Nice beautiful castle gounds surrounded by water. (That's not the actual castle in the pic btw!)

Osaka castle cherry blossoms

Osaka Caslte was completely surrounded by cherry blossoms! This was the most we've ever seen in one spot...

Rude people in Osaka.

For our entire trip we’ve never encounted anyone particularly rude…until we got to Osaka. We asked a random stranger if he could help us take a picture with the cherry blossoms. To our surprise he immediately gave us a strange look, waived his arms and just shot off.

Another experience was when we went to have ramen for dinner, I asked if we can sit at the table which I pointed at. Without any consideration he replied “No table No table, you sit here”. 2 seconds later, he gave the table spot to another couple who walked in after us. If I hadn’t pre-purchased the meal at the vending machine, I would’ve immediately turned around and walk out the door.

Cherry blossom closeup

Another cherry blossom closeup

Super extreme osaka caslte pose

Here is the king standing next to the real Osaka castle >)

Mos burger lunch meal

Finally we got to try out Mos Burger. I've heard lots of good things about it so we had to see for ourselves. The burgers were really tasty! but wayyyy too small! I feel like I need to eat 3 burgers to fill myself up. It's cheaper than burger chains in Sydney but not really worth it in Japan.

Osaka Dotonbori

Osaka Dotonbori. Here is where I wanted go! I've seen cool pictures of this place and the nice looking river. To be honest it was OK, didn't live up to my expectations. It's just a manmade river in dodgy Osaka.

Osaka strange ferris wheel

Some strange looking ferris wheel (if that's what you call it, tho it isn't round!)

Dotonbori billboards

Dotonbori billboards. Crazy billboards, one of the biggest I've ever seen! This place really does light up at night.

Osaka takoyaki

Finally I got a taste of Osaka Takoyaki, from the origin! I'll be fair and say it was quite tasty. But it wasn't that different to Colo Tako's in Sydney. Of course there were heaps of other places but we chose the one where most people lined up so I guess this is as good as it gets?? well I'm not complaining, I love it still =)

There isn’t much to do at Osaka itself but there are lots of nice towns around it which are good for day trips. This is truly where our JR pass shines as we were able to go just about anywhere with it!

Nara

Nara deers

There were wild deers everywhere! they arent really afraid of people so they actually walk up to you if they want. Clearly I wasn't a very interesting subject...

Nara Deers

However, they seem to be attracted to chibi for some reason! O.O"

Nara Slow cafe

Slow cafe. So slow that they haven't even set up the store at 2pm in the arvo

Deer poop mochi

Deer poop choco dango. Not sure why we bought this! but it tasted pretty good though (don't get the wrong idea...)

Universal Studios

We were rather fortunate or unfortunate that it rained hard during this day. Fortunate because there was practically no queue and we were able to hop on to every single ride where it normally takes 2 days to do so. Unfortunate because the theme park felt really dead, we were drenched, and finished every attraction around just after midday. The indoor rides were pretty awesome though.

I recommend the Spider man ride! It was incredible. You sit in this indoor rollercoaster that travels through giant 3D screens and the whole car spins around 360 degrees. It’s pretty dizzy but…

Universal studios

Chibi with the nice Poncho!

Osaka okonomiyaki

Osaka okonomiyaki. Really good stuff!

Kobe

Kobe was a really western town, infact I thought I was back in Sydney! In other words, it didn’t really appeal to us although we were told it’s a very popular destination for local Japanese people. There was a theme park next to the waters called “Kobeko land” (Kobekoko land in Chibi language) which was so similar to Lunar Park. We spent less than half a day here and would not recommend it.

Kobe Tower

Kobe Tower. A bit like Centre point tower without the top observation deck. Clearly not as tall either, it's only barely taller me.

Bruce lee in Kobe chinatown

Here's Bruce lee in Kobe chinatown. Gota love this guy! =P

Himeji

After we were done with Kobe, we spent the remainder of the day at Himeji. Not much to see aside from the Himeji tower which was under construction and more cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossoms fall

Halfway through our trip, the cherry blossoms begin to fall. All good things come to an end.

Taiyaki

Here we got a taste of our very first Taiyaki! Chibi always wanted to kiss one so here you go. Taste wise, amazing of course! we got the traditional red bean and one with white cream. Yumm...

Kinosaki Onsen

One of Japan’s top onsen towns! If you don’t know what onsen is, it’s the japanese natural hot spring that is both indoors and outdoors. The onsen experience was absolutely amazing. It was sooooo relaxing, you feel like a different person afterwards. To make things even better it was raining a little bit that day so the outdoor experience felt really natural. It reminds me of a scene in Pokemon where Team Rocket falls into a natural spring somewhere in the snow mountains. It get’s so hot when you’re in the water that you need to get out, but so cold in the air that you must jump back inside. I know how they feel now hehe.

Kinosakionsen

Kinosakionsen is really just a small town with a few streets. Here's one of them. Nice relaxing town.

Seafood dons at Kinosakionsen

Famous for it's crabs, we had the Crab don and shrimp sashimi don. It's so nice the thing just slurps into your mouth. Time's that by 30 or so.

Shinkansen

The SHINKANSEN! was again the highlight of this part. Thanks to it we were able to get around to all the places quickly and easily. We caught it 12 times in total for our trip.

Hiroshima

I know nothing about Hiroshima aside from the fact it got bombed. It was a pretty fascinating place though. It was just over 60 odd years ago that it happened, but the city felt so normal. It’s fascinating because it was just like any other city. Nothing particularly interesting.

Cute Totoro cakes

Cute Totoro cakes.

Hiroshima

Hiroshima streets.

Hiroshima A-bomb dome

Hiroshima A-bomb dome.

Hiroshima A-bomb dome before and after

Hiroshima A-bomb dome before and after

They call me the Shinkansen Ojichan

They call me the Shinkansen Ojichan.

Shinkansen toy

And here's the awesome Shinkansen toy chibi got me. I love it!! thank you =)