Osaka – Japans second best city?

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So I had two consecutive days off and I wanted to do something that did not involve just sleeping, browsing the net or people that want to learn English.  It was going to be either Kyoto or Osaka.  I chose Osaka in the end as my Australian  housemate (Ben) was keen on visiting it again.  He used to live there and his Japanese is pretty good so I grabbed the opportunity and my new Sony camera and off we went.

Getting there:

We decided not to get the bullet train as it was working out at 150 euro each way.  I don’t care how fast it goes, I am not paying that!  It’s meant to to be something everyone should experience but my wallet is just not ready yet for it.

So we decided to take the night buses.  Working out at 7200 yen (55 euro) return which was very very cheap.  I was a bit dubious at first expecting my seat to be beside a leaking toilet but the buses were top notch and they even provided us with hot towels and a Mini Mouse towel!  How random.. The Japanese really know how to provide a service. Take note Bus Eireann! Take many many notes.

The bus company was called Sunshine Tours and it highly recommended.  The Japanese website was slightly impossible to navigate but find a Japanese native to do it for you!

I did not sleep at all on either bus journey as I can rarely sleep on moving vehicles.  Most people did but I just sat there for the 7 hours each way twiddling my thumbs staring with disgust at my dead Creative Zen.  Riveting! You get what you pay for I suppose so I will not complain.  Just be prepared or really shattered is my advice. I wasn’t.

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Accommodation:

We arrived at 5am Friday morning to a very depressingly rainy Osaka with no where to stay.  Not good.  We decided to stay in a capsule hotel as we were told there was a few in the area.  Finding them was a problem but we got one in the end when the rain stopped.  These capsules were just brilliant.  Comfortable and quiet with a small TV, radio and mirror.  I had the most tremendous sleep too.  I highly recommended these and they cost around 20 euro for a night.  They provide lockers and showers too.  This Capsule hotel was located opposite the big Tower Records near the  Amerika-Mura area in if anyone wants to know.

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Takoyaki
Osaka is famous for Takoyaki – Battered and fried Octopus dumplings.  It was OK.   Incredibly chewy and tough and so muchguey batter.  Not too sure what I make of them to be honest.  I have yet to make up my mind!  I do think the Octopus is the worlds ugliest animal just as an added note.

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle was something I did not even plan on doing on my 2 day trip.  It was a very last minute decision and I am so glad I went.  It was a beautiful day and the surrounding parks were just a nice as the castle itself.  Nice festival type atmosphere with lots of tack and food stalls, street performers lined the streets up the hill to the castle.  The views were some of the best I have seen in Japan yet.

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Osaka Aquarium – Great Whale Shark

I do love a good aquarium.  Especially when there is sharks involved!  This was much better than the aquarium I saw in Syndey and was much better value for money.  I got to see Walruses (Walrii?), Penguins, Dolphins,  Sloths for some reason, Otters, HUGE Japanese spider crabs that looks like something out of War of the Worlds, Manta Ray the size of me and of course the Whale Shark which was encapsulated in the worlds largest fist tank with loads of other sea creatures.  The stroll starts at the top of the tank and you just spiral your way down and past all the other sea creatures.

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Other things I recommend: The Mac Store, Mitsuga Shrine, Balabushka pool hall with cheap booze and nice people, a night out in the Amerika-Mura area.  It’s like teleporting to the ghetto in Detroit!

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All my Osaka Photos

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~ by redegg on May 11, 2009.

3 Responses to “Osaka – Japans second best city?”

  1. i am so jealous. nice towel by the way!

  2. Yay! I found Col’s blog. Sent ya myspace msg good sir…

  3. I can’t believe I did not take that Mini Mouse blanket home with me. There was about 100 of them on a seat behind me! Hello Barry!

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