After a week in Tokyo, it was time to head over to Osaka ways!
Upon arrival, we met up with two of my friends, where we had some fun at Osaka Castle park.
Two of my friends are white, and they attracted quite a bit of attention and “ooooooooo”-ing from a crowd of school children on site.
Getting straight into some fresh Takoyaki made onsite that was pretty good.
Deliciously sweet and sticky dango too.
Down to Dotonbori!
The next day we headed up to Ikeda in the northern outskirts of Osaka to go to what I thought was THE museum of museums!
Revelaing the secrets behind the cups of instant ramen!
GIANT WALL OF INSTANT RAMEN HISTORY
Here, you can even make and design your own instant cup ramen!
Later that evening, we headed down/up to the ever so windy and cold Umeda Sky Building. (With our cup-ramen souvenirs flying around like crazy)
As it’s at 173m, the height provides an amazing level-view of Umeda and the rest of Osaka below. Especially at sunset!
My first taste of otoro-tuna at a sushi train in Umeda.
I also had some oyster and horse-meat sashimi (tastes like beef) here, and I think I may have gotten food poisoning from here though… Which meant that I couldn’t pay a trip to Nara the next day with my friends to hear some door-screeching deer.
Using Osaka as a base, the next few days were spend day tripping Kyoto, and the ever so shiny Kinkakuji.
A Hakata Ippudo opened in Sydney recently and had AMAZING ramen, so we decided to find one in Japan. Akamaru ftw.
Welcome to the Garden of Sinners.
Ah, the Bamboo forest of Arashiyama… Honestly I thought the forest would cover a bigger area, but it was still really cool.
On the other side of the forest, there’s a small path that leads to a lookout, that looks out on the Hozu River.
It was got rather cold for some reason, and I was still recovering from my Umeda sushi incident, and so the steam of a soybean/tofu house drove us to enjoy a feast of delicious soybean based products!
While we were in Tokyo, I was SUPER keen on trying to get tickets to attend Kalafina’s 5th Anniversary Live Tokyo event. After searching around I eventually used a Loppi in a Lawsown and managed to snag two tickets to their Osaka event.
Oh how much fun it is to attend Anison type of concerts in Japan! It was mostly content from their first album “Seventh Heaven”, but they did do some from their three latest singles at the time. (“Hikari Furu” was the most recent) “Mata Kaze ga Tsuyoku Natta” and “Ongaku” were of course, my (and probably most of the crowd’s) favourites. I am again SUPER keen to attend any of their concerts in the future. Especially a Yuki Kajiura one.
Hot cans of canned coffee are the best for surviving the cold weather along the Sea of Japan coast.
Kanazawa Castle. A beautiful structure located in Central Kanazawa, and strategically built on a hill.
The wide fields of fresh snow provided much joy to my travelling companions. We crushed one of my friends after accidentally dropping a giant-heavy snowball on him whilst two of us were trying to lift it…
The adjacent gardens are also very picturesque. I would love to have me a garden like this someday.
Proving the snowball effect.
After a night in Kanazawa, we took a bus down to the historical site of Shirakawago, which I have written about in a separate post here.
Return to Tokyo: Visit Skytree.
What I think is a very cool design both externally and internally, it contains of the newest and highest observation decks in the world.
The weather was pretty horrible with much cloud cover resulting in a view of mostly grey. But it cleared up a little and we got a much better view once we reached the 450m high deck.
I managed to drop my camera whilst at the highest point of the observation deck. Did some real damage. (Luckily only to my filter. The lens is dinged a little, but hasn’t effected it’s usability.)
By the time we exited the complex, (there is much to do in the lower building) the skies cleared, and with my camera out of action at the time, the above photo was taken with my phone.
That night, I really wanted to do a quick Akihabara run once again. Gosh that place is amazing.
Dinner at the Gundam Cafe. Cool theme and decor, terrible food. (As with most themed cafes… or so I thought…)
The beautiful streets of Greater Tokyo – Mitaka.
Which end do you eat first? The head or the tail?
What’s a trip to Japan without heading to the Ghibli Museum? (Disneyland and Universal are not a part of that equation.)
A brilliant museum, with many little and big things (including a GIANT CATBUS!) If you’ve been there before, then of course you know photography isn’t allowed in there. =(
I still need to see more Ghibli movies myself.
Towards dusk, we ran into what I believe to be stray cats living within the Ghibli museum complex.
Kawaii desu ne?
Deciding where to eat for dinner, we decided to try the Cafe inside the museum. Which after our experience at the Gundam, we weren’t expecting too much.
Turns out, it’s pretty darn good!
This was my gaijin friend’s fist parfait. (I should buy some of their themed kitchenware…)
An early start the next day saw us travelling up north towards the cold and snowy north. More on that in another post coming soon. =)
A lot of canned coffee here in Japan. Horrible stuff though. I was disappointed with myself that I only had 19 different varieties considering my trip was 28 days overall.
More to come in another post…