Osaka Travel Blog› entry 6 of 7 › view all entries
After getting off the train from Hiroshima we were at the Shin-Osaka station... Different from Osaka station which we needed to be at. But since everyone is very helpful and they train stations are very well marked we made it to the right station. The local JR train runs in a loop around Osaka, so when we stepped on a train going the wrong way it didn't end up being all that bad... just took a lot longer. Anyways, we found our way to the stop and got out at the station and found our first homeless people... which kinda scared us a little. But our hotel was pretty close. It was a little sketchy (more from the area than anything else) but ended up working out quite well. Twin beds, tv and a mini fridge in our room. In the lobby there was a microwave, kettle and toaster which made breakfasts quite easy to do on our own. The first night we jsut watched tv (for the first time since we left home) and found the IAAF World Athletic Campionships on so we had a good time just chilling in our room.
The next morning (August 29th) we went out and saw Osaka Castle. The castle itself looks pretty impressive from the outside, but we were kinda debating going in (it also was a slight problem that I didn't realize I had run out of yen...) but in the end the "we're only here once" bug made us go in (well, that and Jenny's hidden stash of money. What a good girl). Inside wasn't quite what either of us had expected; the inside had been turned into a museum of the history of Osaka. This was kind of a nice change from the typical castle. There were some movies and old artifacts here and there on the 9 stories of the building. But what I enjoyed the most were the 3D diaramas of some of the old wars the castle went through. It was really cool seeing a representation of the ancient soldiers all with their own coat of arms and flags to distinuish them. When we finished up at the castle we went to check out the Japanese edition of Universal Studios. We didn't actually go in because it was a little beyond our price range, but the "city walk" up to the front gates was pertty cool. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe which was because I had a very tastey bacon cheeseburger. On our way out back to the trainstation we watched a street preformance of a man who we could not for the life of us understand and his trained monkey who did tricks for us. That was pretty cooll; the monkey was a tiny little guy but could do some pretty interesting things to say the least. After that we headed into the main shopping district in town. It was sort of like Kyoto's only it made Kyoto's look tiny. We probably walked for 2km before we really realized how far we went (rather how far we would have to walk back to the train station). We didn't really buy anything, but we got a pretty good idea of the style of the Japanese. But when we were getting back close to the train station I remembered that the Electronic district was on the route back to the hotel, so we ended going even further off track to check it out before finally starting out to the hotel. The area was pretty cool. There was pretty much everything you could ever want to buy there (if you're into that kinda thing). Then we went back to the hotel finally and put up our feet for the night. We watched the IAAF again on TV and figured out that it was actually being hosted in Osaka. Weird.
The next day we got a fairly early start because we had planned an action packed day. First thing in the morning we hopped on a train from the closest station and headed to a somewhat nearby town of Nara. Nara is home of 18 world heritage sites. We went to Todai-ji temple, but it was something else. The exterior wasn't anything different from the typical temple, but it housed the biggest Budda statue in Japan. The budda's in Japan appear more like the Indian's versions rather than the big fat one I know an love. Anyways, the walk back to the the trainstation was pretty long but enjoyable. Nara was a pretty cool place and definitely thrived on tourism. Next we were headed to Himeji via Kyoto (well only Kyoto station. Man I love the rail pass!!!) In Himeji we only went to the main draw: Himeji Castle. This was probably one of the coolest things I've seen so far in Japan. It was 7 stories high, had an awesom view for the top (very strategically placed) and countless racks for weapons. Seriously, ever level had racks and racks for different kinds of weapons. Inside the castle there were even hiding places for single soldiers to suprise attack the enemy if they somehow snuck into the castle. They though of everything! But the castle grounds were huge to. In the western part of the grounds, the West Bailey, was what they called the "Long Corridor" which doesn't do the length of the corridor juctice; if it wasn't a straight line around the edge of the grounds I would have definitely got lost. It was the residence to all the women and children of the castle... Anyways, we headed back to Osaka after that (4 cities in 1 day, not too shabby) but we weren't quite ready for bed yet. Instead we attempted to go to the IAAF track and field. Unfortunately, tickets were insanely expensive (since all the cheap seats were sold out by the time we got there) so we walked around the enterance area for a while before cutting our loses and buying some beer on the way back to the hotel.
The next morning (August 31st) was a little bit of a late start, so we checked out and headed off for Tokyo. Our last stop of Japan.