Osaka, Nara and Kyoto
Osaka Travel Blog› entry 2 of 13 › view all entries
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Osaka was a city which I intended as a stopover to enable our itinerary. Kim and I, and also our friends Rodger and Lisa all enjoyed this amazing place tremendously ... I was worried this stopover may become the highlight of the trip rather than our Trans-Siberian journey!
Osaka is a shopper's and gourmet's paradise. The area near our hotel is riddled with arcades (covered streets) full of fashion stores, eateries and pachinko (gaming) parlours ... somewhat a futuristic version of Istanbul's bazaar!
Due to the strength of the NZ dollar, it is a relatively cheap city by international standards. We found eating and accommodation is cheaper than in NZ.
In term of sightseeing, Osaka is the gateway to Nara and Kyoto ... the classical Japanese setting of temples, gardens etc ... the epitomy of tranquility ... the antithesis of modern Japan. It is home to the world's largest aquarium with many tanks ... the largest one is called Pacific Ocean with 1 foot thick perspex glass, housing a whale shark, tunas, stingrays and many other varieties. The weirdest one for me was the sunfish which looks like a fish that has lost its rear half.
During our four days in Japan, we grew to admire the Japanese in many ways. They have a perfectionist attitude towards detail ... their toilet seat do not fall down but come down gently, airport security staff turn your bags with the handles towards you after being X-rayed, your seat on the aeroplane is furnished with your arrival AND DEPARTURE card for your destination! To top it off, some toilets play music when you are seated ... so no one hears you doing your business.
However, it is this detailed mindset which frustrate many foreigners living an working in Japan (amongst other things).