On the way to Kaiyukan aquarium.
I wasnâ€™t really familiar with the Osaka
railway map and subway lines, but riding the train and knowing which station to get off or transfer is practically the same as it is in Tokyo
. I arrived at J-Hoppers Osaka Hostel around 1230, this hostel was so easy to find, the train station was practically a short 3 minute walking distance to the hostel. Reception was closed, so I left my luggage in the storage area, which wasnâ€™t locked by the way. I obtained some maps of Osaka and the rail lines, and left to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. I only had half the day to spend in Osaka, so I had to make the most of it.
Whale Shark in the big tank.
I also bought a one-day rail pass for the lines the JR pass didnâ€™t cover. I got on the JR line and transferred to a non-JR line towards Osakako station. I never get bored riding the trains in Japan, itâ€™s always an adventure to me to be able to watch how the citizens of Japan go about their daily life and see different parts of the city. Kaiyukan
Admission fee to Kaiyukan aquarium is 2000 yen. Some people might think that price is a little steep, but I didnâ€™t have a budget in this trip, I was free to spend as much as I would have liked, but I didnâ€™t really spend all that much, I was quite conservative even though Iâ€™m a liberal democrat, GO Obama! I wanted to visit the aquarium because Iâ€™ve read it was famous for its gigantic tank with a live whale shark swimming inside.
I started the tour of Kaiyukan on the top floor and followed the direction down from there. Different tanks contain different sealife all over the Pacific Ocean. They even mentioned Monterey Bay aquarium in California, and how the ocean around that area is ideal for sea creatures. Thatâ€™s only 2 hours from where I live, yeah represent. Iâ€™ve been to Monterey aquarium, but that was 10 years ago, and I donâ€™t remember much of the place. I really enjoyed Kaiyukan aquarium, itâ€™s unique, and I really felt I was swimming in the ocean with the fishes, Kanye West. I left the aquarium and explored the area around the bay for a little bit mainly looking at the bay area. The day was too hazy and really obscured some of the views. Akashi Strait bridge wasnâ€™t too far off, itâ€™s the longest suspension bridge in the world.
I wondered if they had a boat ride to take a better view of the bridge, Iâ€™m sure they had one, but perhaps next time Iâ€™ll definitely check it out again. Itâ€™s not the last time I will visit Japan after all. Afterwards I went inside Tempozan Marketplace next to the aquarium and the Tempozan ferris wheel. Itâ€™s a 2 story building with shops, a food court, and several dining restaurants. Umeda Sky Building
Later I visited the Umeda Sky building. I got off Umeda station, and had to walk several blocks all over the place trying to find this building. But I was walking in the wrong direction. Luckily I had a cheap compass which I bought for a dollar at the 99 cents store before I left for Japan. That compass saved me from getting lost so many times in Japan.
Umeda Sky building.
I eventually found the Umeda Sky Building and paid 700 yen to check out their floating observatory. The elevator I took was super fast, it sure beats the one where I worked. I work in a 2-story hospital, and it takes nearly 30 seconds for the elevator to get to the 2nd floor or the 1st floor. I thought the observatory was free, but I was probably thinking of the Metropolitan Government Office in Shinjuku Tokyo which I didnâ€™t visit. The haze really obscured the surrounding view of Osaka, and it felt as though it was going to rain again, but it never did. I went back to J-Hoppers hostel to check-in. The hostel didnâ€™t have an elevator that I saw, and it was a pain having to carry my luggage to the 2nd floor. The hostel itself wasnâ€™t that big compared to Kâ€™s House in Kyoto
or Sakura Hostel in Asakusa
, but it was conveniently located as mentioned earlier close to the station.
Escalator leading to the observatory
I went to the room and took the bottom bunk bed that was available. After I had some time to catch my breath and talk with one of my roommates, I left for the Minami area, mainly going to visit Dontonbori. Dotonbori
Dotonbori is one of Osakaâ€™s most popular tourist attractions with bright neon signs at night and the infamous crab snipping its claws back and forth. But probably what I enjoyed the most in this area or any other area in Japan was the chance to go people watching, and seeing other tourists or travelers visit the sites. I ate at one of the sushi restaurant across the restaurant that had the crab sign. I went there because it was recommended by Lonely Planet Japan. I had myself some hot udon noodle soup with about 8 pieces of set sushi meal.
Dotonbori running man.
They had a picture menu with English descriptions. After an okay dinner I visited the Shinsaibashi shopping arcade filled with many clothing stores, restaurants, pachinko parlors and an assortment of other things. Shinsaibashi is one of the longest shopping arcade Iâ€™ve ever been to in Japan thus far. I walked the arcade for a bit before going back to Dotonbori and eventually to J-Hoppers. Well I was extremely glad that I did everything that I wanted to check out in Osaka, but like I said, I would have love to have taken that boat ride to check out the worldâ€™s longest suspension bridge. Iâ€™m going to look into it the next time I visit.