After our history-filled afternoon and morning in Hiroshima, we bullet-trained off to Osaka for two nights. We arrived about midday and decided to just stroll around the city and see what we could see. Our goal was to make it to Amerikura block. A section of the city that has bad American fashion.
While losing our way trying to find this area, we ran into a gentleman named Timothy. This was another character. The three of us walked while he mostly talked telling us about his search of finding “A new America” and how he had been in Japan for three weeks, but couldn’t tell us where he had been. He also played us his spoons-like instrument produced from his pocket. Once we found Amerikura Triangle Park, he says, “Well, I’m bored. See ya,” and walked away just as fast as he had come. It was a very strange, and brief interaction. All we could think was: (1) he wanted to rob us, or (2) he was on something and trying to hide.
Shaking off his strange vibes, we found ourselves in another large, covered shopping street, much like the ones in Tokyo and Hiroshima. This one was way more packed, but we managed to find a place for dinner as well as an extra sweater for me since I was freezing!
The following morning, we bought the 2-Day Osaka Pass. It was advertised in all the tourist spots. Basically, for $20 a person, you get free subway rides all day, free entrance into over 50 locations, and restaurant discounts. Since we had to be extremely frugal on this trip to make sure we could afford “expensive” Japan, we were off and running to make sure we got the most out of our passes.
First stop: Temple. The vibrant red, the large area of surrounding gravel, and the place to ourselves made it very peaceful to walk around. The cemetery was really unique as rectangular headstones (for lack of a better word) are placed above the ashes.
Second stop: Osaka Castle. The surrounding grounds were beautiful. Large walkways, an enormous moat, people out for jogs and picnics. It was really serene. The inside of the castle itself was disappointing. We were expecting to see refurbished chambers and ballrooms. Instead, it was a museum on the history of the castle and it’s excavation.
Third stop: Museum of Living and Housing. This was a re-creation of the old Osaka streets. You can rent a kimono and walk around the two “street” interior. I really enjoyed the houses you could walk into. It really gave you a feel for what life there may have been like. It felt very feng shui.
Fourth stop: The Tower. This was a bit of a bust. The hotel we had booked the night before only had room for us for one night. We weren’t able to move our bags to our new place until around 4, so we had some weird limbo time. We spent it waiting in line for an hour to go to the top of this tower. Being impatient, and wasting daylight, we bailed on the line. At least Rob was entertained!
Fifth stop: Floating Garden Observatory. In addition with Osaka Castle, this was one of the highlights of the day. Escalators take you up 5 more stories through clear tubes once the elevator stops. They have locks for sale, beer on tap, and black lights to really set the mood. The views were gorgeous, the wind was mellow, and the beer we shared was delicious.
Sixth stop: Ferris Wheel. Anyone who knows me knows I hate rides of any kind. You can’t pay me enough to get on a roller coaster, or bribe me with enough Cheetos to get on a ferris wheel. Well, because Rob was so excited about one of the largest ferris wheels in the world, I agreed to go on it. I think his plan was to run me around all day and tucker me out so I wouldn’t know what was happening. Not only did I get on the death-trap, but I waited 20 minutes for the entirely see-through car. That’s love people.
Seventh stop: McDonalds. I know, I know, the shame! It was almost 11 pm, we had been running around the city all day, everything was closed, we just wanted a burger, and are you buying these excuses? More shame: it was delicious and I would do it again (which we did…twice).
We exhausted ourselves so much on this one-day Osaka blitz, that we headed out before noon the following day for Kyoto. There was more to see in Osaka and the day pass was definitely the way to go, but I think our samplings were perfect. Besides, we had the mass amounts of temples to contend with in Kyoto.