Sunday, September 14, 2014

Japan Part IV: Osaka

Tuesday morning we woke up early, packed our things and got on the train for Osaka.  Osaka is one of Japan's largest cities, and since we had to fly from there early Wednesday morning, we figured we would get an early start and try to see what we could of this city.

Once our train arrived we made our way to our hostel, which was not nearly as nice as our Kyoto hostel, but at least we only had to stay there for one night. Sometimes you just don't know what you're going to get with hostels.  Generally they're great, but now and then you draw the short stick and end up with one that is less than comfortable.  Oh well...sometimes you get what you pay for. 

Once we checked in, we were off to what is probably the most famous site in Osaka, Osaka Castle.  Osaka has a long history, but is most significant for its role in the unification of Japan.  Today there is a large park that surrounds the castle, where you can get a view of the castle from all angles.  

The inside of the actual castle is a museum that is full of historical documents, artwork, and weapons that are relevant to Osaka's past.  I'm a pretty big fan of museums, so I enjoyed looking at the TONS of exhibits inside.  

On the top floor of the castle is a deck where you can get a view of Osaka.
View of Osaka from the top of the castle.

Osaka Castle was the only thing we knew we really wanted to see in Osaka, so after that we just looked at our map and found a temple that we thought looked cool, and made our way in that direction. 

We ended up eating lunch along the way, and then we made it to Shitennoji Temple, which turns out was the first Buddhist temple in Japan. 

Really beautiful pagoda. 

We didn't spend terribly long at the temple because well, nature was calling us and there weren't a lot of bathroom options around.  We decided to head back to a shopping mall we saw earlier to use the bathroom.  We ended up getting some smoothies and sitting for a bit.  By this point in the trip our feet were TIRED so we needed to take a lot of breaks from walking around in the sun.

After resting for a while, we decided to see what else we could see, and wandered over to Shinsekai, where there were tons of places to eat.  We weren't paticularly hungry at that point and a lot of the food was either 1) fish, which I'm not really crazy about or 2) fried, which tends to make me sick.  So, we decided to wait on eating and just took in the atmosphere as we walked around. 

After seeing all that we wanted to see, we made our way back to the mall we had been at earlier to find a place to get a coffee and relax a bit.  After a failed attempt to find wifi, we found a restaurant to have some dinner at.  

Yes, those are teeny tiny fish on the top of the salad.

Not sure how Japanese this was, but it was delicious!

After dinner it was of course time for some dessert:

Since we had an early flight the next morning, we made our way back to our hostel following dessert to pack our things and get a few hours of sleep before making the trip back to Korea. Although we were sad to leave, Japan sent us off with one of the most beautiful moons I've ever seen.

Goodbye, Japan!

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