August 30th, 2010

This is a long update since we’ve not posted in a while!

We’ve spent the last three days in Osaka. We’re still recovering from the climb. Matt’s leg is sore 🙁

Osaka is quite different to Tokyo, at least what we’ve seen. It seems more touristy and commercial, with lots of restaurants and different kinds of food, and entertainment. We’re staying in Shinsekai, which is particularly lively.

There’s even a roller coaster wrapped around the buildings right outside the station.

We visited Osaka Castle, which is in the middle of the city and has a museum about the civil wars in Japan. The grounds of the castle are quite big with two moats and walls built using huge stones.

We also went up the Umeda Building,

which has a ‘floating garden’ between it’s two towers. We weren’t sure what to expect. Caroline was anticipating plants and something to be floating. But something grander than this…

She was disappointed, but it was quite fascinating and amusing. It was a mixture of celebrating love and futuristic settlements in space, with displays about space stations, a wall of padlocks inscribed with love messages, cute little cubicles for lovers to watch the city below, and displays of monuments around the world and their ‘sky garden’ attributes. For example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was labelled the ‘sky stick’!

On the roof of the floating garden is an open air view of Osaka. We could even see a fireworks display in the distance (but we were too busy watching them to get snap a photo!)

And below the Umeda Building was a lively disco-bar with Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson songs, and even a replica Neverland gate with flowers and messages to Michael at the base.

We’ve explored the area around the hostel, and tried all sorts of Japanese cuisines, including Sushi, Sashima, Kushikatsu and Yakitori. In fact, it was the most ambitious sashimi we’ve had. It included raw squid and octopus! The octopus’s suckers come off when you chew it up :/

Today, we visited the ’48 Waterfalls of Takihata’. We didn’t see that many (or any really big ones) but it was very pretty. There were lots of families having barbecues on the river banks. We clambered along a river, paddled in the stream and climbed on the rocks. We ended up in the middle of no-where, with only insects and each other for company. We made our way back to civilisation along the road, and found that we’d only gone round one corner!

We’ve got a busy few days ahead, with whirlwind tours of Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto and Nara, all in 4 days before heading back to Tokyo.

Location:1丁目,Ōsaka City,Japan

3 Responses to “Osaka”

  1. Janinerussell47 says:

    Phew…thank goodness for that, I thought you were still in the bath, was dreading to think how and what was wrinkley by now 🙂 Loving your interesting and amusing blog, can’t wait for next instalment and to hear all about it when you get home. Keep on having fun xx

  2. cheryl says:

    Hi Matt, I just chanced upon your site while looking for more information on the Takihata waterfalls. From your experience there, is it easy for inexperienced hikers to find their way around the waterfall area? Thanks!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Cheryl

    We didn’t read much about Takihata Waterfalls before our trip. We just went on a whim, and I’m pretty sure we didn’t actually find them. There was very little info after we got off the bus.

    So… I guess to answer your question, if you have enough info with you (e.g. a map with the landmarks) you shouldn’t have any trouble. It was a very sleepy area, but there was a shop where we got snacks. Maybe if you find the waterfalls themselves, there might be more in the way of signs and tourist info etc. The terrain was hilly, but not really bad.

    We weren’t prepared enough, so although we had a nice time paddling, we missed out on the waterfalls. (We had also just climbed Mt Fuji, so weren’t willing to walk far without knowing we were going the right way!)

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