Osaka is wonderful. I love that it’s on the water, the bay is just great to sit and pass time watching boats drift in and out. There are mountains all around, and I can’t get enough of mountains. I think it’s because I lived in London for so long, and then the super flat Midwest of America, so I just am obsessed with mountains. I can’t imagine being able to wake up every morning and just see them there looming in the distance, ready to be explored and hiked upon. Not that any mountains were hiked in Osaka. Our day started with a trip down to the aquarium.
I’m here before I get told off for going to the aquarium. None of these animals do tricks, it’s not like SeaWorld but at the same time I do understand that they are still not great places. I don’t think Osaka Aquarium was that bad on the scale of things and I LOVE WHALE SHARKS SO MUCH. It’s not that I don’t think I won’t ever get to see one in real life, but the chances are low and this is as close as I will get. A whale shark is probably the biggest creature I have ever seen. When I got to the tank one swam straight at me and then swam up and I squealed a little bit in delight. The aquarium itself isn’t big, it focuses on big tanks that you spiral around seeing further and further in as you go down and then when you’re at the bottom you leave. It was fun though!
There’s a food street next to the aquarium so I bought some warabimochi for my mum. Warabimochi is a jelly-like confection made from Bracken starch and covered or dipped in kinako and it’s not too sweet so I think she’ll really like it. It’s sort of like Turkish delight in texture, but softer. There were many many places to eat Okonomiyaki, I picked a small family-run shop and it was SO DELICIOUS. I love Okonomiyaki, which literally means “how you like it”. I had seafood in mine and it was mixed with cabbage and veggies and is a little bit like a savory pancake. Then they top it with Okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed powder, and bonito flakes. I walked around tasting stuff from shops, which is my favourite way to dine when I’m alone. Most of the time I’ll maybe sit down in a proper restaurant once a day. I really much prefer walking around and eating small bits of food from stands and small shops and generally eating a smaller meal in my room when I’m done for the day. I’m averaging about 10-12 miles a day walking at the moment so I am TIRED by the time it gets late.
After snacks and deliciousness, it was time to ride Osaka’s romantic Ferris Wheel. I had second thoughts about this because it features a lot on date spot lists but I wanted to see Osaka from up high and see all the bridges so I just went by myself, it was a me party date. The wheel is huge, though not as big as the London Eye. Luckily I didn’t have to crash any dates, you get a whole pod to yourself and the floors are see-through so you can see all the way around. Osaka is amazing from above because of the bay, which is huge and then all the bridges. Next time I am here I would like to go further south and explore some islands. The ride is around 15 minutes and very leisurely with English audio tour as you go around. The weather wasn’t so good the day I went up but you can see all the way to Kobe when the conditions are good. Kobe is high up on my list for the next time I’m back. As with so much of my time in Japan, so much gets done but there’s still so much more to do.
A lot of things are closed randomly in the week, I don’t think this is due to coronavirus at all though. But I think the lack of tourists anywhere might be due to the virus scares. I have seen very few tourists on my travels, even in likely tourist spots. I’m not complaining about this because it means that seeing things has been a lot less stressful and squished. I’ve not been massively worried about it, I think Japan is handling it very well and there’s hand sanitiser everywhere and I do wear a facemask though I don’t think that does very much to prevent it. It could just be I am visiting at a quiet time of year, though I highly recommend this time of year. The weather is absolutely perfect for traveling, it’s hoodie weather where you don’t need a coat or any extra layers. Perfect walking weather.
I went to DenDen town to explore anime shops. I wandered into at least two hentai sections of stores and didn’t realise but it’s all part of the fun I guess. There was a grey hoodie that I was standing there agonising over whether or not to buy. It was from one of my FAV anime Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family, which I’ve seen twice now. It was SO COOL and I wish I did buy it and I hope so much I can find one in Tokyo because I can’t stop thinking about it. I was just worried about luggage space. The anime stores are cool. There’s a lot of collectible figures, which is not really my interest. I’m looking more for cool shirts or other miscellaneous things. This is certainly an experience you wouldn’t find at home. There was so much I wanted to buy, and it was a little hard to practice self-control. I am super excited to see Akihabara now when I’m back in Tokyo. I also won’t have to be so restrained because I won’t have to lug any suitcases anywhere till I leave for London.
I’ve been here just over a week and I’m already planning my next trip out here. It’s such an amazing place to visit but my advice is to not over plan your stay. I was in Japan Travel groups on Facebook where people just have such overly detailed itineraries and just pack things in which I understand because it is a once in a lifetime trip to make if you’re from far away. You want to make the most out of it. But I think the best way to do so is to plan as you go. I make a little list of things I want to do each day, picking an area or some sort of them and planning a route and then as I’m out and wandering around I find food and other cool things as I go. This way you see more of each city and not just tourist spots. I love Japan so much in case you couldn’t tell.
Next entry we head to Kyoto! Looking forward to a city full of history and nature and delicious food!