Sunday, December 30, 2012

Osaka-jo, Kaiyukan, and Koidaore in Dotonbori

December 30, 2012

Andrew and I met up at the closest subway station to Osaka-jo (Osaka Castle), and walked to see it in the rain. It was significantly more impressive that I expected. The inside was closed thanks to New Years, but the outside was worth a visit.

We walked back to the station and stopped for some incredible curry udon. The perfect meal for a cold, wet day. So revitalizing.

The subway took us to Kaiyukan (the Aquarium), where we spent several hours exploring. I've been wanting to go to an aquarium for several years, so it was really exciting to finally get to go to one - especially one of the largest in the world. I particularly enjoyed their main attractions - the penguins, the whale shark, and the giant manta ray. We had a lot of fun taking photos and giving sounds to the fish, and then explored all the cute things in the gift shop.

Kaiyukan from the outside

Next stop was the Pokemon Center, where I had been the day before. Andrew was so excited (he's a bit of a nerd), and went a bit overboard on gifts. I wanted to as well, but I plan on going to three more Pokemon Centers (Tokyo, Sapporo, and Fukuoka), so I have time to think it through.

Andrew wanted to drop his stuff off at his Guest House, so we went on an adventure trying to find it. Osaka is HUGE. I had thought the area just around Osaka Station was the whole of the city part, but out by his Guest House was bustling and cosmopolitan.

From there we went to Dotonbori where we engaged in koidaore - to eat until ruin.

We had crab sushi from the famous crab place there.

And gyoza.

And takoyaki (balls with squid in them).

And fugu (blowfish, which is poisonous if not made right) sushi and warm sake from the most famous fugu restaurant in Japan.

And kushikatsu (fried skewers) and beer. We ordered a bunch of different kinds, but they switched my banana one with Andrew chicken, so I wound up eating chocolate drizzled fried chicken and he ate soy sauce dipped fried banana. BLECH.

What an incredible night - and a perfect last night in Japan for Andrew!

After the eating, we made our way back to the train station, where some girls helped us figure out where Andrew's Guest House was on the map. They were Osakan girls who had studied abroad in Australia and have done some traveling in Europe. Very nice!

We all had to transfer at Tennoji Station, but when we got there, they were announcing last call for the train I needed back to Fukushima Station. I quickly thanked the girls, hugged Andrew, yelled goodbye, and ran down the stairs, making it in just before the train doors closed. Whew.

Such an awesome freakin' day.

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