DAY 17: Osaka, here we come!
We departed for Osaka on the Shinkanzen, lugging our heavy suitcases all the way to the hotel. It was not easy maneuvering through Osaka station as there were LOTS of people. Our hotel this time was the modern business hotel, and it was unbelievably SMALL. The bathroom was very cramped, you can’t fit more than one person in it! Perhaps, it was only meant for small, Asian people.
The night life in Osaka is very vibrant. We went shopping at Hankyu, Hanshin and Daimaru stores. It’s a different atmosphere than Tokyo … I want to say more youthful and modern. YY loved shopping here. She said Osaka is her shopping haven and she will want to come back again! There’s still a lot of people walking around even at 11pm at night. Not clusters, but constant waves of young people walking around. It was insane! As we walked across the overpass bridges, there was a young musician singing with his guitar of what seems to be a love song. It seem like he was trying to promote his own talent. Quite a pity but at the same time, the crowd still respected his effort and gave him credits of applause and cheers for his performance. It must be tough for musicians to really succeed in the entertainment industry in Japan. We bought some bento food back to the hotel to eat. I was very intrigued by wine in a can, and so I bought that to drink. We spent the rest of the night relaxing in the room while keeping ourselves entertained with this old, cantonese, comedy movie on TV, whereby Tony Leung & Jacky Cheung were starring in it.
DAY 18: Our last night in Japan
I think I nearly got sick with the air-conditioning blowing right at my face the entire night. This is what we get for staying in a puny business hotel room. Our last touristy destination was Osaka Castle. As usual, it was a freaking hot day. There was lots to see inside the castle. The setting is very much like a musuem, and this castle definitely looks newer than the ones we saw in Kyoto. The one highlight of the castle trip was the Sakuramon Stone Square. Magnificent stone walls were built here to defend the front gate of the central citadel. There is a scorch on the stone wall that indicates the site of Sakuramon Daimon (gate), which was burnt down in the civil war in 1868. The stone in the facade of the wall, called “Takoisi” or “Octopus Stone”, is the largest stone in the castle. Its surface area is about 60 meters squared, and its estimated weight is 130 tonne …
We headed back into the city to walk around and do last minute shopping. Also, we went to Osaka Bay to take a look at the large Tempozan Ferris Wheel. We did not take a ride up the wheel as we figured we might get cooked by the sun at that time of the day. I believe it used to be the largest in the world but has since been surpassed by the London Eye in London, UK.Well, as nightfall approached, we decided to try out the bright red ferris wheel atop HEP Five shopping complex. For just 500 yen, it was cheap and fun! What a magnificent view of the Osaka city at night. I think they call it the city that never sleeps for a reason! We also discovered the ferris wheel is powered by solar energy. How cool is that?
And so it is … this Japan trip has left us wanting to see more. We wished we had more time. A friend of mine mentioned that one needs at least 6 weeks to fully breathe in Japan and all its glory. One of a kind, I think this is one of the most vibrant countries I’ve visited. Sayonara, Japan! Until we meet again!