This post has a ton of pictures and little content, so brace yourselves.
I had nearly forgotten to post more pics from my Japan trip in June, but here they are. This post covers the second half of the second week I spend in Japan.
At this time my friends and I were headed to Osaka.
Our first day there, we just explored the area around our hotel.
This weird flying old man was everywhere on this street. Not sure what it’s supposed to represent.
The Juso area had a lot of shops and plenty of people out and about.
We came across one arcade in the area that had a UFO catcher with girls’ panties inside. I thought these things were a myth, but after seeing it for myself, I’m now a believer.
After wandering around for a few hours, we decided to head to Den Den Town in Nipponbashi, the Osaka version of Akihabara.
Without a map, we walked around in circles for about two hours before we found a Taito station. Figuring that the anime shops would be somewhere nearby, we did another loop of the area, but failed to find any otaku stores. That night, I checked where we had gone on Google maps and it turns out that we were exploring just west of all the anime shops at first. The Taito station was just south of it, and when we left the Taito station, we explored the area just east of all the anime stores. The moral of the story: bring a map.
The next day we headed to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan.
Our first stop was Heijo Palace and the museum nearby. A replica of the ship used by Japanese ambassadors to travel to China to learn Chinese culture was on display.
This is a reconstruction of the south gate, called Suzaku gate.
Here is the palace itself (or at least what they think it looked like when they reconstructed it).
This was the Emperor’s throne. It doesn’t look like much, but remember that this is supposed to be a replica of what it looked like 1300 years ago.
After spending about half a day at Heijo, we headed to Nara park. On our way there, we passed by an Animate (of course, I went inside) ^.^
I thought this dragon was cool. It was at one of the temples in the park.
Can’t remember the name of this place, but it’s still in Nara park.
This was the first deer I spotted. Some school kids on a field trip were feeding it crackers. I bought some crackers and started feeding deer too. It’s not a good idea to bring the crackers to a group of males, they’re more aggressive than the females as Tsukasa (and I) learned the hard way:
Here’s a deer feeding on some grass. You can’t really see it, but the ground is full of deer poop.
This looks more like a moves list than a warning. Knock down is my favourite ^.^
The deer in Nara are messengers of the Gods so traffic has to yield to them.
What are you looking at?
I think this place was called Todaiji Temple.
It houses the biggest Buddha statue in Japan.
The garden was also extremely well-kept.
I should mention that while we were in the park, there were literally tens of thousands of school kids on field trips here. The deer seem to like to harrass schoolgirls. At around 5pm all the kids left and the deer just plop down on the ground.
The next day was spent at Kobe.
We stopped by Chinatown to try out some Japanese-Chinese food. This is probably the cleanest Chinatown I have ever seen, but it also felt very un-Chinese. I didn’t hear a single Chinese word spoken while I was there.
On the train, I saw another one of those things that I thought were myths: a ladies-only car. I would’ve expected to see one of these in Tokyo, but I had to travel all the way to Osaka to finally find one (as a side note: I did see a ladies-only train car in Tokyo at the end of my trip).
I can’t remember what this anime was called, but we found this stone plaque while wandering around Kobe.
For dinner, we decided to go for the dish the city is famous for: Kobe beef. The restaurant we went to was packed full, so they sent us to their second seating area, which was in the back alley at the 6th floor of this building. I swear I was going to get beaten up by some yakuza when they led us here. The restaurant was very fancy though, as you can sorta see from the pictures on the wall next to the elevator doors. The Kobe beef was expensive, but good, and each table gets their own personal chef.
After dinner, we headed to Tetsujin street, home of the giant Tetsujin statue.
Here is the said statue. Unfortunately, due to the lack of lighting, I couldn’t get a good shot.
This was in a washroom somewhere nearby, and I thought it was hilarious. One of these buttons is located in every toilet stall. Some serious crap must be going down if you have to press it.
The following day, we stayed in Osaka and decided to visit some tourist areas listed in the Osaka Unlimited Pass.
Our first stop was the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. I hear this is one of the largest aquariums in Asia, and after seeing it, I’d have to agree.
Turtles need lovin’ too.
Lots of penguins standing around.
Those blue dots are actually fish. Flash photography is prohibited at the aquarium so it’s really hard to get good shots.
This huge whale thing was cool. You could easily fit a kid in its mouth.
An octopus hiding among some rocks.
And even more fish.
Giant enemy crab!
These things were lying on the ground most of the time. I should’ve taken pictures of the explanations they had at each tank, I don’t remember what anything is ^.^”
After the section with all the fish, they had a bunch of anemones and jellyfish on display.
These jellyfish looked more like plants to me.
After the aquarium, we visited the Osaka International Peace Center. It wasn’t very impressive and I didn’t take any pictures inside.
Nearby was the Osaka Castle, which was really where we were going before we saw the peace center.
Here are some shots of Osaka from the top of the castle.
Inside, they had some stuff on display, like models of specific battles and old war documents.
We had dinner at a restaurant near a place called Coms Garden. It’s basically a sort of shopping mall that’s open to the outdoors. The spot right in front of that pillar in the middle of the court reminded me of all the romance anime/drama I’ve seen. Confessions always take place right in front of something like that.
This is a pic of the Floating Garden Observatory from the ground. Those orange lights actually pulse kinda like the Windows 7 loading screen.
At the first floor of the observatory, you’ll find many “love” related spots. There are even big red couches by the windows that only fit two people. This is probably the best place you could bring your girlfriend (or boyfriend) if you wanted to propose to them.
The roof of the observatory is completely open, giving you and unobstructed view of the entire city. There were glow in the dark paints used all over the place which made it seem really romantic.
My friends wanted to leave the observatory pretty quick because all of the couples were making them jealous. I guess I shouldn’t have suggested this place, but I’m glad I went.
The next day, we continued our exploration of Osaka. The first stop was the science center. Inside we found a robot that could solve any rubiks cube you gave it.
All the other things in the center were pretty generic as far as science centers go. Almost all of it was aimed at teaching children so I wasn’t too interested.
After a morning full of learning, we decided to try to find Den Den Town again, and this time we succeeded.
I saw these pictures from the street, and I really wanted them… until I saw the prices.
Unlike Akiba, I actually remembered to take pictures this time. I didn’t do as much spending here since I had already bought most of the things I wanted.
Giant gundam poster.
This is the Art Jeuness store in Osaka. Inside you can find artwork from famous anime/manga/game artists for sale, usually at exorbitant prices. It’s still worth taking a look though, just treat it more like an art museum than a store.
That was our last day in the Osaka area before heading back to Tokyo. On our way back we stopped at Shizuoka to check out the Gundam that they were putting up. The legs and torso were already complete when we arrived.
I couldn’t get very close to it since it was still under construction.
Here, they’re getting ready to connect one of the arms. I tried to sneak into that parking lot to the left to get a better view, but I was stopped. The parking lot is owned by Alsok, a security company.
Here’s the Gundam with the arm attached.
That’s it for my second week in Japan. The next trip post will cover my visits to an onsen and Hiroshima.