Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Osaka Tour (Day 1/2)

Ahhh SPRING BREAK!!! I'm a little excited (especially since I'm still on it!) Adrienne and I headed to Osaka early Saturday morning - we were supposed to go on a tour Sunday, 1 day of Universal Studios and if we were feeling brave, Kyoto! We had a great time and I'll post everything by day so it doesn't get to long of confusing! I have officially decided that if you are ever going to visit Japan - 1. Okinawa (seriously, beautiful!) 2. Tokyo 3. Kyoto 4. Osaka(just not as pretty as the other places!)

Okinawa from the air...so little, but so pretty!
Our flight was good and the first thing we saw in the airport was Golden Spoon!!! So excited and so yummy :)

We got the train out to our hotel Swissotel and got checked in - our view

our room - rough life, yet again! Our beds were VERY low to the ground though and pushed together - Adrienne liked to put her head in the middle and say hi - it makes me laugh that we spend SO much time together and what do we do at night? Lay in bed and talk!

After we checked in we did some browsing - VERY expensive stores with nothing of interest so we headed back to the hotel to settle in (take a bath!) and get ready for our tour on Sunday.
We took the train over to Hotel Granvia to meet up with our tour - thankfully it wasn't to complicated! Our first stop was the Umeda Sky Building which has the Floating Garden Observatory. You go up 170 meters via escalators and elevators and you can see the WHOLE city! It was kind of a gray day, but it was still and amazing view!

Those are the escalators you go up

My Japanmate...I kinda like her :)

Us at the top!
This was quite the date place...at the gift shop you can get these little heart locks and engraved with the couples names on it and then you go and put you lock on...overlooking the city of course!

Inside they have these little private booths...they made me laugh, Adrienne and I enjoyed the view. I bet they're a hot commodity at night though!

The Umeda building from the ground

In the garden

After that we walked back to the hotel for lunch - YUM! I'm proud to say that Adrienne ate fish - and LIKED IT! I know, shocking, but it was really good! We sat with a couple from Texas who were visiting Japan. They were doing some touring before heading north to visit their son who is teaching English through the JET program. It made us very thankful to be in Okinawa with an American population after hearing about his experience!

Next stop was Osaka castle - back in 600 it was the capital...you can tell the city is much older than Tokyo or Kyoto (pictures to come). It's much darker and not as clean seeming. The feeling is much different than Tokyo as well - not as many black suits, less organized, and the trains were harder....anyway, back to the castle. We walked around the outside for a bit, taking pictures and then we had to wait in a VERY long line to get a western style toilet - not brave enough for the squattie-potty! Afterwards we didn't have much time to get to the top of the castle and the line for the elevator was VERY long...so we climbed all 8 flights of stairs in record time! My legs were a little shaky on the way down!

Guard station

My Japanmate on the top floor of the castle
The view - it's cherry blossom season on the mainland so it was SUPER crowded!
In front of the castle
Osaka Castle
The cherry blossoms in Osaka were white - fluffier than the Okinawa ones, but the pink is so much prettier...these were still nice though!
After the castle we boarded a boat to take a scenic river tour. It was really crowded - we had 4 to a row and since the seats were Japanese sized it was really squished (even for the Japanese men across from us!) Adrienne of course took a nap...I should stop going on boats with her, I know!
The whole river was lined with Cherry Blossom trees - so pretty!
So at one point our tour guide tells us that the water is high and in order to go under the low bridges the ceiling will need to be lowered - odd, but ok...anyway, this is Adrienne before the ceiling was lowered!
This is her after....kind of claustrophobic feeling!

Adrienne was really into the map trying to navigate our way through the city - I meanwhile am frantically hitting her...There, look there! It was a Tully's!! AHHHH, yummy hot bagel sandwich and a mocha - perfect snack! We had to buy a Tully's mug (yes we know it's in America, but we found it in Japan and our mugs say so too!)

After that the tour was over and we asked for directions to the "mall" and the Ferris wheel. We trekked over and did some shopping (cute dress from Gap...yes Gap...but trust me still Japanese!) and then we headed to the 8th floor and rode the Ferris wheel, it was pretty high up there, I got nervous for a second...but started laughing when I remembered a gondola trip Adrienne and I had taken with Cheryl and Sarah (they screamed in terror the whole way) - perfect timing right at dusk!

To be continued...


Aimee said...

Your pics are awesome. It looks like a very good trip!

Ruth said...

What a trip! With all your great pictures you should consider making tourist brochures. :) :) Glad you both had fun!

Anonymous said...

Screaming... us? Never!!! We were trying to make the ride up the hill more entertaining... yep that's it! Anyways the pictures are amazing... don't think I could have done the clear tunnel escalators... yikes! I was thinking... it is such a good thing that you have a digital camera just imagine the amount of money you'd have spend thus far on film... te he! But keep taking pictures lets us all feel like we've "seen" Japan ourselves! Love you!

Cheryl said...

Your pictures are beautiful! You'll have to take me on a Japan visit in a few years!