We decided to rest this morning to try and recover from all the travelling we have been doing. At 11:30 we met up with Tsuyoshi who I had been trying to exchange English for Japanese with a few months back through My Language Exchange. He had kindly agreed to meet up with me and Jose and show us around Osaka for the day though the rain meant that we were more limited to what we could do today.

Tsuyoshi
Tsuyoshi – thank you!

Our first stop was to a famous udon restaurant called Tsurutontan. I had ebi tempura with udon and the food was delicious! The atmosphere was peaceful and quiet and it felt very traditional. I enjoyed going there and would go there again if there was time!

Tsurutontan
A famous restaurant in Osaka, Tsurutontan

Osaka Castle

Despite the rain we decided to go see Osaka castle, you can see more images of the castle on Jose’s post. The scale of it is huge with stone blocks taller than myself and wider than I am tall! I also learned that this castle had been destroyed and rebuilt so many times and the current version of the castle is a concrete reproduction and the interior designed as a museum.

Inside Osaka Castle
Inside Osaka Castle Museum

The model exhibits are absolutely beautiful with painstaking detail and several scaled master planning models of  the 15 acre site (sadly we are not allowed to take photos of those!)

One of the model exhibits at Osaka Castle
One of the model exhibits at Osaka Castle
One of the model exhibits at Osaka Castle
One of the model exhibits at Osaka Castle
One of the model exhibits at Osaka Castle
One of the model exhibits at Osaka Castle

Osaka at Night

After leaving the castle we headed back to Namba. The difference between Hakone and Osaka is vast; akin to comparing water and oil. Osaka is split into two districts from what I understand so far, the quiet business district to the north which also has Osaka Castle and the noisy vibrant entertainment district to the south. We are based in the Southern part of the city and when we arrived it was an assault on the senses. Bright lights turned the night to day descended on by swamps of people who looked like they had walked out of a manga.

The Nightlife of Namba
The Nightlife of Namba
Namba at night
Namba at night
Dotonbori quarter at night
Dotonbori quarter at night
The Dotonbori Hotel
The Dotonbori Hotel where we are staying

We will be taking the Shinkansen to Hiroshima soon. Time to start packing!