Osaka's Dotonbori and Aquarium

{ Japan April 2010 - Day 7 & 8 - Osaka }

We reached Osaka in the late afternoon and by the time we got to our hotel, which was supposed to be less than 10 minutes walking distance from the train station, the sun was already setting. The reason? We got lost in the huge, complicated and confusing Shin-Osaka Station. Armed with a Japanese map of the hotel, we were walking up and down the stairs, walking towards various exits with the numbers shown in the map, and ended up lost in the huge station.

We tried asking for directions many times, and the locals were extremely helpful! While they were willing to help, the language barrier proved to be too much to overcome. So, while we continued to be lost, I loved how they would still try their very best to speak Japanese slowly with lots of hand movements, in the hope that we would be able to understand them. In the end, a kind Japanese control station lady walked with us to one of the exit and drew directions while explaining in slow Japanese with lots of hand signals. After more than 45 minutes, we finally got to the hotel to rest our tired arms and legs.


After a short rest in our hotel, we made our way to Dotonbori. It was a neon-lit street full of shops, bars and restaurants. We walked along the street snapping photos, and not being aware that the giant crab was a famous landmark! We had dinner in one of the ramen shops. Running parallel to the street was the Dotonbori canal with yet another landmark of the Glico's running man.

Osaka Aquarium

The next day, we decided to squeeze in a visit to the Osaka Aquarium before leaving for Himeji in the afternoon. The aquarium was a short walk from the train station, where we saw (yet another) ferris wheel! Wonder why they are so fascinated with ferris wheels...

The aquarium was a massive block of building from the outside, and we went all the way to the 8th floor to start the walk down the aquarium. There were basically giant glass windows with lots of sea creatures from different oceans and seas. The star attraction of the aquarium must be the whale shark, but my favourite would be the jelly fish. I have always find them mysteriously fascinating in their simplicity.

::: Footnotes :::

{ How to get to Osaka } From Kyoto, we took the Shinkansen to Osaka which took only around 15 minutes. It can also be reached directly from Tokyo via the Shinkansen. The trip to or from Tokyo would take around 3 hours. If you plan to take the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka, do get the 7 day Japan Rail Pass. The Japan Rail Pass is only valid for the hikari and kodama trains, but not on the faster nozomi trains. 

{ Dōtonbori 道頓堀 } Dotonbori is in the Minami area and can be easily reached by train. There are countless of restaurants on the street and would be brightly lit at night. So, it would be a great place to have dinner when you're in Osaka!

{ Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan 海遊館 } The aquarium is about 5 minutes walk from the Osakako Station on the Chuo line. Admission costs 2000 yen per person, and is opened from 10 am to 8 pm daily. Do visit their website to check out the days when the aquarium will be closed.

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