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Japan 2015 | Osaka

Sunday, 26 July 2015

On 1st July I went on the most amazing trip to Japan for 2 weeks, I had such an incredible time and I miss it more and more every single day. Japan is an incredibly, beautiful country and I feel so lucky to be able to say that I have been and I can't begin to put into words how amazing everything was there. The people are so, so friendly and welcoming, it's easy to navigate around and if you have a basic understanding of the language then you'll be just fine! I studied Japanese during my first year of university, so I did okay! I'm going to be doing some posts based on my time there and I hope you enjoy reading them and looking at the pictures I took while I was there.

After recovering from being extremely jetlagged and having a good sleep, we woke up and went to Osaka Castle!
Osaka Castle is one of Japan's most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. You can go inside the castle and walk around and read about the history of the castle. There are 8 floors in the castle (for some reason there isn't a sixth floor, so technically there's only 7?) and each floor displays something different to the last, unfortunately the lift only goes up to floor 5 but we walked up and down the stairs regardless. You're not allowed to take photos once you are inside, so I wasn't able to capture anything that was inside of the castle. On the fifth floor they had scenes from "The Summer War in Osaka" on a folding screen and I thought that it was done beautifully and was so amazing to look at. It was quite busy on this floor so it was difficult to get a good look at things but we got by. Situated on the eighth floor is an observatory deck and the view was breathtaking, this is where the bottom picture was taken. The view stretched out for mile and miles and it is so amazing to be able to see Osaka from up high, as there is so much to look at. Something I love about Japan is that you can never get bored of just looking around because everywhere looks so different and you will always have something to look at.



 After looking at the castle we decided to go on a boat ride, if you're ever in Japan I highly suggest going on a boat ride if they are available! Being able to see the city from on the water is a whole different experience and plus if you are on your feet all day it's nice to just be able to sit down and still go sight seeing at the same time! You'll also find they're pretty inexpensive.

 
Dontombori in Osaka is what I had imagine Japan to look like (Osaka looks very different to Tokyo, I think) the shops, the lights, the restaurants, the hustle and bustle everything was very overwhelming at first. I'd initially wanted to go here to see the lanterns that they had lit up along both banks of Tombori River Walk and it looked beautiful, Japan really does come to life at night with the lights. I believe that they hold events on the river and that's why they had the lanterns but I could be wrong. Along the river we found an okonomiyaki restaurant which was such an incredible experience, it basically means to "grill it yourself" and it is probably one of the best meals I have ever had, it was so lovely! The restaurant was extremely small but I found it cosy. The waiter also spoke some English which was good for us but what I love about Japan is that they have models of their food in the restaurant window so you know what the food looks like and how it will be presented, they also normally have pictures in the menu that you can gesture to if you would like that. 
 Daiso is a shop that I wanted to go in but wasn't sure if I'd be able to find one, so I was extremely happy when we came across this one in Dotombori! We also found quite a few other Daiso's in Tokyo. I'd wanted some new pink storage items for my bedroom as I always have to buy them off eBay and I can never find what I'm looking for. The second picture shows some of the items I bought while I was in there and the pink container on the bottom right is what I have been looking for for a very long time and I finally found it! Everything in the store was affordable and I loved just looking around at all of the different products. We also came across an arcade and you would not believe my excitement when I saw this giant tsum tsum game, you can pay and get a phone charm also and I got Stitch, pink Mickey and a Minnie. They was also a man going in hard on the Just Dance game and it was probably one of the funniest and most amazing things I have ever seen.
 
On a rainy day we decided to just explore Osaka and have a wonder around, we came across a shopping mall and situated on the bottom floor was where they sold a lot of food. I find it so interesting looking at different Japanese food is to English food, even the peaches looked amazing and the sign made me laugh, plus the peach drawn on it looks adorable. 
 
I noticed that they had a lot of shops right next the train stations and underground, which is slightly claustrophobic but I guess they don't really have space anywhere else to build their shops! We came across a popcorn shop that sold the most peculiar flavoured popcorn, I had a sample of cookies & cream and it tasted incredible. We bought a bag of the buffalo and bleu cheese and black raspberry and vanilla cream, I wasn't a fan a of the cheese one it's definitely something that I don't think should be mixed with popcorn. Some of the other flavours were coconut oil and sea salt, cheddar cheese and blood orange.  

If you visit Japan I highly recommend spending a few days in Osaka and visiting the castle and just exploring the city! Our hotel was situated right next to the train station so it was incredibly easy for us to get around while we were there. We did visited Universal Studios while we were in Osaka but I am going to be doing a seperate post on that and I also have quite a few other posts lined up on my time in Japan! Let me know if you've ever visited Osaka and what you though of it.

Victoria x
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