|This post got backlogged, so just putting it up unfinished. Will backfill pictures when I find them later.|
I took a few day reprieve from Tokyo to visit the Kansai prefecture.
While there, I visited Osaka and Nara. I was feeling a little bit unwell so I skipped Kyoto/Kobe, but will be looking forward to visiting when I’m next in Japan!
Getting to Kansai
I decided to take an early morning Shinkansen (i.e. a bullet train) from Tokyo to Osaka on Tuesday morning. Because my hotel stay was officially over, I stayed the night in a “Manga Kissaten”. For the uninitiated, a Manga Kissa is basically a somewhat skeevy 24/7 pay-per-hour library with free drinks and private booths. I had heard that they were a reasonable place to stay – I think I had a particularly bad one, the air was smoke filled, the drinks were just OK, there was no shower in the morning, and they didn’t dim the lights past midnight (these are all problems I’ve heard higher-end Manga Kissaten do not suffer). Blearly eyed, I made my way to the train station and purchased a ticket, and boarded the first train to Osaka.
Upon arriving in Osaka I made my way down to a place called Spa World in an area called Dotonbori-Mae. Unfortunately, they were overbooked/expensive so I looked elsewhere nearby. After comparing the offerings across the street, I found a really nice backpacker’s hostel where I was able to secure a private room (Japanese style) for about $13 USD a night.
From the hostel I decided to just walk the length of the city, starting from the hostel all the way to Umeda. As a straight shot, this is about 4 miles, but I wandered around so it was longer.
For lunch I ate okonomiyaki (a Japanese “pizza” that’s a little closer to a omelette). It is served on a hot griddle, yum!
Later that night I went to the Don Quixote. DQ is like a wacky Walmart/Spencer’s Gifts hybrid. It has everything from groceries to a sex shop. A few floors up there was an (unrelated?) arcade/casino. I bought some chips and started playing games. After playing for about an hour (and not doing very well), I went to cash out my remaining tokens. I found out that tokens are not actually exchangeable for anything. I asked some other players if they could help me exchange, and they agreed because they thought you could cash out too. When they found out they couldn’t, they seemed to be a little off put, but I gave them my tokens so they were happy. What was weird is they even had a bank for the tokens…
I really enjoyed my visit to Nara. The deer are so kawaii!
In Nara you can find the Tōdai-ji, or a temple featuring a huge bronze Buddha (the largest bronze statue in the world and the largest Buddha in Japan). The Tōdai-ji temple is also one of the largest wooden buildings in the world.