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Oh-saka, you were not kind to my body, wallet, or mind. Osaka was an interesting adventure in itself. From developing blisters to missing my bike ride around Osaka (that I paid for).
To start out, I couldn’t find my AirBnB. After a couple of nice old ladies took me around the block trying to find it, it turns out Google Maps was taking me further than I was originally supposed to and I was in front of it the whole time. Then, I ran out of clothes. When I first booked my AirBnB, I thought there was a washer in the apartment…there wasn’t. So, after going through Yelp, I managed to find a laundromat nearby. To be honest, I have never used a laundromat in my life, so trying to figure it all out in Japanese was a slight challenge. Fortunately, a kind man from New Zealand managed to figure it out about 10 minutes before I got there. Both he and I almost didn’t have enough change to pay for the washer and dryer, but we managed to get the job done. I’m glad that somebody was there so I could have someone to talk to while waiting for my laundry. I would have been bored out of my mind (my phone was dying too) if nobody was there. After taking a taxi back to the AirBnB and taking a shower, I passed out after finishing my long day in Kyoto.
I woke up to my alarm clock ringing at 6:30 AM so I could prepare for my bike ride around Osaka. To summarize that experience, I missed my train stop and couldn’t find the train that goes the other direction (Joy + exhaustion = Dumb Joy). When I finally got to the area, the taxi driver didn’t know where it was either. Essentially, the group left without me, when I got there at 8 AM (it starts at 8 AM). It was my fault nonetheless, but I was more angry that I could have spent that 45 USD on food.
Moving on, I took a taxi to Osaka Castle after spending 20+ minutes trying to find a train station. Once I got there, it was super warm and busy considering it was still around 10 AM. The castle was beautiful, but I had no desire to go inside since it was just a giant museum (plus I wanted to save my money for food and shopping). I sat outside and had a picnic with my snacks that I bought at the convenience store.
Then I took a taxi to Kuromon Ichiba, a glorious food heaven. It was filled with food stalls on both sides ranging from sashimi, takoyaki, fruits, daifuku, and mochi! I definitely took advantage of the fresh sashimi while I was here. It’s relatively cheap considering the high quality (and the ridiculous amount I would pay for imitation fish in KC). I even ate gonads…semi-kidding. It was just sea urchin, but this was definitely a pricey delicacy. This was the most expensive thing I ate at Kuromon Ichiba, but it’s worth a try. 🙂
Before my trip started, my goal was to go to one of those animal cafes. Japan has so many of them, like, snakes, owls, dogs, cats, rabbits, insects, hedgehogs, and more. But, silly me didn’t realize that you have to make a reservation for them beforehand. After finishing lunch, I wandered around for a while trying to find what to do next. As I was walking, I noticed to my left in a very sketchy building, there was an owl café! Mind you, this building was probably the sketchiest thing I’ve seen during my trip, the 3rd/4th floor was a kinky maid/sex café or whatnot. That did not stop me and I still went down to the bottom floor to go and find this owl café. There were owls and it was not sketchy, but most importantly, no reservations needed. 🙂
Don’t ask me where it is because I couldn’t find it on Yelp. I paid for a 30 minute session that came with a drink and to pet the owls. These owls don’t fly around and are sleeping most of the day anyways, so you’re only allowed to pet their beaks so it doesn’t get stressed. This café has a wide variety of owls ranging from large to small owls. A lot of them are already used to being touched by humans, so they don’t get stressed out as easily anymore. The only one that was really mean was Hedwig. Of course these are animals and in a way, it is kind of cruel to put them into these situations. But judging from this place, they seem to genuinely care for the owls.
After leaving, I was trying to find a stationary store for one of my friends. I found one online called Stationary Street, which got me very excited because I LOVE stationary. Once Google Maps directed me to the place, all I saw was a construction area. So, I asked a security guard where Namba Walk was and he told me it was underground right underneath me. Once I followed his directions, I found an underground shopping/dining area, which also leads to a subway station at the end. To summarize, I spent about 3 hours shopping and trying on clothes.
Then after leaving Namba Walk, it was almost dinner time and I wanted more sushi. I walked around for a solid 20 minutes trying to find this conveyor belt sushi. I was about to settle on whatever looked good until I saw these massive arcades and neon lights. As I walked through, I found more stores and food. If you have read all of my adventure posts, I think I died and went to heaven about 4 times during this trip. Anyways, I did that Turkish ice cream thing where they don’t let you grab the ice cream, shopped, and even found my conveyor belt sushi!
Osaka is definitely a great shopping destination when it comes to looking for more Japanese stores. But they also have plenty of the standard American stores like Forever 21, Zara, H&M, and more. As well as the pricey, designer stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and more.
So when coming to Osaka, be prepared to have a fat wallet, an empty stomach, and stretchy pants. 🙂 Hope you all enjoyed my series in Japan!