This blog is beginning to feel a little like my 13 year old self’s diary that was mostly filled with apologies to the notebook for such serious neglect! Having been told that my posts garner the same kind of anticipation as the next episode of your favourite box set (yeah no biggie thanks mum) I am going to try an attempt to get back into a routine and do a catch up post for all of my avid 6 readers out there. I’m currently writing this from a cafe in South Korea so plenty to update with!
So almost a week ago I decided to say goodbye to Tokyo and headed to Nagoya about an hour Shinkansen away to meet Matt’s super lovely Japanese mate Narumi who agreed to be our tour guide for the city. She showed us the beautiful Nagoya Castle which was still shrouded in Sakura blossoms and had impressive views over the city. We were introduced to the local speciality of deliciously crisp sesame chicken wings and also tried our first of many gyudon bowls. These heavenly dishes are huge bowls of steamed rice topped with soy marinated beef, soft onions and melted cheese for about three quid! Both of us were getting pretty cold-y by now having had a little too much partying in Tokyo so grabbed an early night in our awesome little capsule hostel complete with in-pod TVs!
The next day we grabbed a second train to Osaka and loaded up on fruit and hot honey and lemon in an attempt to cure our illnesses! The journey itself was complete with pretty amazing views of Mount Fuji – without a doubt better than my first sighting back in Hakone. We checked in to my favourite hostel – Khaosan World Namba and with the prospect of a very rainy day decided to tackle the trip out to the aquarium. We arrived in a torrential downpour so had definitely made a good call to pick indoor activities for the day. The aquarium itself was actually pretty impressive particularly the massive whale sharks yards of penguins and wonderfully lazy otters. The highlight was definitely the section on jellyfish where we stayed for ages pretty mesmerised watching their eerie glowing shapes in the dark. After a gyudon stop we headed to ‘spa world’ which promised a novelty kind of onsen experience. Once we split to our respective gendered floors we both were faced with a series of themed baths filled with naked people – hilarious. I started in ‘Persia’ and moved through to ‘Bali’ and ‘Israel’ while Matt experienced the European themed baths a few floors away in this massive complex. It was definitely different from my previous onsen experience and had a pretty great selection of rooms, saunas, private freestanding baths, outdoor steam baths and oddly a few bars for naked drinking presumably… But as onsen go this was far from authentic! We were both pretty ready to leave this tourist trap well within our 3 hour time slot and took a rain back to our hostel. There Matt was introduced to his first tacoyaki making experience before another early night!
The sleeping seemed to have worked and both of us woke fresh and cold-less finally! It was beautifully sunny so we strolled to the streets of dotonburi and Kurumon market for sushi and beautiful hot scallop breakfasts followed by I’d say the biggest apple I have ever seen! After topping off our feast with some amazing ramen we grabbed three different types of train all the way out to Osaka Expo City which was a kind of park outside of the center. The park was pretty much blossom-less but had some amazing tulip gardens, waterfalls and manicured Japanese gardens for us to explore. I also finally managed to tick off my bucket list plan of trying delicious green tea ice cream before leaving Japan. That night we grabbed a group together for my last big night in Japan and hit the bars and clubs of Osaka one final time complete with karaoke of course!
For my final day in Japan, Matt and I strolled to Osaka castle park in the sunshine and chilled with some beautiful views. We grabbed proper coffees at the endlessly cool streamer coffee company back in the city centre and discovered an awesome area of town near Yotsubashi train station for vintage store browsing. That evening we were directed by one of the lovely Khaosan reception staff to an udon noodle and tempura place for a perfect last supper dinner in Japan before my final sleep in my cosy pod cupboard bed.