Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Osaka Walking Tour...

Spring break is here! Alison and I were so excited for our trip to Osaka, so excited that we really didn't plan much for it! haha We're such pro travellers now we'd figure we'd get there and go from there, with the exception of our walking tour on day 1! We left Saturday morning for the airport, where once again we were not asked for any form of picture id. Apparently this doesn't concern them. Anyways, our flight was good...Alison got in some reading time and enjoyed poking me during my nap time. Always a pleasure! :) We were thrilled when we exited the airport toward the subway and found a Golden Spoon! Of course we stopped and had a snack!
We made our way to our hotel, Swissotel, which was very nice and wonderfully located just above the subway. After some walking around and shopping, we crashed for the night in preparation for our tour on Sunday.

Sunday morning we found the hotel our tour group was meeting at with no problems, one of our first proud moments of the trip. Our first stop as a group was the Umeda Sky Tower with a floating garden and observation deck. The building is 170 meters up with a beautiful view of the city. We didn't have the best weather but it was still a great view!

Apparently the tower is a popular wedding spot as well as a nightly hang out. In the store they sell these little metal hearts that they engrave and lock onto this fence, where they remain forever, supposedly...let's just say they haven't run out of room yet. We wanted to go in and sit on the fun chairs on this little deck but the security guy practicing his martial art forms was a bit intimidating :) haha I should have took a picture of him!

This is just inside on the observation floor in a fun little booth overlooking the city.
This is the tower from the bottom. The two things that go across near the top are the escalators that take you to the very top from the elevator.
This is the "floating garden." Looking down from the top this area appears to be floating as it is surrounded by water. So beautiful!
From the Sky Tower we walked back to the Granvia Osaka, where we met in the morning, for lunch. We had fish and I must say that it was yummy! Go figure huh? :) Alison and I got to talk with a couple from Texas who were in Japan touring and on their way to visit their son who is teaching English for the year. He's ready to go home too :) They were really sweet people and made for some great lunch conversation!From lunch we walked to the Osaka Castle. There were a ton of people there since on mainland this is the cherry blossom season. I must say though that Okinawa has much prettier blossoms, pink instead of white!
Here is Alison, behind me again! She really needs some longer legs :)

Osaka Castle
We were able to go to the top floor of the castle and go out onto the deck. Here is a view down from the top of the Castle. After the castle we hiked to where our boat would be picking us up for a harbor cruise. If you recall, when we went to Tokyo, we also took a boat cruise, and it was so exciting I fell asleep! Well this one was just as exciting, only because we were so squished, I didn't really get a nap. I was only able to "rest my eyes" for just a few moments. This was of course after they had to lower the ceiling on our boat so we could clear one of the bridges, as a result of the rise in water. I must say I was a bit worried as the ceiling came REALLY close to my head! Check out the picture below, the man sitting next to Alison has the right idea! :) After the tour that evening, Alison and I found our way to an 8 story shopping mall in the area. We were exhausted but knew we needed to check this place out! We got to shop at the Gap! It was so exciting! I found a skirt and a belt! good times! The awesome part is the ferris wheel that was on top of this 8 story building. We just had to do it! Here I am in our red bucket. We timed the ride very nicely as all the city lights were beginning to come on during our ride!

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