For the finale of our two-week Korea and Japan trip, we decided to spend two days in Osaka. Since we only had two days, we kept it simple, hitting a few main sights, walking among the cherry blossoms, and feasting on our favorite Japanese foods.
Sushi Conveyer Belt
Our first stop was a sushi train - a sushi shop where customers sit in front of a conveyor belt that is constantly refreshed with various pieces of sushi and sashimi. Each plate of sushi is color-coded so patrons know the cost of the dish. We spent the first few minutes just watching dishes go by to get a feel for the options, and then we started to have fun grabbing dish after dish, trying both new ingredients and favorite staples. Erin's favorite was the most expensive (of course) fatty tuna on rice, and Dave enjoyed the simple but delicious salmon and avocado.
After filling our selves to the brim, we took a walk along the river and famous Dotonbori street, filled with neon signs, tourist shops and tons of street food shops selling famous takoyaki and various fried foods on sticks. In the afternoon, we spent time enjoying the hotel spa and laid in very high tech massage chairs overlooking the city while our room was being cleaned.
In the evening, we grabbed some ramen and did some shopping at the cool street-style stores (which had a 1990 LA vibe - think Dennis Rodman Jerseys and Starter jackets) and checked out a video game themed bar before heading to a walk-up massage spot for some foot massages. Immediately upon entering, we realized that these were not masseuses, but ladies of the night surprised to see a couple, so we made a quick excuse and ran outside as quickly as possible. After all of that excitement, we headed in for the night.
For our second day, we headed to Osaka Castle, build in the 1500s and surrounded by a moat and thousands of cherry blossom trees. We watched as families set giant blankets under each tree and unpacked drinks and picnics, planning to spend their Saturday eating and getting drunk under the beautiful blossoms. Dave climbed on the castle wall, and we quickly researched the history of the castle as we sat admiring it up close.
Kema Sakuranomiya Park
From the castle, we walked toward Kema Sakuranomiya Park, where we walked along a path lined on both sides by blooming trees, making it feel like we were walking through a pastel pink tunnel. Despite all of our sakura encounters throughout the trip, we tried to enjoy the last few moments of our Japanese cherry blossom experience.
Kuromon Ichiba Market
After our long walk, we headed to the famous Kuromon Ichiba Market, lined with various food stalls selling fresh fish, fruits, vegetables and a variety of Japanese street foods. We started with a sushi burger, which had a rice and seaweed bun and was filled with kobe beef - definitely not something we would usually order but insanely delicious. From there, we headed to a famous tuna shop where a sushi master was expertly slicing fresh sushi from the head and neck of a giant tuna. We ordered a bowl of fatty tuna over rice, which was super expensive compared to the street food we'd been eating, but our investment was worth it. It was the most delicious fish Erin had ever eaten, so smooth and buttery.
In the evening, we got proper massages and spent our last night in Japan just wandering the streets, getting our last feel of immersion, and doing some last minute shopping. We woke up early the following morning and headed to the airport, stopping at the convenience store to pick up a bag of snacks for the 12 hour flight to Amsterdam.
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