The sixth week started very stiffly to say the least. Because of the 75km of cycling the day before I felt like my legs were made of wood and I must also admit that my energy was pretty much drained and for the first time during the entire trip I felt that I would just prefer to stay in and do nothing that day. Lucky for me that wasn’t an option as check out time was at 10am… The hotel had a buffet breakfast included and it was very filling and delicious, but not for those who don’t want to eat a full meal in the morning as it consisted mostly of rice and noodle dishes.
The plan for the day was sightseeing in Imabari, which I quickly noticed was not very time-consuming. The only place that I went to was Imabari castle. A very nice looking castle with an interesting seawater mound, where the tide apparently brings in the water.
After walking back to the train station by the harbour I took the train to Matsuyama where my first ever capsule hotel experience was waiting for me. Yet again Japan delivered! The environment at the hotel was super convenient and the price was very low considering all the amenities included.
For Tuesday and Wednesday I spent sightseeing in Matsuyama with varying degrees of energy and motivation. The weather was really drowning out the last bits of inspiration I had left. On Wednesday evening I finally took the bus back to Osaka. It was a night bus this time, not my first choice but from Willer Express the only one available for this leg of the journey.
Thursday was… sleeping. Just sleeping. To make sure I would be alive for Friday and my last trip to Kyoto, Gion and Kiyomizudera.
Saturday was pretty much a replay of Thursday if anything, but I just couldn’t stay still and indoors with the knowledge of leaving Osaka in just a few days. So I decided to spend the afternoon walking around Otaroad for the last time.
For Sunday I had to do laundry and pack my bags in preparation to leave Osaka to go to Tokyo. And so came the half-way point of my trip in Japan.
As the lack of full days in Osaka finally caught up with me I had to plan properly all the places I still wanted to see so that nothing would be closed when i tried to go there. Half of my week was spent in Osaka and half on the road in Hiroshima prefecture.
On Monday I took the train to Ikeda. Little north of Osaka and mostly visited because of the Momofuku Instant Ramen Museum, it was a nice little city with a relaxed atmosphere. I decided to spend the day walking around the city instead of just visiting the Ramen Museum, which in my opinion was a bit of a let down. Partly because of the lines but also partly because the entire museum was mostly based on the chance of making your own instant ramen, and as I wasn’t too interested in doing that the museum offered very little entertainment and was mostly targeted towards children. Read more
Kyoto is a city that doesn’t need much of an introduction. The old capital and center of traditional culture in Japan, also a traveler’s must see destination.
Day 1 – 28.7.2017
As my first Kyoto trip I decided to explore southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari and the surrounding area including Tofukuji Temple. Technically less than an hour away from Osaka, but choosing the right trains does play a big part in that… Not noticing to check whether I stepped into a local train or a rapid train I had to change trains multiple times to finally arrive at my destination at a reasonable time. But now I know to pay attention to this small detail. Read more
Monday started of with a real nasty typhoon. With no concrete plans for the day I thought it best to just stay indoors and have a rest day with a weather like that. Also having been awake half the night because of my new neighbours, I really had no energy to go anywhere to begin with. Luckily by Tuesday the weather had calmed down considerably and I was ready to venture out. Read more
The week started with Sumiyoshi Matsuri. The last of the season in Osaka and my (final) chance to wear my yukata. I was honestly quite nervous about it. Putting it on by myself with no proper mirror to work with and going out attracting even more attention that I normally would. But my mind was made up, this was my only chance. And I did it! I put on my yukata, double checking to do it the right way, tied my obi, added the obijime and put up my hair. I opted to leave with my flip-flops instead of my geta to make sure I could actually walk. I met up with a fellow Couchsurfer and we went to the matsuri together. We participated in the ritual of walking through the circle of straw and had some shaved ice. Read more
The city mainly known for its massive deer population and as the home of Japans largest bronze Buddha. Nara is conveniently located about an hour’s train ride away from Osaka. And as the city is quite compact and small it makes for the perfect destination for a day trip from Osaka.
The second week in Japan was filled with unexpected last-minute plans that I would usually just turn down or postpone, but this time I decided to just accept them and see how it goes. Well, I can’t complain too much. This ‘why the hell not’ attitude does tend to lead to more surprises but also very memorable experiences. Read more
Kobe, a city less than an hour away from Osaka by train, tucked away between a mountain range and the sea with lots of former foreign settlements. It really reminded me of Qingdao with its European influenced architecture and seaside parks and boulevards. It makes for a perfect day trip from Osaka.
Travelling in Japan during the summer might not be the best and brightest idea one could have, especially for someone coming from a colder and much drier climate like myself. The heat and humidity are truly on a scale of their own. Not even a week had passed since my arrival and I had already encountered someone passing out on the street due to the weather.
But luckily summer in Japan does also come with its perks, one being the summer festivals, also known as Matsuri. A great opportunity to enjoy and experience life like a local.
After an eventful journey from Qingdao to Osaka, I was finally in Japan. I had quite high expectations and I can’t say I’ve been disappointed so far. Everyone is super nice and polite, the streets are clean and safe, and the food! The food is just simply delicious, no matter what and where I eat. And yes, there are vending machines absolutely everywhere… But what’s up with the lack of free WiFi at restaurants or even et McDonald’s and Starbucks?
Osaka Castle Mout
Pokemon Center Osaka
Ferris Wheel on top of Hep Five
Osaka Castle Park
A rainy day in Osaka
Sorihashi Bridge at Sumiyoshi Taisha
Shinsekai and Tsutenkaku