Osaka Forever

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Osaka. What can I say about this wonderful city?

Well for starters, it immediately had a different atmosphere compared to Tokyo which I felt as soon as I got off the Shinkansen. It was chaos, and not exactly the organized kind, but despite that it retained a very laid back feeling. People in Japan generally keep to themselves, and they do in Osaka as well, but in a much more carefree and almost rebellious way so to say.

If you’ve ever seen Azumanga Daioh then you’ll probably recall when the character Kasuaga Ayumu was introduced. She was a transfer student from Osaka and was immediately asked by a classmate if it’s true that people in Osaka jaywalk like crazy. Well, after being in Osaka for about just ten minutes or so, I can confirm that this is indeed true. People here don’t give a f*ck, and I love it.

I arrived into town a bit later than I had originally anticipated. After getting off at the wrong station, I missed my initial Shinkansen by just two minutes. If you’ve ever been in Japan before, then you’ll know that everything is extremely punctual, so I knew that my train had 100% left already. Damn, no big deal though. After quickly speaking with an attendant I was advised to just take the next train coming soon, however I would have to board trains 1-3 which are “unreserved” trains. This meant that none of the seats on the train are reserved, so if you happen to find a seat then great. However, if you were like me and taking the train to Osaka at the end of a holiday (Culture Day), then you will 110% be standing, which wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t traveling with my bag and luggage…

After carrying my camera bag and holding my luggage for half the trip (shoutout to everyone that got off at Nagoya Station), I finally arrived in Osaka at night. By this time I was quite exhausted, so after I checked into my hotel, I didn’t do much besides just get some okonomiyaki and takoyaki for dinner before calling it a night.

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The next morning however, I went into tourist mode and headed straight to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan!

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This aquarium is one of the largest in the world with multiple themed areas such as Japanese Forests, Monterey Bay, Ecuadorian Jungle, and Antarctica, just to name a few, all featuring different a variety of wildlife.

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They had penguins as well so naturally I spent quite a bit of time here…

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…and later on a few would come straight up to me and hang out for a while!

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I was very excited to finally be able to see whale sharks in person as they are pretty much only housed in Asia (the one exception being the Georgia Aquarium).

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Baby puffer fish with some kids in the background screaming and slapping the glass in hopes of scaring them (they were not successful)…

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One neat thing about the Osaka Aquarium is that the tanks actually extend down into multiple floors, so as you descend downwards you will actually see different sections of each tank with each section being home to different types of sea life.

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It was incredibly dark here but this is the jellyfish room!

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This one seal just hung out in the corner the entire time…

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A large petting tank which houses both sharks and stingrays!

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Fresh sashimi anyone?

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It was a little odd seeing mudskippers not screaming at the top of their lungs…

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Fun fact: these things friggin’ hurt.

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One of the most relaxing areas in the aquarium was this terrarium themed room which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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After a quick stop to the gift shop, I left Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and went next door to Tempozan Marketplace which is a shopping mall…

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…that also has a petting zoo which offers a discount to anyone who went to the aquarium or the Tempozan Giant Ferris wheel, so I figured why not!

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Back home I’ll only see owls sitting on top of people’s houses late at night, but Japan has its fair share of owls everywhere including dedicated owl cafes.

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All the animals including the owls, a giant tortoise, kangaroos, and whatever those smaller things are, are all free to roam around the area and interact with visitors.

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Oh and then out of absolutely nowhere one of the staff opened a door and this alpaca came out and joined us.

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Eventually I made it outside where I went up onto the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel.

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I’m actually pretty terrified of heights but this view alone was well worth it!

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After the Ferris wheel I tried to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Osaka where all I would discover is that adults need to be accompanied by a child in order to enter…SIGH…

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No matter, it was time to head to my next destination!

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I decided to do some street photography while trekking along…

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No idea what this is but it looked pretty interesting.

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Eventually all these side streets led to where I wanted to go…

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…which was none other than Up Garage!

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Right across the street was Yellow Hat and just down the road was also Autobacs, both of which I would later visit and not take a single photo…

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But let’s get back to Up Garage…

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…and take a look at some of the things that this particular location had available!

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First things that immediately caught my eye were these sets of Work Emotion CR’s and Volk Racing TE37’s.

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To give you an idea of just how cheap some things can get here, he’s a set of RS Watanabe’s in 13×7 +20 for only ¥35,900 (just under $430CAD)!

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CE28N’s, ZE40’s, and even GT-N’s!

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In additional to all the used treasures, Up Garage does also offer a variety of new parts as well…

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…but let’s be honest, everyone comes here for the incredible deals on used parts!

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Tons of quality exhausts on hand as well ranging from Kakimoto Racing, NISMO, HKS, and Fujitsubo, just to name a few brands.

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Does anyone else remember the old school Blitz Super Sound blow off valves that you could mount a filter onto?

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I wouldn’t have mind taking a few Recaro’s home with me…

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One of the craziests deals I found was a set of authentic C-West sideskirts for FD3S. The price? ¥1,000, or about $12.00CAD. Damn.

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After Up Garage I eventually made my way back to my hotel which was located in Dōtonbori.

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This is the front of my hotel by the way!

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Located in the Namba district, Dōtonbori, Shinsaibashi, and Amerikamura is pretty much where all the action is in Osaka and is absolutely FILLED with people at night.

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I decided to venture further inwards to see what nightlife here was like was not disappointed.

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Manly of the famous landmarks of Osaka are all right here in this one spot as well.

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For some reason I didn’t take a photo showing just how busy the crowds are here…

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Also takoyaki is quite literally around every corner here!

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If you can’t decide on a restaurant to eat (ahem, TINA) then the street vendors will have you covered.

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One of the many decorated manhole covers in Japan, this one having an image of Osaka Castle on it.

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If you like arcades like me then I HIGHLY recommend visiting any of the Round1 arcades. These places are absolutely huge with multiple floors, all filled to the brim with UFO Catchers, racing games, fighting games, Gundam simulators, DDR, DanceRush Stardom, slot machines, pretty much anything and everything you’d ever want from an arcade. Sadly none of the WMMT machines were dispensing new cards here, in Tokyo, and in Kawasaki for whatever reason, so no battles with the locals were had…

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Eventually the streets did start to quiet down a bit as it got later.

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namBa HIPS is a giant 12-floor leisure complex that has everything from pachinko, karaoke, sports bars, golfing, fitness studios, rock climbing, and restaurants. Crazy.

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Gundam Café!

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After exploring for a bit longer (and spending all my coins on UFO Catchers) it was time for my first day in Osaka to come to an end. Coming up next, whatever I did the next day!

-brandon.

Click here to view the full photo set on Flickr.

See more from my Japan trip here !

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