Continuing the day trip trip, I headed over to Osaka the day after Himeji. Since I could use my JR pass on their city-loop metro line, it made for an easily planned itinerary – start on one side of the loop and go round it, seeing the things I wanted to until I got back to the main station.

First up was the castle. Although this looks old, and is on the site of the original castle, actually it’s completely modern inside (and out – it is largely concrete) and houses a museum. It even
has a lift going up to the top! Quite interesting, but in no way as cool as Himeji castle.

Next up was Shitenno-ji – the oldest officially administered shrine in Japan. Didn’t take many pictures (getting a bit shrined-out, truth be told) but this graveyard was cool:

I bought some tako-yaki (balls made of batter with bits of octopus in – very nice) for lunch, but in my haste to eat them burnt the inside of my mouth. Doh! I ate in a park that had this bizarre statue:

Then it was on to Keitaku-en – a small garden built around a central pond.

The day was going rather swimmingly until I tried to find the Osaka Liberty museum, which is (apparently) very good and which looks, in short, at Japan’s discrimination against various minorities over the years. These include women, gays, Koreans, burakumin (people who worked in “unclean” professions, such as leather tanning) and a number of other groups. However, despite having a guide book and two maps, and making two attempts over a period of about 40 minutes to find it, I could not. So I gave up, safe in the knowledge that my seething frustration would be soothed at…

(helped by passing this sunset)

… the aquarium! And it so was. The best aquarium in Japan, it had huge tanks of awesome fishies, including big whales, dolphins, angel fish and penguins. Also, it was very well constructed in that you slowly descended down into the building so saw the top of the tanks before walking further down to see their contents. Most tanks had things living in the top, like crocodiles, monkies AND my top FAVOURITE mammal – a sloth.

Also, because I went quite late (about 6) it was free of annoying children (but did have quite a lot of young couples on dates). I took a couple of videos. The penguins were hilarious – put the sound on for extra insanity – and the big tank really, well, big.

And now, at the late hour of 9pm, it is time for my bed. Further posts will be forthcoming tomorrow, by which time I should be, if all goes to plan, weary after a day on the slopes. W00t!

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