2012 - 2013

Day 2


As promised, the first thing I did after getting up was take a few photos of our hotel.
Jonathan seems to be impressed with the color schemes, but other than that, it does look pretty fancy! It has a church on level 22, and there seems to be a lot of bridal shops, there is a few fancy restaurants around and an art gallery on the ground floor. The elevators have a kind of steam punk feel to them too, they have a fan in them that looks like a propeller and the buttons are little glass spheres.

We missed the hotel breakfast, but by looking at the menu, the buffet breakfast costs $25, which we thought was a little expensive, so we went for a walk instead.
It was a nice sunny morning, the air was crisp, but we were all expecting it to be much colder so it was a pretty pleasant walk.

Most places seemed like they only served lunch and dinner and alot of places were just setting up for the day ahead, but we eventually found a place that had a breakfast menu.
As it turns out, we missed breakfast there too, but there lunch menu still had pancakes, raison toast, etc. so we just ordered and used that time to work out what we wanted to do with our limited time in Osaka.

We decided that the 3 main attractions we all wanted to see were the Osaka Castle, the Osaka Aquarium and some of the shopping areas. We headed back to our hotel to get some information from our concierge. We found out that alot of things are shut between Christmas and New Years, including Osaka Castle, so that left the shopping and the aquarium on the list.

We ended up going to a shopping area called “Shinsaibashi”. It is a long (mostly undercover) street with lots of shops from food and coffee places to clothes and even a pachinko parlour.
We spent a couple of hours doing random shopping before meeting up at around 3:30PM.

Rob and Sarah met up with us a little bit earlier, so we thought we should check out the patchinko palour. Last time Rob and I were in Japan, we took a look inside one of these places, but we didn’t play, so this time, we thought we’d give it a go!

We got some English instructions from the desk and eventually (sort of) worked it out.
You basically have to buy some ball bearings by putting some money in the Patchinko machine. The balls are collected in a tray at the base of the machine, and to play you have to turn a dial to start shooting the balls through a pinball looking obstacle course. Most of them simply fall to the bottom and disappear, but the goal is to get as many balls as you can into a small hole just above the bottom of the course, which is quite difficult. If you get enough in, then you can jackpot and win more ball bearings. The more you turn the dial, the faster the balls are launched into the course, so you need to keep adjusting the power until you find a level that works, that is the only control you have.

Every game is slightly different, but they all seem to have the same basic goal.
There may be a little more to it than that, but that was all we could gather from the instructions and an awkward conversation with the non-English speaking assistant. Needless to say I quite quickly lost my 1000 Yen with nothing to show for it! But I can say I’ve done it now :)

From here we headed to Umeda, where we wanted to go to the observation deck of the Umeda Sky Building. The building was pretty fancy looking and had a nice view of Osaka from the top.
We had our fill of sights, got a drink and then headed back to the Shinsaibashi shops and then back to the hotel.

It was a pretty good day and we had done a lot of walking, Shinsaibashi is quite a long stretch of shops, so we were all ready to put our feet up!