Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Japan Adventure - Day 6 (Osaka)

Day 6 was supposed to be a simple travel day from Kyoto to Hiroshima. However, train travel is so dang effortless in Japan (at least with the JR Rail Pass), that it was a no brainer to split our trip up with a stop in Osaka. Specfically, we wanted to hit the Osaka aquarium.

Just how easy is train travel in Japan? Well, you walk into a railway office, and tell the ticket agent where you want to go. They then reserve you a spot on a specific train, and tell you what time, track number, car number and seat number you'll be sitting in. All you have to do is show up to the right track, and queue up next to the car number printed on the ground. Easy.

The Lonely Planet guidebook said that Osaka's Aquarium ranks as one of the best in the world, and I'd have to agree. It's a modern aquarium like, say, the Baltimore one we're familiar with, but it's even larger. While they had the usual otters, dolphins and rays that we're used to, it also contained a number of animals I'd never seen before.

Take the giant spider crab, which looks like it belongs on the set of a Sci-Fi movie. Or the impressive collection of Jellyfish which are essentially a living art canvas. And then there were the squid that looked like beings from another planet. Though my favorite animal in the aquarium wasn't even a fish, it was the Capybara. This guy is a rodent, and in his pictures, he looks like you'd expect a rodent to look. There's just one catch, he's absolutely ginormous. Seriously, you can't believe how big he is still you see him in person.

Lunch today was *hot* udon with eggplant tempura, a side order of edamame and rice wrapped in deep fried tofu (oddly, served cold). It was definitely a winner. Though, for dessert I ordered a crepe with banana, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It was beyond heavenly. Don't worry, this morning I had a random bean-paste based snack for breakfast; don't think I'm not getting my fill of Japanese treats.

Also on the food front, I can report that the Japanese have mastered the American style breakfast. This morning I had pancakes and toast that would give Denny's a run for its money.

Onward to Hiroshima!

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