3.31.2013

Day Five: Osaka Aquarium and Dontonburi

McDonald's Breakfast while in Japan...guilty! In the Tokyo hotel we were staying at, we had become pretty spoiled with a great American breakfast. The hotel we were staying at in Osaka had an extremely overpriced meal for minimal and less than ideal breakfast food. As bad as it sounds we opted to go to the local McDonald's and find something a little more fulfilling.


Since I don't eat eggs, the only breakfast option for me was a stack of pancakes, a hash brown, and some orange juice. Other than the smaller size in the drink, there was no difference between this meal in America vs. this meal in Japan. 


Next up on the agenda for the day was the Osaka Aquarium. 





The famous whale shark!


Angry Eels...
Puffer Fish...


Huge Stingrays and ugly fish!


Giant Crabs (arm span of these crabs was greater than 4 ft.)!!!!


Tiny Jelly Fishes


Happy squinty eyed seal

Mr. Penguin


After we got back from the aquarium, we headed to Dontonburi (downtown district known for the food and the people watching).  While there we saw a real life Sumo wrestler, a few prostitutes and a lot of people. We took Uncle, Janet, and Kassandra there to allow then to soak in the sights even though Adam and I had already been there. We walked around the area, stopped into the Puma store (Uncle wanted to buy some limited edition Japan only Puma shoes but unfortunately they only had "Japanese" sized shoes). 

Adam being the Glico running man - the neon running man sign. The sign was originally installed in 195 as the symbol of Glico candy. The sign is famous in the Osaka region and has been altered for special occasions to celebrate events such as the World Cup and to show support for the local baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers.  



The famous Osaka crab which we unfortunately did not get to eat.



Up close Glico man.

Sumo!!!


To finish the night we stopped at an English pub call the Hub to enjoy some fish and chips and other Japanese version British food. 

3.28.2013

Day Four: Kyoto

Another bright and early morning and we were off to Kyoto. It was a two hour train ride from Tokyo so we tried our best to keep ourselves occupied. 



The first stop on our list was the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a famous Shinto shrine known for its thousands of tori gates that line the path. 



After the shrine, we headed back to Kyoto station for some lunch. We managed to find one of our favorite types of food in Japan...Kaiten Sushi (conveyor belt). Each plate was about $1.50 and it was delicious! Apparently there is one coming to Atlanta soon so we'll have to check that out. 




We ended up eating 17 plates of sushi and were stuffed by the time we left. We had been eating plenty of sushi, but in America we just can't get this quality for this cheap. 




Since it had already started to reach mid afternoon, we opted to take a taxi to the next location to conserve some time. Despite all of my time spent abroad, riding in cars with the driver seat on the right side always seems to fascinate me.



We had finally arrived at the beautiful golden temple, Kinkakuji. The top two stories are completely covered in gold leaf and was initially built as the retirement villa of shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.  It was a gorgeous property which allowed for some great photo opportunities.





My sister found some girls wearing kimonos and obviously had to have a picture with them. She used her hands to signal a camera and asked "Photo, Okay?" and sure enough they agreed.


One more trip back to Kyoto Station to pick up our luggage then we were off to Osaka. Adam and I decided to share some Green Tea Ice Cream. It was surprisingly much stronger than the kind they sell in America. 

As we concluded the day we settled into our new hotel, Hotel Monterey La Soeur Osaka. It connected to the Kyobashi train station, which also had department stores and a mall attached to it. We opted for another sushi meal and found a great restaurant inside the Keihan Mall. 



3.26.2013

Day Three: Tokyo with the Family

Once again jet lag got the better of me and I was up at 4:45 AM. This time I decided to be productive and headed to the hotel gym for a run. The Temple vs. Indiana game had just started the second half and it provided something entertaining to watch while on the treadmill. Honestly watching basketball/football while on the treadmill is by far my favorite pass time! I managed to get in about 5 miles and enjoyed the good start to the day.


My parents and sister had arrived the previous night so we were all finally together to start the Moore Family Reunion - Japan.




The first stop on the agenda was Takashimaya, an upscale department store in Japan with amazing displays of food and clothing. 





Next up we headed to Gam's address where she grew up as a child. Her actual home was torn down many years ago, but every time we visit Japan we make sure to stop at the address. 





Of course we had to go and enjoy some green tea ... 





...then it was back on the subway to the new Tokyo Skytree




Lunchtime: Udon Noodles with Shrimp and Sweet Potato Tempura


Unfortunately the line to go inside the Skytree was more than 2 hours so we just enjoyed the outdoor view 






Near by was Asakasu/Senjoji Temple were my sister was trying to conquer the art of defeating the Huns








The trip wouldn't be complete without playing on a Japanese Playground...




...and enjoying some Taiyaki 
(Fish shaped Japanese desserts with red bean or chocolate inside)




During our last trip in 2010 one of our most favorite restaurants was a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, Genki Sushi, in Tokyo Station. Of course we had to go there again...but given the magnitude of the station we just couldn't find it. We wandered for almost 90 minutes with exhausted feet and seven people and finally had to give up on the search mission. We split up and half of us ended up in a little sushi place in the station. While it wasn't conveyor belt sushi it was amazing quality sushi. In America we tend to whine about that restaurants give too much rice compared to the size of the fish. Here the fish to rice ratio was the exact opposite and we loved it!


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