Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Japan Holiday Day 10 - Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and back to Tokyo

It was our last day in Osaka and we thought that we'd finish off with the Osaka Aquarium - hopefully being a weekday the crowds would be less, because I couldn't handle the thought of another Universal Studios like day.

The Tempozan Harbour village also has a ferris wheel too and a Lego Discovery Centre - however we only had time for one thing, so we decided we'd come back to the ferris wheel.

Osaka's Kaiyukan is the best aquarium I have been to - though I haven't been to that many. Fortunately, being a Monday, it wasn't too crowded, and though the beginning part was a bit of a crush, once you moved away from the early sections into the downward spiral around the main tank, there was plenty of room for photos and for just sitting down to watch the marine life.

My favourite thing about the aquarium are the two whale sharks.

Hard to see but it's at the top of the picture in the background. The main tank (Pacific tank) also has an array of mantas and other Pacific fish in it and the aquarium path spirals downwards around it.

The second most impressive thing to me about the Kaiyukan are the jellyfish.  They look amazing and so graceful!

 What aquarium wouldn't have some sort of shark jaws in it??

And looking at these Spider crabs made me hungry. Yummm crab!

We then had a quick lunch at a Kushikatsu all-you-can-eat place (that's what the name translates to!) - it was not bad value for money, and the food was decent and fun for the kids. It was a buffet all you can cook kushikatsu with unlimited drinks for a timed period - for 70 minutes you pay 1580 yen for adults, 980 yen for children in primary school (I guess above primary school they pay as an adult) and free for children not yet in primary school (in Japan, that means kids under 6). Well, we were going to get value for money since my son who is not yet 6 eats more than an adult! It was also 200 yen per person for drinks.

So we loaded up on skewers and got started putting battering, crumbing and frying our food.  The kids had great fun cooking their food.

There were also a few desserts there too, and everyone helped themselves to some soft serve ice cream from the dispenser. That was great because that saved me on having to buy an ice cream on the way home. We took a photo of all our used skewers... it looked impressive at the time!

Then off to ride the big ferris wheel.  IT costs 800 yen per person and it does a full round in 15 minutes. We waited an extra 20 minutes for the fully transparent cabin, and perhaps we didn't utilise it to its full potential, but it was nice just the same.  It seems like looking at the view of Osaka from heights is a thing to do here.

There was no time to go back for crab, we needed to get back to Tokyo. So back on the shinkansen to Tokyo we went. Didn't really have time to grab food, so we had some snacks including these grilled mochi with honey soy sauce on them. Super sweet and sticky but yummy.

We debated whether we should catch a cab or catch a train to our hotel, as the hotel website didn't seem to tell us very much about costs and times. However, it seemed like it would be very expensive to catch a cab versus catching a train (5000 yen by cab vs 480 yen if we took the train) but we were worried about crowds on the Tokyo metro and JR lines in peak hour, as well as dragging our luggage around on the public trains with children in tow.  In the end, we decided to do it by train as we were all together as a group, and it turned out not too difficult. Just hopped onto the Keiyo line to Maihama station (240 yen) and then walked outside the station to jump onto the Disney monorail to take us to the Bay resort stop (another 240 yen) and we were there - it took about 45 minutes, even dragging the children and luggage around.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone next time, the stations are quite well signposted.

The Disney monorail is cute. Everything has Mickey on it!

Our hotel was a short walk from the station - maybe only a 5 minutes.  It seemed ludicrous to catch the shuttle bus there. But it would have been good with the luggage, if we'd known the shuttle bus was there (and free).

Our room is sickeningly cute, with these bedspreads and Sheraton penguin decorations all over the place.  The whole floor is like that, with even more down by the lift waiting area. We have an ocean view room (I think a Disney park view would have been better) but we are next door to our friends, which is convenient.

I really like the shower here.  The Japanese shower before they get into the bath to soak, and the shower and bath are both inside a shower screen with a nice little drainage edge around the bath so the water can go straight down the shower drain (which is great for the kids).  Also there is a little seat to sit on whilst you wash if you wish. I want one of these at home! And also, more Shiseido toiletries here. It makes me wonder if Shiseido is some cheapo brand in Japan...

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