This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.
From Tenjinbashi, the plan was to take the subway to Umeda and take in the evening view from the Umeda Floating Garden Observatory. However, it was drizzling, and with the weather like that, it was obviously that there wasn’t going to be much view. So a quick change of plans. The problem here is that most places close at 5pm, except for malls and supermarkets that close around 8.30pm (convenience stores stay open until 10pm even in winter).
But the one exception is Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, they open to 8pm through all seasons. This place is one of Osaka’s top tourist destinations alongside Universal Studios, but though it was highly recommended by my friend, we had put it on the ‘go if we have time’ list for tomorrow.
But since the weather wasn’t appropriate for Umeda, we decided to go to the aquarium. The aquarium, called Kaiyukan, is one of Japan’s best and is located in Osaka Bay, an area where you can also find Universal Studios, LEGOLAND, a mall, and the gigantic Tempozan Ferris Wheel.
To get there, get off Osakako subway station and follow the signs. Since we got there after dark in December, the whole area was lighted up.
That’s the Tempozan ferris wheel. Believe me, it is really big, I think bigger than the London Eye. There are actually two popular ferris wheels in Osaka, the other is called Hep in Umeda (although much smaller).
So in we went to the Aquarium. My family actually loves aquariums, every city we visit we’ve been to their aquarium if they have one (with the exception of Kyoto since we were planning to visit this one). When I worked as a consultant I was actually involved in the design a small aquarium here in Malaysia (sadly the project did not take off due to the 1997 economic crisis). The concept here is quite different, there are 15 tanks, and you walk from the top and circle the tanks and see the different levels of the tanks as move downwards.
We spent about 2 and a half hours here, until closing time (they were starting to herd us out) and it was really enjoyable experience.
And after that it was time to look for food. Conveniently, next to the aquarium is medium-sized mall called Tempozan Marketplace. There’s foodcourt and restaurants at the ground floor. However, at 8.30pm most of the restaurants were closing up for the day, but we found this joint that was still open.
They served rice and udon noodles, this was probably the only time during the trip I had udon noodles.
After dinner we took the subway back to our hotel to finally check in and get some sleep after a long and tiring day that started in Kyoto and ended in Osaka.
Next – Osaka Castle