Osaka - The City of The Night

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May 18th 2008
Published: May 25th 2008
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We arrived by train from Kyoto and had a real struggle to find our hotel despite the assistance of one kind local. We were staying in Dotombori, not far from the subway, but our poor reading of Japanese maps and some very scant instructions from the Internet led us a little astray before we found our last Ryokan.

Our rooms were large, with 12 tatami each and our first private bathroom in Japan (not much of a luxury as it turned out and we never got used to Japanese wc's with all their gadgets). Internet access was by means of one shard laptop for all guests, so a touch difficult.

Dotombori is the hot-spot of Osaka where everyone goes to party and it is a massive neon-fest, swarming with businessmen out for the night at the numerous (and very dubious-looking) drinking parlours. We had a long walk after a good Chinese dinner and gave up searching for an ATM as our Hotelier wanted paying in cash.

The ATM search turned into a major project on day 2 of our stay in the city, not helped by our Bank and Credit Card company putting a stop on our cards, despite being aware of our travel dates!

On our second day we took a 1 hour train journey west to visit Hadjemi-Jo, the best surviving example of a medieval castle in Japan & used by Kurosawa for his epic film 'Ran'. The location is atop a hillside overlooking the city and is adjoined by beautiful gardens. From the sixth storey you also get a glimpse of Tadao Ando's Museum of Literature.

Our evening trip up the Floating Gardens Observatory with it's escalator tubes bridging the twin towers was a great end to the day.

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