So far Natasha and Remy are making good use of the plethora of vending machines in Japan, they are very handy and inexpensive. If you know which machines have good prices you can get a bottle of cold water for ~$1, I frequently buy the cold coffee drinks as well.
So far our morning schedule is as follows:
Leave hostel, pick up drinks for the morning at the vending machine outside the hostel, hit up Family Mart for breakfast and maybe some snacks or lunch, head out for the days adventures.
This allows up to spend the least amount of money on food and drinks leaving more money for shopping and fun!
Today we decided to go to the Tennoji Zoo as it is free entrance with our 2 day pass (just like Osaka Castle and the Tsutenkaku tower were). I think I liked the zoo in Tokyo better but this one still had its charms and some really neat animals. One in particular I haven’t seen before: a Hyena
The girls also got to see an Elephant, a Rhinoceros, and a Hippopotamus, which they had wanted to see. After the zoo we quickly went back to the hostel to change outfits as we had all underestimated how hot it was today, this didn’t take up too much time as the nearest subway station to the zoo is right outside our hostel. Next we headed to the Osaka bay area, this was my favorite place the last time I was in Osaka, so I really wanted to take them back here.
We had plenty of time to explore the area, and with the 2 day pass we had free admission to a boat ride around the harbor so we thought a good way to rest our feet while still doing some thing was to ride the Santa Maria model ship around the bay.
Apparently admission for this boat is ~$16 ?? I have to say I wouldn’t pay that much for a 45min ride around a very industrial looking harbor but it was already included in the price we paid for unlimited subway rides so it was pretty good. We found seats in a shaded spot, enjoyed the breeze, and admired the view.
Afterwards we visited the Osaka Aquarium, I really really wanted to visit this aquarium as it is apparently the largest in Japan and has a ginormous tank with not one, but two whale sharks! This place really lived up to my expectations, it did cost us ~$23 admission per person but I feel it was completely worth it. They had many different enclosures with animals ranging from fish, jellyfish, otters, seals, to dolphins and penguins! Most of the exhibits had an above-water viewing area and a below-water viewing area which I particularly enjoyed. Most of the animals were very active as well so you always managed to see some thing moving about.
Apparently no one likes cameras in our little group as I was the only one who had one (it was only my iPhone) but we liked the aquarium so much that between the three of us I had 500+ new photos on my phone…
My favorite part (and Remy’s) was the tank with the whale sharks (we MAY have the opportunity to swim with them while we are in the Philippines), it was really neat to see them and they had a massive tank with a bunch of other fish like stingrays, and smaller sharks (we even saw a hammerhead shark). We got to witness a lot of feeding-times by going in the afternoon, which for the whale sharks looked really funny, they just sucked in massive amounts of water, when they did this they sort of puffed up and where more vertical than horizontal.
Natasha’s favorite part was all the luminescent jellyfish.
Oh and don’t forget all the turtles!!
Overall the aquarium was my favorite so far, but there were hordes of people (we went on a Sunday afternoon) and it seemed like a popular place to bring your kids as there were little Asian monsters running around screaming and crying and banging on exhibits. For dinner we ate in the food court at the Tempozan market, Natasha and I ate from the same vendor as my first time in Osaka but this time I had curry rice, Remy ate at the ramen vendor. We wanted to ride the Tempozan giant ferris wheel but it was still pretty light out side so to pass time we checked out the shops and had ice cream. I guess all the walking from a zoo and an aquarium in the same day started to take effect, we were all tired (yes even me this time) so we chose to ride the ferris wheel not at night time, it was still really pretty, then we headed home. Tomorrow I am taking them to Kyoto and I have a lot of planning to do tonight to ensure we make it there and back.