Day 10: Osaka Harbor

Today we climbed the shortest mountain (4.53m) in Japan, at least that is what we are told… I didn’t even notice. Supposedly you can even get a certificate stating that you have made this monumental achievement, but we never found the “mountain hut” that hands them out.

This so called mountain is known as Tempozan, which is why the area we went to today is called the Tempozan Harbor Village. The area has many attractions, but most of them don’t really interest us. We mainly went to see the aquarium, Kaiyukan. Universal Studios Japan is also in the harbor area, and we briefly entertained the thought of going there as well, but ultimately decided it wasn’t really worthwhile.

So, our day started out kind of slow… we did some laundry in the morning, hung it out to dry, and then headed for the subway station. Upon exiting the train station we were immediately greeted by the sight of the world’s largest ferris wheel… or “giant wheel” as they are known here. We both agreed that we really didn’t want to ride it though… it looks old and boring, and moves very slowly. Besides, we just rode the Hep Five wheel, which is located on the top of a tall building… much more interesting.

We first went to the Tempozan Market Place, located between the big wheel and Kaiyukan. The Market Place also seems a little run down, but has some neat shops in it. My favorite shops are the Ghibli and Sanrio stores, but there were several others. Unfortunately all the food places in the Market Place were of the food court variety, none of which were very appealing. We ended up choosing a curry place because their pictures looked the most appetizing, but unfortunately it wasn’t all that great and it left us a little sad… but that is okay, we remedied that at dinner by having the most awesome curry yet.

While at the Tempozan Market Place we also stopped at a little indoor petting zoo called Anipa. I had been to this place 6 years ago, and remembered it fondly as a place full of happy doggies and kitties. Sadly, this place is starting to look a bit run down as well. Since I was last there, they added some sheep and goats to the mix. They put these new creatures in what use to be the large dog pen, moved the large dogs over to the small dog pen, and then built this little raised platform for the little dogs. The little dogs just look sad, and the mostly all crowded around the single pet bed that was located in the far corner from where people could pet them. The large dogs all looked a bit thin, and some of them looked old and tired… they just laid down and tried to sleep. The variety of kitties wasn’t as good as in the past either, and the ones that were there seemed like they needed some love. And one of the poor kitties kept getting attacked by the others. All of of the animals seemed like they were in need of a bath. There was one kitty, who seemed pitifully tiny, that immediately hopped in my lap when I entered… I tried to rub it, but it just felt so tiny I was afraid of hurting it. I wanted to take it home with me! So… in the end Anipa, which was supposed to give me a much needed dose of puppies and kitties, just left me a little sad.

After the disappointing Market Place visit we headed over to Kaiyukan. We tried to take pictures, but they didn’t come out well thanks to the lighting conditions. Plus the some of the critters move pretty fast. We only took the point and shoot camera… maybe we should have taken the SLR as well.

I had about as much fun as one possibly can when looking at a bunch of fish. My favorite parts were of course the otters, dolphins, seals, and penguins. The otters were cute as always; frolicking and flipping around. The dolphins were cool, and incredibly fast. It made me a little sad again to see them in small tanks. The seals were much the same, darting about in the water. There was one young seal that seemed very interested in the people though. He was especially interested in one little girl’s umbrella and kept following it back and forth as she moved it, and eventually propped his feet up on the rock wall behind him so he could get a better look.

After we had seen all Kaiyukan had to offer, we wandered next door to the Suntory Museum. Unfortunately the gallery was closing as we got there, but the IMAX theater was open. We opted for the 3D Deep Sea movie. I found the movie visually interesting, but I think Sean just used it as nap time.

After the movie we wandered around a bit more, and then found our way to Den Den Town. Sean was happy because we found the Gundam store he has wanted to go to for months, as well as an Animate store and a few other interesting shops. Unfortunately Den Den Town starts shutting down at 8pm though, so we are going to have to go back later for more exploring.

We posted some of the better pictures from the day… most of them didn’t turn out well. We also added a few to the Engrish category.