Osaka, only 15 mins bullet train away. Didn’t really realise that it was that close until we busied ourselves settling into our seats in Kyoto. Then I looked it up and told everyone that we had to start packing up in order to get off the train again. And then we were there.
We stayed in an area called Dontonburi, a busy restaurant and nightlife area. It also has a busy shopping strip, so it was lively and very handy for us. We had taken a morning train so still had plenty of time that day. Our first destination we decided, was a place called Kids Plaza. This was a giant indoor play area, that included some science activities. It was busy with locals, but there was plenty to do and we stayed until closing. (I spent several hours working on my assignments while the kids enjoyed themselves). Afterwards it was back to the hotel and then out for dinner on the streets nearby.
The goal the next day was Universal. Having learned our lesson about arriving late on a busy day, we aimed for a 7am wakeup and 8am we would be on our way.
When we eventually woke up at 8am we managed to make it to the park by 9:30am, a little behind schedule. Then I picked the slowest ticket queue in history so it was 10am before we actually entered the park. It was busy like Disney in Tokyo as it was still the Japanese spring vacation period. The fastpass worked differently here too. For double the entry fee you could get 1 ride on each of 4 (or 7 for even more money) selected rides on the day.
We spent a couple of hours exploring Harry Potter world before starting on the rest of the park. After almost two hours in the queue at Jurassic World we became quite concerned about how many people were putting plastic coats or ponchos ahead of us. Seriously, they’re not going to get us that wet, its a theme park not a water park.
Uh, no, we got quite wet. It may have been worse as I was seated in the front row and there was another large guy behind me, so the boat may have dug in more at the bottom of the 23m drop, than they usually do when full of much more slight Japanese? The getting wet and the drop did not impress Mrs Mab and she decided she didn’t want anymore ups and downs at theme parks. This is something she has decided before, but I guess we forgot?
The park was starting to empty out by this stage as the day started to end. We managed to ride Spiderman 4D which was well done, though lost a little for us as all the characters spoke Japanese (well duh, obviously). It was also another thrill ride, so Mrs Mab didn’t see much with her eyes closed.
After two days of kids activities, it was back to temples and castles (groaned the kids…). It was a little rainy, and this was the worst weather we would get for the whole trip. But it wasn’t rainy enough that we couldn’t move about town, so off we went to Osaka Castle.
While the site is hundreds of years old, the Castle is basically a museum, built as a replica in the 1930s. Still, as a replica, the original must have been extremely impressive when surrounded by low wooden and bamboo buildings. And again, with the moat! Wow.
The kids did enjoy the playground we found nearby. Even as much that we came back the next day to let them play on it for the afternoon.
That day was really cold. The rain and cloud cleared, but the day didn’t really warm up. We explored the city centre a little, without anything special. In the evening we headed over to Senso-Ji Temple. Unfortunately we did leave it pretty late in the day, so most of the shops were closing up, so we missed out on trying any food :(. Another impressive temple.
Then it was back on the train to Tokyo.