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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016 JAPAN SAKURA ADVENTURE: Day 11--Whale Sharks, Osaka Castle and Kigawa

This was the best day of my trip thus far.  Breakfast here was excellent.  We had a free day, and I did what I wanted to do, for I will return to Tokyo tomorrow morning while the Panda Tour goes to Osaka Castle and Kaiyukan, the Osaka Aquarium, which is locally advertised as the largest in the world.  One problem is that it is not even in the top ten according to this list.  While there are various parameters to determine largeness, the consensus is that the Georgia Aquarium is #1.

My first stop was the Osaka Aquarium.  

Here are some attractions:

Did you know that the capybara is the largest rodent?

The two stars, and many consider this to be cruel, are two whale sharks.  Of course, I'm condemned more than any aquaria, for I've looked into Whale Shark replacing beef.  Here's an earlier article.  Interesting that my whale shark postings regularly are among the most popular.  So, anyway, there are to smiling whale sharks in Osaka:

Then, the Chuo Line comveniently took me to Osaka Castle.  Incidentally, I bought a one-day pass for $7, where I can catch any local subway and buses.  

You can barely see the castle in the middle.  The cherry blossoms were at an absolute peak, with a  few petals now falling.  I had a modest hanami:

At the base of this tree you can see sake, hotdog and mouse:

I'm having an early dinner tonight.  After lunch I bought a Kirin, and found a second use for the small towel the Towel Museum gave me.  The first is to wipe my and after going to the restroom.  They don't provide paper towels here.  The towel protected my hand as I carried the beer, and it lasted for another hour and a half as I walked around Osaka Castle, mostly because I couldn't find a trash can.

I saw a cute dog having a hanami with two girls and asked if I could take their photo.  Unfortunately, you can only barely see the dog (note that he has his own plate).

I might add that at Ueno Park or Shinuku Goen, you pretty much need to bring your tarp or blanket and eat on the ground.  Here at Osaka Castle, there are various options ranging from tables to benches to an assortment of other options that make it more convenient for singles or couples.

So more photos:

My Blue Bar Pigeon came by to say goodbye.

But this was not the end of the day.  After a hot bath, I walked to Naniwa Kappo Kigawa, a French-style Japanese restaurant operated by Osamu Ueno. The hotel made this reservation for me as the best available on short notice.  Osaka has now a number of kappa type establishments, perhaps best explained by this Wall Street Journal review.

They were initially quite protective.  No flash,  Take photos only of your food, not the people.  However, I snuck in this shot below of how the place looks.  I was the first one there, but the place was filled  when I left.  Actually, there are two floors of eleven seats each, and I'm not sure how upstairs was doing.

If I explained the 12 courses I had, this posting would go on forever.  So, let me me detail just one course of seven sushis:
  • ocellated octopus dill's flavor jelly
  • cherry blossom's leaf sushi of white bait
  • jelly fish and Yacon sesame vinegar
  • Japanese Tiger Shrimp and Japanese pepper
  • thistle and sea urchin sauce
  • chinese yam with plum and honey such
  • bracken lily bulb

The typos are theirs. If you count less than seven, that is because I ate two before realized I had not take a photo of this plate.  I've never had any of these sushi before.  Each was exquisite.  Here are the rest in pictures:

With a large bottle of beer and a small flask of hot sake, the price was around $200.  I would say it was well worth the cost.

On the way back to my room I stopped by Don Quixote just because we have one in Hawaii, which is much larger.  I bought a box of bubbling bath salts.

  Across the street is the Cross Hotel.

Tomorrow, back to Tokyo, then, after one night there, on to Hokkaido.


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