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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 JAPAN SAKURA ADVENTURE: Day 9--Takamatsu to Osaka

I had breakfast with Ruel.  Everything what you see is mine, except for what's immediately next to him:


Our first stop was to visit Kompirasan, the Guardian God of the Sea:


Located near nothing on the isolated island of Shikoku, this attraction draws 3 million visitors/year.  Further, you need to take 1368 steps up to the inner shrine.  Getting up is painful, coming down is dangerous.  There are no handrails, so I passed.  Here are our three tour leaders:


The cherry blossoms, actually, were not yet quite up to peak, for there seem yet to be many buds:


An artist assiduously at work:


The group went to udon school and we were taught how make this noodle.  We all got diplomas, with the bottom part the roller:


If this looks like chow fun, try doing this someday.  As you know, wheat is used for udon and ramen, so I wondered, with all those rice paddies throughout the country, where is the wheat grown?  The answer?  It is imported.

More flowers:


Our next stop was to Naruto Strait, where the Seto Inland Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.  Four times/day whirlpools are created.  First a jellyfish.


We took a ship out to meet the whirlpool under the Naruto Bridge:


Some Sakura on the hill as we return to port:


We have crossed a half dozen significant bridges the past couple of days.  Our final one was the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, connecting Awaji Island to Kobe, which is the longest suspension bridge in the world (6532 feet):


At 7:30PM we finally arrived at the Osaka Cross Hotel.  What a super hotel with ample towels (all the others were minimal), large screen HD TV (the others were like a large desktop monitor) and King size bed.  Best of all, everything around us is frenetic with people, as Shinsaibashi Suji, Dotonbori Shopping, Namba Underground Mall, Kuromon Market and Shenichimae Shopping Street are close by.  A view one way, then the other at close to 9PM:


I walked around for more than an hour trying to bring something back to my room or eating out.  However, most of the good restaurants of my liking had long lines.  I finally settled for a Shakey's Pizza, McDonald's salad and Suntory 100% Malt Beer, in my room:


Tomorrow, a free day in Osaka.

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