Osaka in 3 Days

I had a few days off work and I planned on surfing as much as possible but I irritated my shoulder so surfing wasn't going to be an option.  While I would have been completely happy to sit on the beach and relax or go hiking or whatever, I decided it would be fun to get out of town for a few days.  I started looking at flights out of Honolulu with three requirements: cheap, direct and foreign.  Since I already had to connect from Kauai to Oahu I didn't want to make another connection.  With these requirements in place I was left with one place...Osaka!  I've always wanted to visit Japan so I was pretty excited about this.

I spent most of my time wandering the city, checking out the shrines and temples, eating tasty food and exploring.  Google maps is awesome about marking everything with different icons so things were easy to find. You could spend all day walking from shrine to shrine and each one is so unique, quiet and peaceful, especially for a big city. They all have cute little gardens too!

Figuring out the trains and subway system was a ton of fun. I found the following link extremely helpful in navigating originally, but once I figured it out I had no problem getting where I wanted to go:

http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/search.html

When I wasn't wandering I did a lot of the standard touristy stuff...

Checked out Osaka Castle which was closed, but was quite pretty from the outside.  I walked the grounds for hours.


Went to the top of the Umeda Sky Building (although the pic from the bottom was much cooler).

Helped make Mochi on the side of the road.


Ate street food near Korea Town (Tsuruhashi), then 30 minutes later had a full on Korean BBQ lunch.


I took a calligraphy class and and educational Samurai tour.


I took a train to Himeji and checked out their castle.  I did go inside this one, but I would have been fine just to see the outside.  A better use of time was the Koko-En Gardens right down the road.



And I made new friends!

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