Beautiful Osaka

Now we come to our last part of the Japan trip. After a lot of fun in Tokyo and visiting Thomas Land it was time to travel to Osaka. We took the Shinkansen in the late afternoon so we arrived in Osaka in the early evening. Here we had once again an Airbnb house rented and it was just a walking distance away from the Namba station and thus very close to the city center. As we arrived so late we only picked up some food from a convenience store and went to sleep.

At Sumiyoshi taisha

For the following day we met up with the amazing Marina who showed us Sumiyoshi Taisha which is a beautiful old Temple area, Shinsekai and of course Dotonbori. It was great that Marina had time for us as she could give useful advice what else to visit and of course where and what to eat! On that day the weather decided to go crazy as the day started with way too much sun and once we were done with our Lunch (Okonomiyaki in a nice restaurant in Dotonbori) the sky was heavy with grey clouds and it started to rain. In fact it would continue to rain for the next days till our departure!

Shinsekai by night

The rain was also the reason why we visited much fewer places than intended. Sure we manage it in that terrible weather to the Osaka Castle (where we found nearby a wonderful little Curry Restaurant, will never forget it) but that is about it. Our plans for Kobe and Kyoto we had to abandon as it would have been insane to go there in such bad weather conditions with two little kids.  So we stayed those last days in Osaka and tried to make the best out of it. We revisited Dotonbori and Shinsekai a few times, took a ride in the Don Quixote Ferris Wheel, ate a lot, visited few other temples, got lost in the Shinsaibashi shopping streets and in between went back to the house to somehow dry all our clothes.

Yep, Nathan loved them

Even though the weather ruined a lot of our plans for Osaka and visiting the neighbouring cities we still loved it there. Sure the rain wasn’t all  that great but we had a wonderful time there. Osaka felt much more “homely” compared to Tokyo and we certainly liked it. When we come back to Japan I definitely want to revisited Osaka and enjoy some more Okonomiyaki and eat few Takoyaki while looking upon the Glico Man!

Has bad weather ruined your holiday plans before?

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Nathancuty at Thomas Land

And another article about our trip in Japan. We had only seven days in that wonderful country and way too much to see. As mentioned in the previous blog post Epic Tokyo we had a trip planned to Thomas Land. Ever since Nathan heard about Thomas Land in February he asked us all the time when we would go there. Little did he know how far that theme park is from our home and was getting more and more excited each day. So when the big day arrived he was so happy and jumping around non-stop. Once again my wife’s cousin joined us to help out and of course play with Nathan.

Nathan got some big butt

We left shortly after breakfast from our Airbnb house to Shinjuku station which was just 20min away by foot. From there we took a train to Otsuki Station where something very special would take us further to Fuji-Q Highland. Nathan had no idea that we would board a special Thomas Themed train to get to the park. In that train you could take pictures with different “Trains” and the kids could pretend to be driving the train itself. Our little boy was busy the entire journey to the park “steering” the train. Meanwhile MIL was complaining as usual about the aircondition and was the only person in the entire train wearing even a jacket.

Nathan the train operator

Once we arrived we got us something to eat at one of the restaurants at the Fuji-Q Highland park. The food was okay but not worth mentioning any further unlike all the other restaurants we visited during the Japan holidays. Thomas Land is just one little part of the entire Highland Park and it was so full there. Yes, it is very smart to go anywhere in Japan during the Golden Week and we will never do that again! Each ride had a waiting time of at least one hour and we decided plit up to go to different waiting lines so that Nathan could go at least on a few rides before the closing time of the park. He had tons of fun and also got some little Thomas souvenirs from the Gift Shop. In fact the gift shop was a bit too much for him as there were so many Thomas toys, shirts, cups and so forth.

Unicorn Gundam

After few hours in the park it was time for us to head back to Tokyo. for our last night there. We had some wonderful food again together with the cousin and her future husband and made plans for the next day. For the last day in Tokyo we headed to Odaiba for some last sightseeing. It was kind of interesting to be on a fully automated train to Odaiba. Here in Germany people distrust already automatic doors and in Japan you have trains running without any staff! Of course there had to be an October Fest in Odaiba making the whole area even more crazy with people.  Our time in Tokyo was really wonderful and worth every Cent (very many cents…). The time just went by too fast and we did not really feel like leaving Tokyo already but we had other big plans for the following day as Osaka was next on our list!

Have you visited special Theme Parks such as Thomas Land?

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Epic Tokyo

Yes we really were in Japan! We had tried it for years but something always got in the way. This time however we sat down early enough to do the planning and got all paperwork done and tickets bought before we could decide somehow against the trip. So during the one week in Xi’an we were already incredible excited about the holidays in Japan. Especially Nathan was talking for months about it as we had promised him to visit Thomas Land, thanks again for the idea @Eleventh Monkey! 

On the way to the Skytree

On the second of May we flew from Xi’an straight to Tokyo where we had a personal driver to pick us up. Besides us we had once again MIL with us and my father so we needed a big big car for all of us. Thankfully my wife’s cousin living in Tokyo has a friend who knows someone who is owning such a big car and does it for a living. Anyhow we arrived in the evening at our Airbnb house and went straight out to find some food. We were woefully unprepared about Japanese restaurants and were searching for a couple of hours. Not that we didn’t find any restaurants but they all were full with insane waiting lines outside. Just when we were about to give up and just buy food from a convenience store we found a wonderful Miso Ramen restaurant where a group had just left. I never had contact with real Ramen and I must say it was really great to sit in that tiny restaurant with the chef preparing the food in front of you. My father fell in love with Japanese food that day.

Nathan could’t stop with the water…

Next day we headed out for some sightseeing together with my wife’s cousin and some of her friends. Our house was located in Shinjuku just 15min by walk away from the huge train and bus station which marks also the center of that area. Especially by night Shinjuku is an interesting place to visit. Got to love how subtle the Yakuza is operating there when seeing a row of black Mercedes G-Wagon with guys in black suits and shades standing in front of them. Anyhow the first few days we went all around Tokyo together with the cousin who has been living there for almost ten years now. The only disappointment for me was the Tokyo Skytree as we really wanted to go to the top but the waiting line was over two hours. However we visited the Sumida Aquarium instead which was anyhow one of my must-see places ever since it opened.  (especially thanks to the work of the late Amano Takashi there!)

Sumida Aquarium is a must see!

The entire trip was great for us in Tokyo and we were happy about the Airbnb house as it was in a wonderful location and big enough for us (45sqm is tiny but enough for a few days). Akihabara was another highlight as the whole area is just crazy. There we had also our first Wagyu steaks, sure they were on the cheap side with just 40 Euros but still the best steak I ever had by far! I can’t really put our experience in Tokyo into words as we had just so much fun there and it was such a wonderful time. We hope to be back there someday soon to enjoy it again. Perhaps next time we go not during the Golden Week as it was just so packed with people everywhere.

Have you been to Tokyo?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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My crazy Chinese Family I married into…