Tuesday 21st March
Bullet Train and Air BnB

On Tuesday we woke up and headed to Tokyo station to get the Bullet Train to Osaka. We had pre-booked seats earlier in the week, and there was no extra cost as we had the JR Pass. It took about 3 hours so we had sure we had plenty of Japanese snacks! The seats are really roomy and it went buy pretty quickly. On a good day you might get lucky and see Mt Fuji.
We soon arrived in Osaka and made our way to our Air BnB which was situated right in the heart of Osaka. The Air BnB was perfect, with traditional tatami mat rooms, kitchen and 2 separate bedrooms. We Quickly embraced the rain and explored. We headed to Dotonbori - which is the main street of Osaka. Filled with bright lights and food stalls. We explored Don Quixote which is a tax free shop with EVERYTHING (including dildos next to the rice cookers....) and then had desert in a cute little cafe by the canal.

After a little wonder around to get our bearings we found a really nice Teppanyaki restaurant along the main street. We cooked our own food on the table - we had asparagus wrapped in bacon, and a really delicious beef dish. We were finally finding good food in Japan! 

We then ended up chatting the night away and falling asleep on the Tatami mats whilst drinking Japanese peach cidre - yum.

Wednesday 22nd March
Kyoto in a day

We decided to travel to Kyoto which is about 30mins away on the train from Osaka. We didn't start our day till quite late as Osaka's subway system isn't quite as easy as Tokyo's was. Once we arrived we knew we wanted to head straight to the kiyomizu-dera temple. It was a little walk away - and we stopped off for some katsu curry on the way there. We walked up a street to the top of the hill. The sights were amazing, and watching everyone dressed in their kimonos made it one of my favourite places. I would 100% rent a kimono if I were to return. we walked around the temple, admired the views and then started our decent back into the town. We headed to the Gyon district (Geisha district) Unfortunately we didn't see any geisha's, but it was nice to walk around.
We then decided to head to the Bamboo Grove on the other side of the town. Trying to find a bus/train that took us the correct station was pretty difficult. 
We finally arrived in Arashiyama - it was about 4pm at this point, so the sun was just about to set. We made it to the bamboo forest and it was truly beautiful. Because it was quite late and getting a bit chilly, it was really quiet. After walking around we headed to a nearby park and enjoyed the sunset. 
I really wanted to go and see Fushimi Inari (a thousand gates) and because we didn't want to come back to Kyoto we decided to squeeze it in. When we arrived it was almost dark but it didn't take away the beauty of it. Each tori gate is placed by families - which has created a pilgrimage up a mountain to the top shrine. What we didn't realise was how tall this mountain was....we walked up the whole thing in the dark. The view from the top was pretty amazing, the shrine however was not. It took about 1hour30 to walk up and down the whole thing. Hungry and tired we returned back to Osaka at about 10pm - luckily I had spotted a TGI Fridays on the way to the station earlier that day - so TGI's for dinner it was! Tired and exhausted we decided that we'd have a late start tomorrow and explore Osaka so that we didn't have to go on too many trains.

Thursday 23rd March
Exploring Osaka

Not wanting to walk too much today after walking 23 miles in Kyoto, we first headed to Osaka Castle. It's a really beautiful castle with pretty grounds to walk in. We decided not to go in, but admire it from the outside. Street performers and food stalls surrounded the grounds. We then headed towards a train station that would take us to Osaka aquarium. I'd heard that this one was one of the best in Japan - so we found some food (a Japanese of us!So we entered the aquarium. It was a really good - filled with whale sharks, giant stingrays, dolphins, penguins and seals. The layout was really simple. I highly recommend this if the weather isn't great!
We then headed to the Umeda Sky Building - another observation deck (told you they love them!) we enjoyed watching the city lights come on as it turned to night. As the night wasn't over we headed to an arcade to see what was on offer. Oh My....they take arcade games seriously!! the first two floors were often grabber machines with cute kawaii toys and figures to win. The next floor often had musical games such as guitar hero, drums, dj games and our personal favourite...MAI MAI!! It's like a huge washing machine but you play to the music. So much fun! and only 100Yen for 4 goes? Cheap night out!! The next two floors often contained online games - it looked like people had been there all day! 

Friday 24th March
Oh Deer...

Today we visited Nara - famous for its thousands of wondering deer! This was one of my favourite days along side Kyoto. As soon as we started walking towards the Temple we started to see deer. They were all really friendly - and willing to take selfies ;) We walked around the grounds and found a little restaurant that did curry for some lunch. The Todai-Ji Temple is one of the largest wooden structures in the world. It was seriously impressive and housed a huge Buddha inside. We got some fortunes (mine was good luck! thankfully!) and then wondered around the grounds some more whilst feeding the deer some crackers - this meant I got chased after and leaped at! They were friendly, but boy do they love those crackers! There wasn't much else to do in Nara so we headed back to Osaka to wonder around the town and the shops. 

For dinner we decided to get some Kobe beef. Kobe beef is famous in Japan for being so tender. IT WAS THE BEST MEAL!! We had ours with fried noodles - however if your willing to pay for the higher priced cuts you cook it on the table to your liking. I'm glad we got to experience this Japanese delicacy. We then finished off the night back at the Taito Game Arcade and drank peach cider till we fell asleep!

Saturday 25th March
Fail of the Day 

We had originally planned to travel to Hiroshima from Osaka- every time I had researched it at home it seemed possible on the JR Pass. What I didn't realise was that our pass didn't allow us on that type of Bullet Train. And it would of taken too long to get there by any other transport. A different JR Pass is needed! (Only mistake of the while trip!) none of this was explained on the website. So with a spare day we decided to travel to Kobe as it was only 30mins away by train.
There wasn't much to do in Kobe. They have a large China town and a huge harbour which we enjoyed walking along and learning about the earthquake back in 1995.
Before we left I had read about some waterfalls - so we visited the Nunobiki waterfalls before heading home. The trail up to the waterfalls was situated just behind the train station. It only took about 30mins to walk there and back but it was definatly worth it! The waterfall was really beautiful. I've heard there are also herb gardens and also an Onsen up that mountain. 
Back in Osaka we headed back to the Teppanyaki restaurant as we loved it so much the other night. We also ended up going back to the arcade trying to perfect our Mai Mai technique.

Sunday 26th March
DenDen Town

Sunday was our last day in Osaka and it was tipping it down! We had a much needed lie in and took a walk to DenDen town which is Osaka's version of Akihabara (electric town) Lots of Anime shops, Manga shops and it was a good opportunity to buy some gifts and treat ourselves to some souvenirs too. We were craving another teriyaki burger from Mcdonalds so we did just that! Osaka had a very different atmosphere to Tokyo - the pace of life was a lot slower and the city was in need of some updating. But it was a really enjoyable trip non the less and allowed us to use as a hub to visit some different towns in Japan. 

We packed our bags that evening ready to travel back to Tokyo to spend our last few days.


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