Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kong

P. 3: Osaka Aquarium, Osaka Castle, Dotonbori & more!
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong OC1

Postby jedimaster1227 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:41 am

Following our amazing two days at the Tokyo Disney Resort it was time to go someplace totally new... Osaka! While Universal Studios Japan was a priority for us, we planned a day for the city (our travel day) so we could experience a little more of Japan beyond just theme parks. This included the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka Castle and Dotonbori, and along the way some great food!
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Leaving our hotel at the Tokyo Disney Resort, I took one last Mike Wazowski melon bread with me for the road. We hopped on the JR Maihama line to Tokyo Station where we got our seats on the bullet train to Osaka...
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Several hours later, we arrived in Osaka and made a beeline to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan area. As it turns out, there's more to the complex including a cruise terminal, a ferris wheel and a LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
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The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is known as one of the largest public aquariums in the world (defeated by the Georgia Aquarium and Chimelong Ocean Kingdom years after it opened).
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A Costa cruise ship was in port during our visit.
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The Tempozan Harbor Village complex includes a themed food hall featuring traditional Japanese street foods... One in particular caught my eye.
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These Takoyaki are apparently very popular...
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In case you're wondering how Takoyaki is made, they pour dough into a special cooking tray (like a waffle iron) and drop a piece of cooked octopus tentacle in the center of the dough. The chef then flips the dough with a wooden stick for an evenly cooked, doughy fritter to form around the octopus meat.
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I tried all three varieties they had to offer. And there were none left when I was done.
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We might have tried a lot of other food while we were here too...
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There was a strong part of me that considered trying Subway's shrimp sandwich...
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Fashionable.
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King Doge!
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Inside of the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is habitat for less-aquatic creatures...
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They have capybaras here!
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Pirahna 3-D!!!!
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Different stages of penguin fluff.
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The Pacific white-sided dolphins were gorgeous.
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Manta rays!
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I've now visited two aquariums around the world that house whale sharks.
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MOLA MOLA!!!
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I could watch these Ocean Sunfish swim all day!
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Another look at one of the whale sharks at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan...
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Nightmare fuel... And dinner fuel.
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Kaiyukan had a really fantastic room filled with different kinds of jellyfish near the end of the experience.
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Hello happy harbor seal!
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Harbor seals are among our favorite sea creatures...
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This one was just happily eating some ice, just because.
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Foreshadowing what we'd be experiencing during the next day...
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This trip was planned in part around the Cherry Blossom season... And we were well rewarded for our planning!
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Photos don't often do these beautiful flowers justice.
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They really are worth seeing in person where and when you can!
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There it is...
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Osaka Castle was a must do-for this trip, if only because we hadn't gotten close to one of the Japanese castles during our previous trips.
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The old world meets new in this shot that I'm especially proud of.
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More cherry blossom fancy...
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I was very very tempted to try Fugu sashimi (pufferfish) during this trip, but having had some back luck in the past with unique shellfish while traveling and this being so early in our trip, I erred on the side of caution to not risk getting sick.
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Dotonbori at night is stunning!
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GYOZA!!! We each bought a box from this location and they were wonderful!
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My wife realized as we were roaming Dotonbori that we weren't far away from the place that makes the viral fluffy cheesecake that you always see people jiggling online.
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Here comes ours!
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I highly recommend visiting Dotonbori if you're planning on going to Osaka.
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I love the canals in the middle of the city.
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We found Gyu-Kaku!
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Famous shot is famous.
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Next up, something new...
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After sitting dormant for 9 years, the Don Quixote Ferris Wheel reopened in 2018 in Dotonbori, so I wasn't going to pass up the chance to ride.

Riders board their vehicles from the top floor of the convenience store (which that itself makes the craziest of American big box stores seem tame) with the seats facing inward. Once the vehicle has dispatched, the entire platform holding the seats rotates 180 degrees to face outward.
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This ferris wheel is unique in that it is "l" shaped, with the ascent and descent being vertical with a slight crest over the top to head back down. It can be a bit intimidating.
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And in the fact that the vehicle moves at a really slow speed and scarily shakes, creaks and groans along the way, it is a terrifying experience... But we survived!
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I'M SMAUG!
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We took our fluffy cheesecake back to the room with us to enjoy and then passed out... The next morning would bring us to our first international Universal Studios park...
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby bert425 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:38 pm

what a great report!

Dontonbori looks fantastic during the night - I saw it during day time and was blown away, but at night? gorgeous.

and LOL. . I had no idea that "famous" shot is "famous"
(I just went and took a look at my pics, and I too took a picture of the runner guy, since he was interesting. why is he famous?).

the Castle is gorgeous! i didn't' do that one (we went to Himeji Castle instead), but the Osaka Castle is beautiful.

don't wanna get too far over the skis on your report, but at Citywalk did you go to the Takoyaki "mall" area? those Takoyaki were amazing too.

thanks for sharing.
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby Erik Johnson » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:56 pm

I loved Osaka. I want to go back!!!!!
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby Condor » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:45 pm

Looks like a great day in Osaka. I wanted to see Dotonbori too, but didn't have time since it was our arrival day in Japan. Did you go inside Osaka Castle? I got there just after they stopped selling admission for the day.

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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby coasterbill » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:35 am

Awesome report, thanks for sharing

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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby PKI Jizzman » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:45 pm

I loved the Dotonbori area it was just so lively and the energy was infectious. The ferris wheel looked awesome! Great to see it running again, I didn't know it was not operational for that extended period of time.
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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby SharkTums » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:27 pm

I'm so glad the aquarium got some additional Ocean Sunfish!!!

Did I ever share the story of when we went with KT? She was so excited because we read all about how they had a great display for them. We show up, go through the entire awesome aquarium and don't see them. We finally ask a worker and she almost starts to cry as apparently they died the week prior!!! KT then also breaks down into tears! To calm her down I said we would go to the gift shop and buy all the Ocean Sunfish merchandise we could find. I assumed that they were an ugly, unpopular fish as no one seems to know about them here and there wouldn't be much. Well, about $300 and four bags later KT was happy again and we have a LOT of Mola Merch!

I really do like Osaka. Not as much as Tokyo, but it's got a different vibe and some GREAT food!

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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby Garet » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:55 am

^

I actually assumed the same on my visit and was surprised to hear from a worker that apparently it got the same/sometimes bigger crowds than the manta ray/whale shark. It was super crowded and I didn't even manage to get a good picture of it. Thankfully I got a much clearer view of the one at Yokohama since the dolphin tunnel area was empty, but I heard that one sadly passed away too.

We don't have much luck either, my son wanted to see a whale shark when we were on Jeju and one had died and so they released the other. (kept the whale shark statue and mascot though and hid that info on small text on a picture on the site that still shows them :?r ) We just went to Lotte World's aquarium because my wife saw on the news their 2nd Beluga had died and so the third would be released soon so we took him (like Jeju also conveniently not mentioned on the Korean site even though the beluga is the logo for the place) to see it because he's been asking for a while.

I think you and I already had a discussion on another thread about how funny it is in Asia that they pick and choose when it comes to what counts as animal cruelty. These aquariums that had fish they probably weren't equipped to handle get some minor protests and relegated to mostly Korean news sites but Everland gets international attention and major demonstrations over the polar bear yet places like this which opened recently with a lion in a shipping container and monkey in a bird cage get nothing.

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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby SharkTums » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:36 am

^Yeah, we did. Sea Paradise had a trained whale shark that started one of their shows! Hopefully your son can see that one at some point. And yes, the entire Ocean Sunfish exhibit at Sea Paradise has been gone for years now.

Sorry to hijack your thread Adam! Excited to see what you thought of Universal!

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Re: Photo TR: Adam's Return to Japan & 1st visit to Hong Kon

Postby Garet » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:23 am

^Sorry for hijacking the thread too. I did Sea Paradise a while back and the whale shark seemed to have been retired from starting the show but was still there in the stadium tank, your post made me curious in case I take my son in a few years and I'm not sure if it is due to Sea Paradise's own run-ins with activists or something else but they've scrubbed all mention of the whale shark form the site. It's not listed under creatures seen in the show area and all mention of the underwater viewing platform is missing from the Japanese site too.

A google search says there's a whale shark now in the main tank since 2018 though, perhaps it's been moved out of the show tank and the website is just outdated. Slightly related to Adam's post but my research thanks to you has let me know Osaka's seems to rotate whale sharks quite regularly in their tank: https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191017/p2a/00m/0na/015000c since the one I saw pre-dates the one in this article.

Edit: Yokohama's has in fact died: http://www.seaparadise.co.jp/news/24657/index.html
Last edited by Garet on Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:37 am.

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