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Goodman's Travels

Japan 2012 - Osaka

JAPAN | Sunday, 9 June 2013 | Views [1300]

Two Geisha apprentices

Two Geisha apprentices

Jetstar did it this time. They advertised return airfares from Sydney to Osaka at a very cheap rate. $1371 for both tickets all inclusive. (taxes etc)

So we looked at what timeshares we could get in Japan. Thankfully there was a week available in Beppu in late October. So we booked the accomodation, booked the air fares and then started planning the trip. Although we knew nothing of Japan as it was never on our radar, we decided there's no time like the present. We surfed the net expentensively before we went and booked a couple of nights stay in Osaka, a weeks accomodation at the timeshare in Beppu and 2 nights in a traditional Japanese room in Hiroshima. All other details were left to our imagination when we got there.

The original plan was to get the train to Sydney but the night before we left, we perused the rail timetable again and decided it was cutting it too fine to take the train and make the connection. So we decided to drive down in 'the bullet' which is Rebecca's 18 y/o Volvo. It did exactly that, it went perfectly. Goes at 120klm without a problem and never missed a beat. $1500 well spent. We caught the plane from Sydney to Coolangatta, went rhough customs, then flew to Osaka without a hitch.

We arrived in Osaka late evening and found the local train from the airport into the city where we then changed to the subway to take us to the xxxxx Motel which we booked on-line. It was a fair and reasonable hotel, clean and friendly in a decent neighbourhood. Our first Japanese meal was in a local Cafe accross the rooad from the hotel. It was fairly bland but a nice change.

Day 2 in Osaka was a day of discovery. Find out what there is to do, how to do it, where and when was the best time etc. We decided the first place to visit was the Osaka Castle. This was a fascinating place in the heart of Osaka. A castle surrounded by a moat. it was reminscent of the medieval castles of England etc. It has a history that is best read in wikipedia, suffice to say it is a magnificent structure and well worth a visit. We also spent some time at the Osaka Museum of History and whilst there were not many signs in English, it was well worth the visit.

We both enjoy exploring a city by the local transportation systems whether they be bus, tram, subway, ferry and train. Osaka is well equipped for the tourist to explore by all these methods. We learned the subway system and how to read the signs. We spent some time looking for the Willer Bus Company office to collect bus tickets we had booked on line for our trip from Osaka to Hiroshima. We found on this, our first visit to Osaka to be a very pleasant experience with most things being user friendly and the people were very hospitable.


We left Osaka after two days by a very comfortable Willer Coach.

It left on time and we enjoyed a pleasant coach trip to Hiroshima.  We found our accomodation on a site called Wimdu. Its not a site we had used before but proved to be excellent. We booked two nights in a Tatami, which is a traditional Japanese room where you sleep on a Futon on the floor. The Tatami was owned by an enterprising young lady called Miiko. She owns it and rents it only to people who meet her criteria. You apply for the accomodation, give your details and circumstances and she decides whether she will accept your booking.

We did explain our age and that we would prefer a real bed. She was good enought to arrange two Futons each so we decided to give it a go. She accepted our booking and over the weeks prior to travel, we exchanged many emails and she also became a sort of travel agent for us. She organised and paid for coach tickets for us from Hiroshima to Beppu. In getting to Hiroshia, she gave us very explicit instructions on how to get to the Tatami from the coach depot. We followed the instruction on getting onto the local street cars and getting off at a specific stop near Hkiroshima Port, walk two blocks to find a key, then walk another block to get into the Tatami. It all went like clockwork which was amazing for we two Aussies in a non English speaking country. The Tatami is like nothing we had ever experienced before. It is a very basic room with minimal furniture. It has a small kitchen and a small bathroom and thats about it. Miiko had arranged for 4 Futons for us and also had some traditional japanese dress available for our use. There was a small table in the middle of the room where you ate sitting on the floor. It was May and the nights were cold but the Futons kept us warm albeit very close to the floor which gave us some aches and pains. Of course after we arrived at the Tatami, we organised our gear and went for an hour long walk around the suburb. It was a fascinating walk as we were walking down back alleys and looking into peoples lives (backyards, shops etc). We of course did a Reccy for where we would eat that night. We found a great little place that had a capacity of about 15 people. It turned out to be an Hiroshima Pizza Restaurant. Not the Pizza you find every where else in the world but a special concoction of cabbage, bacon, egg, and 4 or 5 other ingredients that go to make up a most magnificent meal. Sitting abreast the table that overlooked the 'cooks' hot plate was a remarkable experience.  

The following day we spent in Hiroshima City. We visited 'ground zero' where the A bomb did its thing. We went to the memorials and museums that have been very well put together by the Japanese people. It is quite a moving place to visit. The Peace Bell and the monuments to the children who lost their lives is something special. Several hour wandering through the museum brings a lump to the throat.


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