Osaka pt. 1: Diamond status, Deer, and more



Osaka - Day 1

Cody’s taking the reigns for the first half of this post to give Nick a break from writing. We had late check-out our last morning in Kyoto, which gave us a great excuse to see Kinkakuji Temple. It’s a fairly large temple that sits in a pond. Oh, and it’s made of gold. It’s always tough navigating these sites with all the tourists that come to see, but we manage to get some good photos here and there as well as enjoy the sites themselves.


Afterwards, it was time to take another train to Osaka and start our 5-day tour of the city. We’d be in one hotel the whole time (thank goodness) and man, was it a hotel. I have Diamond status with Hilton, so we were able to get a room upgrade as well as access to the Executive Lounge which offers a plethora of complementary treats (and drinks) throughout the day. It’s on the 32nd floor and offered a great view of the city as well. We made sure to stop in at the end of each day to hang out and decompress.


The hotel is right next to Osaka Station, which is giant and, of course, also a 7-story mall. After we checked in, we decided to take it easy and do some light shopping. Really just a lot of window gawking and awing at how good the Japanese are at shopping.

It seems like every city we go to, we always have to stop into Uniqlo which is basically the Japanese version of the Gap. Nick tried on a few things and picked a snazzy, new button down which I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to model for everyone. Fun fact, he had to take off his shoes to go into a fitting room. Uniqlo is also on the same floor as the resident Pokemon Center, so there was a little something for both of us. We walked around the rest of the mall, checking out shops and I continued my search for an authentic, Japanese hat. I was looking for something, for lack of a better word, weird and what you wouldn’t find back home. Turns out, the malls are a little overpriced and, if you know me, you know how I don’t like to spend money.

We capped off the evening at the lounge and relaxed for the rest of the night.

Osaka - Day 2


The next day we decided to take a day trip to Nara, which is a medium size town about a one hour train from Osaka. Nara is a big tourist attraction for people in the Kyoto and Osaka area because it’s home to a large population of free ranging deer. There is a large park about a 30 minute walk from Nara station where the deer just walk around and mingle with people. It’s really strange seeing deer almost domesticated and casually hanging out with humans.


You can buy deer cookies for 150 yen, which is a little more than a dollar. The deer know exactly what the cookies look and smell like, so as soon as you get some you attract a herd of deer around you. It was really fun to feed and pet the deer, but they can get a little aggressive when they feel like you’re being stingy with the treats. Most of the male deer don’t have long antlers, but one in particular had really sharp stubby antlers and kept head butting me when I wasn’t giving him cookies.


Another group of Japanese students interviewed us this day. They asked what we’ve decided are standard questions for tourists: what’s your name, where are you from, and what is your favorite thing about . They were very polite and asked Cody to pose for a picture with them.

After a few hours in Nara we headed back to Osaka to grab dinner and call it an early evening. We stopped at one of the many giant shopping malls around our hotel and headed to the 8th floor, which is the floor reserved exclusively for restaurants. We had about 20 options to chose from and picked a place that served tempura and rice.

We again made strategical use of the Executive Lounge that night for some free drinks and snacks, and then headed to bed.

Next up, we take a day trip to Hiroshima to see the Peace memorial and an island called Miyajima.