Two years later, but better than never, I finally begin to write about our trip to Japan. And I’m going to try my best to recall our experiences and retrace the route we followed. Japan is all about timing. While it might look beautiful in any season, the best seasons are autumn (autumn leaves or koyo) and spring (Sakura or cherry blossoms). We visited Japan during autumn, in the second half of November. Our path would lead us from Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, and finally end in Tokyo. Interestingly, the autumn leaves pattern are tracked by many sites. You can plan your trip, such that, you don’t miss the viewing as you travel from the south to the upper north or vice-versa.
Osaka is not necessarily on the tourist grid, although, there will be many places to see. We chose to stay in Osaka as we couldn’t get a budget hotel in Nara. Kansai International airport is connected to Osaka city by train (highly efficient), bus, and cab. Our hotel was located in Shinsaibashi, a popular shopping district, in Osaka and Japan.
November is reasonably chilly and it’s best to pack your woollen clothes. To get to our hotel we took the Nankai Line to Namba and changed to the subway, on the Midosuji line, to Shinsaibashi subway station. It’s always a good idea to stay near the subway. However, it was a challenge to reach our hotel from the subway station as it started to rain, and our first purchase ended up being an umbrella.
Since most hotels have a check-in of 2:00 pm, we stored our luggage at the reception and did some walking around. To get to Osaka Castle, we took the subway to Osaka Business Park Station. You might need to ask for directions to get to the castle. The walk to the castle was quite scenic and weather perfect. Although, few autumn leaves remained and crows crowed eerily.
The castle was packed with tourists, school children, and locals. The museum is definitely worth a visit. Sadly, there’s little I remember. Although, I appreciated a lot what I saw, all I could think of heading back to the room and sleeping like a log. On our way back to the subway station, we forgot our route and it started to rain again. On reaching the subway station drenched, our jet-lagged brains forgot how to punch tickets. Fortunately, at every step, there were helpful people!
Sometime in the evening, we headed out to discover the main shopping streets of Shinsaibashi. A walk through, will give you your first taste of Japan. From clothes, local delicacies to popular burger joints; there a lot for the senses to explore. It was crowded at 9 pm and since we stayed close by, we didn’t have to worry of getting back.