Saturday, September 28, 2013


My sister and I deliberately extended the end of our Japan trip so we could stay longer in Osaka, and we were so glad we did!  Although I loved Tokyo, I think I might have enjoyed our stay in Osaka more!  And for everyone who goes to Tokyo for craft/ kawaii shopping, I think I actually bought more crafty things on other parts of my trip (including Osaka) than in Tokyo... by the time we ended up in Tokyo, I had visited all of the stores I had wanted to like Tokyu Hands, Daiso, Loft, Yuzawaya, Gran Plaire, Kiwa, etc...  In fact, I think I visited most of these stores in Osaka!  Among my favorite things we did in Osaka was going to the Osaka Aquarium (to see the whale sharks!), shopping at Shinsaibashi (where there was the nicest/newest Daiso ever, a Mister Donut, and a Parts Club/Gran Plaire store), and going to the Tanabata festival!

Osaka Imperial Palace... It was so beautiful!
The Umeda Sky Garden Building!  It was really fun, but we just missed the huge streamers they hung from the building for the Tanabata Festival.  At the top is a cafe and you can buy a heart-shaped lock to put on the roof!

View from the Umeda Sky Garden

Shinsaibashi heading out to Dotonbori

The famous Glico Running Man!

There were a lot of people hawking coupons to go into one of the many restaurants in Dotonbori.  This one is famous for... Kami/Crab!!! (It even smelled like crab over here, yum!)

There were so many eating places in Dotonbori; My sister and I ate at a Takoyaki/Okonomiyaki/ Yakisoba restaurant that was delicious!  FYI, most Japanese restaurants have smoking/ non smoking sections... Always choose non-smoking if you are not a smoker!!! Many Japanese smoke a lot, and the smoking sections are VERY smoky.
Okonomiyaki!!! So good!

We had fun wandering down the side streets, etc... the store on the right is a Forever 21 (we tried to stay away from stores we have in Hawaii, otherwise what is the point of traveling?)

The famous Don Quixote Ferris Wheel (we didn't ride it... it wasn't on)! I am used to Don Quixote stores being flat and wide; nearly all the Don Quixote we went to in Japan were very tall (like 5 or more floors) and skinny... they were jam-packed with all kinds of inexpensive but great goodies.  I bought socks, candy and a 1000 Yen ($10.00) shu uemura eyelash curler here!

The Tanabata Festival at Shitennoji Shrine!  Tanabata is the Japanese Star festival (usually held on July 7) and is supposedly the one time a year when a god and goddess (both stars) can cross the milky way and meet!  At Shitennoji, they built a bamboo tunnel with an artificial Milky Way that is good luck to pass through!  It is an awesome summer festival!

Kids get to play games at Tanabata celebrations!

The artificial Milky Way

Shitennoji Shrine at dusk for the Tanabata Festival

It is important to dress in traditional yukata and summer clothing/kimono and to light candles to remember loved ones who have passed on.  You can also write wishes on small slips of paper and tie them to trees.

Osaka Aquarium was AMAZING!!! I've discovered that aquariums are my jam.  I loved it so much, I'm going to make a separate blog post about it!

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