The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Trip to Kobe and Osaka Part II


After the morning trip to Himeji, Rob and I took the train to Osaka - I think it took us over 1 hour to get there from Himeji eki (train station). Travel-weary and sick of trains by then, we began our exploration of Osaka. We'd initially planned to go to Shinbaishi area (which is the 'happening' part of Osaka) as well but we only had one afternoon in Osaka (and we were tired from hiking around and climbing the castle's stairs), so we decided to explore and stick around the Kita area (which is the business district of Osaka).

The eki is huge! I previously mentioned that train stations in Japan all have omiyage (souvenir) stores, and Osaka eki is no exception. There are departmental stores attached to the eki as well as the usual food court, bakeries and omiyage stores - there is even a fresh fruit and meat and seafood market within (all underground)! It was foodie heaven at the train station! I was so excited, I even took a photo! It was absolutely crowded, which is not at all surprising considering that Osaka is the second biggest city after Tokyo.

The 'market' in the underground station:

The Umeda Sky building is a twin-tower complex that is like a modern version of the Arc De Triomphe. You have a 360 degree view at the top of the tower. There are two observation galleries - an outdoor one on the roof, and an indoor one on the floor below. The ride to the top involves taking a see-thru elevator, and then a glassed-in escalator for the final five storeys to the top. We were blown away by the vastness of the city, which stretched out as far as the eye can see towards the horizon for the full 360 degree view from the tower.

The view of the tower from the ground:

In the elevator - the ride was fun, although Rob was slightly freaked out initially in the elevator due to his height phobia:

In the escalator:

The view of part of Osaka city:

Kobe Harbor Land and Meriken Park

We had a little time on Monday morning before our long trip back home to have a look around Kobe Harbor Land and Meriken Park. Harbor Land is full of shopping malls and all that, but I thought that Meriken Park (5mins east of Harbor Land and home to the Kobe Maritime Museum and the Port of Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park) was more interesting. The memorial park preserves a part of a concrete pier that was destroyed in the huge earthquake in 1995. It's amazing how well this city recovered after such a massive earthquake. I believe that Kobe's official symbol is that of a phoenix, to symbolise the city's recovery from the earthquake.

It was really windy and we got a bit wet from the rain - you can see the dark stormy clouds in the photos.. (My mum was worried about us because she'd heard about the typhoon that hit Kyushu that day.)

Us with the radio tower and maritime museum in the background:

A ship on display at Meriken Park:

The earthquake memorial park:

We then made our way to the train station to begin our 6-hour long journey back home to our little town. The trip was fun, but we were pretty travel-weary and were glad to be at home.


  1. I don't log in for 2 days and you post this much... I'll read it when I get the chance, but those are some beautiful photos.

  2. Haha :) I was playing catch-up with my photos and blog, and I've finally finished. We're planning another trip soon so I wanted these photos 'out of the way'..