Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN!

Next up on our trip was Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, which was a hop skip and a jump away from Shin-Osaka station which was our base. The aquarium is one of the largest public aquariums in the world and is one of the stops marked on our journey here.

An extremely large Ferris wheel greeted us near the entrance of Aquarium Kaiyukan

On our way to the Aquarium we ran into a One Piece themed shop, which I definitely made plans to check out on our way home. But first, it was time to see some underwater stuff.

I will buy things from you.

Once we got to the Aquarium, we ran into a street performer doing some juggling magic with quite a large crowd. We maneuvered to the entrance of the Aquarium, purchased our tickets and were thrust into an 8 floor under water exploration. We even went the dorky tourist route and opted for the audio guide headsets.

A view from the entrance of the aquarium

We then began maneuvering through the extensive Aquarium, with each of the floors separated into different parts of the Ocean from varying locations of the world. Once we got near the end of the Aquarium, they had a snack café where we tried some special “whale shark” Ramune flavored ice cream, it was actually really good! They sure do love their sweets here.


After the Aquarium we then did some shopping in a local mall – picking up some various items and having some good eats. Kyndra even picked up a very kawaii “cooking set” where she performed chemistry when we got home and made us some…. Dinner…. It was questionable, to say the least.

Not much to say but to let the pictures speak for themselves. Check out a couple videos and a photo dump below!


Universal Studios Japan

Universal Osaka was a full day of fulfilling our child hood dreams including, but not limited to; Terminator, Harry Potter, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy, Jurassic Park and Minions…lots and lots of Minions from Despicable Me. Did I mention lines? Yeah, those too.


This was Acea’s first time attending any Universal Studio and being a movie buff he was super excited. I myself, on the other hand, was super excited for the Harry Potter portion of the amusement park.  So graciously Acea, let us go there first for lunch.

Chow time!

We just wondered around a bit in the Harry Potter zone, taking in some little live shows they had going on and just absorbing the atmosphere. It was great.

The lines were extremely long and we only had a day pass so we opted to just marvel at things, buy at Honeydukes and eat some lunch at the Three Broomsticks before heading to our next area….Jurassic Park.

Yo dawg, we heard you like lines so we put a line in your line for your line.

Jurassic Park ride was amazing, and definitely worth the wait – if nothing else for drop picture was a true beauty to witness. After Jurassic Park we visited the insanely crowded massive Minion portion of the park to buy our nephew’s some souvenirs. This minion craze is no joke, I know they’re popular in the States and it’s clearly translated over here as well…. They knew what they were doing when they designed those little guys, and they’re doing what they intended – selling boat loads of merchandise.

After Minion Park, I got to fulfill a child hood dream of becoming a Sailor Scout! (be prepared this picture is horrible)

Moon Make-Up Activate!

We went on one last final ride before we would be leaving the park, jumping on the Terminator 2-3D ride. It was a funny realization when we got through the line and quickly discovered the whole story-based ride would be in Japanese, something to obviously be expected but it just slipped our mind. Luckily, the not so complex story-line was easy enough to follow.

Acea then got to shop and visit with some of his Shonen Jump buddies…. One Piece, Dragon Ball, and Hunter X Hunter… YES! He even purchased the newest issue of Shonen Jump, while he can’t actually read it – it’s a nice souvenir and it even has the newest issue of One Piece inside which was actually a very pivotal issue.

Newest issue of Shonen Jump…. Plus foot.

After the Shonen Jump shop it was time to go home, we were exhausted…time to sleep it off before Kyoto. Look below for more pictures and the like.

Panoramic shot of the park


Rails and Castles and People, Oh My!!

Yesterday we had our first foray on the Japanese rails and it ended up being a grand adventure, even if filled with a few stints of getting lost or taking the wrong train.  Not growing up in a city (Phoenix, AZ) with any metro lines/rails, taking them all around Osaka was an experience in of itself.  The Shinkasen from Tokyo Station to Osaka was the easiest part and super efficient.

Time to play on the metro

We found our way to Osaka Castle easily enough. Thanks to this handy app called Japan Official Travel app. It actually allows you to coordinate any sort of route including our handy JR passes or not, even including bus routes, walking distances and even boat trips. It’s super effective, and we found it to be even more accurate and useful then Google maps, which is saying something.

Osaka Castle says, “Sup?”

Osaka Castle was a beautiful break in the otherwise extremely urban area, you’re wandering through a major city of Japan and suddenly you find a wonderfully large park filled with beautiful trees and lush green, plus this old style castle sitting right in the middle surrounded by water. It serves a historical museum, not to mention there’s plenty of food vendors and street performers gallivanting around the court-side that sits in the shadow of the castle.

Panoramic shot from the top of the castle

After Osaka Castle, we then decided to head to Dotonbori which is a major city district in Osaka. It’s filled with shops, lights, food, everything you can imagine… Oh and people, lots and lots of people. We had to trip our way through at least a few transfers heading from the castle but we finally made it.

This was a bit of a red flag to alert us that we made it.

Dotonbori was crazy, for lack of any fancy descriptive text. It was way more then we expected, from girls doing repeat dances in windows with sales boards to every single type of shop you could possibly imagine, heck even shops you couldn’t conceive. We ended up hitting up a Daiso which is like a Japanese dollar store where everything is 100 yen.

Now that’s dedication to a job…. Yeesh!

We also got to see the famous Glico man, which has been standing since 1935! Impressive!

Glico Man!

We’re about to head out to Kyoto, so check the drop below for plenty of more images from our trip!!! Peace.

Panoramic of Kyndra viewing a river as we walked through downtown Osaka heading to the metro


The Path to Osaka

After an eventful and vibrant few days in Shinjuku, Tokyo – it was time to move on to our next destination. While we stayed at a business class hotel in Shinjuku(albeit it was TINY, but cozy) this time we were trying something different and using an AirBnB. AirBnB was technically a gray area and not fully legal in Japan until last year, although many were still operating “unofficially”.

Goodbye City Hotel Lonestar, it’s been fun!

Accommodations aside, we had to get there first. Osaka isn’t exactly close to Shinjuku(about 300 miles away, in fact) but luckily Japan is equipped with its own very advanced bullet train system called the Shinkansen and we purchased a “JR Pass” in advanced. The JR pass basically lets you, as a foreign tourist, travel easily over many of the rail systems in Japan. We were a little intimidated at first, but it turned out to be pretty easy and actually went incredibly smoothly! Some of the Shinkansen ride below….

We arrived rather smoothly to be honest, the Shinkansen was amazing. We need these things in the States! Once we finally arrived to our AirBnB in Osaka(which our host gave us a detailed PDF with screenshots and red circles directing us and everything) we were dumbfounded and impressed. The setup was fantastic! It seems so authentic, even with us needing to remove our shoes and put on slippers they provided for us in the accommodations.

Sitting comfy

We made it safely, and began to prepare for our next week in Japan with our homebase in Osaka. We’re loving our new location, and we can’t wait to tell you about the upcoming days!

The only toy we won at arcades in Shinjuki, that Kyndra won completely randomly.

See below for some shots of our Air BnB!