Sunday, July 04, 2010

JAPAN! Blog-on-the-Spot! Day 11: Osaka Castle and Outlet Shopping

Today is the best time to visit regions around Osaka city by JR trains, since it was the last day of our JR Rail Pass. Instead of temples again, after many in Kyoto, we visited Osaka Castle. The way to the historical monument, it was indeed quite a walk. Since it was a weekend, post-public holiday, there was quite a turnout at the park. From the map, the park was part of the compound of the castle during its time. Now, it is where young and old gather for open air rock band performances, baseball games, or just a quiet walk in the inner part of the park.

Look! I spotted another friend! No, there are many of them! Kawaii! They just loved camwhoring for me!
What a magnificent structure it is, Osaka Castle! The castle has been carefully conserved and maintained since its time during the feudal era.
Many of the historical artefacts were not allowed for photography, hence I could not capture much. Nevertheless, seeing the different styles of well retained samurai armour up close, was very impressive! Though many of them did sent a chill down my spine, probably their fierce looking face masks and helmet. But I really admire the Japanese for their ingenuity even from the feudal era. Their history was also well documented and preserved through time, and we are talking about centuries!

After visiting the castle, we decided to head down to do some shopping at a mega outlet mall far out from Osaka city centre.

At one train station where we changed train, we decided to grab a quick bite. Not fast food, but fast soba! These super cheap piping hot and tasty soba/udon dishes are served fast and fresh. We had to make sure we did not stand too long at the bar to finish our meal, since our commuters are probably waiting for their turns. Who says Japanese meals have to be expensive, 280Yen solved a lunch for one, and seriously this simple soba/udon tastes so much better than fancy "Singaporeanized" Japanese restaurants.
Before reaching the outlet mall, we came across a gigantic ferris wheel. If I am not wrong, there are many ferris wheels in Japan, and a lot are in Osaka. I guess giant ferris wheels are common here, I had been living in a small world with only one flyer.
Hooray! Shopping time! Upon arriving at the mall, we were greeted by GAP outlet, but we had no interest in GAP. Adidas Factory Outlet already had been spending some time in there. I did not get the Samurai Blue jersey there, since it was not included in the storewide 20% discount. Yes, 20% discount on top of outlet prices! I was so tempted to score 2 pieces of Superstar II LTO, 2 piece of Superstar Originals, and also Star Wars Adidas exclusive Darth Vadar exclusive (there were 2 designs on outlet sale).
Every woman around the globe loves a COACH bag! Why not get them at the factory outlet? It is madness in the store, it was almost impossible to move around. It was no wonder since most of the bags were going at 40% discount. No wonder the Japanese in town are always seen carrying at least a COACH.
There were many other outlet stores from major sports labels and high-end fashion labels. I could have gotten a BALLY bag, Hugo Boss or Armani suit.
Yes, we shopped till sunset! You can easily spend a day here. The outlet mall is way much better than the Citygate outlet mall in Hong Kong. Probably, during my visit, there was additional summer sale discounts on top of regular outlet prices. I guess we were lucky! The 2-hour journey (to & fro) was worth it!

Since we returned to Osaka city centre late, most shops were closed. No cheap discounted bento sets from Hakyu Department Store basement. No cheap food court miso ramen, zaru soba and okonomiyaki at Hanshin Deparment Store basement. We did take-away discounted sushi set before we left the outlet mall.

Seriously, I was not expecting anything good from 500Yen salmon sushi sets, but I am impressed that the fish are still very fresh and they even packed ice packs for take-aways.

For supper snack with in-room TV watching, I ripped opened a pack of this corn chips from Tohato, the same brand that give us Caramel Corn. The warning on the side of the packaging illustrated a bar chart the is 10x more spicy than Jalapeno pepper, I had my doubts, but after one piece, I was drowning myself with water! They should just ban these "killer" chips! By the way, I bought this at Daiso (100Yen) shop.

Ssssshhh......... the neighbours next door are starting their rendevous in the room! How cool is that! After all, we are staying in a love hotel right smack in the middle of sleazy pubs and karaoke.

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