Day fifteen – Osaka to Hiroshima

To be fair, we weren’t allowed in our hotel room right away. We had to kill some time. And we killed that time by hitting the Hiroshima pokemon center.

This morning we got up, packed up our bags and headed from our hotel to the local metro and got on the train to Shin-Osaka. From Shin-Osaka we tried to get reserved seats on the shinkansen but it was too busy a day, so we went with the non-reserved tickets instead. What this means is the first three cars of the shinkansen are ‘just find a seat’. It’s a little nerve-wracking, I’d prefer to have a guaranteed seat, but it actually worked out fine. Although there were a number of people waiting for the train, each car has 24 ish rows of five seats so, three cars worth of that is a lot of space.

We got some good seats near the front, got our suitcases up on the racks and settled in for the ride to Hiroshima.

This shinkansen ride I didn’t get motion sick at all, and I was very happy about that. I got a little writing done on my laptop even! Up until the pocket wifi started having issues with the high speeds and the tunnels and I wasn’t able to connect anymore. But yay, fiction writing is still going well.

We navigated the streetcar system, dropped our bags off at the hotel in Hiroshima and went to Cafe Velloce which seems to be a not as good Doutor. Disappointing cocoa. Although they do a cocoa float which is iced cocoa with soft serve and quite good.

Hiroshima is a lot quieter than Osaka and Tokyo. Noticeably fewer people on the road, fewer cars, etc. It’s a relief, a little more like being at home.

After that we went to the local Tokyu Hands and I got some more postcards to send people, and then the Hiroshima Pokemon Centre which is one we’ve been to before. The Hiroshima baseball team is the Carps so there’s some amusing Magikarp baseball merchandise.

It was also raining properly, big heavy drops so we bought our first Japanese clear umbrellas.

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One weird phenomenon we’ve noticed is to do with certain light levels or sources. It happened in a seven eleven to Anna and to both of us in the laundry room at the Osaka hotel. Basically you go in there and get vertigo, or a sensation of the room spinning. Now, it’s fully possible this is just we’re tired and traveling a lot, but both of us felt better as soon as we were out of whichever light source had caused it. Weird.

Epic levels of tired started to hit, so we picked up snacks and drinks and checked into the hotel as soon as three pm rolled around. The beds in the Chisun are way more comfy than the ones at Nest Osaka so we were both very happy about that.

We nipped out for dinner at Nakau, but possibly the chain has gone downhill or possibly I was just remembering it better than it was. The menu’s changed so Anna couldn’t get the salmon bowl she was looking forward to and my katsu curry was good but not great. We were both just exhausted as well, which won’t have helped.

Early to bed and early to sleep.

Day fourteen – Osaka, Pokemon center and Spa World

Osaka Pokemon Center was today’s first stop. I was thinking we’d be okay because surely it’d just have all the same stuff as the Tokyo one, right? Wrong. It had a lot of the same stuff but a whole lot of awesome new stuff as well.

Shopping was done.

We also played a Halloween game where the screen had us as characters using a video and we had to catch the animated falling treats and avoid the glowing Gengar treats. We caught enough for lots of pokemon to show up at the party at the end, but apaprently we could’ve done better and had ‘everyone’ turn up. It was good silly fun anyway.

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After that we took the Osaka metro up to Spa World, which I’d researched on pinterest.

Spa World is a public bath complex and hotel. We got the day passes and went in, slightly confused about the set up. You have to take your shoes off almost immediately and store them in a shoe locker. Then you cross over to the other side of the lobby and take the elevator to the designated zone. The onsens (hot pools/public baths) are split into Asian zone and European zone and they’re divided by gender.

The women’s zone was the Asian zone so with some more confusion – where do we get undressed? (it’s right at the lockers where you store your things) and when do we wear the little tunics they gave us? (it’s once you’ve left the onsen and want to randomly wander the building) and where do you scrub off before soaking? (This one was beyond us, you have to go all the way into the zones and use them).

Anyway, we were both a bit nervous about a) public nudity and b) getting it wrong, but once we saw a gaggle of Japanese grannies strip off and head into the bath area totally nude we got over it. The first section was a walk through side shower, which was very nice. Then the Asia zone was divided into rooms with different kinds of gigantic hot tub.

They were varied heat levels and we moved through most of the rooms and relaxed. My favourite one was the outdoor stone bath, styled after traditional Japanese onsen. Lots of stones and running water, with trees around it. It was also kind of lovely to just be outside, naked in a hot tub. The Japanese cypress bath was lovely too, although very very hot.

There was also a Persia room, an Islam stone bath and a Bali resort jacuzzi. We tried a cold pool, a steam room and standing under the hot water fountain to use it to massage our shoulders. The the Persia room we lay on our backs in the hot water and almost fell asleep, we decided not to try out the purple water tub or the various ones in the “Dr Spa” room because the signs were all in Japanese. (on the website it says they’re Oxygen bath, hydrogen bath and carbonated bath.)

Anyway, when it comes to self care, taking a few hours to submerge your body in various hot pools, this is tops.

Although we’d thoroughly cleaned ourselves and got dressed again, we were both a little faint and very thirsty so we hit the restaurant zone. Once we’d eaten and drunk a bunch of water and green melon soda we felt a bit better and came back to the hotel feeling very relaxed and chilled out.

Day eight – Akihabara, Tokyo

We’ve been in Japan one week !

Today we slept in some again. It was nice. Doutor breakfast again, then took the old Yamanote line to Electric Town Akihabara. Akihabara is the home of maid cafes, nerd stuff and collectibles.

We wandered around some and picked up some cute Studio Ghibli merchandise and various little things. Neither of us really wanted to go too hard on the collectibles though so we purchased some Pablo 3 Mini Cheese Tarts and got back on the train to Tokyo station. From there we walked a couple of blocks to the Tokyo Pokemon Centre.

Last time we visited Japan we went to the Pokemon centres in Hiroshima and Kyoto but missed this one, it’s gigantic. And it has a permanent pokemon cafe attached to it. It’s pretty busy even on a Tuesday early afternoon. But we were able to secure a spot in the session which started in 45 minutes after we signed in.

This gave us plenty of time to peruse the gigantic Pokemon centre store.

We picked up a bunch of plushies (some of which are gifts, maybe even more than half) and various stationary, stickers and I got the greatest hoodie of all time. It is the hoodie of the pokemon Mimikyu, which is a weird ghost pokemon which wears a disguise to look like pikachu. Apparently under disguise its true face is horrifying, but I just love it to bits and it’s wildly powerful in Pokemon sun and moon. It fits well with my creepy/cute aesthetic.

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After that we went to the Pokemon Cafe and sat down for some very cute, and very delicious foods.

The pikachu face is yellow coloured rice with seaweed facial details, slices of carrots for cheeks and star shaped vegetables in the curry. The curry is Japanese curry which is rich and delicious, like a casserole. The mimikyu is my dessert, it’s a crepe creation with banana berry cream in the ears, and a layered cream, fruit and pancake situation under the face. The tail was a delicious chocolate cookie, the red cheeks were a caramalised raspberry deliciousness.

Anna’s pikachu butt was omelette with spaghetti cabonara underneath, with green salad. The tail was a corn chip. The Jigglypuff dessert was a perfect strawberry cheesecake with cookies, fruit and cream.

The food was all cute and delicious and then, as we were starting desserts the waitresses made an announcement and a giant eevee walked in!

It was such a good Japanese moment. Like, yeah this cafe was nicer than we expected, and the food was great, and we got special collectible coasters for ordering in theme drinks. And then a freaking giant eevee walks in to music and does cute poses so people can take photos?? Amazing.

After the pokemon centre we got back on the Yamanote line and back to Shinjuku. Our current Tokyo hotel is the same one we’re staying at for the last few days of our trip, and when we checked in the desk staff mentioned we could store luggage with them. So, we tracked down a Bic Camera, which is a big electronics and variety department store. We picked up a great big, bright pink hardcase suitcase and brought it back to the hotel. We packed up all our merchanise, fabric, stationary purchases and my gorgeous boots, plus our Disneybound outfits and whatever clothes we don’t think we’ll wear again. We filled the case and got it closed!

Packing everything up tonight because tomorrow we head to Osaka and Universal Studios Japan. Hopefully our feet won’t fall off!  To finish, here’s my Mimikyu Halloween special event plushie ❤

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