Japan Mar 2011 Day 7 – Osaka Aquarium
7th day in Kansai, back to Osaka after our short trips to Kyoto and Nara. Time to pay our due visit to the Osaka Aquarium. Alas, the good weather we’d had earlier in the week took a turn and brought persistent showers who lasted for hours, and sometimes entire afternoons. That kinda dampened our spirits, quite literally. Oh well, our last 3 days in Kansai and we are determined to make the best out of it.
Located in the western end of the metropolitan by the bay, the Osaka Aquarium is home to a large variety of marine animals from all over the world, including Kai kun, one of the few whale sharks in captivity. Here are some photos which I snapped in haste, which do not accurately portray the scale and grandeur of the place for sure. Do enjoy them nonetheless…
The facility is massive, dwarfing those who used it as a backdrop for photos.
Scuba diver appeared right above us, cleaning the glass tunnel to remove any algae on it. What a surprise. Everyone stopped on their tracks and snapped away!
Then there is giant model of Kai kun for photo-taking. Not quite the real thing though…
Giant sea otters! So much bigger than their riverine cousins but equally cute!
Here’s another in an environment where the lighting was compromised. Surprisingly the photo still managed to capture quite a bit of details.
A lonesome looking capybara, obviously not adapted to the man-made environment. These gigantic rodents live in large groups and enjoy the warm waters of thr Pantanal wetlands. Not sure if they would do well in an aquarium for long.
Penguins. Several species are showcased in the facility.
A pletora of marine fish in every thinkable design!
Badass lookin’ punk with a “watcha lookin’ at?!” attitude.
There was a clownfish special exhibit when we were there. So we saw “nemos” in all shapes, color, pattern and sizes! This is yellowtail clown fish, Amphiprion clarkii
Pink anemonefish, Amphiprion perideraion
Yellow clownfish, Amphiprion sandaracinos
Ocellaris clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris
funky looking shrimp
Garoupa! yumz! oops!
No clear shots of the whale shark. But we did get to see the bizzare looking sunfish.
What I enjoyed the most is the display of jellyfish towards the end of the exhibit. Gliding and bobbing in an idyllic manner
This particular one has an almost phantasmic appeal to it.
The aquarium is co-joined to the Tempozan Marketplace which had a gigantic ferris wheel which boasts a panoramic view of all Osaka, and even Kobe on a fair-weathered day. Given the bitingly cold weather, perhaps another time…
More wildlife outdoors! Not marine creatures though, but a red-eared bulbul perched on a nearby tree looking at a bunch of sparrows feeding on crumbs from two young girls’ sandwich lunches.
Alas, just as we were about to leave, it swooped down from the branches to join in the feast.
We too were feeling hungry and went into the mall for lunch. A simple fare really. Two katsu bentos from a store in Tempozan Marketplace.
This was J’s Tonkatsu bento. Pretty decent fare but nothing to shout about. The katsu slab was well fried and remained juicy. but not Maisen quality for sure. Then again, its only a fraction of what Maisen would have costed.
I had a Nanban Tori Karaage set, after being somewhat addicted to the nanban sauce dishes from our previous Tokyo trip.
After lunch, we went to a 100 Yen shop located just below the ferris wheel, and spent a considerable amount of time there! We love 100 yen shops and never get sick of visiting them! This is probably our 5th or 6th walk-ins to such stores in Osaka and Kyoto. So many things to look at and buy! All too tempting!
After that, it was a train ride back to Shinsaibashi. After a few days in Namba, we’d developed a basic level of proficiency for their train systems. Namba, like Umeda, is a mega station, but thankfully not as complex as Shinjuku, which was pure madness!
We found ourselves loitering around Shinsaibashi again, before making our way back to the hotel for a short rest. Dinner was back on Dotonbori again, this time round 和民Watami
We were deliberating between ramen and okonomiyaki when someone was giving out discount coupons along the bridge at the end of shinsaibashi suji. And this was perfect!
A daikon aka white radish wafu salad. cherry tomatoes, avocado over juilienned daikon and a scoop of potato salad over a thin layer of romaine. It was delightfully refreshing. The yuzu ponzu salad drizzled most certainly whet our appetites. Strips of deep fried wonton skin and juilienned toasted nori added textures. Quite well balanced, even for a salad. A hopeful start indeed!
Hot stonepot rice over salmon, mayonnaise, raw egg and ikura, strewed with seaweed and roughly chopped chinese celery. A quick stir-in after this photo sent wafts of aroma. Call me weird, but I actually like the smell of burnt rice. And the smell of chinese celery is always refreshing, for me at least!
An in-house special apparently, gyoza. nice and crisp! And they are not called potstickers for nothing!
And a nabe is always welcomed on a cold and rainy day like this. Nothing beats a bowl of hot soup to warm you up!
Despite the negative reviews we’d read on Watami in Singapore, the joint in Osaka is actually not bad! Major drawback is, smoking is allowed within the premise which is highly highly irritating. There was a stale smell of cigaretty smoke lingering in the air but thankfully it wasn’t that apparent. Trust me, I would have walked out of that place it had been reeking with smoke.
After dinner, we took a stroll down Shinsaibashi zuji again in the direction of Namba station. There was a Japanese bookstore which specialised in culinary books but alas, everything was in Japanese! Argh, how infuriating…
There was also a gourmet food shop which carries French and Italian imported ingredients. It was literally like walking into a treasure cove. truffle oil, porcini, different grades of cheeses, and assortment of pates and foie gras, parma ham gosh….. and all I could ask for was pickled sakura blossoms and yuzu rind powder. Now in retrospect, I really deserve to be slapped. But I’m glad I walked in, as the shop attendant pointed me to the right directions where I bought more yuzu rind powder. Lucky!
Done eating for the day? Not quite! Its depachika time again and this time round, Takashimaya in Namba. Went back with some yakitori at a fraction of their price. Ah! good to go with hot sake! I especially loved the レバー reba, which is essentially chicken liver!
Oh yeah, and a box of tsukune which was on offer as well! Resistance is futile!
Japan Mar 2011 Day 6 – Le Salon de Thé de Dalloyau
Japan Mar 2011 Day 6 – Nara Todaiji and A Tale of Two Ramens @ Dotonbori
Japan Mar 2011 Day 6 – Nara Koen and Katsuga Daisha
Japan Mar 2011 Day 5 – Pâtisserie Jouvencelle Oike Kyoto
Japan Mar 2011 Day 5 – Surviving Depachikas in Japan
Japan Mar 2011 Day 5 – 伏見稻荷大社 & JR Kyoto Station
Japan Mar 2011 Day 5 – 平野神社 北野天满宫
Japan Mar 2011 Day 5 – 金閣寺 の 日栄軒和菓子
Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – Cannelé and Macarons from Pâtisserie Kanae
Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – Pâtisserie Kanae Kyoto
Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – Macarons @ Jean-Philippe Darcis Kyoto & Unagi don dinner
Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – 知恩院 錦市場
Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – 京都 清水寺 二年坂
Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – 京都 洛東 清水寺
Japan Mar 2011 Day 4 – 京都 晨の雪
Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – A Taste of Spring 岚山 竹路庵 和菓子
Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – Pâtisserie Henri Charpentier
Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – Pâtisserie Gion Sakai
Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – Gion and Depachika Dinner
Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – Arashiyama Lunch @ 平の家
Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – Tenryuji and Sagano
Japan Mar 2011 Day 3 – 嵐山 愛宕念仏寺 Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji
Japan Mar 2011 Day 2 – Macarons from Patisserie Alcyon
Japan Mar 2011 Day 2 – Mont Blancs from Pâtisserie Factory Shin
Japan Mar 2011 Day 2 – Dinner @ 鹤桥风月大阪焼 Fugetsu Okonomiyaki
Japan Mar 2011 Day 2 – Pâtisserie Mont Plus @ Daimaru Umeda
Japan Mar 2011 Day 2 – Umeda & Lunch @ Daimaru
Japan Mar 2011 Day 2 – Osaka Castle
Japan Mar 2011 Day 1 – Dinner @ Shi Ten Noh Ramen, Dotonbori
Japan Mar 2011 Day 1 – Sights and Sounds of Shinsaibashi