Most of our first day in Osaka we actually spent in Nara, which we did as a day-trip to see the famous deer. In the evening, we met up with some Japanese friends for dinner in the city. The four of us get along well, and we ended up extending dinner into a walk around the city with lots of good conversation and laughing.... but we accidentally missed the last train back to our hostel, which was an hour and a half away, so we were stranded in the city. We had been hanging out in a garden, so we made ourselves comfortable on a little wooden bridge there to doze off... well actually, I think I'm the only one that slept while everyone else stayed up talking, haha. **Grandma Status **
After napping a few hours, we visited this Manga Cafe. These are pretty popular in Japan. They are open 24 hours and filled with cubicles that you rent to watch movies, play computer games, or read manga books from their huge selection. You can also pay to take a shower, rent a hairdryer or other heat styling hair products, and order food/drinks. I invested in earplugs and an eye mask so that I could sleep a bit more before morning.
The next day we visited Minoo Park, on the outskirts of Osaka. We were all planning on hiking to a waterfall, but halfway there we split up. Chelsea and Mako decided to hike up to a viewpoint, and Itaru and I did a trail run to the waterfall. We enjoyed splashing in the water to cool off, and Chelsea and Mako saw incredible views from the mountaintop.
Tombori River Walk
We had planned on heading back to our hostel after Minoo Park, as we had to catch an early morning flight the next day, but we decided to pull (another) all nighter with our good friends instead. We walked around the city, and spent a few hours along the Tombori River. Here we sat for awhile, enjoying snacks and good conversation. I love these people so much!
Goodbye for Now...
Our friends accompanied us back to the hostel so that we could pack up bags for our flight. We introduced them to some cool people we had met at the hostel and hung out there the rest of the night. We played games, drank a lot of coffee, and listened to Mako's music, as he is a musician. In the early morning, we all caught the train to the airport and our friends took us to the airport to say goodbye. Luckily, we have planned another meet up in a few months, so it was a "see you soon" rather than "goodbye."
We really didn't do too much exploring around the city of Osaka, but we were happy with deciding to spend time with our friends instead. Osaka is known as the "Kitchen of Japan," so I recommend eating your heart out in this city! All of the meals we had here were delicious. If I were to do this trip again, I probably would have just stayed longer in Kyoto and made Osaka a day trip from there, instead of booking separate nights in Osaka. The friends we spent time with here are locals to Osaka, and even they said that there is a lot more to do and see in Kyoto. Anyways, we had fun! You can see more from Japan here.
-- The best stories are found between the pages of a passport --