Takayama morning + Osaka evening

Well, we got our first taste of Japanese rain today! Our plan was to go for an early run around Takyama and see the Shrines, walking paths and Morning Markets in the daylight.

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When we woke up it was lightly raining and we figured we would power through the run with our rain gear.

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Abe took an umbrella, which ended up being very helpful and I ran in my new jacket from Big 5 and a hat.

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We got soaked. And lost. Turns out the map describes an area much smaller than we expected (and is also not to scale) so we quickly ran OFF the map. We only had an hour, so we gave up on the walking paths and headed towards the markets. Which were very disappointing and small. Haha! Oh well! At this point I was soaked and unhappy so we headed back to the hostel to dry off as much as possible before our train.

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(You can see my attempt to dry off my jacket with my microfiber towel in theΒ  background!) I tracked the run with my GPS watch and we got 3 miles in. It’ll be super cool to upload the run and see where we were on an actual map πŸ™‚

I’m hoping to do the same with the Kumano Kodo and track where we went and how many miles etc. Apparently it’s possible it will rain like this while we do the pilgrimage, so we’re trying to figure out the best way to stay dry. We brought ponchos and I figure plastic bags over our socks and inside our shoes will help keep our feet dry?? I guess we’ll find out! Let the plastic bag hoarding begin.

We made our train to Nagoya just in the nick of time (it’s full of westerners!)

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And grabbed some food at the train station.

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We didn’t know what it was when we grabbed it, but now I can say that the triangles are rice wrapped in seaweed (with Tabasco in the pink one, and something pickled in the green one) and the other stuff is fish cake stuffed with cheese (blegh). You just can’t beat rice and seaweed πŸ™‚

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Abe also grabbed this, which ended up being a curry, chicken jerky type thing. It was actually pretty good.

We transferred to the Shinkansen to Osaka for a quick hour ride and stopped for some (late) Lunch. I was in the mood for ramen but we couldn’t easily find any.

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Abe said that if Tokyo is like New York, Osaka is similar to San Francisco so a lot of the food in the station was international. Like, does this (above) look like a Japanese Olive Garden to you??

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We finally settled for a grocery store and bought some noodles.

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And as soon as we turned the corner, we found ramen. Of course. It was the stand-as-you-eat kind, which I’ve really wanted to try!!

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So we did! We’ll eat the food we got at the grocery store tomorrow for breakfast.

Then on to the local train to get to our hostel- another J-Hoppers.

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We did some laundry, took showers and headed to Osaka Castle.

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It was beautiful! The museum inside had already closed for the day, so the surrounding areas were relatively empty except for some runners.

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The view was also incredible. We watched the sun go down over the Osaka skyline.

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Next, we were off to a part of Osaka known for its night life and eateries, Namba. What an experience.

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LOTS of lights.

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LOTS of signs.

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And a moving giant crab. (Among other giant signs If the food served)

We originally thought we’d eat dinner there, but after walking around for a bit figured it was too flashy and touristy. So we headed to the side streets… Where the 18+ signs were and pictures of enticing women… No thanks. I was terrified we’d walk into a restaurant only to find out it was a strip club or massage parlor. I have to say, of all the people we passed in those streets, no one solicited us or made any kind of comments towards us. They were very respectful and appropriate. It just wasn’t our scene.

We headed down the street and found a katsu place where you order and pay at a machine.

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It was perfect, delicious and affordable!

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And Abe got a non alcoholic beer too πŸ˜‰

Now we’re headed back to the hostel on the train ready to get a good night’s rest for Kumano Kodo tomorrow. We have to travel to the location by train AND then hike to the minshuku (bed and breakfast) we’re staying at. Chances are good we won’t have wifi until we return to the city after the pilgrimage, so I’ll upload the recaps then! Bye bye for now, wish us luck!!! I’m sure we’ll have some interesting stories. πŸ˜‰

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