Monday, 13 May 2013

Japan 2012 - Part 4 (Osaka)

The next day dawned as a grey and dreary day, drizzling down with a chance of rain. Hmph.

Hotel breakfast - papaya and soymilk

I started my day ordering off the hotel menu. Half a pawpaw with a lemon slice, and some fresh soy milk. Oh, dear vegan friends, I am sorry to say... fresh soy milk is gross. At least to me. Dearest oat milk, I will love you forever!

We had planned another day trip for today - this time to Osaka. This is a special place for my mother, as she attended Expo 1970 in Japan as a pavilion attendant for the Australian pavilion. We caught the local JR train to Osaka (about 40 minutes). When you get to Osaka station, the information kiosk there had some excellent maps and they were very helpful. I also had a banana oat snack bar, brought in my stash from home, for some morning tea.

Exiting the station it was raining, boo. So we popped up our umbrellas and made our way over to the Osaka Museum of History. This is an excellent museum, I definitely recommend a visit.

Osaka Museum of History - Imperial Shade Bearers

The museum traces the history of Osaka. It combines artifact with recreations, like these Imperial Shade bearers from very early times. There are lots of English descriptions for things.

View from Osaka Museum of History

You go up to the top of the building and work your way down through the ages. There are some lovely views over to the castle and grounds from the top floor.

Osaka Museum of History Osaka Museum of History

I love pottery and ceramics. Especially blue and white!

Osaka Museum of History - Sumiyoshi Clay Doll, Hatsutatsu Neko

I also love little kitty clay dolls, like these.

Osaka Museum of History Osaka Museum of History

There were many more recreations through the ages. I loved this vegetable stall! My favourite part of the recreations was the transition from traditional to more modern times, which had some great dioramas.

Osaka Castle

After a chocolate peanut butter snack bar (bought from Natural House in Kyoto) in the lobby, the rain had started to ease off so we walked over to visit Osaka Castle. One of my mother's good friends who had passed away a little while ago used to give tours here. The grounds are extensive, including a lawn garden and a shrine, but we didn't spend too much time looking around at these. Mainly because everything was very wet, and about this time my feet got officially soggy. I don't cope well with soggy socks!

Grilled corn at Osaka Castle

There are a couple of little food outlets on the ground. When I passed by one selling hot corn on the cob, I couldn't believe my luck! My mum asked to make sure that it had not butter on it, just delicious salt and pepper. The corn was grilled, and came wrapped in a bag rather than on a stick. It was perhaps the most delicious thing ever, on a cold rainy day with soggy feet. Just what I needed to revive me.

Osaka Castle VIew from Osaka Castle

The castle is one of the most famous in Japan, however it has been reconstructed and the inside has been made into a museum, so is nothing like the inside of an original ancient castle. You start by going up to the top, where there is a nice viewing platform over the city. Inside, the museum told the life story of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a central figure to the castle's history.

Outside again, in the castle grounds, is the Expo 70 time capsule, which was nice for my mum to visit. We'd seen a recreation of it in the Museum of History. It was starting to rain again, so we caught a taxi back to the station. I had a Nut Snack (a nutty version of those Sesame Snaps), that I had brought from home.

There were several other things I would have liked to have seen in Osaka - the bay, the ferris wheel, the famous lights at night, and an intriguing Food Amusement Park (though I can only imagine almost none of it would have been vegan friendly). However, given the rain and the cold and the wet feet, we jumped on a train back to Kyoto.

I had several places marked on my Osaka Google map that were vegan or vegan friendly, however many of them kept odd hours and/or were not in the area we were in. If you are visiting Osaka, or day-tripping, I would suggest careful planning and snack packing.

Back in Kyoto, my first order of business was warm and dry feet. Bliss! Then I ate some of my cookies and mochi that I had bought from Kairas a couple of days before.

Le Temps at Hotel Granvia - Vegan Pasta

We decided to have dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel, we went to a place called 'Le Temps'. I perused the menu, and then got my mother to ask for some pasta with just tomato sauce and vegetables, making sure that there was not animal stock or cheese in the sauce. The waiter was a little horrified. 'But it will have no flavour!'. After being assured that it would be fine, I was given a bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce and eggplant. It was simple, but yummy. I also had some left over rice from my mother's meal. While we were there, there was a Halloween costume parade for the kids, because it was coming up to Halloween. We took an after dinner stroll to the Isetan department store in the station to check out their amazing grocery and prepared food sections. Amazing vegetable selection! Again, most things in the prepared section were not vegan, I wanted some inari but none of it was animal free! But still, I had some chestnut mochi in my room, so I was OK.

1 comment:

  1. That's a great tip about the inari not always being vegan, we'd been led to believe it almost always was as long as you use your own soy not the included packet. You're so lucky that you travelled with someone who can read Japanese!