Osaka: Umeda Sky Building & The Hep Five Ferris Wheel

The first day that I arrived in Osaka was after a 10+ hour bus ride. I wasn't tired, but I was in desperate need of a shower. Unfortunately, I couldn't check into my hotel until 3PM and I arrived at 8:15AM. Instead of wasting the day sitting around just because my hair was a little [read: very] greasy, I decided to walk around.

The coolest part of my day was meeting Rene, a bar owner who used to live in Orlando but whose mom is from Okinawa. I met her at a little cafe where I was having breakfast. Long story short, the waitress was confused by what I ordered and thought I didn't understand. Rene tried to explain and then realized that I knew what I was doing, I just couldn't speak Japanese to tell them. She spoke Japanese and English, she knew the area, and she offered to take me to her boyfriend's restaurant for dinner. We exchanged numbers and then I was off to explore (more on Rene later).

I walked the entire day. The lady at my hotel thought I was crazy, but I wanted to see everything and maybe find some cool restaurants or shops along the way. Above is a picture of Osaka Station. I was in this area often because it's a pretty big station and there are a lot of places to transfer to from here. However, my first stop was to the Umeda Sky Building. I saw it on the bus ride in and it looked really interesting.

The two "beams" in the middle are escalators. You are 550 feet in the air when going up and down... sounds crazy, right? Because of the "wow factor" I had to do it! When you get to the top they have a floating garden. I was really excited about it, but when I got there it was just an observation deck with, literally, no flowers. Ha! Also, like a lot of the observation sites we've been to, they sold locks that you could attach for long lasting love.

This is on the elevator. If you look in the above photo, you can see that it's on the outside of the building, too.

I really like this photo. 

The lady that took this insisted that I stand here. If she would have stood on the other side there would have been nothing obstructing the view. Oh well! 

Next, I headed towards the HEP Five building or Hankyu Entertainment Park. First, I went through a mall to do some window shopping. Good thing I was only window shopping because I saw very few things for under 50,000 yen ($500-ish). My trip wasn't for nothing, though, because I found a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and almost cried! Carmel Apple Pie on a stick... THANK YOU!

When I left, I walked outside to see if I could find the building. I had no issues because on top of the building is a huge ferris wheel. When I got inside I was in arcade heaven. Floors and floors of video games, photo booths, etc! My dad and I would have had a ball had he been there with me!

I just HAD to ride the ferris wheel. I mean, seriously, how could I pass it up? haha! I got my ticket, jumped on and then realized they had an MP3 player. Naturally, I attached my phone and had a jam session to Kelly Clarkson, "Catch my Breath." I'm sure the people in the buggy things beside me thought I was crazy, but I had a blast!

Turn this song on, finish the post and then try to tell me you aren't in a super good mood!

I decided to take the subway on the way home because my dogs were barking and I was hungry. The subway is a LITTLE harder than Tokyo, but still very easy to navigate. I checked in, got some dinner at the hotel restaurant and watched Grey's Anatomy on my laptop for the rest of the night. I was BEAT!

Up Next: A day full of cherry blossoms and sunshine... literally!

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