We arrive at the last destination on our Japanese trip, Osaka.

Our hotel was really rather swanky, and you can see me packing my pull along bought just for the trip (I’d sustained a shoulder injury so was unable to take my rucksack) .


Our first stop is Osaka history museum.


Over several floors it told the history of Osaka from its earliest times.

A very clever display that showed a video, and when it finished, the screen withdrew to the ceiling, and the view through the window showed the site on the ground bellow that the video had been about.


In another part, its showed how the streets of Osaka would have looked in the 1930’s.


The Umeda Sky building is one of the most recognised landmarks in Osaka.

A unique design had to “flat parts” on each side constructed, and then the “roof” raised up by pulleys.


Inside they had this replica showing how it was constructed.

An interesting video showed its construction and a speeded up part showing the roof being moved into position.

Interestingly, the music to land of hope and glory was playing in the background, which made for a surreal experience.


The top part of the building has a round hole in the middle, with this walkways leading to it with escalators.


And on the viewing platform, you can see the entire city (it’s just a shame that the sun isn’t shining).


A nearby restaurant provides us with sustenance and beer for the rest of our adventure.


I saw this on the toilet wall, quite literally explaining how to use a lavatory.


We decide to tour Kyu Yodo river by boat (at least it will get us out of the rain).


It was really low in the water, and at one point, to get under a low bridge, the roof contracts by about 18 inches.


Back to our swanky hotel.

Outside, its Friday night and everything is hotting up.


We wander around the town and it really was incredible (I guiltily have to admit, that I preferred it to Tokyo).


Nearby, the longest shopping street I’d ever seen, and it was indoor.

I saw various interesting shops, including a sort of army surplus shop. Upstairs, they had Nazi SS uniforms !.


And finally we find this nice spot to have a drink called bar missile.

One thing I loved about Osaka was how everyone was down to earth.


The following day, Nikki and I head out early.

We wander past the Temposan Ferris wheel.


Until we reach our ultimate destination, the Kaiyukan aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world.

I’d seen a promotional video earlier in the trip with amazing things from all over Japan.

A section showing an incredible aquarium, turned out to be in Osaka, and I decided I was definitely going to see it.


You go up in a lift to the top.

The idea is that as you follow the route down, you go deeper into the “ocean” and see fish and sea creatures at their relative depths.

At the top level, were otters and things like that, in this amazingly designed rockery environment.


The ubiquitous shark tunnel.

The aquarium has 27 tanks used in 16 main aquariums.


The highlight was the enormous tank in the centre, the biggest I’d ever seen.

They have divers working to clean and maintain the tank 24hrs a day.


The aquariums main attraction are its whale sharks.

The illustration above shows the whale shark next to its nearest neighbour, the great white.


A whale shark swims by.

One problem I had was lighting. It was practically impossible to take a good photos, the handful you can see that worked are what’s left of nearly 100 that I took there.


You might wonder what a tank like that holds 11,000 tons of water would be made off ?

A display showing a 30cm square piece of acrylic glass, used through the aquarium.


Another of its many attractions are its Manta Rays.


At the very bottom of the display, these beautiful Jelly Fish.


Completely enthralled by the aquarium, it now hits me that were going home the next day.

We get tickets to the nearby Temposan Ferris wheel and as you can see from this picture, I’m in a contemplative mood.


The view from the wheel showing the harbour at night.


And the following day, we bid farewell to Japan and head for home.

After so much travel on trains, this will be our last one in the country.


At Osaka airport and something feels strange.

Then it hits me where I’ve heard of it before.

One of my favourite episodes of Megastructures was about this airport, built completely from reclaimed land.

I’ve been to many of the places featured in Megastructures, but this is the first time I stumbled onto 1 by accident.


We fly home and arrive at Manchester airport.

After 2 weeks of constant Japanese train travel without a single train being 1 minute late…

Were back in the UK. The train to crew is delayed by 50 mins. When we get to crew we wait another hour, then the train to Chester is cancelled and we are transport home on a coach similar to the ones used for school trips in my youth 🙂

At least were home safe and sound.

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