Umeda Sky Tower, Osaka Castle and Spo Cha

I’ve been in Japan for two months now, and whaddya know? I am still alive! I must be doing something right 🙂

Today I am going to write about my short trip to Osaka Castle, Spo Cha and Umeda Sky Tower. I also went to the Umeda Sky Tower but there wasn’t really much to do there aside from enjoying the view and buying souvenirs and it reminded me of the Empire States Building…. And I actually went to Osaka Castle a few weeks ago with friends but I was too lazy tired to write about it until now.

First up is Umeda Sky Tower. To get there, you can get off at the JR Osaka station, walk towards the Grand Front Osaka, follow the sign to Umeda Sky Tower (but you also have to go through this really shady underpass) and voila, you are here.

It is impressive even from the ground:

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It cost 1000 yen for entry and you get to the top floor, walk around in a circle and you get a good view of Osaka. There’s also a pretty nifty souvenir shop. Aside from that, there is not much to do. It is probably better to go in the evening.

Moving on…

To get to Osaka Castle, we actually met up at Morinomiya station and we went to get some ramen first. I was recommended the pork ramen so I tried that and I really enjoyed it P: Normally when it comes to food I gravitate towards chicken options because the way how my mum cooks pork which makes me not like it but since I’ve come here I’ve been trying everything!

Afterwards we left to find the castle so we walked quite a bit, starting with the park where we saw all sorts of interesting things – a man rode past us on a bicycle with an owl in his basket. YES AN OWL. An actual goddamn owl. It just sat in the basket, so tame. I had never seen something like that before so I stood in shock, staring. I wish I took a picture but again, I was in too much shock lol.

Next we came across this small group of hip youngsters playing musical instruments; I started filming using my phone and the girl with the trombone, I think she got embarrassed or something, but she stopped halfway through and never played again when we were in the area. Oops, my bad.

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Above: People on segways

Then this old man walked past us with a yellow bird atop his hat. At first I didn’t know what the yellow thing was but upon closer inspection it was definitely a bird and it was just standing on his hat, just chilling. Again, it was something I’d never seen before! 😀

Below:  A tamed  eagle in the park…?

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Right, so the actual castle – it’s probably one of the best places I’ve been to so far. I also had my first matcha ice cream here, too. It’s very peaceful, very calm, and the view is really good. I love landscapes and architecture so I really enjoyed being here. I think the only thing that ruined the castle’s image was the presence of an elevator at the side and also, a very British-looking castle built beside it…hmmm.

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But yes, it was very good and I highly recommend anyone who visits Osaka to pay Osaka Castle a visit. It was definitely worth the trek and I saw so many amazing things. The view is also very good.

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On the way out, we saw a man riding a unicycle @_@

I’ll write about Spo-Cha now, which is basically where you can play all sorts of games and sports in arcades in Japan for a certain amount of money for a certain amount of time. Japan has tonnes of arcades.

Arcades are big in Japan, they can spawn several floors, some up to 11 floors. The first floor may have gashapon machines and UFO catchers.

I played one gashapon machine once, for this Sailor Moon thingy. It was kind of cute. I also tried my luck on a UFO Catcher for a One Piece figure but I wasted 100 yen moving the claw 1 cm because I didn’t know you had to hold it. Unnnh!

Anyway, so me and a few friends went to Round 1 in Namba to play Spo-Cha. We went to the 3rd floor, went to the counter where the staff member asked if we wanted 90 minutes, 3 hours or something else like from 11am to 6am or something (I think, I can’t remember). Since this was our first time, we chose 90 minutes and it cost us up to 2000 yen maximum. It would cover all sorts of sports from archery, gun shooting, roller blading, basketball, rodeo (yes….that was kind of weird), golf, the batting cage, tennis, badminton, ping pong etc. We were given wristbands and put our bags into lockers that were provided.

It was an interesting experience! One of the first activities we tried was the batting cage. Since I’d never hit a baseball in the my entire life, I pretty much sucked and missed all the time. I think out of 30 balls I probably only hit 7. YES that was how awful I was.

But it was fun anyway since we were all playing together (and a good way to vent out our frustration lol).

We then signed up for the Segway. OMFG THE SEGWAY.

Most. Terrifying. Experience. Ever.

Well, kind of.

We went to find the segway but the guy teaching it and his limited English kind of confused us. But apparently we had to register on the 3rd floor (put our names down on this paper…) and then it was actually a lesson at 8.20pm so once it was time, we went back up to the Segway place and the guy helped me put on my gear because I got confused with the colourful pads.

There was a small group of us, 8 in total so a mixture of me and my friends and Japanese locals. The guy showed us how to ride the Segway and then he got us to try it out one by one.

HOLY BALLS IT IS REALLY SCARY!!!

The way how I worked it out was, you basically had to use your toes to keep yourself going forward. There were handlebars on this Segway (thank the lord!) so it is easy to turn left or right, and getting off you kind of had to jut your bum out to make it stop. The maximum speed on it was like 10 miles per hour and when we went on the rink I was probably the slowest person there, going at 5 miles per hour in the circle.

It was quite nerve wracking but I enjoyed it.

I will show a picture of me and my friends on the segways. But to respect their privacy and mine, I have censored our faces out LOL HAHAH.

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Since we were almost 90 minutes up, we played some basketball, archery and then went downstairs to relinquish our wristbands. I was really sweaty by then so I guess that was my exercise for the entire month or something.

We were given a photo coin where we could take purikura photos of ourselves at Round 1 and we were also given UFO vouchers and gambling tokens. YESSS gambling tokens for the machines downstairs!

I tried the coin game and didn’t really get much from it so that was meh. But on the UFO catcher we were only given a choice of 2 machines only, I thought it’d be a lot more but it was only just the two. I won a Snoopy doll yay!

And on the way out, we passed the Dance Evolution game where a guy in a skirt was dancing, a guy in a Policeman costume and a guy in a chipmunk onesie, and two girls in kimonos were dancing.

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