12 intense days in Japan: last day in Osaka

It is the end of our visit in Koya-San. What goes around, comes around; as we came up, we must go down, first the bus to the Koya-San station, then the cable car down the mountain, then a train to the Namba station for the last stop in our trip in Japan: Osaka.

We settle in the Cross Hotel near the train station, in the lively Dôtombori district. It is a pedestrian-only area full of shops and restaurants crossed by the Dôtombori Gawa River. What a difference a day makes! This morning we were mesmerized by the calm, serene atmosphere of Koya-San, and tonight, we are overwhelmed by the bustling, hurly-burly of the Shinsabashi Suji Street in what is surely one of the most hyperactive cities in Japan. In this part of Osaka, there is a zillion people out, night and day. And everywhere, gigantic neon lights and signs of the most unlikely things, articulated crabs, giant sushis and octopuses, humongous faces of cooks who make you wonder whether they are angry or just inviting! What a spectacle! It’s incredible, unique, intense, and a bit overwhelming. An urban jungle of lights, noises, crowds, shops, windows, restaurants, bars. It is in your face, and there is no escaping it.







Osaka is the 3rd largest city in Japan, after Tokyo and Yokohama. But here, the urban density is striking and unrivaled. High buildings just next to each other, suspended streets straight out of a science-fiction movie, highways crisscrossing the center of the city. Osaka makes you dizzy. We are in Ridley Scott’s ‘’Blade Runner’’, or the Luc Besson’s ‘‘Fifth Element’’. It is 2019, or perhaps the 23rd century, certainly more so than today, and we are not sure what to think of this city of the future. But without hesitation, we’d rather be in the peaceful forests of Koya-San.


Finding our way through the dense crowds, and led by our girls who are not as unsettled as we are, we do some shopping, of course, and then snack on a local delicacy: an ice-cream in a crepe which you eat from a cornet. Never seen this before, yet as it turns out, it is quite good. We remind ourselves that we must keep open-minded, no matter what.

Japon 2013_08 503


Quiet diner at the hotel rooftop restaurant, before our flight tomorrow to Bangkok, then on to the Koh Samui Island. See you there for our next posts from Thailand!

As we pause here at the end of this truly incredible journey through Japan, we want to thank warmly Michel Jarrige, from Voyageurs du Monde, for guiding us expertly in the preparation and planning of this trip.