Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Osaka: Day 8 (February 27, 2013)

Busy, busy day.

Today was our last day in Kyoto and while yesterday was a bit of a bust for sightseeing, Calvin and I were determined to go to some tourists spots today. Well one tourist spot at least, and the lucky winner was the Kitasaga Bamboo Grove!

Cute statues on the way to the bamboo grove.

Bamboooo... is there a panda in there somewhere?

The bamboo stalks have grown so tall!

Better image of how tall the bamboo have grown.
Like Koyasan, the trail for this bamboo grove was challenging for the stroller - some mud, a lot of gravel, stones, going both uphill and downhill. At least there wasn't any snow on the ground, and it was amazing seeing a thicket of these incredibly tall bamboo.

After we were done with the trail, we decided to eat lunch in the area before heading back to Kyoto. There was an interesting place that Calvin noticed on our way to the trail, so we went back to check out their menu.

Hmmm... what sort of food do they serve here?
Turns out it was a vegetarian place and they served set meals with various tofu and egg dishes. (Do the egg dishes make it not vegetarian anymore??) I will be honest with you, it didn't look appetizing to me at first, but Calvin wanted to give it a try so we agreed to be adventurous LOL.

The lunch set that I chose.

The lunch set that Calvin chose.
Most of the items in our sets were the same, except for the rice and the big soup - I chose a soup with a clear, thick broth and Calvin chose one that looked creamy.

At first I didn't think it would be filling, considering there was no meat involved, but there was a lot of food. There was so much tofu and egg stuff, I wasn't able to finish everything. And most of the dishes were actually really flavourful, although the dish I enjoyed the most was the mochi with crushed peanuts LOL.

Jacob looking out at the koi. Okay, he's really just looking out because he doesn't know what koi are, but they're there!
The restaurant had both regular tables to sit at, plus the tatami rooms, but we chose the tatami rooms to get the full experience. Plus, it allowed Jacob to crawl around while we ate :)

On the way back to the street car station (we had to take a subway and then a street car to get to the bamboo place), we got some soft serve (they call it soft cream in Japan) as dessert. At first I thought the flavour was matcha and chocolate, but it turned out the brown side was a roasted tea flavoured soft serve. Interesting.

I wish the servings in Japan were a lot bigger when it comes to ice cream.
The ice cream turned out to be really good. Calvin enjoyed both the ice cream and the cone immensely, so much that he pretty much ate most of it (we were supposed to share it). To make up for it, he bought me more ice cream back at the subway station.

Ice cream overload!
Glico has these awesome ice cream vending machines. Calvin had tried one the other day, it was a cookies and cream flavour I think and it was so good. I was going to get the same thing today, but went for the chocolate mint instead. It reminded me a lot of the chocolate chip mint from Baskin Robbins, which is a good thing because Baskin Robbins is my favourite ice cream place. The awesome thing about the Glico vending machine though is that the ice cream is so cheap! The one I bought was only 120 yen, which is about $1.34 Canadian, and the size is fairly decent. You can't go wrong with that. I don't know how Japanese people aren't more fat with all these sweets tempting them everywhere they go. I'm sure I've packed on a few pounds since getting here despite all the walking we're doing. Hah.

After a quick pit stop at Kyoto station, we headed back to Osaka. Although we were tired and had walked a lot already today, we chose to try for one more outing. Back in 2011, on our last Japan trip, we were out in the residential area of Sapporo and came across a wonderful store called Nitori. Nitori is basically like Home Outfitters/Bed Bath and Beyond and Ikea combined where you can find cute (and I do mean cute because you can find a lot of pink stuff here) items for your home.

When I was doing research for this trip, I googled where the nearest Nitori was and I found one that was a train stop away, but when we got to our hotel, I could actually see the Nitori sign from our window. Calvin figured we could just walk there, so we did. It turned out to not be such a great idea though because it took us like half an hour to find it. We were in the dark too. Eventually we found it though and I was happy/relieved.

Yay! We found it!

This is Calvin trying to discreetly take a photo of the inside of the store.
The store has 3 floors: 1st floor had bedding, small household appliances, kitchen items, dining ware, bathroom items, bedroom items, storage items, and stationary. The 2nd floor had some bedroom furnishings, including kids furniture, lighting, and desks. The 3rd floor had larger furniture like couches as well as kitchen fixtures.

Of course, we could only buy so much due to our restricted luggage space, but we still bought quite a few things. They have really nice vanity sets, which are hard to find here in Canada, and I want to get one so badly but we're not sure if they can ship to Canada. We tried asking a staff member, but he did not understand English.

Jacob's very own massage chair. We weren't sure if it was really meant for kids or if the demo size is supposed to be that small.

Here are pictures of some of the things we picked up there:

Not sure what's "ouchi" here LOL.

Plate/dinner bowl set with matching chopsticks for Jacob. Kawaii!
We didn't want to walk back to the hotel afterwards so we took the subway - much easier. When we reached the desired platform, we noticed that we were the only ones standing on that platform, everyone else was on the other side. So naturally, we thought we were on the wrong side and felt silly standing there all alone (the cheese stands alone, the cheese stands alone), but then our train came so it was all good.

When we got back to Namba station, we picked up a quick bit to eat at a standing ramen place:

Calvin's ramen. Mine was pretty much the same thing, but Calvin's had an egg in it, which you can see it hiding back there.
With only 2 full days left, it's crunch time to get all our shopping and sightseeing done.

Until next time! :)

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