Just the one activity today, but a big one. It rained steadily throughout Osaka but we didn’t much care – we were in the Kaiyukan aquarium from 9:30 to 1:30. It winds down an 8 level spiral through many tanks including seals, otters, penguins, etc. as well as the expected fish and sea life. We got there at opening time and the place was immediately packed, although it eased a bit after the first hour or so. Incredibly well kept and thought out, although apart from the first level mimicking a forest, and some well done rock settings for most of the tanks, it wasn’t quite as imaginative as Darling Harbour. Against that, the sheer variety and scale was incredible. Mem and I had foregone coffee to get us there on time so the first two hours until we reached the (terrible) cafe were a little testing, although we were kind to each other. The girls were enraptured – Edie had longer stamina than Cal, but they were both fizzing with excitement for most of the day, clicking their cameras and getting as close as they could to pretty much every individual animal there. At one point I said to Edie, "pretty good, huh?" and she spun around – "are you KIDDING dad? It’s AWESOME!" I think it made up for the shrine of a thousand gates.
Mostly flopping around the hotel room for the girls’ afternoon, and a bit of local shop exploration for Mem and I in little bursts. We are both very tired but can’t pass up the chance to look around another corner or find another oddity. Osaka is just crammed with life and unashamedly rough around the edges, it’s a really exciting city.
Gearing ourselves for the return trip – emotional to leave and physically punishing to do so, I expect. We are back into Kyoto tomorrow morning to catch the Toji Temple markets – only half an hour each way. That’s all we have planned before heading to Kansai Airport for our … 11:50pm flight. Won’t that be nice?