Thursday, 14 October 2010

Osaka-Nara-Kyoto-Kobe-Okayama-Hiroshima trip – 14 Oct 10

The rest are returning back to Singapore except Chew Hiang and me. The attractions which we will be visiting are Osaka castle and Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum.

We took a train to Tennoji before changing to another train for Osakajoken where Osaka castle is located.
Osaka-jo stadium

The construction of Osaka Castle started in 1583. Toyotomi Hideyoshi intended the castle to become the center of a new, unified Japan under Toyotomi rule. It was the largest castle at the time. However, a few years after Hideyoshi's death, Tokugawa troops attacked and destroyed the castle and terminated the Toyotomi lineage in 1615. Osaka Castle was rebuilt by Tokugawa Hidetada in the 1620s, but its main castle tower was struck by lightening in 1665 and burnt down. The current castle was reconstructed in 1931. The castle tower is now entirely modern on the inside and even features an elevator for easier accessibility. Opening hours: 9am - 5pm, Admission: ¥600.
Rear view of Osaka castle
Front view of Osaka castle

I am impressed that the admission tickets are sold via vending machines which save manpower cost.
Admission tickets vending machine
Kimmeisui well roof
 View from Osaka castle
3D painting
Minature of Samurai
Attraction's chop area
Crysanthemum crest
Shachi-gawara & Fusetora
Tourists dressed up as Samurai

I find that Osaka castle is pretty boring though, it's not those typical castle as it was rebuilt with concrete. I wanted to visit Himeiji castle which is Japan's most spectacular castle but too bad it's under renovation until 2015.

After visiting Osaka castle, we took a train to Umeda before changing to Hankyu train to Ikeda. It's so confusing as Umeda Hankyu station is a long walking distance from JR Umeda station. Nevertheless, I managed to find Umeda Hankyu station. =p
So many lockers in the railway station
Waiting for the train at Hankyu Umeda station

After reaching Ikeda station, we have difficulties locating the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. Eventually we asked the train station officer and this is the note he gave to us. I wondered if this is literally translated from Japanese? I shall use the below photos to illustate on how to get from Ikeda station to Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum.
Do you understand the direction given?
Exit near this bookstore
Cross the street after exiting Ikeda station and turn left
Head straight into this alley
Direction to the museum

Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum インスタントラーメン発明記念館 is a museum dedicated to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles and Cup Noodles.   Add: 8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Opening hrs: Wed – Mon 9.30am – 4pm.
Opening hours of the museum
 Cup noodles standing in the air
Nissin merchandises
So many instant noodles
Limited editions
UFO nissin noodles
Instant noodles since 1950s
1st version of instant noodles
Instant noodles to be consumed in space
Sealing machine in the 1970s
Black and white TV
Vending machine in the 1970s
The founder of instand noodle and cup noodle - Momofuku Ando
Such a huge cup noodles

There are 2 workshops in the museum. The "Chicken Ramen Workshop" (¥500, 90min, reservations required) lets you make your own instant noodles from scratch, starting from kneading the dough and finishing by decorating the package. "My Cup Noodle Factory" (¥300, no reservations) lets you select your own Cup Noodle flavor, which is then manufactured for you, complete with your own hand-drawn cup design. Initially, I wanted to draw my own cup but there are too many students at the workshop.
Self decorated cup noodle
Children DIY their cup noodles
Variety of ingredients
  Machine inserting noodles into the cup
Choosing the ingredients
Sealing the cups
Pumping air to secure the cup noodle
Cup noodle train
Cup noodles consumed worldwide
Items that are made in Japan
Guess what is inside this huge cup noodle? It's a theatre.
Replica of the Momofuku Ando's workshop
Fridge in the 1950s

We have our lunch at the museum as there are vending machines selling a variety of cup noodles. We tried the cheese curry flavour which is not available in Singapore. The first few mouth of the noodle is tasty and it became saltier after that.
  Variety of cup noodles
Beware of boiling water
Cheese curry cup noodles
It's so environmental friendly
Statue of Momofuku Ando
 Beautiful flowers

The Japanese are very courteous people. They use trays when collecting money and returning change. This way, the cashier would not touch your hands at all. 
Tray to collect and return money
Nice grapes juice

As it's only 2pm, I decided to visit Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street (天神橋筋商店街 Tenjinbashi-suji Shōtengai) which is said to be the longest straight and covered shopping arcade in Japan at ~ 2.6km. It's a disappointment as most of the shops are selling daily neccessity items. We left and went back to the hotel for a rest.
 Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street
The umbrella is clip onto the bicycle handle
Shinto gates at the roof
There is lottery in Japan
What is the name of this plant?
Another section of Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street
Japanese student

In the evening, we went to Shinsekai to have our dinner. However the restaurant selling Kushiage (battered and deep-fried food on skewers) is not open.  There are many pin-ball shops, mahjong shops and chess shops here. We couldnt find a restaurant which fancy us and we left.

The original Tsutenkaku Tower 通天閣 was modelled after the Effiel tower but was destroyed by a fire in 1943. The second and current Tsutenkaku Tower was built in 1956. The tower is also famous for its neon lights which is sponsored by Hitachi.
Tsutenkaku Tower
It's not open on Thursday
 Elderly playing chess
Guess what is inside this shop?

In the end, we bought food from the convenience store for dinner and had it inside our room.
Dinner for tonight
Admission tickets of various attractions visited
Souvenirs bought
Souvenirs from Akashi Kaikyo Bridge walk

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