After 4 days in Tokyo, it’s time to explore another part of Japan. The Japan’s third largest and second most important city “Osaka”. Sayonara Tokyo, Konnichiwa Osaka!
From Tokyo I took Hikari Shinkansen since my JR Pass is not valid to take Nozomi Shinkansen. Hikari Shinkansen served the same routes even if they stop at more stations and take a little longer. However, there’s no very big difference. I think there is only a 20 minutes difference between a ‘Hikari’ and a ‘Nozomi’ Shinkansen. JR Pass holders can make seat reservations for JR trains for free. Travelling to Osaka from Tokyo will took 3 hours plus journey so I made a seat reservation (can be done at a JR ticket office).
The stations, platforms and lines in Tokyo are freaking messy and confusing, I went the wrong direction! Luckily, I noticed it earlier before taking the train. Five minutes to go and the train will leave, I am rushing and running in the station to catch it up as they are really on time and so punctual. When you are on the platform ensure you know which carriage you seat in as it has specific areas for each carriage. Fortunately, I made it!
The train is extremely clean which I immediately notice. Cabins are great and each row have power sockets on either side to charge your gadgets. There is a food cart lady, who will go down the carriage at least twice during the journey offering various snacks and ‘bentos’, as well as drinks and such. The ticket inspectors and the food cart ladies will without fail bow upon leaving and entering the carriage. Just another example of Japanese manners! The Shinkansen is the most convenient way to cover the country of Japan.
Around 9:50pm I arrived at Amagasaki Station in Osaka but I alighted at the wrong station. If Tokyo stations and lines are messy and confusing, I think Osaka is more confusing because a lot of platforms. So, ended up I took taxi as I need to check in with my hotel before midnight or it will be no show.
Osaka is smaller than Tokyo and I found Osaka more relaxing. The closeness to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe is a plus. People in Osaka are much more relaxed and friendly. In my experience people in Tokyo almost never speak but in Osaka it is quite common for the locals to engage me in conversation. Osaka is reputed to be more outgoing and aggressive.
It was a long journey, so after I checked in and washed up. I recharged my self with a good sleep and get ready my self for next day.