If you are planning a trip to Japan then you may want to try fitting in a visit to Osaka which is located roughly around the middle of Japan. We took a bullet train and got to Osaka from Tokyo in about 3 hours.
Despite rain for the two days that we were in Osaka last weekend, the bright colors and gorgeous store fronts are more than enough to help you forget about the rain. Osaka was hardly affected by the Tohoku Kanto Earthquake so there isn't really a movement or need to save electricity on this end of Japan which means that the place is generally much brighter than Tokyo.
Namba [難波] is the area that you'll want to explore when you reach Osaka which is home to the Shinsaibashi [心斎橋] indoor shopping mall which is just shy of 600 meters long. Also in Namba is Dotonbori [道頓堀] - a river which runs through Osaka that is filled with restaurants in the surrounding area. And then there is Otaroad (the equivalent of Akihabara) just around the corner which has stores like the most fab Gamers.
First thing to do is get off at Namba station [なんば駅]. Google Maps localize the reading to "Nanba" however.
Shinsaibashi is filled with nearly everything you need - apart from otaku stuff but all you need to do is go around the corner to Otaroad for that.
Shinsaibashi got a contest running to collect cute girlies like Wakana Nakamura.
More of Wakana in action below.
This is the Dotonbori area which Shinsaibashi runs through.
Enough restaurants in the area to last you half a lifetime perhaps ^^;
Osaka has a load of interesting shop fronts to grab ones attention.
"Forbidden to leave your bicycle here"
I only discovered recently that I could take photos like this on the 7 - 14mm wide angle lens. All you need to do is set the camera to 2 x digital zoom. You need to reduce the noise and sharpen up the photo though but better than swapping lenses all the time.
I think I only managed to catch Season 2 of Prison Break. Was it on your watch list?
Porco Rosso out n about Osaka.
The Glico running man landmark.
Entrance to Hozenji [法善寺] - a small temple in Namba.
Namba really is a great place where you can experience the old rubbing along with the new.
Rilakkuma got new friends of late?! More friends = an increase in merchandise sales^^
Time to fillup after a day of exploring and filming.
Then in the evening its off to enjoy some traditional dance with some Bon Odori [盆踊り].
Playing around with Collage which I downloaded from the App store just now - quite a spiffy tool.
More places to visit written up in the photo posts below.