After a wonderful stay in Hakone at the Ichinoyu Honkan ryokan we said good-bye to the friendly staff and the wonderful atmosphere. Today we headed out to Osaka. However, we decided to go straight to Takarazuka city before heading to our hotel in Osaka. We did not realise the trip to Takarazuka from Hakone would require a lot of travel and a lot of train hopping. But before we started our journey we spent a little time exploring around Odawara Castle. Afterwards, the overall journey was fun, exhausting and worth it.
You can also read Linaka’s account of the day “Hakone to Osaka” here.
Odawara Castle by Odawara Station
As we left Hakone, we took a bus to Odawara station. It was about a 40 minute bus ride which was so crowded you could hardly breath. Linaka managed to find an empty seat in the back of the bus where she fell asleep. I stood near the middle watching the signs and listening to the Japanese announcements for Odawara. Luckily for us, Odawara station was the last stop on the bus.
Once we were in Odawara, we reserved our seats on the Shinkansen bullet train and had about an hour to explore the area. Odawara castle could be seen from the station off in the distance. It looked close, but the journey there was about a 15 minute walk. It was a little tough since I was dragging around our luggage, but it was worth walking through Odawara and getting to Odawara Castle.
The castle was beautiful, just like in those magazine pictures. You could see archeologist excavating parts of the land where the castle was. There were some tourist in the area and a few food vendors as well. There was also a large cage displaying monkeys. We didn’t have much time to stay and explore the area. It would have been nice to have climbed to the top of the castle and taken a few pictures from there. But Linaka assured me we would see many more castles along the way.
Journey to Takarazuka City
As we boarded the Shinkansen Hikari to Osaka, we journeyed on a 2 hour train ride in a relaxing and comfortable car. We had plenty of leg room and comfortable reclining seats. The window view was nice and as we sped along the way, we saw one last view of Mt Fuji. In essence this view was just as magnificent as the views we got the day before. However, it felt like we got closer to Mt Fuji than we had previously before.
When we got to Osaka we changed trains and made our way to Takarazuka city. It was a bit of a challenge to read the signs and figure out where we were. Luckily our combined minds, helped us find our way to the right trains and to the city. Interestingly, as we were train hopping, we noticed that some trains had women’s only cars. We also noticed this in Tokyo. During parts of the day, certain cars become women’s only cars. I’m sure there is a reason for this, but it’s something I’ll have to research later.
In Takarazuka city we went to the Tezuka Osamu Manga museum. It was a 15 to 20 minute walk from the train station. We walked through a European quarter. I thought it was odd that the buildings were so different there. Interestingly the people dressed different there as well. Linaka commented that she liked the area. I mentioned that she probably liked the area because it looked and felt familiar. LOL.
The museum itself was nice. There were many exhibits showing off the art of the manga artist, but overall it was mainly that. I suppose I was expecting a lot more from a museum, but it did have a cool elevator which looked like a 1960’s sci-fi movie set and lots of cool gadgets. The majority of the museum was artwork and comics on displayed. The staff in the museum were very friendly and kindly reminded us that they shut at 5pm. We had arrived there roughly around 4pm. Overall, it was a nice experience and after such a long day we made our way back to Osaka and finally checked into our hotel.
Most of our day was spent traveling and changing trains. We got to see some cools sites along the way, we explored Odawara and Takarazuka city before heading to Osaka. We also got more familiar with train stations. Lastly, going up and down escalators can be very confusing at times. In Tokyo we had to stand on the left side of the escalator so that people that were in a hurry could go through the right side. In Takarazuka it was backwards. We got confused on where to stand and sometimes it appeared that I was blocking people’s path. Anyway, it was a great day, we got to our hotel in Osaka, checked in and saw sumo wrestlers checking into the hotel as well. That was pretty cool. Tomorrow we will be spending our day in Osaka and who knows what we’ll be doing. Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel.