Our Travels to Kansai, Japan-Happy Father’s Day in Umeda

Day 8

Happy Father’s Day to My husband and Son!

Umekita (North Nakanoshima Area)

Today we will be traveling to Umeda area to meet my pen friend of thirty years, Chieko and her family.  Chieko has come to visit my family in Hawaii twice. The first time we took her to Polynesian Cultural Center for the day. The second time we took her to dinner and up to Tantlus to see the Honolulu city lights. In 2014 we visited Tokyo and Chieko met us at the Tokyo Skytree. She was able to meet the rest of the family (they younger children weren’t born when she had come to Hawaii) and the grandson, and I got to meet her twin sister Mieko.

Lost in the Underground 

The Kita underground is a warren of criss crossing corridors lined with shops and restaurants that connect the JR Osaka (Osaka City Station), Hankyū Umeda Station, Hanshin Umeda Stations, as well as the Nishi-Umeda, Kitashinichi (JR TOzzie line), and Higashi-Umeda subway stations. So be sure you know which Umeda station you are headed to. We learned that the hard way. We were headed to the Pokémon Center that is located on the 13th floor of the Daimaru department store, in the South Gate Building of the Osaka Station City. Unfortunately we had gotten off at the wrong place. We got off at the Umeda Station and into the Huge Hankyū Department store. After looking at the map and finding no Pokémon Center we realized we were in the wrong place. I asked  store clerk for directions to the Pokémon Center. Walking above ground it was just as bustling with people as below, but it was easier to find your bearings above ground with all the tall buildings. As we headed to our destination we passed a restaurant where they were pounding rice into  mochi to be served in their dishes. Can’t get fresher than that!

 

 

Finally we made it to our destination, the Pokémon Center where Chieko waited for us.

Pokémon Center

After reintroducing my fMily to Chieko, they went to shop for their favorite Pokémon while Chieko talked about what we had done on the previous days. The Pokémon center is a big store with many (but not all) Pokémon. I was able to find a Clifairy keychain, and our grandson son found Eevee items. I was disappointed that they didn’t have Jigglypuff and our daughter was disappointed that they didn’t have Togopee. We were there for about 45 minutes before we had to leave for our lunch appointment.

Sky Dining ab 

From the Pokémon Center we made our way over to Hotel Granvia Osaka Building next to the Osaka Station to the Sky Dining ab restaurant where  Chieko’s family waited. After being shown to our table we introduced our families to each other. I was over come with happy tears as Chieko introduced her family, it was a thirty wait to do all meet them, especially her husband who loves to go fishing but doesn’t like to eat fish. I found that funny, but then my husband cooks squid luau and doesn’t eat it. Chieko’s eldest daughter and her son sat with Chieko, her husband, my husband and I (the eldest sits with the parents). We were able to spend a hour and a half (you have a 1 1/2 hour time limit) talking while we enjoyed he delicious buffet. We especially liked the steak station, and desserts 🍨.

HEP FIVE

After our deliciously filling meal we walked (about 5 minutes) to the HEP FIVE shopping mall that has 8 floors of stores (2 basement, 6 floors) and the 7th floor is where the food and restaurants are, and the Ferris Wheel terminal. Floors 8 & 8a are the amusement floors. We were headed to the Ferris wheel that is situated in the center of the building and rises above it to give you a view of the surrounding areas. Chieko’s family joined us having not been on a Ferris wheel before.

After our ride we bade farewell to Chieko’s children and grand children who were leaving for home. Next to the Ferris wheel is an area where you can have an animated portrait of you drawn by different artist in different styles. You choose which style you like and se if the artist is available. If they are with someone else they will give you a slip of paper with a time to return.

*Note: The sessions are about an hour long.

Umeda Sky Building & Floating Garden Observatory

From HEP FIVE we walked with Chieko and her husband to the Umed Sky Building. (A 20 minute walk). Looking up you are amazed by the impressive feat of engineering that keeps the structure from crumbling during an earthquake! Yeah, not something to think about before going up.

The part that made me a little nervous was going up on the glass escalator, there’s nothing below you. Yeah, something else not to think about when way up in the Sky.

At the top below the Floating Garden Observatory (I don’t know why they call it a Garden, there wasn’t any up top) there are chairs to sit and relax and wait for the sunset (if you’re inclined too) in ac. You pay a separate fee to go up top. It’s one of the safer places, they have a glass railing all around the top set at least 12 feet from the edge of the building. Nice view of the area around the building that is set apart from the other high rises.

You can see Osaka Castle (center)

HEP FIVE in th distance

Chieko’s picture of my husband and I at the top (escalator in the foreground)

Minoaka! Smile!

From the Sky Building we headed backwards to the Umeda Station where we parted company with Chieko and her husband.

Another day filled with wonderful memories shared with family and friends!

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