Animal cake and arcades

You can’t go far in Japan without spotting something utterly adorable like these animal shaped desserts!

Whether it’s curry topped with a teddy bear, rabbit eared icecream or a burger with googly eyes, it has to be kawaii!!

Another utterly Japanese experience are the incredible, multi story gaming temples such as this rainbow coloured Namco highrise.

These meccas to gaming feature multiple floors, all with particular types of games on offer.

Whether you’re a dancing or drumming fanatic to a traditional shoot em upper, there is a game for you in this leviathan of a building!

Be warned however, these gaming palaces are not for the faint hearted. It is an ear splitting, sensory overload.

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Flashing lights, bells and whistles, sirens and more . . it can be a little overwhelming.

Even though it is a beautiful sunny day outside, the place is packed with gamers of all ages, constantly feeding the metal beasts!

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Glico man

Dōtonbori or Dōtombori  is one of the main tourist hotspots in Osaka and is full of highrise neon adverts.

It runs along the Dōtonbori canal from Dōtonboribashi Bridge to Nipponbashi Bridge in the Namba district and features the famous Glico man advert.

The Glico Man is the oldest neon sign in Osaka. Originally installed in 1935, the sign shows a giant athlete on a blue track and is a symbol of Glico candy.

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Even though it looks very old fashioned and simple compared to the slick ads surrounding it, the Glico Man still has huge popularity amongst the locals, who meet here to celebrate sporting victories.

 

Insane adverts

Onward with our zip around the colourful city of Osaka. Full of adorable plushies, giant squid and all manner of colourful delights.

 

Osaka is made up of several different districts including the hectic Dōtonbori area.

Historically a theatre district, it’s now a popular nightlife and entertainment area with large illuminated billboards and quirky advertising.

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I love all the oversized food adverts such as the sushi and puffer fish above.

Everything is cute, comical or downright peculiar. This odd man dressed as an angry old women is a case in point!

Below is the fantastical Don Quixote department store on the Dōtonbori canalside. It has its own ferris wheel – sadly no longer in use however.

Oh Osaka!

It’s the final stop of our epic trip now. The colourful, hectic city of Osaka.

Chockablock full of insane colour and oversized sushi, dragons and puffer fish.

Even death is in on the selling action – in this case flogging some form of sweet treat.

But forget all that, I spot the MOST EPIC, MOST JAPANESE THING EVER!! Hello kitty roadworks . .. it just doesn’t get any cuter than this!

Everything is Kawaii in Japan. Whether it’s kitten vending machines or food packaging.

For a change I stick my head through this advertising board. The man refused . . .

Historically a merchant city, Osaka has also been known as the “nation’s kitchen”and served as a centre for the rice trade during the Edo period.

Food still plays a huge part in the commercial, and social, fabric of the city.

Still lots more to come from this quirky city including a department store with its own ferris wheel!!!

Robot revolution

Arriving at our Osaka hotel we’re instantly accosted, and smitten by, our little robot concierge.

Dancing, bowing, singing Pepper is a cute little plastic poppet!

According to his manufacturers Pepper is a human-shaped robot. He is kindly, endearing and surprising.

They designed Pepper to be a genuine day-to-day companion, whose number one quality is his ability to perceive emotions.

Apparently Pepper gradually memorises your personality traits, your preferences, and adapts himself to your tastes and habits. All we know is he’s an adorable little fella!

Odds and ends

It’s the last few memories of Kyoto now before we head onto our final destination.

We check out the atmospheric bamboo forests in Arashiyama. The light is fading so it adds a slightly gloomy feel to the eerie, empty forest.

20161012_170515The bamboo forest paths which are over 500 meters long are set between Tenryuji temple and Nonomiya Shrine.

Then we enjoy the kimono forest again as the colourful pillars light up as darkness approaches.

Plus we enjoy a foot spa, slap bang in the middle of the train station platform!

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Before heading back for our final night in Kyoto. We still enjoy Japanese public transport.

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On our final evening we have another drift around Kyoto enjoying some of the quirky signs and adverts.

Particularly enjoy this colourful spectacle outside a traditional (ish) restaurant!

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Now our epic trip rumbles onto its final stop – Osaka! . .. so nearly the end 😦

Just monkeys

If you don’t like monkeys then move along as this post is utterly devoted to the furry little fleabags.

It’s just lots more snaps of the snow monkeys to be found at the monkey park in Arashiyama….

Whether huddled in family groups picking fleas off babies to sitting aloofly in the trees shooting vaguely contemptuous glares at the tourists below, they have a lot of personality!

This lil baby gets the crowd cooing with its teeny tiny hands and quizzical face.

While this little fella enjoys some peaceful time out by the water.

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The Japanese macaque, also known as the snow monkey, is a monkey species that is native to Japan.

They get their name “snow monkey” because they live in areas where snow covers the ground for months each year – no other nonhuman primate is more northern-living, nor lives in a colder climate.

The Japanese macaque is a very intelligent, sociable species that have unusual behaviours, including bathing together in hot springs and rolling snowballs for fun.

Also, in recent studies, the Japanese macaque has been found to develop different accents, like humans 🙂

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Cheeky monkeys

We’re heading to check out some more of Japan’s wildlife now, but instead of deer, this time it’s a more furry type we’re after. We’re heading to the Iwatayama Monkey Park  in Kyoto.

On route we enjoy the pretty scenery of Arashiyama including this impressive river complete with little pleasure boats.

In order to get to the park we need to take a hike (or gentle walk according to his lordship) up a mountain.

On route there are lot’s of “helpful” notices about what to do and not to do with the critters.

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The further I go, the more freaked out by the amount of warning signs I see. . don’t look at the monkeys, don’t crouch down . . . and I thought this would be cute and fun!

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The park is home to about 120 snow monkeys, which are also called Japanese macaque.

You can buy bags of apples and nuts for the monkeys and it is the tourists that are caged not the animals.

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In order to feed the greedy little beasts you have to go into a hut and offer the food through the wire!

The monkey’s are endearingly human, each with their own personalities.

Some are forward, grabby and greedy while others are far more shy.

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We even get to spot a teeny tiny fur baby! So adorable and cheeky!

You can also spot family groups, squabble and playful teasing – just like human families!