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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Japan: Osaka – crab lunch and Kaiyukan Aquarium

Umeda Sky building

After eating takoyaki, we wandered to the Umeda Sky Building to check out the view of Osaka. The building is rather neat, although not located conveniently – it’s about a 15 minute walk from a train station, but we became terribly lost in the underground maze of Umeda, where a series of underground malls connect. To the point where, when we stopped an older man to ask for directions, he walked 20 minutes out of his way to send us off in the right direction. Bless! We never would have found it otherwise.

After seeing the Umeda Sky Building, we headed back to Dotonbori Street for a crab lunch. There are several restaurants on Dotonbori Street that have a large mechanised crab sign (I’m pretty sure we saw three of them). I believe they’re all part of the same chain. We had lunch at the second one on Dotonbori Street.

Osaka crab lunch

The price of the lunch sets were from about 1900 yen – 4000 yen. Dinner sets were from 4500 yen – 10500 yen. As you can see, lunch sets were MUCH cheaper than for dinner.

There were four lunch sets on offer. We wanted to have one of the mid-range ones, but unfortunately we were told that it would take thirty minutes to cook. We couldn’t afford the time because we wanted to get to the aquarium and spend a couple of hours there before dinner. We weren’t hungry enough for the most expensive option (damn that delicious takoyaki!), so settled on the cheapest one.

Osaka crab lunch

For the first course we received cold, cooked crab legs. They had very thoughtfully pre-cracked the legs for us, so the meat was easy to get out. The flesh was sweet and yummy.

After the crab legs I'm SURE there was a salad topped with crab meat. But I don't seem to have a photo of it. Did I accidentally delete the photo or did I dream it? Hmm.

Oh no, I didn't dream it! There it is in the top left hand corner of the next picture. Unfortunately, without a proper photo to remind me, I no longer remember what it tasted like.

Osaka crab lunch

Next was a chawanmushi (savoury steamed egg custard). It had a small amount of crab meat on the top. It wasn't the best chawanmushi we’d had on the trip, but it wasn't bad either.

Osaka crab lunch

After the chawanmushi we received - strangely - what was basically a macaroni and cheese, with a small amount of crab meat on top. It seemed a very odd dish to serve as part of the meal, and there wasn't much crab in it, but soft, cheesy pasta? Yeah, I loved it.

Osaka crab lunch

After the mac and cheese were a few pieces of crab meat sushi.

Osaka crab lunch

And finally, to finish, clear soup with fu and a crab meat square.

As mentioned previously, we had the cheapest set, which mean that we didn’t receive much actual crab (apart from the crab legs). I was pleased with lunch, but I would have loved to have had more time (and stomach space) to try their more expensive sets!

Osaka Aquarium

After lunch, we dashed off to Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan). Kaiyukan was amazing. The fish and other marine life were displayed in 15 tanks, each of which represented a specific region on the Pacific Rim. There is a enormous central tank, nine meters deep, which represents the Pacific Ocean and in which is the star attraction – whale sharks!

Osaka Aquarium

The layout of Kaiyukan means that the tour starts on the eighth floor, and you walk down floor by floor in a spiral around the central tank. It's very well laid out and rather impressive.

It was hard to take good photos inside the aquarium apart from the jellyfish tanks. I do love taking photos of jellyfish though. They are so pretty! Here are some of my favourites:

Jellyfish at Osaka Aquarium
Jellyfish at Osaka AquariumJellyfish at Osaka Aquarium

Kani Doraku
1-6-18 Dontonbori, Osaka or
1-6 2 Dotonbori, Osaka

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