Breakfast at Keiunkan Ryokan:
The weather is much improved: no rain, lots of wind, and a little sun. Peter drove about 2 hours back to Kofu, amazing view of Fuji there with strong winds blowing the clouds away. The entire country of Japan suffered from near typhoon-force winds that delayed both JR and local trains nationwide, very unusual for a country that prides itself for the trains running on time. The JR trains delayed, we were fortunate to grab a slower train winding through the Nagano mountains (former Winter Olympic site), and we traveled on to Nagoya through flatter terrain. We had just 10 minutes to catch the Shinkansen from Nagoya to Osaka and we watched farms and villages whizzing by at 200 mph! We walked to our Osaka hotel from the Shin Osaka station.
We arrived in Osaka too late for sightseeing, so we headed to the famous Dotombori district downtown with its pedestrian-only streets, giant advertising screens, and tons of twenty-somethings gawking at neon signs and 30 foot ads. Pete found the Hozenji Yokocho alley a tiny street well-known for restaurants featuring every Japanese food imaginable. So we settled on a Yakiniku restaurant and feasted on cook-your-own hotate (scallops), followed by maguro sashimi. Then we consumed vegetable dishes of broccoli, sweet potato and bamboo along with some tofu, shitake mushrooms, and egg plant. And we sampled another course of sakura ebi (shrimp) tempura-style followed by fried grunt fish. The last course was more tempura fukinoto, bamboo with flowers and tomatoes.