Yokohama (Part I)
After an exhausting tour, we finally were free to roam around and go about Japan at our own pace. Given the major time difference and the feeling that we were always pressed for time, we got out of the hotel early to make our Shinkansen to Yokohama. From Osaka to Yokohama, it's about 2 and a half hours. A few of the guys wanted to get to the train station early to do some gift shopping and grab brunch. One of the places I was looking for was Rikuro's, which is a popular cheesecake bakery that makes those jiggly cakes that everyone loves filming so much. My friend Clint loves baked goods, and he had no problems buying multiple cakes. They only sell full sized cakes, so traveling with two of them and making sure that they stay intact is a problem.
Props to Clint for keeping those cheesecakes in one piece throughout the day!
The best part about long bullet train rides is that you can sleep all the way through comfortably and get to where you need. When I woke up, we were already 15 minutes away from our destination. The sad thing is that you end up wasting a lot of precious leisure time traveling from one end of the country to the other. Either way, the hard part was navigating through Yokohama using different subway lines. Yokohama runs on both JR lines and their own private lines, and the destination to our hotel required a mix of both. Considering the fact that we had to carry around our heavy luggage all over the place... you get the idea that it was just an exhausting day.
Once we got to our hotel, we took the time to explore Yokohama a little bit before getting to our destination for the night, the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.
It's not so much of a museum, but more of a food court with many ramen restaurants. You pay an admission fee (which isn't too expensive), and then you get a paper map of the entire establishment. If you like ramen and you happen to be in the area, this is a great place to visit. There are so many different varieties to try and there are half portion options available, so you can try a few different restaurants in the area. I managed to get a few pictures of the ramen bowls that we tried, and I think my favorite one is the miso based bowl. Try to make your money worth it if you can, so arrive with a slightly empty stomach.
After dinner, we went to the nearby Sega arcade to digest and play some of their games. Going to Japan and wandering through these arcades is an experience in itself. Once you've been here, nothing else matters anymore. The arcade industry is still thriving in Japan, but in the states, not so much. Their games are next level and it's just the best way to kill time if you have 1000 yen to burn. Love these places!
Looking forward to exploring Yokohama more throughout the day, so we're going to turn in early and try and get up to make the best use out of our time.