Day 7: Another castle, chicken wing fail, and SKE48
Today’s plan is as follows:
- Visit Nagoya Castle
- Have lunch at Collaboration Dining for devil’s chicken wings
- Pop by Sunshine Sakae, SKE48’s home base
- Wander around Osu Kannon
- Leave for Tokyo
As this was to be the last day we would be rushing around in, we decided to make the most of it and get up early in the morning. Checked out and with luggage safely in the hotel’s storage area, we then headed to Nagoya Castle which opens at 9am, hoping for something different from Osaka Castle.
Visually, the 2 castles were similar but Nagoya Castle had actually been reconstructed relatively recently from the ground up since it had been destroyed by some warlord a long time ago. The compound was a great deal smaller than Osaka Castle’s but nonetheless majestic and grand. Not far from the main building was a giant shed of sorts. Part of the castle’s structure was still being constructed and restored but to our surprise, they were welcoming visitors to step into one of the shed’s elevated walkways in order to view the restoration efforts. Helmets were provided as a safety measure.
The elevated walkway took us around and out the shed where we would be facing the main building of Nagoya Castle. Needless to say, we entered to have a look on the inside. Much of the displays inside were similar to what we found in Osaka Castle. Pieces of weapons, armour and historical videos being played. The golden “dolphins” were of a slightly different design, but unmistakable. Being unable to read any useful amount of Japanese, I did not find much of interest and made quick work of my tour in the castle, stopping by the top to have a look at the view.
Nagoya’s landscape featured those 2 elevated highways (or train tracks?) cutting through the city. It looked like something out of a science fiction film. With that, I was done with Nagoya Castle and proceeded back to the ground floor and exit to await the rest of the travelling party.
Next, we would have lunch at Collaboration Dining which was supposed to be near Sunshine Sakae. We took a glance at the aforementioned building and its ferris wheel on the way from the train station and noticed that several large queues had began to form. About an hour later, we came to the conclusion that the Devil’s Chicken Wings were not to be as Collaboration Dining was nowhere to be found so we settled on having lunch at a promising-looking establishment in the area. The food was decent, as we had come to expect from random places off the street. Having had our fill, we then returned to Sunshine Sakae for some geeky otaku indulgence.
Sunshine Sakae housed several expensive mens’ clothing stores, a large CD and book store, and, most importantly, SKE48’s merchandise shop and theatre. It was now that we realized the large queues, which were still present, were due to the fact that SKE48 was having a theatre performance shortly. Cursing my ignorance for not applying for tickets, I continued onwards to the group’s shop, hoping to find something worth buying as a souvenir.
The shop’s selection consisted of…photosets. No other types of merchandise could be seen anywhere in the elevator hallway they called a shop. After some deliberation, I decided that I wanted to take away something that could serve as evidence of my visit to Sunshine Sakae so I forked up the 1500 yen for a set of 5 photos. Many of the front girls and nicer sets were sold out so it was a hard decision. Leaving with our loot, we then took the train over to Osu Kannon.
The hustle and bustle of this area mainly centered around Osu Kannon Temple and although online sources told me that this was a good shopping area, I could not find any shops. It was mostly Japanese temple fare, with various food stalls selling bbqed morsels and fragrant oden. However, we had time to waste before dinner so we wandered around and explored the area.
Eventually we started to get hungry. Determined to try some form of chicken wings in Nagoya, we decided on an izakaya which had an impressive picture of chicken wings on its sign. We attempted to decipher the Japanese menu and ordered a few items, one of which turned out to be the shop’s special set of 3 chicken wings in different flavours. They were not the spicy delicacy that Nagoya is famous for but they were delicious in their own right. A good balance of sweet and salty in a crispy package.
It was now time to head back to Tokyo as our JR Rail Passes would expire at the end of the day. We returned to the hotel to pick up our luggage and took the shinkansen from nearby Nagoya Train Station. The hotel we had booked for most of our stay in Tokyo was part of the Weekly Mansion franchise and the most inconveniently located of the lot. We managed to find it with some help from google maps and were delighted to find that the rooms were gigantic. Tiredness took over quickly and we were all fast asleep in our rooms shortly. 11 days in Tokyo awaited!
Things learnt today:
- If you like that sort of thing, it’s probably worth visiting every single castle in Japan
- Don’t bother searching for obscure places to eat unless you’re sure your information is extremely current.
- SKE48 conveniently does afternoon shows. Would have been nice to attend one.
- The SKE48 shop only sells photosets but at least it’s not random.
- Nagoya has many types of chicken wings. Do some research as to what and where the famous one is.
- Nagoya’s a pretty big place with its own set of must-see attractions. 2 days is not enough.
- Although girls are generally prettier in Nagoya, their accent isn’t cute at all.