An Evening in Rinku Town
Life sure could do with a little less Adventure…
The day began with the most unfortunate news that I cannot buy a Pocket Wifi in Japan, not with my current papers. I could literally feel my face turn pale as we hurriedly set out for Kansai Airport to obtain the rental ones from SoftBank.
Kansai Airport is an 85 minute trip from the JR Nara Bus Stop in Nara. It costs 2500 Yen approx, depending on the Bus. The Airport Limousine ride to Nara from the Kansai Airport had cost us 2050 Yen, a couple of days before. It was a lazy ride with the bus passing through endless stretches of green paddy fields. We reached Kansai Airport around 3 p.m. The bus usually drops off passengers at Terminal One. We straightaway headed towards the SoftBank shop, which is couple of floors below on the Ground Floor.
The SoftBank counter was devoid of the usual crowd and I was hoping they had a piece left. It is always a good idea to book your Pocket WiFi rentals at least 3 days in advance from the country you are travelling via internet. Not a very safe idea to just drop-in at the counter. They might not have stocks.
The rental cost me 1490 Yen per day inclusive of insurance, but they block around 40,000 Yen on the Credit Card in case the device is damaged or lost. The process is fast and it didn’t take more than 15 minutes to obtain my Pocket Wifi.
After my moment of relief, and a pause after which color started to return to my face, we decided to stay back for a few hours. When Mani had visited Japan, the first time, she had stayed in Osaka very nearby and usually would walk down to Rinku Town. So it was agreed that we could spend the next few hours we had, at Rinku Town. There is a Limousine Bus available right from the Airport to Rinku Town. It costs 200 Yen per person for the ride. While we waited, Mani got us a Fanta from the Vending machines. Vending machines are still a wonder for us coming from India.
Rinku Town Premium Outlets
The bus came exactly on time. Midway, it stopped to drop off a few passengers at the Kansai Airport Observation Deck. The Airport is on a small island off the Osaka Bay and we drove past a long flyover over the blue sea. On the way Mani showed me the Japan Foundation building, where she stayed the last time she was in Osaka.
The ride to Rinku Town was about 30 minutes. We were dropped off at the Rinku Town Premium Outlets Mall. It’s a huge open air mall, the largest shopping center in western Japan, sprawling over a huge area just across the water from Kansai International Airport. We roamed around the shops. By 4 p.m. we were a bit hungry and we went inside this lovely Ramen shop. The food was just as tasty as it looked.
I bought a scarf for Mani and a cap for myself. Among the wide range of well-known foreign brands, I was happy to notice some of my favorite anime goods. But they were rather expensive.
Giant Ferris Wheel
Rinku no Hoshi, the giant Ferris Wheel, is a landmark of Rinku Town, and commands a panoramic view of the town and Kansai Airport. We reached the giant wheel at around 4:30 p.m. But we wanted to get up only at sunset, so we waited. Just below the wheel, a sweet lady was selling Japanese sweets. Mani had some.
At 5 p.m. we bought the tickets to the Ferris Wheel. A ride on the Ferris Wheel costs 700 Yen per person. If you want to go for a second ride, they give a discount coupon for 200 Yen. The ride on the Wheel is of about 15 minutes, but it’s 15 minutes, awesomely spent. One one side one can see the beautiful city and on the other the vast ocean. The sunset added magic to the ride.
Back to Nara
Once our ride was over, we went back to the bus stop for our ride back to the Kansai Airport. From there we took another Airport Limousine bus back to Nara. The Airport has an automated ticket counter and the bus stand is right opposite to the ticket counter.