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Japan Autumn 2022, Blog - 8

Well in Blog 8 it was another full-on day going by our itinerary. We planned to travel into Osaka main City and visit Osaka Castle and its grounds, Tennoji Park, Isshinji Temple, Shitennoji Temple, Shinsekai district where the Tsutenkaku Tower is located and venture into downtown Osaka.

To get into the centre of Osaka we had to get a few local trains, first being to Osaka Station. It was another nice sunny warm morning, so we walked from our hotel to Shin-Osaka station where we were based, we jumped onto a local train which is on the Tokaido - Sanyo line to Osaka Station, this was a 4-minute train journey. We then had to change platforms and jump on the next local train which was the Osaka loop line to Osakajo Koen Station which was a 10-minute run to where Osaka castle was.

It was only about a 5-minute walk to reach the impressive grounds of the Castle, so we decided to have a coffee and a sandwich to fuel up for a few hours walking around. On approaching the Castle, it is very impressive, as with most of the castles in Japan they are built high up overlooking their surroundings, for obvious reasons. We had actually already visited the Osaka Castle in 2017, though it was strait from getting off the plane, so it was nice to revisit with fresh eyes and notice a few things we had missed.

This year turns out to be the 60th anniversary for the castle which was renovated in 1997. The castle was built in 1583 by Toyotmo Hideyoshi and was the largest castle of the time. A few years after Hideyoshi’s death, Tokugawa troops attacked and destroyed the castle in 1615, the castle was then rebuilt in the 1620’s by Tokugawa, but in 1665 the castles tower was struck by lighting and burnt down. In 1931 the present ferro-concrete reconstruction of the castle was built and then renovated to look original in 1997.

Walking through the grounds we were approached by some school children and their teachers who were on a school field trip to try and interview westerners (or foreigners as they call us) so they could practice their English. As there were none around, I think apart from an American couple we were easy targets!! The teacher asked us if we were English, so it was great to reply in Japanese where we come from. Intern the children told us their names so we replied in Japanese what our names were. They asked us in English where our best place was in Japan and what food we liked, intern they each told us what Japanese food they liked. We then had our pictures taken with them all. So, we’ll no doubt be on an Osaka School display board somewhere! They also give us origami gifts to take home which was nice.

After the castle we went back to the train station and jumped on another train on the Osaka Loop Line to Tennoji station which was a 12-minute journey. We visited the Tennoji park and Keitauen Gardens which were about a 7 minute walk from the station. This was a lovely tranquil garden with surprisingly few people in, so it was easy to take some nice photos.

We then moved on to a very famous temple call the Shitennoji Temple where there seemed lots going on, but we managed to get some impressive pictures. The temple is one of Japan’s oldest, and the first ever to be built by the state. It was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who supported the introduction of Buddhism into Japan. The temple buildings today are not the original, after being damaged and burned down over the years, but still are of the original design.

After looking around we walked back towards the station as we had previously spotted a MOS Burger so treated ourselves to a lovely Teriyaki burger for lunch. We then went to the district in Shinsekai where the impressive Tsutenkaku Tower is located and is also famous for its streets that are full of traditional shops and fairground amusement time streets, it was like walking through a cartoon, everything was bright and colourful! Then we headed to the downtown district around Namba Station and Minami, which is one of Osaka’s two major city centres. The streets were packed with visiting Japanese tourists, very few westerners. There were also lots of internal market shops called Shotengai and wet fish shops, etc it was full of hustling and bustling of people.

There were lots of traditional restaurants, so we decided to have our main meal here as it was around 5:00pm now rather than going out for a meal later in the evening when we got back…too tired! We then headed back to the station, jumped back on the Osaka Loop line and then the Sanyo line to Shin-Osaka.

This was our last ‘sightseeing day’ and now we turn our focus to the Nishikigoi visiting Koi farms and breeders. We’ve just been reflecting on the last 8 days and we both said we’ve manged to pack in such a lot in this time…it’s been a really enjoyable! Now for Koi…

In total we walked 10.5 miles today.

Kind Regards

Stephen and Anthony

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