Ōsakajō Ato

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    • Day 40

      Day 39-40

      April 9 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      Day 39

      Today we left Yamaguchi and headed all the way back up to Osaka as we begin our journey up north. After a few hours of travelling we made it to Osaka station and took the metro to our hostel, dumped our bags here and then went out again.

      Now today (being the 8th of April) is Buddhas birthday in Japan known as Hana matsuri, japan actually celebrate this earlier than the rest of Asia due to them swapping their calendar! Having researched heavily online I couldn’t find any form of real celebrations happening in Japan today which I thought was strange until I came across one article that said to go to the main temple of that city and they tend to have some kind of display and ceremony. So we headed to Shitennoji which has a beautiful pagoda and grounds with wonderful cherry blossoms. As we wondered around we noticed a statue of Buddha with flowers decorating it as an offering to Buddha. Around the statue a small seating area had been set up with some of the locals sat there. Shortly after we noticed this all the monks came out of the temple and walked over chanting to this area. Watching slightly from afar as we wanted to be respectful they began burning incense and clearly preparing from a ceremony. Then, very sweetly one of the security that escorted the monks invited us to come and stand closer so we got to stand and watch their ceremony! They had many mantras and it was an incredible experience and I think pretty amazing that we got to witness it as we were the only tourists there so not sure how we managed that one! But it didn’t seem a very largely advertised event today if I hadn’t looked it up I wouldn’t have known it was Buddhas birthday today!

      During hana matsuri there is also a tradition to pour green tea over the statues of Buddha but we didn’t see this today but we did get very lucky to see the ceremony!

      After this we wondered around the grounds for a little while before catching the metro out to our activity of the day- sushi making! Those who have kept up well with my blog will be slightly perplexed as we have already done sushi making, expect it wasn’t the classic “proper” sushi if you like and Jacob really wanted to learn and make the proper sushi, so reluctantly I agreed and I’m so glad I did! We met the chef outside a metro station with another British couple who were doing the experience and then our chef - Yuki lead us away from the station and we reached a block of apartments where she welcomed us into her home! I was very shocked by this as it didn’t say on the activity description that it was in her home! We took our shoes off as we entered and Yuki gave us some sliders to wear, she welcomed us into her small flat that had sliding door panels and a little kitchen table that we all gathered around to make sushi! We made a few different types of sushi and completely from scratch as we learnt how to properly prepare the rice too! We made Nigiri, sashimi, Maki and Tamago. I discovered that I actually quite like Maki to my absolute surprise! This is the sushi that is rice with fish and vegetables wrapped in a sheet of seaweed. I think the reason I probably liked it was the proportion of fish to rice but this is a huge step forward for me as I seriously don’t eat any fish- until now!!! Making the sushi was also so fun, Yuki was lovely and very helpful and open to lots of questions about cuisine but also Japan in general and her lifestyle. She worked in restaurants for 10 years and now teaches classes for a living! It was a really genuinely authentic experience and was so much fun and it really pushed me as I ate raw octopus! Now that I didn’t like but it’s always good to try new things and it just goes to show that it can work as I now like some fish! Not to dampen anyone’s hopes reading this but I still hated the other types of sushi but progress is progress!

      Day 40

      We had a slow morning today and headed over to Osaka castle which is one of the most famous in Japan as it signifies the end of the wars in Japan and unifying the country. Standing at 55m the gold and green embellished castle is really beautiful. Surrounded by a moat and extensive gardens it’s very easy to waste a few hours enjoying the scenery and wondering through the cherry blossoms to enjoy them before they disappear!

      We then headed to Tenjinbashi-suji Shopping Street which is the longest shopping street in Japan at over a mile long!! I have to say we were a bit disappointed with this as it really wasn’t aimed at tourists at all which is fair enough reallt but there wasn’t really anything that caught our eye. However, we still enjoyed strolling down it and looking through the food markets and stores. After a mile of walking I wanted a quick pit stop so we stopped to grab a late lunch before setting off to our last destination of today- Dotonbori!

      Now I feel that Osaka has been a very laid back city with actually very little energy so far until you get to Dotonbori! Large screens with adverts and posters and light up signs line the buildings- a little like a mini Times Square that leads you to the food street of Dotonbori which is completely bonkers. A long street filled with street food and restaurants with some very wacky eye catching sights. Large plastic moving crabs and cows and fish attached and hanging from buildings advertising restaurants and street food line the street. This is the most busy bustling part of Osaka and it’s so much fun. It feels a bit like a fever dream walking through a sleepy city to then reach noise and smells and lights and people on mass, everywhere!

      We tried two different street food vendors, one selling strawberries on a skewer coated in melted sugar which were delicious and awful for you I’m sure and also a wagyu beef skewer which was mouth wateringly good! So overall today has been pretty varied and once again so much fun!
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    • Day 12

      Osaka Castle (and some craft beer)

      April 13 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      Today was another travel day. After breakfast we made our way to the train station and took the rapid service from Kyoto to Osaka. Pretty uneventful trip taking only two hours.

      After arriving we checked in and headed out to find some lunch. We visited a sushi train and spotted an unusual item on the menu... Whale skin... We ummed and ahhhed over the morality of trying this, and eventually settled on a "when in Japan", and "they didn't kill the whale just for us" position and ordered two small pieces. In hindsight it wasn't worth it. The whale was tough, chewy and tasteless. We think they're better off swimming in the ocean.

      After lunch we went for a walk around the 60m tall Osaka castle. On our way we spotted some Sakura, but the trees are definitely past their full bloom with the white and pink petals being replaced by their spring leaves. The trees lining the canal would have been completely white a few days ago but are starting to look more green/brown. We were very lucky with our timing to see them in full bloom elsewhere.

      We did notice some other blossoming trees as well, but we weren't sure if they were cherry trees as the flowers looked very different. After some research, it turns out that yes these are also cherry trees, and that the types of cherry tree with more petals on their blossoms often bloom a week or two later than the most common ones, which have only 5 petals.

      After a wander around Osaka castle we headed to the area around Dotonbori where we met up with Cass' parents, Freddy and Kim, for a couple of crafty beers. Afterwards we made our way over to Shake Shack - we had their burgers about 6 years ago in New York and Vela hasn't stopped raving about them since. So when we saw they were in Osaka we had to have another taste!
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    • Day 7

      Osaka auf Rädern

      November 2, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      Heute stehe ich besonders früh auf, denn ich habe eine Verabredung. Es gelingt mir, auf der Straße ein Taxi anzuhalten, und es bringt mich in einer halben Stunde zu Road Bike Rental Japan. Gareth ist ein Engländer mit irischen Vorfahren, der jetzt in Osaka Fahrräder an Deutsche vermietet. Das Fahrrad ist leicht, groß genug für mich, mit relativ dünnen Reifen und einer ordentlichen Kettenschaltung. Gareth montiert noch meinen eigenen Sattel, den ich rund um die halbe Erde mitgeschleppt habe, und schon habe ich für meine Reise wieder ein brauchbares Fahrzeug.
      Ich fahre am Fluss entlang zur Burg von Osaka. Untenrum wurden riesige Steine verbaut, obenrum ist alles aus Holz. Gewöhnlich sind diese Burgen alle paar hundert Jahre abgebrannt.
      Dann fahre ich noch durch die ganze Stadt bis zum Hafen. Tatsächlich gibt es am Fluss und an den Hauptstraßen entlang richtige Radwege, sogar mit roter Farbe überdeutlich gekennzeichnet. Die Benutzung ist jedoch chaotisch, Fußgänger und Radfahrer laufen und fahren wild durcheinander, bald links, bald rechts.
      Am Hafen gibt es das Kaiyukan, das angeblich größte Aquarium der Welt. Die Stars sind natürlich die zwei grossen Walhaie, die gemächlich ihre Runden durch das Hauptbecken ziehen.
      Zurück fahre ich wieder eine Stunde durch die Großstadt, halte an unzähligen roten Ampeln und bin pünktlich zum Dunkelwerden zurück in meiner Jugendherberge.
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    • Day 13

      Off to Osaka

      April 10 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      Whilst Kyoto is really traditional, Osaka is a bustling, loud, colorful city.
      Starting with some culture and tradition at Osaka Castle! Impressive from the outside, rather dull museum from the inside 🙈
      And then off to a little piglet therapy ♥️♥️🐷 at mipig cafe ♥️.
      Off to the market afterwards and a stroll through crowded Namba district.
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    • Day 18

      Osaka castle

      December 16, 2022 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

      I wanted to see the castle but ran it a bit late, I figured I would head there anyway. It was quite dark walking through the park but it was mostly just joggers running through.
      I could imagine it being a really nice place to go for a run each night as from most places in the park you could see the castle and then make a run up to it.
      I saw some lights in the distance but when I tried to get to it, I was walled off so I figured I would leave it as I didn't feel like walking around the whole park again.
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    • Day 3

      Castello di Osaka

      April 11, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      Immerso in un parco e posto in cima ad una collinetta e totalmente circondato da mura, questo splendido castello quasi non si scorge dalla strada.
      Arrivati in cima e varcato il portone appare in tutta la sua bellezza.
      Castello veramente suggestivo.
      Al suo fianco il santuario shintoista di Hokoku con tanto di samurai in bronzo
      Non è sicuramente il migliore incontrato ... resta pur sempre il primo.
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    • Day 48

      Osaka Castle

      April 17, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Die Burg Osaka besitzt beachtliche Burgmauern und zwei Wassergräber.

      Der Hauptturm (Tenshu) beseht aus 8 Stockwerken, von denen jedoch nur 5 mit Fenstern versehen sind.

      Die Burg war in ihrer etwa 450-jährigen Geschichte Schauplatz mehrerer Kriege und wurde insgesamt 5 mal neu aufgebaut.Read more

    • Day 3

      Osaka Castle

      April 26, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      After a long long travel and not a lot of sleep, i arrived in Osaka, immigration was pretty easy, but trying to get cash from an ATM was quite hard, thanks to Revolut, i finally got some cash, and i could pay my metro ticket from the airport osaka till osaka city… getting out of the train station, it was pouring, but i walked 20 min to the hostel, which i found pretty good because of maps… the good thing i figured quickly because of the rain was that the shopping street which i had to walk to the hostel was covered… so i didn’t get that wet…waiting with a coffee in the nearby coffee till checkin went by fast, the first thing i did was a long, hot shower and a nap…

      After a long nap my friend was arriving in the hostel, and we decided to go to visit the Osaka Castle, we had to be a bit fast, because in japan the castles and shrines close at 5 pm… but we made it and had a great view from the top of the castle, had a drink from the vending machine (i tried a fanta grape) and talked a lot…
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    • Day 7

      Osaka Final Day

      June 17, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      Our final day in Japan today. Visited Osaka Castle in the morning which was set in beautiful grounds and surrounded by a double moat. After this we were taken to the airport to fly back to Tokyo. We were lucky enough to get a clear view of Mt Fuji and a couple of volcanic islands as we flew over. Then it was a smooth transfer to our Auckland flight and an overnight flight home. Had a spare seat next to me again so enough room to spread out a bit. Watched Harry Potter on plane as the ride at Universal Studios was so interesting.Read more

    • Day 10

      Erster Tag in Osaka

      March 20 in Japan ⋅ 🌬 8 °C

      Nachdem wir in Koyasan heute morgen im Schneegestöber aufwachten, haben wir uns nach dem üblichen traditionellen Frühstück an japanischer Kalligraphie versucht. Das Endergebnis sieht zwar schön aus, mit Google Lens lässt sich unser Werk jedoch nicht ganz identisch zum eigentlichen Originaltext übersetzen. Anschließend haben wir uns wieder zurück auf den Weg nach Osaka gemacht, wo wir *ganz zufällig* meine Cousine (+ Freund und Freunde) getroffen haben. (War natürlich nicht zufällig sondern abgesprochen, sie sind auch gerade in Japan, fliegen allerdings heute schon wieder nach Hause)
      Zu sechst waren wir dann in einem Restaurant Kobe-Rind probieren, was man sich Barbecue-mäßig selbst anbraten konnte. Das Schloss in Osaka haben wir auch noch besucht, allerdings war das Wetter nicht so besonders sodass wir uns schließlich entschieden zurück ins Hostel zu fahren. Nach einem leckern (aber scharfen) Abendessen, bei dem wir einen sehr coolen Singapurer namens Joe kennenlernten, statteten wir dem lokalen Badehaus noch einen Besuch ab um uns wieder etwas aufzuwärmen.

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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Ōsakajō Ato, Osakajo Ato, 大阪城跡

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