Japan 2016 : Part 15 – Osaka Castle

This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.

Day 7 in Japan, day 2 in Osaka!

Today, our itinerary (as with most of our days here) was pretty ambitious. We planned to visit Osaka Castle, then go to Umeda Floating Garden Observatory (postponed from the day before), have lunch at the basement of Umeda Building, walk around Umekita / Osaka Station, Dotonbori and dinner at Ichiran Ramen (since we did not get to try it in Kyoto).

We had initially planned for a day trip to Himeji & Kobe during one of the days in Osaka, but after much deliberation I decided to forgo the day trip and spend the extra day in Osaka. Partly in anticipation that we’d be quite tired after a week or walking and traveling, and partly because of the cost factor.

But I had wanted to visit Himeji Castle, the most beautiful surviving feudal castle in Japan, and featured in Tom Cruise’s movie The Last Samurai. But, well, maybe another time. But as a consolation, I get to visit Osaka Castle! While not as famous, it is just as beautiful and far more accessible.

But back to our day in Osaka. One of the benefits of staying in a hotel compared to an Airbnb – full breakfast! The food spread is pretty good, but of course you can’t compare with larger hotels or the ones you find here in Malaysia. But for the first breakfast, we came down almost at the end of the serving time (breakfast ends at 9.30am), so the choices were limited.

We took a subway to the Castle. Osaka Castle is very large, it is located on a hillock surrounded by several moats and a park. You can reach it from at least 7 train and subway stations, so make sure you know which one you want to enter from.

Ideally, enter from the south eastern entrance, through the Osaka Castle Park. The north western entrance joins straight into the city and is not as impressive.

(the impressive fountain of hewn rocks)

The first level of moat of a very big river with lots of ducks and fish.

(too bad the cherry blossoms are not in season)

The park is very popular with senior citizens exercising and school trips.

(very playful and friendly Shiba Inu)

After the first level of gates and moat, there is still a lot of walking through the park.

(old man playing a traditional instrument with a throbbing bass line)

Once you enter the 2nd gate, you can see the castle clearer.

Inside the 2nd ring of walls, there are a lot of food trucks and stalls, but the prices are quite expensive here, probably the priciest we’ve seen in the whole city.

And up close, the Castle is really impressive.

We didn’t go into the castle and museum inside, it would take at least another 2 more hours to fully explore it (it is JPY 600 to enter). Although this current castle is reconstructed from 1931 (the original castle was built in 1583 but was destroyed by war), it is still a sight to behold especially in weather like today. The Castle is Osaka’s top attraction and is definitely a must-visit if you come to the city (even if you are cheapskates like us that only admire it from the outside).

Next – Umeda Sky Building

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