大阪市 – Osaka

大 = Big

阪 = Hillside

市 = City

OSAKA

IMG_5298

Not sure where the big hillside is though….?

Famous for being the capital city of the Osaka Prefecture and the second largest metropolitan area in Japan.  It is also among the largest cities in the world with over 19 million people living here.

There is not a lot to see here by ways of traditional Japanese buildings or gardens.  Osaka was pretty heavily attacked during WWII which is probably one of the reasons that it is now quite a new city with modern buildings.

There is one part of Osaka however that has been kept in perfect condition – the Osaka Castle.

But before I show you any of this, we need to navigate our way through one of Osaka’s biggest train/subway stations/shopping centre/underground tunnel of lost hope….. We got in ok, but getting around and then out again needed careful map reading, assistance from locals and snacks.

Unknown

We eventually worked it all out and made our way to the subway line we were after and stood at this sign on the platform.  They have women only carriages during peak hour to try an protect women from all the groping that goes on when people are packed in like sardines.

IMG_5294

We managed the subway like a couple of professionals and found our way here…

IMG_5298

The rain last night had done a bit of damage to the flowering sakura, but there was still plenty there that were hanging on to their blooms.

IMG_5300

The river was lined with stall after stall of all kinds of food.

IMG_5329

And again – most things are rammed onto sticks.

IMG_5331

The crowd, as always doesn’t disappoint.

IMG_5332

Even our furry friends have come along – this one wearing his best Spiderman coat.

IMG_5335

Unfortunately smoking has not yet been banned in Japan (well in Osaka anyway) around food preparation.  Here you can just ash away over whatever you are cooking.

IMG_5336

These are called Okonomiyaki – apparently it’s delicious, but overtime we’ve seen them, we’re not hungry.  They are noodles, cabbage, vegetables, egg and bacon/mystery meat and then fried up.

IMG_5338

Or you can just have some occy on a stick!

IMG_5342

These are a fantastic idea – instead of using chairs and having to unpack and pack them up each day…. you just have long tables and then put a short one on the top.

IMG_5345

And people take their shoes off and sit on the lower table like it’s the floor – genius!

IMG_5348

Now, this was a strange thing.  We first past a lady witting behind a tank with very shallow water filled with goldfish.  At first we thought she was selling them.  Then we passed another lady with the same set up and then another and another.  The last one had some customers and this lady in the pic below was flicking the fish into a bowl.  We weren’t sure whether she was going to take them home or if it was a game where she had to try and catch the black ones with the big eyes or what?  There was a bit of cheering going on as she flicked each one, but we walked on – still confused.

IMG_5330

Then we passed the same set up, but with tadpoles……. ?

IMG_5351

We’d been walking for a fair while and it wasn’t until we’d come to the end of the markets that I checked the map and realised that we’d completely walked past the entrance to the Osaka Mint garden – which was open to the public for one week a year – when the cherry blossoms are out and today was the first day.  So we got to an entrance and even though I could understand the Japanese sign for no entry, we snuck in anyway because – too hard.

IMG_5386

IMG_5406

Look at our pretty flower

IMG_5404

There’s going to be lots of cherry blossom photos now, enjoy!

IMG_5396

The carpet of petals was so pretty.

IMG_5395 IMG_5393

And make for a lovely backdrop.

IMG_5390

IMG_5385

You’ve got your double blossom…

IMG_5380

Then you’ve got your triple blossom with buds.

IMG_5379

This is us walking the wrong way around the garden!

It was a little bit like that nursery rhyme:

As I was going to St Ives

I met a man with seven wives

Every wife had seven sacks

Every sack had seven cats

Every cat had seven kittens

Kittens, cats, sacks and wives

How many were going to St Ives?

IMG_5377

The answer:  one – all the rest were going the other way!

IMG_5375

IMG_5374

This lady caught me by surprise and I had to be quick to snap a pic as I strolled past her.

She’s got sakura hair.  Good on her.

IMG_5371

IMG_5366

IMG_5359

Jenny moonlighting as a hand model.

IMG_5353

With all the photos and checking of the map on my phone today my battery ran down pretty quickly, but luckily I had packed my specially purchased sakura designed external battery.  I think it goes nicely with the surroundings.

IMG_5431

We managed to reach another bridge down the river and crossed over to the other side where we came across this beautifully designed building, that even the cherry blossom at the front had trouble making it pretty.  The people who lived there would have had an awesome view of the river and the cherry blossom trees though.

IMG_5412

And now for something a little arty.

IMG_5414

Our first Japanese cat spotting.  He was a little unsettled by us – I think it was Jenny’s blonde hair.

IMG_5420

There were Hanami parties going on all up and down the river.

IMG_5421

And lots of people just walking around and admiring…. I was very lucky to snap a shot with nobody in it (besides those 2 in the bottom corner)

IMG_5427

Until somebody stepped into the shot – and 1…2…3… turn and pose.

IMG_5429

After some awesome map reading skills and some asking people, we finally made it to the walls of the Osaka Castle.  It is surrounded by an outer moat and an inner moat – talk about upping your security!

IMG_5465

The walls are also adorned with the blossoms which probably served to distract any attackers with their loveliness – although that would only have worked for about a week to 10 days in April.

IMG_5458

This our first proper glance at the castle.  It stands very high up on a hill and is quite majestic.

Their website calls it: “Osaka Castle -a symbol of Osaka, which has been handed down through the dramas in history to the present day.”

IMG_5451

You can climb to the top level, but ……

IMG_5457

Do you think this man could have found a more public spot to have his midday nap in full suit and tie?

IMG_5459

This morning we asked the lady at reception what there was to see in Osaka.  She started telling us about all the wonderful shopping centres.  So when we asked about something more traditionally Japanese, she screwed up her nose and said, “No, we only have buildings and shopping, you have to go to Kyoto or Nara for old buildings.”

So now that we’d seen Osaka’s only transitional things (that we know of), we were ready to go home for a nice cup of tea and good lay down with the feet up.

On the journey to find the subway again, I noticed this tree which is right on the road and in front of what would have been the driveway of a high rise building.  But they didn’t knock it down to make way for the drive way, they built the drive way around it and just let it be.

How lovely.

IMG_5466

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s