Sunday, November 16, 2008


Oaska was a lot of fun. It's Japan's third largest city and has earned a reputation as a tourist city. Still, it is considered a food lovers paradise and the locals seemed more friendly than the people in Tokyo. Osaka is also located close to Kyoto and Kobe, making it a good base for day trips to either of those cities. Though Osaka doesn't quite have the glamor of Tokyo I really enjoyed my time there.

I took the JR bullet train from Hiroshima to Osaka. The bullet train doesn't take you directly into the heart of Osaka, rather it will drop you off at Shin-Osaka. From Shin Osaka you will probably want to take a local JR train to the Osaka loop line.

Osaka Subway Map

I ended up staying at another ryokan, this one was much smaller and not as nice as the one in Hiroshima


The view around Umeda

Yodobashi Umeda - electronics shopping

You can find amateur musicians performing at night on this bridge right outside Umeda Station.
Amateur Rocker


Osaka Castle is the only castle in Japan with an elevator, a some what dubious distinction in the eyes of most Japanese. It was made for the elderly to easily access the main tower where you can get a nice view.

Osaka Castle goes back to the 16th century when Toyotomi Hideyoshi had the castle built. When he died in 1598 he left the castle to his son Hideyori. Hideyoshi's rival Tokugawa Ieyasu, the shogun that closed off Japan, attacked the castle despite the fact that his favorite granddaughter Senhime was inside of it. Senhime was the wife of Hideyoshi. After a year long siege Ieyasu breached the castle and destroyed it. Hideyori and his monther (not Senhime) committed suicide rather than be captured. Senhime went on to be the mistress of Hemiji Castle (I'll be blogging on that castle later). Ieyasu allowed the castle to be rebuilt in 1620, just not as grand as his own of course. In 1665 it was struck by lightening and burned down. It was rebuilt again, but not until sometime in the 1840s. It was burned down again by Tokogawa troops during the brief civil war before the Meiji Restoration in 1868. It was rebuilt once again in 1931, this time with concrete and withstood Allied bombs during World War 2.

Map of Osaka Castle

Osaka-jo Park
Nishinomaru Garden

Nishinomaru Garden
Osaka Castle from Nishinomaru Garden

Osaka Castle from Nishinomaru Garden

Osaka Castle from Nishinomaru Garden
Japanese Garden inside the main wall.

Octopus Wall


View from of the court yard from Osaka-jo

Outside the castle is a martial arts dojo where people practice judo and kendo. Kendo is japan's oldest martial art. Its roots are in samurai swordsmanship. If you watch the video clip below and find the style looks familiar it's probably because the Star Wars (more so episodes IV-VI) Jedi lightsaber fighting style was originally based on Kendo. Judo was based on the samurai hand to hand of combat style of jujutsu. Judo basically is the modern and sport style of that.





Amateur Rock bands hang out just outside Osaka Castle on Sundays from noon-6 according to my guide book The Rough Guide to Japan. I got there at 5 but they were already closing up, oh well. There was only one girl left performing.

Amateur Rock band cleaning up
Umeda Sky Building
If you'd like a nice view of the Osaka city lights head to the Umeda Skye Building and go up to the Floating Garden Observatory (10AM - 10 PM, 700 yen).

Umeda Sky Building
Halloween was coming up
Downstairs at the Umeda Sky Building are shops redesigned to look like the 1930s.

Escalator to the Floating Garden
lounge area

View from the Floating Garden

Dotonbori Street
Another big eating area. This street has tons of resturants and shops.

More on this happy fellow in my next post...

For Korean food head to Tsuruhashi on the JR Loop. I didn't go, so no pictures, just fyi.

Also while I was walking around Osaka some guy with a car that broke down asked me to help him push it out of the street. Communication was a bit of an issue so he kind of used the universal sign language of pointing and acting. He looked desperate so I agreed. I thought it was somewhat funny that when he was ready to stop he didn't signal me but instead just stepped on the brakes as I was pushing. I didn't know he he stepped on the breaks and was wondering why I couldn't push the car anymore. I believe the car was a small mercedes. He gave me his card but I wasn't excatly sure what I was supposed to do with it. He's Mr. Kariya and he works for this company. You can see info about him under their staff section, but you'll need to be able to read Japanese.

My guide book was awesome in Osaka. It highlighted where to go, what to see, what to eat, and how to get around. It lists places to party too if that's your thing. The Rough Guide to Japan's Osaka section (as well as for all of Japan) was fantastic. I highly recommend it!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I tried to see what it said about him. I can tell it's like, "About me" for each of the staff, with like, comments and stuff. I can make out some of it, like his nickname is "Karidoan" and his comment is something about saying "next!" to a rental car (??). That's about it.