Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Best of Osaka

Osaka Castle
Yes, it was my first visit to Japan. I find the city of Osaka metropolitan. I enjoyed the city for sure. Most of the local people are very nice. From the hotel where I stayed, to the tourist attractions I had been, and to all those accommodating subway station staff whom I had to deal with everyday, and the people around the city are more often pleasing.
The only challenge that you as a tourist will face is the language barrier. Communication is a bit of a problem during my stay which resulted to slight delays in my very hectic schedule. I can see the effort exerted in trying to help, and most of the time I cannot see this problem anymore because of the gesture and expression of being the real people. Other than that, Osaka is a great city and full of decent people.


City of Osaka
The photo was taken in front of the Osaka Castle. You can have a photo shot of yourself in a Kimono without actually wearing it, and it is free. Presenting two of the Kimono styles for Men & Women. For Japanese people it was a tradition to wear a Kimono. Nowadays, it is worn on special occasions only.

Men's Kimono are usually designed with blue, black, grey or brown background and with motif of a dragon, or bamboo canes, or geometric patterns.


Women's kimono is worn based on the person's age and marital status. Young and single women wear long sleeves with colourful patterns. Married and older women wear a more simple design.

Osaka Castle as you can see in the photos I posted here has a beauty of its own and one of the famous castles in Japan.

I would recommend that when you visit the castle, do it during festival season. Also, the best time to see cherry blossoms is in the early month of April. Large numbers of cherry trees are all around the public park. From the outside, you have the chance to witness a spectacular view of the castle surrounded by beautiful colours of the blossoms.

Osaka Castle is open from 9:00AM to 5:00PM daily but closed at the beginning and end of the year. As of this writing, the general admission is 600 Yen.
Hanshin Shopping Centre Osaka
Address: 1-1, Osakajo, Chuo-ku
Directions: subway: Temmabashi Station or Tanimachi 4-chome Station on the Tanimachi Line. Osaka Business Park Station on the Nagahori-Tsurumiryokuchi Line

Once you have entered or at the entrance of the Osaka Castle ground, you will be guided with the map and direction of the Osaka Castle. By starting off from this point, you will have a smooth and more enjoyable tour of this famous castle and park.

Shi-Tennoji Temple in Osaka
Now I want you to come along with me to Shi-Tennoji Temple. History revealed that this temple was founded 1400 years ago - the first year of the Emperor Suiko in 593 and the oldest temple in Japan. It was constructed by Prince Shotoku who introduced Buddhism to Japan. The buildings in Shi-Tennoji Temple were arranged and stand together in straight line better known as the Shi-Tennoji Cathedral style. You will find the 5-storey Buddhist pagoda here which is right beside the Main Hall.  Its roof may seem so simple at first, but as I continue looking on how it differ from the other architecture I have seen, I can say that this art is unique and interesting.  An amazing creation indeed! The symmetrical balance of architecture of the pagoda and the temple in general is admirable.


Tour Bus in Osaka Japan
Shi-Tennoji Temple is close to the Sinsekai area, Nippon Bashi with line of shops with highly technical products and near the bustling quarters with full of elegant department stores, bars and restaurants.


I visited this temple with a sightseeing tour bus and entrance was already included with the tour fee. If you are visiting the temple on your own, the admission fee is approximately 300 yen at the time of this writing.


It is open everyday except Mondays.
Address: 1-11-18 Shi-Tennoji, Tennoji-ku, Osaka
Directions: Shi-tennojimae-Yuhigaoka Station
Othercontact: +81 6 6773 4921
Phone: +81 6 6771 0066

Tsutenkaku Tower in Osaka
Now I am in the Tsutenkaku Tower known as 'the tower reaching heaven' situated in Osaka's Shinsekai district of the Naniwa ward. The tower stands 103 meters tall and close to Luna Amusement Park.

Go up to the Observation deck on the 5th floor. You will be amazed with the breathtaking view of the city. At the centre of the deck you will find a statue. The tower is the home to the Billiken which is a Japanese for the God of Happiness or as carved at the bottom of the wooden statue is "things as they should be".

This is a popular symbol of good luck. Place some coins in the donation box and rub the soles of his well-worn feet. Make a wish and let me know if your wishes came true.

Osaka Train Station
I visited the Tsutenkaku Tower with my family and a group of tourists. We took the elevator to the observation deck at a height of 91 metres and experienced the breathtaking view of downtown Osaka. It was an amazing!

The tower is open from 10:AM to 6:00PM.
Address: 1-18-6 Ebisu-Higashi, Shinsekai District
I headed to the streets of Osaka. I took some photos near the JR Osaka Station and the Umeda Skyline. I find people on the street disciplined as they follow the street regulations. Drivers on the road seem conscious of the traffic rules. There is no untoward incident for several days of stay in Osaka considering the frequency of going here and there.


Osaka has a business-like environment, and therefore a place where you will see local people rushing to their offices in the early morning hours. It was the usual scene I have witnessed on a daily basis. I believe streets in Osaka are safe for tourists.

Address: Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
Artwork at Umeda Skybuilding in Osaka
Directions: Streets posted are close to Umeda and JR Station. Tourist Information Centre is also situated on these streets

While everyone is enjoying the observatory and the city's view on top of the Umeda Skybuilding, I also have enjoyed watching the work of art down below. Just very close to Osaka Station are pieces of art displayed on the ground floor of the Umeda Skybuilding.


Take a look at those carved pieces and other display of unique works at the ground floor. Let me know what you think of them. To me, I appreciate my half hour sitting and watching these arts and talking to fellow tourists. I found new Thai friends on this spot. They are tourist from Bangkok and would you believe we visited them on the last leg of our journey. I still communicate with Kwan and Denchai up until now. It is not easy to forget the memories they both have made to our lives.  It seems simple but very pleasant experience indeed! 
Address: 1-1 Chome, Oyodanaka, Kitaku
Phone: +81-6-6440-3901