Osaka is the second-largest city in Japan after Tokyo. It is the capital city of the Osaka Prefecture and the largest component of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area. We spend our last two days there before finalizing our amazing adventure in Japan. We explored some of the main streets of the city and focused our attention on the Osaka Castle and the areas around it. Overall amazing experience.
Being the second-largest city in Japan you can imagine exploring it would take not days but months. We were very optimistic in our planning and had several attractions we wanted to see. To mention some of them: Osaka Aquarium, Minami (Namba), Universal Studios Japan (although we have been to a few of them in the USA), and the Osaka Castle. As we mentioned in some of the other logs when in Japan last week of our trip we got somewhat of a grumpy/rainy weather which limited our traveling options. Even with the bad weather, however, we loved the city. Plenty of green areas, parks, and cherry blossoms, and of course the gorgeous Osaka castle.
The castle is one of the top attractions. It has a very different feel from the various temples we visited. Surrounded by a huge moat, stone walls, gates, and citadels it is truly an impressive complex. The gardens and parks surrounding it are really adding color to all the gray stone walls everywhere. Cherry blossoms also paint a beautiful picture and the only drawback we noticed was the number of people there. The castle overall is quite busy so to take pictures in some of the areas you have to wait in line. To enter the castle you have to go through a somewhat narrow bridge over the moat. Traditional Japanese boats go under it and around the castle.
The castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period
You can go inside the castle and go to the top floor for a better view of the entire complex. There are also various gifts and other shops, a museum, etc. We spend our day exploring it and trying to learn as much as we could about its history. If you can be there on a sunny day it really is like a place from the fairytales. With all the cherry blossoms everywhere and the greenery, just a beautiful place. Must see if you are in Osaka.
You can also hop on a boat ride around the moat which even with the rain and everything plenty of people seemed to be enjoying. The moat is surrounded by high walls and the weather was enough for us to not be very excited about that attraction.
Given the limited time we had, we really enjoyed our stay in Osaka. It is a humongous city and to even begin to get a taste of it we felt you would need at least a week. If you want to experience an amazing mix of Japanese traditions and the modern city, Osaka is the place. We can’t wait to go back and explore it in more detail on our next adventure!