We didn’t know what we were expecting here. We got off the train from Osaka Station to Watanabebashi Station and in the distance, we saw a castle on a hill. As we walked towards the castle, we started to realise how large it was. It straight up had a moat. Prior to visiting Japan, the only time I’d seen a moat was around sandcastles I made at the beach!
Not sure if this counts as a sandcastle… but Aaron and I made a large cube with a water-less moat when we were in Alabama with friends last year.
OSAKA CASTLE | Day 2 Backpacking | Morning in Osaka | May 22, 2019
If I’m honest, I read a bit about Osaka Castle before going but I didn’t see many pictures of the interior… though I did see many photos of the castle itself and the views from the top of the castle. Come to find out, photography is prohibited on some levels of the castle. This is actually a common theme in many cultural landmarks and exhibits funded by tourism in Japan – there are signs up all over the place noting that they would like to preserve their history, requesting people to refrain from taking pictures of exhibits within the landmarks.
Alexa, play Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran…
The signs noted that prohibition of photography of certain displays/areas helps encourage more tourism and helps them preserve their history!
JOURNEY TO THE CASTLE
What a nice morning for us! Due to a delayed flight, we got to our hotel very late and woke up a bit later than planned (I had written out an entire itinerary down to the minute, knowing full well that we would end up using it just as a rough outline.) so we had to skip out on a full breakfast and hit Lawson (a Japanese convenience store chain) instead.
We both got coffee, Aaron got a couple onigiri, and I got my favourite – the peanut cream rolls. I probably got these things at least every third time we shopped at San-A (a Japanese grocery store chain) when we lived in Okinawa, and I tried to get them every time we stopped at a convenience store for a quick/cheap meal throughout our backpacking trip.
OOF those peanut cream rolls are only ¥100 for a 5-pack! dreamy, creamy, peanut thingies!
As we made our way to Osaka Castle via train, we realised that Osaka had a lot more city life than we expected. I don’t know why, but we expected it to be a much smaller city than it was. Regardless, enjoy some views of Osaka.
Coming out of Watanabebashi Station, we approached this massive water feature that was actually part of the aforementioned moat!
There were old men feeding pigeons, couples strolling in the park, and tourists excitedly approaching the castle! We fell into the latter category.
OSAKA-JO: INSIDE AND OUT
The size of this castle was impressive. As we approached it, we got more and more excited. We stopped and took pictures in front, as we began to assimilate into the hive-mind of tourism.
One nice little tidbit about being a noob-tourist is that although you want pictures of everything, you’re at that sweet spot of social awareness where you realise how annoying it can be to ask others to take your picture and you also don’t want to be disappointed when strangers unavoidably take bad pictures of you.
“did you get my good angle?” “yeah, totally.”
Our solution was to bring a tripod with us everywhere! It definitely helped us get some great pictures, but it also definitely added some weight to my pack. (I carried the larger pack the entire time because it was a women’s small size pack and cut off Aaron’s circulation…) Eh, not a bad trade-off to be a self-sufficient tourist.
Once you enter the castle, you start the bottom, walk directly to the eighth floor (never skip leg day, amirite?), then you tour the different levels as you descend. There was an option for an elevator, but it seemed like the elevator line consisted mostly of elderly folks who actually needed it.
As stated before, photography was not permitted on certain floors, so I didn’t get too many pictures. However, I managed to get a neat photo of a model of a battle!
The rest of the floors had really cool information and displays of weaponry, armour, art, and some interesting 3D videos of people acting out scenarios in what I could only assume were once rooms of the castle.
On our way out, I snagged a picture for scale. We also peered into what I believe to be a well, just to see if anyone would follow suit. We totally started a trend. Some guy straight up shoved his face into it. Kinda funny.
LEAVING THE CASTLE
Heading back to the train station, we took a couple more basic photos of the castle, some goofy pictures of each other, and some cute pictures of what seemed to be a school field trip.
Then we were off to our next destination – Dotonbori!
Check out those cute little hats! I need a good hat that stays on my head when it’s windy.