Sunday, 9 July 2017

Japan Tour (3 - 11 May 2017), Day 8 : Osaka

Osaka Castle from the inner moat
Osaka Castle in the background admist modern buildings

The city is filled with many waterways like this
The old and the new, view from outer moat
Most castles have huge rocks placed at the front portion of the castle as shown here at Osaka Castle. It is meant to attract attention and to show the authority of the Lord.
Two mythical guardians
Great defence...strong gates on the outer wall
Great defence...wide moats
Great defence...high walls and great vantage point
Old stone stairs next to the new ram
Short cut to Shitenno Ji
Shitenno Ji
Turtles representing longevity
Fishing out wishes cast into the urn. Didn't realize the 'no photography' rule
Police beat next to the park where we had our picnic lunch
The street next to the park
Another sacred place near the park
On the way to LORO. Note the bike parking system for the flats
Japanese supermoms
Japanese supermoms
Commuting to work
Commuting to work
Commuting to work
Commuting to work
Commuting to work
Commuting to work

We were finally in Osaka and everyone had different agendas. Bernie and Suzie who had visited the city only early this year, wanted something different. They opted for Universal Studios leaving VT and Claudine to do their own bike shopping.

Our stay at Rihga Nakanoshima, was strategically located. Just next to Higobashi train station, this was the line Bernie and Suzie took to get to Universal Studios and this was the same line we took to get to Hilton's for our airport transfer. Just one station away with regular bus services, we slept all the way to the airport on the day of our departure.

Rihga is located 3.5 km north of Dotonbori. This makes it very close to the main shopping district but far enough from the glitz. The streets nearby were dotted with shops and restaurants that are not at cut throat prices. A 7 Eleven store is just next door and a Family Mart is only 100 m away, offering cheap breakfast alternatives! If it gets too cold or too late to walk the streets, a 24 hours convenience store is accessible through a side door, right next to the lobby!

The day started with a visit to Osaka Castle for VT and Claudine. Situated less than 4 km away from Rihga, they arrived quickly on the outer moat. Stepping in through the back gates, they managed to enjoy the architecture while avoiding the throngs of tourists. Inside, the inner moat was a bit more commercialized, offering boat rides!

Climbing up the new ram that goes over the century old stairs, we were soon awed by the castle that loomed right above us. Surrounding the castle was a fort with rocks carved out for crossbows.

The souvenier shops in the main ticketing area are also worth a visit. They offer a huge myriad of gifts, all reasonably priced. Japan Post has a booth in the inner moat offering commemorative stamps for interested philatelist.


Shitenno Ji was the next visit for Claudine and VT. A Buddhist temple dating back to the first century, it is often regarded as the first Buddhist and oldest officially administered temple in Japan. Modern day today, most of the structures there has since been reconstructed.

Leaving the temple, we chanced upon Aeon Supermarket. It was coming to lunch hour and the delicatessen were dishing out hot Okonomiyaki, something VT had wanted to eat since Day 1. As he doesn't eat raw fish, it was a good opportunity for Claudine to pack the sushi from the sushi belt as well. Strange that we have to pay for our shoyu and wasabi in Aeon Malaysia but they are given out freely in Japan.

It was also our last day in Osaka. Claudine and VT took the opportunity to stocked up on supplies to bring home. Checking out from the supermarket, they googled for a park to enjoy their picnic lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find one just a few hundred meters away!

Finally, their bike shopping began. They went to LORO and right after that BECKON. In fact, for the 1 km stretch from the hotel, the scenes were dotted with at least 4 such shops!!! Rapha was a mere 2 km away to which they had made a touch down the day before!

Back at the hotel, it was time to keep their bikes and return to Beckon to pick up their pre-arranged cardboard boxes. The couple made the 1.1 km walk back and returned home the same way with their huge boxes. Chin up, they braced the labour for the sakes of their beloved bikes!

Night scenes, scavenging for food
Night scenes, scavenging for food

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