Osaka Castle: A Lot of Excitement in Only a Little Time
November 27, 2014. It was the third Sunday of the month, I just got woken up when I realized that it had been three weeks since I was allocated to plan our business project in Osaka City, but I hadn’t seized an opportunity to roam around the city yet. Finally, that day came to my senses. I did a little research, hit the ground running, and got ready for a good day.
I was determined to see the famous Osaka Castle. I initially checked the weather to assure my tour would be all set. If you don’t want your sight-seeing moment to get ruined by a sudden flash of the rain or poor weather for travel, you ought to check the forecast ahead of time. Based on my experiences, Japan’s weather forecast is very reliable.
From my hotel near Shin Osaka Station, I took a 20-minute subway ride up to Tanimachi 4-chome Station. Accessing Osaka Castle is like a walk in the park (pun intended) especially when your starting point is at Shin-Osaka Station. At Tanimachi 4-chome Station, you can ask directions from staff and mostly you’ll be given out pamphlet/leaflets containing basic access information that comes in English.
When I got off the train and while I was contemplating my path to the castle, I followed where the crowd was headed to. Being a keen observer is a constant requirement.
Osaka Castle Park is the second largest park in the city. As a tourist, even though I have had inadequate knowledge about the site’s history, yet I was astonished by the preservation of the fortress. To get to the top of the castle, the entrance fee is 600 yen per person. Good thing that visitors 15 years old and younger get in free of charge.
I took the very moment of climbing up the historical castle. It is indeed old, but how the Japanese have managed to preserve the infrastructure is notable. The interior facilities are quite modernized while still stressing the medieval appeal of the castle. You have two selections to access the building’s uttermost division, either on foot or by elevator. I must recommend using the stairs for more exciting and time-killing bonding with companions.
Osaka Castle has five levels from the entrance floor, including the peak’s observation deck. I couldn’t contain how flabbergasted I was when I had started viewing the museum’s valuable pieces. The floors store a collection of more or less 10,000 historical artifacts used by early men from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (around 1570 to 1600.) These old proofs include maps, swords, daggers, armors and other personal things of some great men before.
My favorite part of the building was the observation deck which measures 50 meters above the ground. From the far-reaching sight, I had managed to see the mountains and tall buildings from afar. My eyes were over-whelmed by the wonderful view; the trees, the sport-field nearby, the green pasture around the area, the blue bright sky and the people making their own blissful memories with families and friends.
After enjoying the view, you might choose to buy some souvenirs which are available on the same floor. They have keychains, figurines, and of course various sweets. The Japanese word for souvenir is omiyage — a helpful word when looking for a nearby souvenir shop.
If you get hungry from merrily walking around the park, grab a bite at the numerous kiosks and small diners, food is not that expensive. Get some takoyaki plates, hot porridges, ice creams, freshly-cooked sweet potatoes, Yaki-tori on a stick (grilled chicken) and a lot more. Also, an improvised stage close to market area had caught my eye. A grandiose and fierce-looking man equipped with an ancient clothing of a warrior they call “Samurai.” According to Google, Samurai (侍) were the military-nobility and officer-caste of medieval and early-modern Japan. Based on the idea I grew up with, I have seen these warriors as the honorable and disciplined class of Japanese.
By the way, a place like this won’t be completed without a pinch of entertainment. I had a whale of time watching a male performer in his black costume circulating a ball around his hand which seems to be floating on air.
Before sunset, I left the inner vicinity. I walked around the park for a few minutes while taking unlimited photos. It was soul-replenishing when you linger your eyes to the aesthetic of the fluvial part of the park. People call it “The Greatest Stone Wall,” I must say it clearly justifies its name. The main castle and its nearby historical infrastructures are surrounded by moats and stone walls. The stone walls look firm, I just couldn’t resist imagining how impenetrable the Castle was against attacks during the aged era. It was a peaceful way of ending a tour, very still and very rewarding.
If I could get another time and another moment to make it to Osaka City, I would. I maybe had only a little time of exploring around this lovely place but it was still worthwhile. It’s never too late to hit the highways and byways, so long as nature provides me places to go, I will try new things, explore new places and experience new recreations.
For more information, see the Osaka Castle website.