I first arrived in Osaka at the beginning of April 2017 (yes, I chose not to fly into Tokyo!) and stayed here for about 4 days exploring the different castles, temples, shrines and numerous restaurants. I’ve had days where all I did was walk around, see a shrine and then feel hungry so I’d go eat something. The food here is UNBELIEVABLY GOOD!

Osaka was my first taste of Japan and luckily I was here during the start of Sakura (world-famous Cherry Blossom season) to witness the cities and riverbanks turn pink for two weeks. Everywhere in this time, from Osaka to Hiroshima, was just perfect for the viewing of sakura. 

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Photographed at Osaka Castle (that’s not the main castle behind – just a watchtower).

I was lucky enough to immediately meet some awesome people in Osaka while at the hostel (Ark Hostel, I definitely recommend this place if you’re looking for places to stay!) and we spent the next few days touring the city and other places together. We never actually got a picture all together, but here’s a typical backstage picture of foreign tourists …

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Stefan in the foreground; Chris in the blurred background. Both taking pictures of the incredibly pink sakura tree. Photo-ception here 🙂

Osaka is a huge city with lots of everything. Most tourists will go see the castles and the shrines – I mean, that’s what Japan is all about, right? – and then follow whatever the guidebook says to do. Well, I have a guidebook but I haven’t even opened it to be honest. I just walked around looking for anything interesting to catch my eye and found stuff to keep me busy during the day – this technique of randomly walking about has worked really well for me during this entire trip, but I have a pretty good sense of direction, so don’t be fooled!

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Osaka Castle. Cloudy, but undefined skies make for a very boring background … 

This site was one of the only things that I WANTED to see in Osaka, the rest was just randomly discovered by my wandering. It’s a pretty spectacular building that has ‘survived’ for centuries and been through countless wars at the hands of the samurai and various feudal lords. The history of these wars is quite fascinating, but from what I understand, it basically boils down to control over lands and territory – and who holds the main channels of power in the country.

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An illustration of the Osaka Castle under attack by the different armies in the land. Currently displayed at the Castle main park area. 

I’ll be honest though, you get pretty tired of castles and shrines after having seen fifteen that all look more or less the same (without wanting to be disrespectful) so it is nice to be able to find some things that stand out and aren’t the ordinary tourist attraction. I’m not a fan of big crowds, especially those that involve lots of unnecessary noise and commotion. Unfortunately, in Japan, most the tourist stuff is in cities, so it gets a little more difficult to go and see the wild side of this country – though it hasn’t stopped me from doing so (those stories and pictures will come in following updates)!

“It is better to walk alone, than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.”

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The grey skies of Spring.

All the best.


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