Meeting Japan: Osaka Castle x Osaka Museum of History

Days since my last post: 4 

Ah, onwards to one of my favourite days because we took my favourite photo of the entire trip! I truly looked forward to this day for some reason, though I remember being extremely tired by the time we got back. It was also on this day that we encountered a terrible rain storm in the evening, and his umbrella ultimately failed on him. But more on that later as we go into talking about...

OSAKA CASTLE

But of course, who could claim they've been to Osaka without visiting the Osaka Castle am I right? So welcome everyone, to the famous Osaka Castle.

Glorious as can be. 

Constructed in 1597, the Osaka Castle has since seen many uprises and falls, with the latest restoration job being completed in 1997. It now stands as a museum for excited tourists and locals alike, and inside it holds a whole lot of history. I guess it would make the perfect place for students who would have to study history, because inside it there are pieces of artifacts dating from centuries ago. 

From the outside.

Walking in.

To get to the central tower as in my picture, one must first encounter this long walk from the parks into the castle areas and generally just be prepared to be in awe over everything that comes their way. No kidding, that was me. 

 Checking out the Osaka Castle while wearing an Osaka shirt.

The castle consists of 5 floors, and you'd usually start from the top unless you're taking the stairs. For the disable and elderly, there are lifts available to each floor as well as friendly staffs who would help you through. The view on top is amazing, and you could see the Osaka city from 4 directions.

Unfortunately I only took pictures of 3.

The castle is unsurprisingly crowded, and you'd usually be greeted with food trucks at the entrance for anyone who is hungry. And while it isn't extremely overpriced, you'd still get a better deal outside but if you're at the point of starvation then it could be your temporary saving grace. Or you could always go to the nearby convenience store outside the castle grounds and grab a bite while being seated on the floor.

Literally.

Osaka Castle (Museum)
Open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM
Entrance fee at ¥600 per person, free with the Osaka Amazing Pass

NISHINOMARU GARDEN

To prove a point on the long walk to the central tower, we actually stopped by the Nishinomaru Garden just to enjoy the view a little and boy were we surprised. It's been said that this garden is ridiculously beautiful come spring when the sakura flowers bloom, but we were only greeted with slightly yellowed leaves; a sign that autumn was arriving. I loved it however, and was slightly disappointed that it wasn't MORE yellow than it already was.

Looking at the central tower from the Nishinomaru Garden.

Hi, it's us.

Where everyone has a picnic to watch the sakura flowers.

But the garden isn't just about the trees, because deep inside sits the tea ceremony house Hoshoan which has now been converted into a rest area for tired tourists. It's fully air-conditioned and you can just pop in for free to have a seat, or much like us get some pictures taken!

The said favourite photo. 

It's an interesting concept because for ¥500 you can take a picture at the Hoshoan that they've set up in plain clothes, or for ¥1,000 you can dress up in a yukata for the photo session. A copy is then immediately printed out and framed beautifully for your safekeeping. I guess when you're a tourist somewhere, you should definitely go for the tourist choice and pick the one where you wear the yukata because when else can you don their traditional clothing right?

Have yukata, will picture.

The extremely kind photographer would also offer to take more photos for you on your own camera so you have extra copies in different poses and what not. I doubt they limit the amount of people in one picture, but you only get ONE copy of the printed version. I'm really glad he helped us take one with our own camera though, because my favourite in the end turned out to be the one where we were looking at each other and smiling. Worth every single cent of the ¥1,000 we spent.

Hello, new boyfriend.

The Chajin and my man, featuring Max.

You'll also get to meet Chajin, or the tea man who happens to be the mascot at the Hoshoan. He's available as an extra "visitor" in your photos if you like, or if you're a lone traveler and would like company in your pictures. He's really very cute if you think about it. 

Nishinomaru Garden
Entrance at ¥200 per person, free with the Osaka Amazing Pass
Open 9 AM to 5 PM from March to October
Open 9 AM to 4.30 PM in November and December 
*Open till 8 PM during cherry blossom season

OSAKA MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Please don't even ask me why we were so into museums on this trip, but we figured it's because we can get a slice of traditional Japan this way even while we were in the extremely modern Osaka? Nevertheless, the Osaka Museum of History is actually located just a stone's throw away from the Osaka Castle so why not drop by for a bit anyway? It doesn't take you too long to weave through the museum, and it can get highly interesting inside.

Like seeing this miniature ship with mini humans inside.

 Or discovering how to put together an age-old vase.
 
Or even doing bits of puzzle to uncover a piece of art.

We put this vase back together. Together.

The museum also consists of several floors, and they're sectioned by eras. You'll first discover ancient eras when people still had slave girls in fancy dresses, then perhaps to the 60s or 70s and it just gets more modern as you go.

I think this was on the 70s floor.

Or was it the 80s?

They also have this activity in the museum where you collect chops on every floor you visit, as well as answer a simple pop quiz as a personal souvenir of some sort. Sigh, Japanese people. They think of everything. Yes, if you didn't already notice, I miss the country very much. Very, very much.

Osaka Museum of History
Opens from 9.30 AM to 5 PM, closed on Tuesdays
Entrance at ¥600 per person, free with the Osaka Amazing Pass

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