Osaka Part 1: Tamba to Castle

Osaka – the first place I’ve visited that I knew before arriving in Japan – welcome to my birthday weekend adventures!

The same thrill that filled me as a child when I took off an afternoon from school to go to the dentist, coursed through my veins as I awoke casually on a Friday morning, and began getting ready to fly to Osaka. Truly, is there a greater feeling that being on holiday whilst everyone else works?

An easy journey from Mie to Oita airport lay ahead of me, and I passed through security in little under a couple of mins – the joys of a domestic terminal! No sooner had I boarded and dozed off had I landed in Osaka; I WAS FINALLY ON HOLIDAY!

Turns out the Rapid Transit System isn’t all that rapid, but merely name to separate from, say, local trains. Still, I arrived into Osaka in the light, and was blown away – it was a real city! I mean sprawling suburbs indistinguishable from the central parts, bar a few less skyscrapers, and not all too different my memories of travelling from Hangzhou to Shanghai during my trip to China.

I had a quick look around the station before continuing my journey to Kaibara station, to visit my friend Emma and her friends in Tamba for my birthday meal! Geewhiz, boy was she in the countryside! A single main strip of road with large shops and restaurants along its length, but thankfully the area is crammed full of JETs, so we took dinner 4 of them, enjoying s mix of grilled meats at a small yakiniku place.

Following this, we had drinks, and haphazard games of drinking Jenga to fill the evening and chime in my birthday.

Assault on Osaka Castle10857202_10152632510975667_141412595061591557_o

Awaking slowly on Saturday morning, it was time to see Osaka!

Number 1 on the list – Osaka Castle!

Few original castle exist in Japan, my understanding being that many were burned down during various attempts to unite the country under greater authority, as this was seen as an act of alligence with these higher powers – hence the castle ruins of Oka in Taketa.

Osaka castle, whilst one of the most known in Japan, falls into this burn down/restored category, and has been rebuilt and restored a number of times over the last 400 years. Still it’s an impressive sight, even today, so heaven knows how mighty and imposing it would have been before skyscrapers!

Next was lunch, taken in small ‘English pub’ in central Osaka, followed by a walk along the main streets of Osaka, leading to my Air B’n’B room. As I find with many cities, it becomes almost indistinguishable from many other modern, American-style, gridded city, with a reasonable level of well, and small sized poverty gap, and confirms my feelings it’s really the people you interact with in an area that make it “Japanesy” or different from your own country.

A little grub, exploring the Umeda Sky building and then an early night, already to hit up Harry Potter World bright and early.

By J.Molkenthin

James Molkenthin is an enthusiastic and energetic British Designer, with a background in Graphics, Website and Product Design.