Iconic Stops – Osaka
Just looking through the Osaka and Kyoto shots (with a day trip to Nara), I’m having some difficulty filtering and deciding what to post. How much is too much or too little or how I should group the pictures to post…I’m kinda muddling along and hopefully I don’t get myself all confused along the way. I’m actually missing the food (never thought I’d say that) and the buzz.
The shrines, gardens and UNESCO world heritage sites really deserve posts of its own. So I figured for this, I should zoom in on what I felt were iconic spots. The slightly over a week long trip involved a tremendous amount of walking. Blisters and aching feet aside, I was rewarded with memorable sights – some hopefully captured in a my own unique way, others would be fairly commonplace that one would typically see in travel literature.
So this is my takeaway for Osaka….will do one for Kyoto.
First up – the Osaka Castle. If there is only one icon to choose to visit, I reckon most tourists would visit the Osaka Castle. It’s best associated with historic figure Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Currently in its third reincarnated form, being destroyed or ruined through time, it looks like a really popular site not just with foreign visitors but also locals wanting to experience a bit of history.
The scenery around Osaka Castle is quite a pretty sight.
So right in downtown Osaka, connected to the massively popular Shinsaibashi Shopping Paradise, sits Dotonburi. Lots of food stops that Osaka is famous for – Crabs, puffer fish, Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki etc etc) can be found in the compact and colorful streets of this district.
Going up tall buildings is not one of my favourite ‘to-dos’. However I read much about the Umeda Sky Building sky walk – and saw it in one K-drama starring a favourite actor/singer Rain. So I was determined to brave my fears and ride up 39 floors to its Floating Garden Observatory.
It was a 15-20 minute connection from Osaka Station to reach this 173 m tall skyscraper. I could only let out a big WOW when I reached the base of the building.
Right at the top within the circular portion of the photo, are two enclosed escalators that take visitors from 35th to the 39th storey. Right. Legs already fairly wobbly from beneath the building, I reassured myself that I could overcome my acrophobia. Of course, I overlooked the little detail that the lift traveling up 35 floors was a glass one that could allow its riders full view of the beautiful surroundings. Only that I realized the truth after ascending a few floors in what I thought was an enclosed lift pod and was suddenly filled with bright lights from the full glass lift panels. The I can’t remember how many seconds lift ride was one of unspeakable terror – as irrational as it sounds.
Once we reached the lobby to switch to the glass escalators, I bailed out. My husband kindly volunteered to capture the shots for me from the observatory. I felt a tinge of regret, knowing that the fleeting sunset casting its warm light across the landscape would certainly make pretty memorable pictures. The next two pictures were not taken by me.
This was what he captured.
The only shot I managed to take from behind the thick protective glass where I waited, was this.
This last shot, although not an icon per se, but I felt it was a little gem of a discovery while we walked from the Nakanoshima Park, a quiet open spaced garden that was a respite away from the hive of activity in central Osaka. The seemingly endless pathway of trees on both sides made this a very pleasant route indeed.