Sunrise Country – DAY EIGHT

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Hello again on a new chapter of my personal Japanese saga as a travel photographer. This day was Osaka day. It was planned for some time, only that there are always differences between what you plan at home and what you can really achieve, on the road. In a sense that you often visit and do less than what you had on your initial “to do/to see” list.

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From Kyoto to Osaka, by train, we had a pleasant one hour ride with our JP Passes. It actually took us longer to get from home to the train in Kyoto Station.

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Arrived in Osaka, our first destination was Osaka Castle, or 大阪城, Ōsakajō.

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Built in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but destroyed a few times afterwards, the Osaka Castle was reconstructed and in 1931 it got its final shape, with some important repairs in 1997.

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At its epoch, it was the biggest castle built in Japan, surrounded by heavily fortified walls and water channels. Now its is considered the no. 1 tourist attraction in Osaka – for us, it really was.

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There are many alleys in the vast surrounding gardens. We walked quite a bit until we finally arrived at the castle. The number of tourists is impressive, but we blended in and got in the line for the access tickets.

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Right after we bought our tickets, a live show was about to begin and a lot of people were magnetized by the beautiful live performance on stage. We watched in admiration, but after a while we decided to enter the castle, taking advantage of the relatively non cramped access stairs.

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The castle is a museum and the rebuilding process used concrete and elevators, but they kept the original interior and exterior design. Inside it is very crowded on its narrow stairs and you must climb several floors until you get to the beautiful panoramas over the Osaka City. It is very much worth it.

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Osaka is a very large and modern city. It is the second largest metropolitan area in Japan with up to 19 million inhabitants. The view from the highest accessible point at the castle is simply splendid.

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After our visit at the Osaka Castle, we went to the train station to go to our second area on interest: the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, together with the Kaiyukan Aquarium.

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Those two huge point of interests for tourists are situated close to each other, in the Osaka Bay Area.

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This location is also called Tempozan Harbor Village and includes many other interesting things to see and experiment. First, we wanted to try the ferris wheel and get the best panoramic view over Osaka City.

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The waiting line was immense and it cost us a lot of time, but from a maximum height of more than 112 meters, the view over the Osaka Bay and the city with its skyscrapers is simply astonishing.

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This beautiful “photographic show” was just as promised. From above here, we clearly saw the Osaka Aquarium, our next destination.

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Kaiyukan – the Osaka Aquarium 海遊館 is situated next to the ferris wheel and its biggest tank can hold about 5.400 tons of water, where you can see different species of marine life, including sharks.

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The ticket is about 2.300 yen and it is also crowded, being one of the top 5 biggest tourist attractions in Osaka.

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There are many corridors plunged in the darkness, so you need to use your lenses at their widest aperture value and not being afraid of bumping up the ISO. It is a very beautiful visual experience for both kids and adults. By the time we have finished our visit at the aquarium, the night was about to fall.

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One last look behind, to the ferris wheel and the darkness was enveloping us, on our way, by foot, to the train station.

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It was a full and busy day, but I already felt the regret, by the end of our Osaka journey, that this marvelous city has so much to offer and we have seen so little of what it could offer. We went to the train station with that inner promise we would come back and experience more.

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On our way back home, we felt the fatigue of those walked and climbed kilometers, but we were pleased to visit a new place, a new city, as our first trip together away from Kyoto. Arriving at home, one of the most sorrowful things had to be done: packing. It was the last night in our beloved Kyoto 京都, former capital of Japan and former residence of the emperor until 1868. Good night, Kyoto – by far the most loved, appreciated and walked city in our whole Japanese experience! The next day, Tokyo was waiting for us.

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All photos and text – © Sebastian Boatca 2017 / http://www.sebastianboatca.com

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