We had a good night rest. Breakfast was included in the room rates at the Toyoko Inn and serve from 7 am. Even though we were down at the caferia before 7 am, we had to wait till the staff had set out everything. Then they queue up and wish everyone a cheery Good morning and happy meal (I think so from the smiles on their faces!). We love these breakfast and really looked forward to our breakfast every morning!
It was a bright and sunny day as we walked towards the subway. Did I mention that the sun rises really early ..around 3 to 4 am (that's why its call the Land of Rising Sun) and by 9 am it was already rather hot as we followed our guide........
the NHK office..
again a beautiful cover depicting Osaka Castle...
The moat surrounding the castle...
everywhere we go, we can see beautifully sculptured bonsai
part of the strong fortress ... Takoishi Stone - the largest stone in the castle wall around 59.43 sq meter and weighing approx 108 tonnes....
these stones are so masive, make you wonder how amazing "horse or man-power" was then as some of these were taken from quarry 100km away from Osaka!
part of the old Museum beside the castle
a time capsule in front of the castle
the 5-storey building of the castle.
This was the site of a temple constructed in 1583 but was destroyed around 1615. The Tokugawa reign rebuilt the castle in 1620 but the main castle building was struck by lightning and burnt down. This new building was reconstructed around 1931. We took the lift up to the 5th Floor where we can go outside the balcony and get a panoramic view of the city.
Inside the museum is the replica of the Shachihoko - the mythical creature which has the head of the dragon and the body of a fish and tiger. Both these are symbols of prestige and authority of the castle lord and more powerful as it was covered in gold.
the model showing the battle - very detailed workmanship of each figurine!
After the castle, we walked towards Shinsekai, Osaka "new world" district...
kawai....... this was at entrance of the park..big open spaces
passed the park and this was as far the eyes can see.. wonder how deep into the park....
I like to watch the TV programme about how they renovated the houses in Japan before and after. While the houses are generally seemed so small, it is truly surprising that the parks and temple grounds can be so huge!
towards Shinsekai... Osaka "new world" district which was developed before the war and then neglected later.
strolling along the busy shopping street of Shinsekai
plenty of eateries.... fresh sushi...
one of the many statues of Billiken... known as "the God of Things as They ought to be"
Billiken is actually a charm doll created by an American art teacher and illustrator and it became the mascot of Saint Louis University in America before hitting the shores of Japan in 1912.
Rubbing his soles to make your wish come true...
the first Billiken was installed in the original Tsutenkaku Tower but it disappeared when the tower was destroyed. It was re-installed in the re-constructed Tower in 1980.
coffee culture is growing up in Japan.
seniors passing their time playing chess..
Saw this cute little shop and I do mean "little" as most of the shops are in Japan. The owner told us that he loves cats and jazz. Many of the drawings are done by himself.
a look the streets of Shinsekai....
time for lunch and today we decided to try Yakiniku ie "grilled meat" and that also include offals but we did not try those.
This shop must be a very popular one ... plenty of dining space where we can see a whole party of friends and family gathering together and sitting down to enjoy themselves.
Before the meat/veggies arrived, we were served with a plate of cold cabbage and a bowl of black dipping sauce. This was so refreshing.
Tsutenkaku Tower was built as a symbol of Shinsekai (new world) in 1912 and was modelled after the Eiffel Tower. The original tower was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1956. There is a observatory and is one of the popular tourist destination.
the "under belly" of the Tower
our favourite shopping area- nothing beats the market to taste good food and get the idea of what the Japanese eat and do
Don't be mistaken this for the wet (literally) markets as in Malaysia. This is comparably clean and dry except for the fish stalls selling fresh sushi and cheap ie prices very reasonable, on the spot! .
large fresh seafoods which they can cook for you
tantalising pickles which you can savour without obligation to buy which we did not take advantage of..
delectable mochi sweets
and coffee beans
and talking of coffee, it has been a long walk and time to rest and recharge..
the UCC Coffee Plaza near the Kuromon market.
the place was packed as it was a weekend and as we waited awhile for our table,.....
we were able to see the barista at work. This is siphon coffee.. lots of apparatus hah?
no coffee art.. but the coffee was strong and good
relaxing and resting our feet.