Saturday, I travelled to Osaka from Kyoto, just 28 minutes on a special rapid service train. I left my bags at the hotel, which was across from the train station, and set off for Osaka Castle which is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its most recent restoration. There has been some kind of residence on the site since 1496. However, the castle was reconstructed as such by the second Tokugawa shogun in 1620. It’s most recent reconstruction was necessary because the castle was severely bombed during WW II. There are 8 floors, the top floor being the one with spectacular views of Osaka. the remaining floors are a museum depicting the history of the castle in dioramas and with various artefacts. I include 3 photos of the castle and moat and one of the views.
On Sunday, I headed out for the Asian Ceramics Museum. I eventually got there after a lot of detours to avoid the Osaka Marathon. I enclose a couple of photos of the marathon crowd but could take no photos in the museum. The museum focuses on Chinese, Japanese and Korean ceramics, notably celadon from both China and Korea. It has one National Treasure, a tea bowl. Japanese National Treasures can be inanimate or human. They are usually very important works of art or people who have created works of great artistic merit, including poets and authors. I then went on to one of the mega shopping areas of Osaka of which there are quite a few. I don’t think all the stores in Ottawa would fill one of them. My interest was in one particular street which is renowned for selling every kind of kitchen item that you need to cook and serve Japanese food. I found a couple of things that I wanted that I had not bought elsewhere because they are breakable and I didn’t want to carry them around. I was lucky to find one item, a small ceramic grill. Only one shop had a few. They are popular in Takayama where the local beef speciality is cooked on them on a magnolia leaf. I will have to find a substitute for the leaf.
I leave tomorrow. The weather has been great. There have been no earth tremors. The people are wonderful. Everything works – if sometimes too quickly (you only get two minutes to get on and off a bullet train). The scenery is beautiful. It is not really too expensive, especially for food and shopping. It’s not too hard to get around on your own. Japan needs tourists. You should come.