Osaka and the Manchester of the Orient

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle


Just the other week, my girlfriend and I decided to be proper tourists and we went off to Osaka castle, and did a boat ride up the river.

Great fun! I really like Osaka castle, it’s the 2nd time I’ve visited there (admittedly the first was just for half an hour as we got there a bit late), but there are some great views of Osaka, and it also looks pretty cool.

Although it was only built in 1935! The original has been destroyed many times, and the latest is a reproduction of what it looked like when Hideyoshi Toyotomi first built it.

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle


Unfortunately the inside just looks like any museum, but they have some interesting exhibitions on (when we went there was a collection of new Japanese swords), and some cool videos telling the story of the castle (well, they’re models, with videos displayed on them, to give kind of a 3D effect, like a hologram but not.

Difficult to explain, I’ll try and find a video clip, and stick it up.

Also, this time they had “dress like a samurai for ¥300”, which, being a tourist, I did.

Baka Gaijin

Baka Gaijin


As they say here in Japan, “Baka gaijin”.
Anyway, it seemed to create some interest amongst the other tourists, so I think I started a trend.

Afterwards we found the 1970 Expo Time Capsule, which has about 1000 items buried to be opened every 100 years, and one extra special box of goodies to be opened in 5000 years!
No idea what’s in them unfortunately, maybe some “conbeni” (convenience store) food, I’m sure it lasts that long.

Time Capsule

Time Capsule


We also found some of those cardboard people things (gotta find out the correct name for them), which I love, and it’s my mission to have my photo taken at everyone of them in Japan (which judging by how prolific they are, could take some doing!)
Samurai Jim

Samurai Jim


Finally we went on the boat trip up the river. Now Osaka is a great city, and has some very beautiful parts, however the river is not one of them. Compared to say, the boat ride up the Thames, or a canal cruise in Amsterdam, there’s something kind of lacking about the Osaka trip, mainly beautiful or interesting buildings.

The highlight of the trip was
a) seeing Osaka castle way off in the distance,
b) Seeing the ceiling of the boat lower 30cm, so it can get under low bridges
c) Finding out that Osaka used to be called the Manchester of the Orient – because of the factories, and the use of the river to transport goods, like the Mancehster ship canal I guess.

Still, I love river boat trips, so I was more than happy. It’s also a very low boat, so you sit only about 1m above the waters surface. Which was nice (for me).
Have to find some photos of it, to post.

All in all, a great day, finished off with a trip to Korean town, and some fantastic Yakiniku (korean bbq).


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