Sunday, January 14, 2018

#BigDreamerInJapan: Guide to Osaka Castle (Park)

Sorry for not updating any post about my Japan post until now! I’m so excited to write about it, but the time and mood just…don’t match. As usual, I have to push myself to write this and ignoring my sleepiness, hahaha. Finally I will write about the long-awaiting (are you?)  post about my trip in Osaka last year (omg it’s already last year!), this time is Osaka Castle. I’ve told you before that I spent around 6 hours inside, it’s quite long time, huh? Let’s start, shall we ;)
As one of the most iconic landmark in Osaka, I just have to make it to Osaka Castle! My original plan was actually: go to Osaka Castle in the early morning, spend around 2 hours may be enough, then continue my trip to Nara.....MISSION FAILED. I was dead tired that I woke up late (actually not that late, it's 9 AM but my plan was ruined) so unfortunately I must cancel my plan to visit Nara before moving to Kyoto :( Despite of my usual bad panic reaction, I managed pretty well that day. The power of "let go", lol.

By train/subway (got from Japan-Guide)
  • Closest JR Station: Osakajokoen station (JR Loop Line)
  • Closest station to Otemon gate: Tanimachi 4- chrome station (Tanimachi Subway Line/ Chuo Subway Line
My guest house was really really near with Osaka Castle so I just walked there while enjoying the view + got lost because the road was so confusing. There was this funny and dumb thing I did. I had to cross the road and I was waiting for the vehicles to stop, it's sooo long until I saw an old man pressing the button for crossing.......I almost waited forever T.T
Found this beautiful flower but I don't know what is its name, anybody know? There was also a sign saying "Ajisai Garden" if I'm not mistaken, but didn't even notice it before I edited these pictures -_-
They also provide a map of (the huge) Osaka Castle Park there.
From that point, we have to walk around 20 minutes (I think?) to reach the Osaka Castle, it's quite far and long walk but you'll actually enjoy every steps you take tho. I walked pass so many sakura trees, I was kinda sad I came too early to see sakura's full bloom. It will be really really beautiful when it's blooming, like everything is pink omg. Wish I have another chance to visit it during cherry blossom! 
Along the path, you can see so many tourist in group too, and you know you're in the right path, lol. I saw these 4 cute metal little birds too. Don't know if there's a meaning? Hmm.

Walk, walk, walk, and walk until we can see Osaka Castle from afar. Then when arrived, I just randomly asked people to help me take photos. Thankfully other tourists were so nice and helpful, I also offered helping them taking photos tho :)) 

Osaka Castle park is actually free but we have to pay for some facilities inside like the Osaka Castle. The admission fee is 600 yen for personal (15 yo and younger is free) and can get cheaper for groups. If you have Osaka Amazing Pass, it's free!
Please note that you can't expect the interior of Osaka Castle to be the same with the past or you can see how the real castle looks like, because it's already turned into museum that shows the history of Osaka Castle + exhibition that shows war armour and everything left from the war. Those are the real one and we can't take photo of it. When entering the castle, we have to queue and follow the instructions to ride the elevator. They will send us to the top floor of the castle, which is the observation deck. We can see around the Osaka Castle park and other landmarks in Osaka city from here. I always love seeing things from high places, so I loved it so much. 
After you satisfied with the view, we will go downstairs one by one floor which has its own section: the history of Osaka Castle and those who lived inside it, the story of Nobunaga Oda, then following with war exhibition, omiyage stores, etc. Just follow the route and the people and you'll be safe lol. Oh, also don't take any photos of the restricted area please :) 
Overall, it's quite nice experience to know about the history and stuff, but it's super crowded and full of people so I felt a little dizzy after some time. I also bought some omiyage for my mom here. FYI, you can also take photos with samurai/warrior costume, after paying some yen of course. There was also some machine to buy medal of Osaka Castle and we can stamp our name on it. I actually made one but until I write this post, I already forgot about it and don't know where I put it........ Have to find it T.T

There are a lot of food stalls and snacks around the Osaka Castle. Despite the cold weather, I just had to have soft serve because I saw a lot of soft serve stalls along my walk to the castle. I'm glad I did because their Hokkaido Milk flavor was amazing! It's so good you gotta try it when you go there :) Oh, there was also Godiva soft serve that's pretty popular but unfortunately I didn't try it. Kinda regret it, I hope I can try it next time. 
Worry not, they also sell warm and filling food there. I bought stick okonomiyaki because I thought it's unique and I haven't tried or even heard about it before. Sadly, the stick okonomiyaki was not warm enough although it's actually delicious. 

After some walk, I found another street snack stalls that sell fresh fruits, yakitori, takoyaki, and many more. Couldn't stop myself from buying the strawberries. Yes, I love ichigoooo hahaha. One thing that will drain your wallet for sure: STREET FOODS!!
Actually, there are a looot to explore around the Osaka Castle Park. It's huge after all. I saw pink area from the observation deck and I was so excited because I was gonna see the pink flowers that I spent my time walking and walking just to find that place. Along the walk, I found a lot of beautiful spot like the huge bridge, climbed over the stones (stairs) to see the outside of Osaka Castle, took a lot of selfies with Osaka Castle behind, etc. 

Thankfully I succeed in finding that "dream place", lol. I thought it's sakura at first but turned out it's actually plum trees. It's super beautiful and I really really wanted to take photo with it so I just asked random people to help me take one #shameless. 

I picked up this petal from the ground, just because, hahaha. I was too excited seeing those beautiful flowers right in front of my eyes. I could only adore them in 2D form before, lol.
As I already too tired to walk that far, I decided to ride their tram which will send us to the nearest station (while enjoying the scenery). It costed me 300 yen if I'm not mistaken. 

Actually, Osaka Castle is also known as one of the best spot to see cherry blossom. Unfortunately I went to Japan/Osaka too soon that the sakura had not bloomed yet. Best time to visit Osaka is end of March- early April. HOWEVER! I did see the real sakura / cherry blossom! There were some early bloom inside Osaka Castle Park (just a little few of them) and I nearly screamed when I saw that. 
And it's not the end! I also saw these full bloom sakura at another gate of Osaka Castle omg I was so grateful and feeling blessed, hahaha. I, managed to shot a perfect sakura selfie after hundreds of attempts :)) 
That's it! Hope you enjoy reading this post and find it helpful too ;) Spent hours (and days) writing and editing the photos, hahaha. Will write another post soon! Jaa ne~

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