[Osaka, Japan] ~ Airport, Castle and Temple

From finding sleep in airport to peace in temples, it was quite a kick-off, Osaka!  – 10.01-02.15

From experiencing first being stranded in an airport to getting lost in SHINSAIBASHI while in search of my first capsule hotel check-in until those historic site hop from OSAKA CASTLE to SHITENNOJI TEMPLE – latter currently on renovation yet one temple gave me this temporary piece of peace.

It was a trip I was supposed to have almost a year from now. It has to be moved to October but still, these snapshots were almost a year old! But hey, that is what snaps are for sometimes, right? Let’s do this memory 😀

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Having left Manila on a rainy afternoon, I was welcomed by an equally unfriendly weather in Osaka. Of course, the plan was to go straight to where I will be staying (a try at a capsule hotel!) but train was unfortunately no longer operational due to strong winds and some rain. It was a bittersweet moment, actually – as a part of me have always oddly wanted to experience sleeping in airports yet I was also feeling not so good having felt like I was stranded.

I tried to access the Internet for some plan B. But stressful attempts at navigating through a foreign language, I opted to just make best of the situation. I grabbed myself a beer and some onigiri / rice ball (thank you, convenience store!) and spent several hops finding best spot to rest until this discovery of a place in the airport meant for sleeping. By then though, it was about 5 in the morning so there was little time left until I go back to check the first morning train.

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Some pre-departure filling at airport in Manila

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… and because there was too much wait time

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Oh you gloomy weather, you

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Rain source clouds

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HELP.

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One spot…

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… and another…

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… before finally discovering that there is actually a sleeping quarters

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Got myself a train ticket as soon as it was six

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My morning coffee while looking for my capsule hotel

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After asking numerous strangers and police officers, I finally found my capsule hotel. I just freshened up a bit and immediately left to see some must-sees. My plan was to spend my first days there going to touristy places so I availed the railway pass which included free (and discounted) passes to suggested destinations.

First stop was OSAKA CASTLE. 

It was one of the historically important structures in Japan but personally, I just took pleasure in the huge stone gates and walls that separate the castle ground from the moat. As it is a tourist destination, it was as expected crowded – both with foreign tourists and schooling kids on tour.

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Kiddos

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Loving that deep green

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Mandatory feet selfie

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And oh this kid is just the cutest

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And just so I have some proof to self years later that “I was here”

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Some food trucks for the hungry

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I went inside the main castle but very quickly as there was nothing unusual that got my interest. There was a museum, some photo opportunity while wearing different hats and a souvenir store. What somewhat interested me was this free screening of history related to the castle. After which, it was bye-bye for me.

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Why not choose your hat?

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Video screening area

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Souvenir shop at the lobby

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From outside

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Another souvenir shop outside. Was fascinated by the ninja stars

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Made a boo-boo and forgot to capture but there was games on the shop and there was this leader board on its best 

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And then some telling of fortune I do not understand 😀

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And this is when my fascination for Japan capsule toys began

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20151002_110242Playmates

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Tourmates

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Then there was beer. Yey!

(I did not drink though because I was about to leave by this time)

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Next stop was SHITENNOJI TEMPLE. 

It was quite a walk from the station getting there but I loved the vibe of the street as it was quiet – a relief from the chaos at Osaka Temple. This also meant though that I almost lost going there because no other tourists to follow or ‘join’. The street I was walking in was lined with commercial establishments that were still closed that time of day so there was literally no people that when I saw one setting up shop, I immediately approached him to ask where the temple is.

 

There was some renovation in the temple ground so I was initially unhappy but I suppose it was a blessing in disguise as there were very few people – just some locals doing their worship and almost none of photographing tourists like me. I just went around the compound, occasionally taking photos but I guess what I would forever take with me is the feeling of calmness I found in that place. (It is in this place where I actually started to become more interested in seeing temples – not on the historical nor structure side but more for the vibe in the people, especially those who came to worship).

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Find me somewhere

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Finally.

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Amused by ways of faith

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Just because I thought this was lovely

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A random object in a corner but look how its redness was in contrast to the grey

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In perspective

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Inner


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What was left

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Those giant structures called Nio (Benevolent Kings) guarding the entrance from evils and thieves (according to some post-research)

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Candid selfie

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Little people

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So that was half of my first day in Osaka! Bear with me as I craft the rest.

OTHER PRACTICAL DETAILS : 

From Manila, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly directly to Osaka.

Train is the lifesaver from the airport to the city center and to different tourist destinations.

(Will add more details later as I just need to check my travel notebook.)

Update : 

If you plan on using subway in getting around tourist destinations, you may avail of the Osaka Amazing Pass (priced at 2100yen/day, 3000/2 days). You may check more details here.  It includes unlimited use of subways and city buses as well as free admission to Osaka Castle, Umeda Building etc.

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