Fukuoka castle ruins / Fukuoka tower 11 03

After a final day of relaxing in Hiroshima then travelling on the 10th I arrived to be welcomed to some lovely rain! Using one of my first ever Japanese Uber which was very cheap and friendly I arrived at my next hostel. Having spent the night in due to rain and tiredness from travel I used that time to plan the 11th.

Having been told by one of the receptionists at the hostel that a lot of the attractions were closed in Fukuoka I had to replan some of the places I wanted to visit as nearly all the museums were closed in the city. Luckily the park grounds for the castle ruins were still open so I headed there in the morning!

The castle grounds were not at all what I expected! As I hadn’t looked at any photos prior I didn’t realise that the whole grounds was a ruin. I had expected maybe one or two reconstructed buildings including the main castle but the whole thing was just a park.

Still very much a beautiful sight to visit with a stunning view from the very top of the ruins. This is where it is suspected it was the location of the main turret of the castle once stood. (Seen above) There were foundations just underneath the main viewing platform which backs this.

Moving on from the park I stumbled across the gokoku jinja shrine which was located just across from my next destination which was ohri park.

I headed back to my next destination which was Ohori Park. This park is quite well known for its island that runs through the middle of the lake which you can cross. Not much else to say about the park but here is a bunch of photos!

After that I was contemplating on heading back to the hostel as I was still very tired from travelling but after looking at the map I saw how close i was to the Fukuoka Tower so I decided to make the extra walk just to see it! Some cool things spotted along the way also including one of the main baseball stadiums.

A absolutely amazing sight to see! Definitely worth the extra walk but now it was definitely time to call it a day and start the long walk back to the hostel!

Hiroshima castle ruins 8 03

After spending the 7th inside due to some torrential rain I headed up towards Hiroshima’s castle ruins on the morning of the 8th.

The castle was fully surrounded by a river which was home to some turtles that were out in the sun!

Going into the castle there was a couple of ponds actually higher up in the castle grounds which were home to some Japanese Carp! I’m unsure if it is koi or carp as the koi is domesticated version but later on in the blog might provide the answer

The castle ruins were very barren as there was only a couple of reconstructed buildings as the rest were destroyed during the bombing in 1945. Reconstructions took place in 1958

One of the main buildings that was reconstructed was the actual castle it’s self which is sometimes referred to as the Carp castle based on what the region was previously called. This would explain the carp surrounding the castle and in the castle grounds but one of the workers told me it was koi so who knows

Finishing off the day I headed out in the nightlife to see how it was in Hiroshima! Overall a lot quieter than Osaka but still some very unique things to see.

Peace memorial park 05/06 03

Started off the 5th of March saying farewell to Osaka. Got a taxi up to the Umeda sky building complex where I was getting the bus from Osaka to Hiroshima using the willer express service. Right beside the bus terminal there is a cafe where you can rest and get some lunch before departing. I opted for the buffet upstairs (¥1000) where you can get coffee/juice/tea a various selection of Japanese mains and side dishes and a awesome selection of deserts!

The bus arrived 15 minutes before departure and left perfectly on time. I opted for the relax experience which was a extra ¥500 and you get the seat beside you as well! Adds a bit more privacy and a space to store your hand luggage.

The bus stopped a total of 4 times over the 6 hour journey all at rest stations which offered food vendors and a place to walk about and use the restroom if needed. Overall a good experience for a great price!

Starting off the 6th of March by heading to the peace memorial park which was located around 10 minutes from my hostel across a beautiful river.

The park was highly maintained and offered some great information for English readers on every exhibit. Unfortunately a lot of the places located around the park were closed such as peace memorial museum and the peace memorial hall limiting your visit to only the park

Still a beautiful place to visit! Plenty of rest stops to sit and relax in the sun which made up for the closing of areas.

A final place I visited was the atomic bomb dome. Was a pretty surreal experience as I’ve seen so many photos and posts about it but there it was in front of me!

To finish off the afternoon I headed around the shopping area in Hiroshima and stumbled across a arcade. Being the first one I visited I was amazed at the 6 floors of different games you could play. To no surprise the dominant games throughout the arcade were the rhythm games. Knowing this was what to expect as I’ve played a couple myself before coming it was amazing seeing it all in person. I managed to spend 2 hours in there for only (¥800) which is very generous compared to a UK arcade.

Another thing I noticed is that the locals are crazy good at the rhythm games, not a single person I saw playing them was bad!

Umeda sky building / Pokemon Center 3/4 03

Coming into day 3 of my time in Osaka I found myself wanting to go to the Umeda sky building which is home to a beautiful observation deck at the top offering 360 degree views of Osaka!

After taking the elevator to the 39th floor you then take the diagonal elevator seen above at the top across to the lower viewing area which is home to a restaurant and information on the building.

After taking a walk around if you would like to go to the upper viewing platform which is the roof of the building you have to pay ¥1,500 yen. (roughly £10)

You can then see down onto the doughnut like shape of the building as well as off into the city of Osaka from every direction!

After that I decided to stop by the restaurant and see what they had to offer. One of the promotional items took my eye which was the Uji Macha Parfait which was definitely worth its price!

Travelling back down to the bottom Of the tower it has a connecting garden which had plenty of seats available to sit back and enjoy the surroundings! It was also a beautifully sunny day so made the experience even better.

After leaving I wanted to head to the Daimaru shopping Center which was close by. Mainly because it was home to a couple of interesting cultural shops such as the main Pokemon Center of Osaka. Unfortunately as I arrived it was closed with a familiar sign talking about the Coronavirus. Because of that I decided to take the long way back to my hostel exploring more of Osaka with a hour+ walk.

I then ended off the night visiting the shake shack in the shinsaibashi shopping area which I had been told was good!

Moving onto day four I had a long lie in as as the walking from the past 3 days was catching up. I went out to get some breakfast and discovered it was pouring down with rain and smartly enough I didn’t bring a rain jacket with me.

Unable to do a lot as it continued to rain into the night I quickly headed to the Daimaru shopping centre in shinsaibashi which to my luck was open. This is home to the smaller but still impressive Pokemon Center DX!

After that I headed back to get some more rest as I had a semi early start the following day as I was travelling to Hiroshima via bus. Overall my time in Osaka was great! Stayed for the right length of time just unfortunate that some of the places I wanted to go were closed!

Tsutenkaku / Shitennoji 2/03

Day number 2 in Osaka feeling a bit drained and still still sleep deprived from my flight but I have some pretty cool places to visit today!

Firstly I had to stop by a Starbucks and try the Sakura Frappuccino as it is advertised almost everywhere in Osaka! I’d give it a 8/10 but price wise it was worth it. Now onto my destination.

What seems to be a general theme already of this trip is that I was happily sidetracked off to another location on the way to my destination which was the beautiful Imamiya Ebisu Shrine! With the lack of tourist’s all these smaller locations are so peaceful with just locals passing in and out.

Now finally my plan was to head to the shinsekai area which is described as a beautifully colourful area of Osaka which features the “Eiffel Tower” of Osaka, Tsutenkaku.

You pay a price of 800 yen (less for older/younger) to travel up to the 5th floor of the building which is the viewpoint area. If your wallet is a bit heavier you can pay an additional 500 yen to travel to a higher viewpoint offering better views.

From the tower I could also see the tallest building in Osaka which was completed in 2014 called Abeno Harukas

Next on the list was Shitennoji which was about a 10 minute walk from the tower so had to go check it out but first another sidetrack into Tenoji park which features a beautiful bridge across it with Tsutenkaku in the background

Now Shitennoji is a Buddhist temple which is regarded as one of the oldest administrated temples in japan despite the redos that it has had over the years.

Now to get a closer look at the 5 story pagoda which is in the inner courtyard you have to pay 300 yen to be able to walk around the courtyard and go inside the buildings.

Unfortunately I couldn’t take any photos on the inside as photography is not allowed inside.

On my way out of the temple I came across some Sakura already blooming which was a great reason to take a photo!

Shinsaibashi / Ebisu Bridge 1/03

Shinsaibashi is a very long shopping district which connects with the Ebisu Bridge which takes you across the river that travels through Osaka. The district remains steadily busy during the day but gets increasingly busier at night till about 10-11pm when the shops begin to close. After splitting off to the right or left of the Ebisu bridge is where you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of food outlets all with hustlers giving you better deals than the shop beside them if you come and eat at their restaurant. Some of them will repeatedly shout for your attention or use sounds or music to grab your attention.

After spending a couple of hours regaining my energy back at the hostel I decided it was time to explore the night life of Osaka! I had spent the night before having a early night due to airport travelling.

Ebisu Bridge

One of the main attractions of Osaka is the Ebisu bridge which connects various shopping districts gives amazing views along the river as well as in the square which it resides.

It was extremely busy on a Sunday night extending the time it was taking to get from one place to another! Almost As busy as princess street during Christmas time.

Again the streets of Osaka never fail to amaze me becoming so beautiful at night time. The illuminating lights in the street make it so amazing!

As seen below a street filled with many dining opportunities most covered with the Japanese curtain called Noren made everything feel so warm and homely.

A small close provided a beautiful photo opportunity one of many in the Osaka night life! It also offered a read into Japanese culture as you walked along it.

Another note to mention when travelling down up the road 26 alongside Ebisu bridge it’s where to look out for the big designer shops. Amazing buildings for every single store!

Namba Shrine / Osaka Castle 1/03

Namba shrine

Set off with my initial intention of heading towards Osaka Castle to spend most of my early morning/afternoon exploring the surroundings and garden. While heading towards the castle I split off to take a visit to the Namba Shrine.

The peaceful area surrounded by tall office blocks offers some lovely sites throughout. At around 9:30am when I went it was very quiet but passers by on their way to work would stop by and pray.

Minamimido Temple

Another stop on my way to the castle where more morning prayers were being held. Open to the public for most of day it’s a quick visit to make on the way to somewhere. You can go and burn incense within the temple and pray with instructions on how to if not able to read Japanese.

Kyoikoto Memorial Tower

The direct translation is “Educational Tower” it stands in memorial of those lost in the Muroto typhoon in 1934

Osaka Castle

The gardens surrounding the castle offer some great photos and really peaceful places to rest with a walkway going all the way around the castle.

The main Tenshu inside the grounds was as far as I was able to go due to the inside museum being closed due to the current Coronavirus outbreak. This however didn’t ruin the experience had at the landmark which is really prominent compared to the rest found within the grounds

After spending easily over 3 hours within the grounds exploring the different landmarks it was time to move on to the next area of interest which was to be the museum of history but unfortunately it was closed due to the same reason the castle museum was! Instead I decided head back to my hostel via a bakery and 7/11. The streets of this country will never stop amazing me