Japan 2013: Day 2 Osaka Part 2

DAY 2 (CON’T)

There was a brief bout of rain whilst I was having my lunch. After finishing lunch, walked around the station area and explored the shops in the huge sprawling complex while deciding where to go next …… If Tokyo Station is huge and crazy to navigate, then sprawling Osaka Station City takes this theory one step up further, heh!

Osaka Station City

Spotted another huge Yodobashi Camera, as well as another link bridge leading to HEP Five (the building with the red ferris wheel), Hotel New Hankyu (with the Hankyu railway right under it), as well as the Hankyu Grand Building (which I passed through earlier) …… Hankyu is huge in Osaka indeed! After a bit of walking around, and with the skies clearing quickly, decided to proceed to my next destination – the Umeda Sky Observatory!

Saw from the map (and from the North Gate of Osaka Station City) that the Umeda Sky Building was diagionally across. So walked down to Grand Front Osaka (another new sprawling shopping complex). Looked far at 1st instance but finally managed to spot the Umeda Sky Building in less than 10 minutes. Bravo!

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Spotted the pedestrian underpass and finally reached the building itself. Wasn’t able to find the ‘official’ entrance so ended up taking the ‘shortcut’ entrance via the office building. Entrance fee (700 JPY) was covered by the Osaka Unlimited Pass as the observatory is one of the 23 free attractions under the pass ……

Before going to the top of the observatory – which is an open air deck, at one floor below (level 39 I think), there was a corner where one could ‘make a wish’ upon the stars! Only thing is it was broad daylight at noontime, but its ok. Can see from the windows that after the brief rain, the sky is blue and clear!

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After writing down my wish, and hanging it on the window, proceeded to the topmost deck of the observatory. Upon reaching the open deck, was greeted with some of the most beautiful and clearest views of the Osaka City skyline!

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Also saw the escalator linking the 2 towers together (which is also the ‘correct’ entrance/exit to the observatory as I will later find out), as well as the ‘Lumi Deck’ that is only open at night. Saw some pictures that show that the view is even nicer at night, thus made a mental note to try to fit in a night visit somewhere in my itinerary as well ……

Umeda Sky 2

The 360 degree observation deck is not that big after all, so went 2 rounds and came back down. Saw corner (for couples to ring the bell and make their wishes), other than that – the usual indoor observatory cafe, brief exhibits, souvenir shop (skipped photo taking of these), a few cute couches (there is even one couch/seat where couples can snuggle in) ….. Quickly made my way out of the building and sped up my walk on the way back to Osaka station (it was already close to 2pm) ……

Next destination – Osaka Castle!

Took the subway (covered by the Osaka Unlimited Pass) to Tanimachi 4 Chome station …… Right beside the station is the Osaka Museum of History. Seems like a really cool place to visit (as highlighted in the booklet accompanying the Unlimited Pass) but unfortunately, do not have the time to fit this into my itinerary …… So ended up taking a picture with the bright blue sky as background instead 😛

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Asked the friendly guard/policeman right outside the station for directions to Osaka Castle. Basically just need to turn right, and keep walking along the main road. It was about 10 min walk. Along my walk, spotted some ‘early’ signs of autumn along the road. Hmm …… from the looks of it, it seems like the peak autumn foliage in Osaka may be later than originally estimated as well ……

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Osaka Castle within sight ……

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‘1st Entrance’ into the castle ……

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Walk some more before finally seeing the main entrance (where you can finally see the castle/building itself) ……

Osaka Castle

Got myself a soft serve ice-cream (300 JPY) after all that walking. Feels nice to have an ice-cream on a cool day ……

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Into the castle proper ……

Note: Entrance Fee (600 JPY) Into The Castle Museum covered by the Unlimited Pass

Osaka Castle 2

The old History Museum conserved, before the current one popped up right beside Tanamachi 4 Chome station ……

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Nice big tree right in front of the castle where the vistors sit down for a break ……

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More signs of autumn at Nishinomaru Garden (diagonally opposite the Castle Museum itself) ….. a separate entrance fee applies for the garden (which is covered by the Unlimited Pass as well) ……

Osaka Castle 3

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