My second day in Osaka I decided to head to the most popular tourist trap in the city, Osaka Castle. The original Osaka-jo was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the late 1500s. It was burned in an assault by the Tokugawa shogun in the early 1600s. After taking Osaka, Tokugawa rebuilt the castle on the same location. That version burned in the late 1600s when hit by lighting. What was left burned in the civil strife of the Meiji Restoration. It was rebuilt out of metal and concrete in 1928, and damaged in the 1940s. That damage was restored in the 90's. Phew, poor Osaka Castle, quite the turbulant life.
So I got up 'early' to go see this most impressive structure, only to find to my sincere disappointment that it was closed. I was certainly not the only poor tourist to head over that way that morning. A great many milled around the plaza wondering 'what to do next' At least the sheer outside walls looked pretty cool, and the park surrounding the castle was nice to wander around. The contrast between the donjon (keep) and the huge ultra-modern office buildings nearby was very striking.
So the next stop was Den-Den Town. There are three major electronics centers in Japan, places where any gadget can be tracked down, often at a discount. The biggest is Akibahara in Tokyo, then we have Den-Den Town in Osaka and lastly Osu in Nagoya. Osu was cool, but it in no way prepared me for the electronics chaos that was Den-Den Town. Multi-story buildings clustered all up and down a busy thoroughfare, with anything you could imagine available for sale. TV's, Cell Phones, Cameras, Video Game Consoles, Computers, Dvd players and discs, everything really. There were some questionable deals to be had. There were several little tables along the sidewalks peddling pirated DVDs. I could have obtained the Collectors Edition of King Kong, or even a copy of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, which doesn't even release here till March! Hah. Catering to their techie demographic there were also several large anime stores with models, dvds, costumes, anything the average anime geek could want. It was difficult to leave without a new Nikon D-50 Digital SLR tucked under my arm, but my self control held out, for now anyway.
This was the day I visited Spa World for the first time, as already chronicled. I don't know how else to emphasize the fact that Spa World is simply, hands down, the Coolest. Thing. Ever. Ok, maybe thats a bit of hyperbole, but at the least it is in the top 10!
Next up is New Years Eve. Action, Adventure and more return in a few days.
Now these are original walls from the 1620s (Tokugawa) version. Notice how large those rocks are. Ponder the fact that that wall was built in 1620. Now it may not be the rock moving feat that Stonehenge or that one big triangle thing in Egypt is, but it is still pretty impressive.
Ahh the central keep in its full splendour. Pretty cool really, much more attractive than Nagoya Castle.
Den-Den Town. Best Buy, eat your heart out.
Daytime look at Tsutentaku Tower. It looks better at night!
The sign outside Spa World detailing all their interesting ways to bathe.