Living History in Osaka

My time in Japan coming to a close, there was only one reasonable thing left to do in Osaka: explore the city itself, as it had served mostly as a launching pad for my excursions to other parts of Japan – to Hiroshima and Kyoto – thanks, of course, to the excellent Shinkansen rain network.

Osaka itself is rich in history though, and right outside my temporary residence, there was a major temple complex to be found: the Shitennō-ji.

It was built in 563, at a time when Buddhist belief was not at all widespread in Japan, and is equally and impressive cultural sight and a nice area to simply wander about.

A main tourist attraction in Osaka, however, is its castle. Built in 1583 and surrounded by a number of moats, it was in use as a castle until 1868, and later served as an armory and an arms manufacturing site, including in WWII, when it was destroyed in an air raid that demolished 90% of the areal and killed over 300 workers. The main tower, which we call the “castle” today, was re-built in 1997 to its historical appearance on the outside, but on the inside is a modern building which provides space for galleries and exhibitions.

Osaka isn’t simply a city of the past, though. At a population of 2.7 million, and more than four times as many in the metro area, it is very much still an alive and bustling metropolis. When you visit, definitely make sure to stop by the Shinsekai shopping area with all its crazy signs and colorful posters.

My time in Japan was now coming to a close. I had visited the country’s two largest metropolitan areas – Tokyo, with a whopping 38 million people, and Osaka / Kyoto / Kobe, at over 12 million. I had visited countless temples and shrines, had amazing food, and encountered a mix of solemn memory and colorful hope in Hiroshima.

Japan never failed to amaze me. And I am certain that it won’t fail to amaze you, either. For now, I hope you enjoyed my photos and that I was able to convey a bit of the atmosphere from this Asian island nation to you through my images.

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