Day 2 Osaka by day (and night again)
We had an early start by eating breakfast in the same restaurant we had dinner in the previous night (Hai, it was that good!).
First stop: Tsutenkaku
After breakfast, we walked to see the Tsutenkaku, which takes approximately 10 minutes walking time from the Shin-Imamiya Station. It was still early so there were not many people around. We did not go to the observation deck so I have no idea how much the admission fee is.
A popular Tsutenkaku souvenir is anything Billiken-san, such as figures, lotto ticket wallets, and cakes. Billiken-san is their God of Luck and is just one of the Eight Deities of Good Fortune. I did not buy any but I had a picture taken beside a huge Billiken-san figure in the area. We returned to Hotel Taiyo to look for our next place of stay, which would turn out to be a challenge for us. But in the course of looking for La Maison, we were able to explore our accidental second stop.
Second stop: Naniwa Palace
The Naniwa-no-miya Palace Site marker reads:
The Naniwa-no-miya Palace was situated around this site between 645 and 743 A.D. Not much was known about the palace until the archaeological discovery of fragments of SHIBI (ornamental fish-shaped ridge-end tiles) in 1953. The excavations confirmed the structure of the Main Palace, the Imperial Office and other governmental buildings. This site, covering a total area of 90,667 square meters, is designated as an important national historical site.
Third stop: Osaka Castle
A trip to Osaka would not be complete without checking out the Osaka Castle, one of the most famous landmarks of Japan. The Osaka Castle Museum is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last admission at 4:30 pm). Admission is JPY600 for adults and free for 15 years old and under.
Fourth stop: Shitennoji
After a palace and a castle, we went to a temple. Shitennoji is one of Japan’s oldest temples. In fact it is the oldest state temple. Because we missed the last admission (we got there late in the afternoon), we were not able to see the Gokuraku-jodo Garden and the Treasure House. We explored the grounds instead.
Fifth stop: Dotonbori
Dotonbori is a lively place where there are numerous restaurants, shops, and amusement facilities. This is where one can sample the very popular Osaka takoyaki and okonomiyaki. Walking through Dotonbori is such a sensory experience. Busog na busog ang mga mata, and if one has the budget to try all the food being sold there, mabubusog talaga. But we were still going to Kyoto and Tokyo, so we had to spend wisely.
We did our initial omiyage shopping at Don Quijote, one of the biggest discount shops in Japan. We were going to Kyoto the next day so as much as we enjoyed being at Dotonbori, we had to go back to the hostel to pack.