Japan Day 9 : Osaka Castle and Sumiyoshi Shrine

It’s been over a year since our Japanese cruise and I still haven’t finished blogging about it. But I’m finally down to my last entry.  Our final stop was Kobe, which was where we said goodbye to the Diamond Princess. Our flight back to the Philippines wasn’t until that evening so we signed up for one last tour that day, one that would take us around Osaka

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Here we are at the Princess Theater getting briefed for our tour before getting off the ship

At the port, we looked for our tour bus which would take us to Osaka.

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We had two stops that day – Osaka Castle and the Sumiyoshi Shrine

On our way to Osaka I took a few photos from my window seat:

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Our guide pointed out the NHK building, which is a broadcasting corporation in Japan. (Sort of like our GMA and ABS-CBN)

Soon we arrived at our first location – Osaka Castle

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That’s not the castle, but it is pretty. This is the moat around the castle (I think).

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We saw this little fella swimming in the water

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Ezra and me. Again, that’s not the castle behind us

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One of the many gates we had to pass through

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I loved all the details on the roof

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Finally, Osaka Castle:

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So pretty~ But very different from what I pictured castles to look like. (In my mind castles look like Hogwarts.)

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Of course we took loads of photos in front of this famous landmark.  Don’t worry, I won’t post them all in this entry.

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I asked Ezra to take a solo photo of me with the castle and this happened. Grrr~ Very similar to what she did to me back in Seattle with the Space Needle.

We did go inside the castle but unfortunately we were only allowed to take photos up to a certain floor, so I don’t really have much to show you. Here are some tiny warriors I saw on the floors that allowed photography:

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Pretty detailed for something so small

We climbed up the castle and was rewarded with this view of Osaka:

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Breathtaking~

One thing we learned from watching NEWS DVDs (kyaaaah) is that Osaka is known for their takoyaki, so of course we had to try some. Fortunately there were some takoyaki trucks parked right outside:

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This kind vendor actually stopped to pose and smile when he saw I was taking photos of him

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Yummm~ But be careful because they’re EXTREMELY hot when you first get them! We all burned our tongues.

We also bought a jumbo mitarashi dango while we were there:

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Look how big it is!

After our tour of the castle grounds, our group headed to our next location. Again, I took a few shots on our drive over:

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I love how most people in Japan use bicycles to get to places. I saw all sorts of people riding bikes – young, old, students, businessmen, ladies in fashionable clothes, etc.

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I want her pink bike!

And I love how a lot of the bikes had these umbrella holders:

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You gotta protect yourself from those harmful rays, right?

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So cute😀

After a short drive, we  arrived at the Sumiyoshi Shrine:

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There we saw this interesting curved bridge

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Entrance to the shrine

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Again, I love the details on the roof

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The ground was covered in pebbles. Our guide told us that this was done because they believed that the noise alerted the spirits of your presence, this way they can hear your prayers. He told us that this was also the reason why they ring a bell, throw coins on a wooden collector and clap loudly before they begin their prayers. (We joked that Ezra didn’t need to do all those, because she was noisy enough as it was and the spirits would know she was there immediately XD)

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Poor Ez😄

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We saw these tiny cat figurines there. People collect them, and when they have enough they can trade them in for a larger one.

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They keep collecting until they get the largest one available

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This pebble has a character written on it. Our guide took us to a place with a pile of pebbles and told us that if we could find three of them with different characters, we would be blessed with good fortune. Unfortunately I only found one. (Ezra found two, but we had to leave after that.)

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Washing hands for good luck (I think)

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It was getting late after this so our guide dropped us off at the airport. We still had a few hours to kill before we could check in, so we walked around and explored. I spotted these interesting Kit Kats and yummy snacks:

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Unfortunately I didn’t have any money (or space in my luggage) left. It was probably a good thing because I ate way too many sweets on the ship already.

So that wraps up our last day in Japan. I can’t believe it took me over a year to finish all my blog entries. (Or maybe that’s not as surprising as I think it is …) Anyway, I had an amazing time on our Japanese cruise. Thank you very much Diamond Princess for the wonderful experience.  And of course thank you to my parents for letting Ezra and me fulfill our childhood dream of travelling to Japan and Korea. Nine days wasn’t enough, and we definitely need to visit again in the future.

If you want to read about my whole Diamond Princess experience, you can head over to this blog post I wrote last year: My Diamond Princess Experience

And if you want to read all the entries I wrote about this Japan/Korea cruise, you can click on this tag : Japan 2015

To end this entry, here a vlog I made for our day in Osaka:

 

 

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