Osaka Castle

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What to do on this one day I had left for Osaka. I had long since made friends with this city during my walks the day before. The choice was huge.


Osaka is famous on the one hand as a trading city, but also for its culinary delicacies. Since in my case there was no basis for trade and I had already approached the city’s culinary offer and would continue to devote myself to it during my meals, I decided to trace the historical background a little bit. I visited Osaka Castle, which is considered one of the most famous castles in Japan, and which also had an important and preparatory role in the unification of Japan due to the work of its builder Toyotomi Hideyoshi.


The approach was easy. I was even able to use my JR passport and take the loop line, which was already used by the airport, almost to the entrance gate. A wonderful walk in the sunshine along the outer moat of the castle led me steadily towards the entrance at the main tower.


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This tower, which was originally built in 1586 from wood and which was destroyed or burnt down several times, is a scaled-down reconstruction made of concrete. Nevertheless, it still looks mighty and gives an impression of its former size.


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This complex is surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was a real pleasure for me to first take advantage of the sunshine to slowly roam the gardens and save the visit to the tower and the museum for later. I watched the Japanese men and women, young couples, families or school classes taking their lunch break at the stalls, sipping noodle soup or just sitting on the bench and enjoying the sun.


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I watched an actor dressed in the style of the old Toyotomi Hideyoshi as he tried to frighten the crowd with a deep voice, shouting battle cries. He seemed to want to demonstrate that the commanders of that time were rulers and fearsome warriors, not wimps like those who make politics today.


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Anyone who has ever seen films like “Shogun” or “Death of a Tea Master” will know what I am talking about.

Sitting on the bench, watching the scenery, it came back to me, too. Because of these films, in the early eighties, I had a Japanese phase in my life, so to speak. Back then I ate with chopsticks, held tea ceremonies and wanted a house with eaves beams raised at the corners and black lacquer furniture. A relic from that time still stands in my dressing room in the form of an old black lacquered cabinet decorated with paintings.


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Satisfied and rested, I now set out on the ascent to the tower. Up to the eighth floor you don’t have much time, because the museum is located there. On each floor you can admire a very nice exhibition with weapon collections, warrior armor and robes as well as Hideyoshi memorabilia and pictorial battle scenes.


Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a wonderful all-round view of the city.


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Here I even met a couple again, who were staying in the same hotel as I was, and who had taken me to the main station this morning in the hotel’s own shuttle bus. Of course we did not know that we had the same destination. We took pictures of each other and I went back to the hotel after the descent and on my way back to the hotel. Unfortunately I hadn’t known about the existence of this bus when I arrived, it started right opposite the place where the friendly taxi driver had picked me up.


I finished the evening at the hotel. Unfortunately, after I had also given in to tiredness on this day, I again got out of bed late. The restaurants in the hotel were all already being cleared together. Only in the bar there should be something left. It was on the 24th floor and the price, a charming young employee told me, was accordingly expensive. She had to tell me that, she could not afford such a thing. I feared terrible things, but hunger drove me out. It was the equivalent of about 30€ that I had to pay. For that I had a buffet of the finest. French, Italian and Japanese cheeses. Soups, breads of all kinds, salmon and for dessert all sorts of fruit from strawberry to mango and much more, which you could pour over yourself with creamy stirred hot chocolate. How at all there were the most wonderful kinds of chocolate and specially chocolate cigars in different flavours. Champagne and wines, beers and schnapps, whiskey and other spirits and brandies, only the finest was offered. I revelled in the pleasure rush.


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The guests of this bar had the illuminated city at their feet when looking out of the windows. I confess, I haven’t regretted a single yen. At any time there were nice young ladies there, who explained everything you wanted to know, and who were very happy if the guests liked it. I took some of the chocolate with me for a rainy day, and there would be moments when I would be able to enjoy it throughout my stay in Japan.


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That last night in Osaka I fell asleep as if it were  a visit to the land of plenty. Enraptured and still enchanted.


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