Our time in Japan was rapidly coming to an end. We had this morning to spend in Osaka and then there was one more day for a visit to Shimizu for a glimpse of Mt. Fuji and one more outstanding shrine. But, as I said, today we are touring Osaka.
After about a 45 minute bus ride we arrived at our first stop, Osaka Castle and Park. The walk from the bus parking lot took about 10 to 15 minutes along the castle moat.
I liked this part of the castle wall; it was different since the moat wasn’t filled with water; it was filled with grass.
Osaka Castle is quite impossing as it looms over the area.
The castle had a turbulent history having been built and later caught up in more than one war. It was struck by lighting and burned to the ground; then it was rebuilt on a number of occasions. It was last reconstructed in 1931. Inside it is an eight story museum with the eighth floor also possessing an observation deck. No photos were permitted inside with the exception of the 3rd level. Here I was able to capture a tiger on the prowl and a fierce looking fish.
It was a long trek up to the observation deck but the view was certainly worth the effort. Once there we were able to capture some interesting views of the area and of the rooftop sculptures. Let’s start with a couple of photos of Osaka’s skyline. Unfortunately, the day was hazy and the photos less than uptimal.
Now, let’s look at some of the rooftop art. This rooftop fish is the same one on display on the third floor.
This next photo is of an end cap on a corner of the roof.
Here is one last photo of Osaka Castle showing the roof. You can see the fish on the peaks and the end caps at the edges.
A visit to the Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine was next on our dance card. This shrine, also known as “Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine,” is the main Shinto shrine of all the Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan. The complex is large with many buildings on the site. Upon entering one is greeted by a lantern lane, the lanterns serving to illuminate, both the area and the spirit.
A large Torii gate beckons
beyond which the temple buildings await.
A single person, alone with his thoughts and prayers, is caught in his private moment.
This beautiful building is but one of many at this interesting shrine.
Some of the lanes are emblazoned with banners marking the way.
Pause a moment to look inside a temple and you may see a Shinto Priest engaged in some form of religious ceremony.
In this shrine, something we did not see in others, is the tradition of gathering three little stones, each with a different Japanese character inscribed thereon. The stones are spread among hundreds of others and finding the right ones is a challenge. Here is a photo of JoAnn as she reaches beyond the fence in search of the elusive pebbles.
When you find them you place them in a little decorative pouch which becomes a talisman upon which you can rely to have your prayers answered. Here is a shot of a collection of talisman hanging on the fence.
On our way out of the temple area we stumbled upon the souvenir shop which was manned by Miko maidens. Current Miko maidens are descended from those that once served as Shaman who historically performed many religious functions. Today’s a Miko maidens assist with shrine functions, perform ceremonial dances, offer fortune telling, sell souvenirs and assist in Shinto rites. She is probably a university student collecting a modest wage in this part-time position. Here is a photo of the young women in traditional Miko attire.
Notice the interesting crown.
As we were leaving we saw this lovely bridge. It serves as a fond farewell to this interesting shrine.