Osaka Castle and the Great Santa Run

This is day 5 of our trip in Japan. After our first few days, our newly married friends took us on day trips in Osaka and to nearby towns. This day we visited the Osaka Castle and Park. We were also lucky enough to see the Osaka Great Santa Run.  We spent the remainder of the day eating and shopping in Osaka, of course!

The Castle Park surrounding Osaka Castle (Osaka-Jō-Kōen) is really expansive, covering 2 square kilometers. It’s not a long walk from Osakajokoen Station and it is quite pleasant to walk on the flat stretch of road lined with trees. It was autumn when we were there, so the trees were all different hues of yellow, orange and reds.



As we walk through Castle Park we went past Taiyo-no-hiroba. It was full of children playing baseball and band instruments. We also saw this little Hokkaido dog, who was ready for the Great Santa Race.



As we approached Osaka Castle, we took photos up and in the area surrounding the castle. Points of interest include Gokurakubashi Bridge, Syuseki-Tei (Stone Garden), Former HQ of 4th Division of Imperial ArmyHokoku-jinja Shrine and the  Japanese Plum-grove Garden. We even saw a wild Capybara on the water and a traditional Japanese wedding taking place. There was also live entertainment and food stalls near the castle.



Osaka Castle (Osaka-Jō-Kōen) (1931) is a relatively small structure, that is pitched up quite high on the bank. Although it was originally quite old, it had to be rebuilt a few times so it’s more modern in style than I imagined.



Inside Osaka Castle there was information on building, a diorama of the Osaka war and a gallery of little scenes of historical events, using holograms. There was also a station for people to get dressed up as soldiers and get photographed.



On the top level, you can get a great view of Osaka and the surrounding Castle Park.



After visiting the castle we had snacks just outside from the food stalls. Some of the foods they were selling include Butaman (steamed buns), whole Yakiimo (roasted sweet potatoes), steamed corn, O-Dango (sweet glutinous rice floor covered with sweet miso sauce) and Takoyaki (octopus balls).



We were lucky enough to visit Castle Park on the day of Osaka Great Santa Run. It is a charity run taking by people of all ages, dressed as Santa Claus. It’s a fun and quirky event that helps children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.



In the afternoon we went to Hep Five shopping centre for shopping and lunch in Udema. The shopping center has fashion floors and shops for sundries, restaurants and amusement facilities, including a 75-meter-wide red ferris wheel. For lunch we went to a little restaurant and had Katsudon and Ebi Furai, with cabbage, pasta salad, rice, pickles & Miso soup.



For dinner, our friends took us to Kushikatsu Dinner at Kushiya Monogatari (Yodobashi Camera). It was buffet style, which had tabletop fryers to cook skewers of meats, fish, and vegetables. There was so much variety, it was very fresh and we left extremely full. I think I ate half my weight in mochi.

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