I should have guessed… this was a what I like to call an ‘eating cycle’ day. We started off the day’s journey by directing ourselves toward Shinsaibashi: an area particularly associated as a shopping and restaurant district. Among all the foods that we could experience in Osaka, we knew it would be a must to enduldge in Gyoza – steamed, fried dumplings usually filled with seasoned pork and spring onions and Takoyaki – spheres made of batter containing a small piece of octopus tentacle, topped with dried flakes of fish, Usutah So-su (similar to a mixture of soy and Worcestershire sauces) plus mayonnaise. Takoyaki is one of Osaka’s dishes therefore being popular in their traditional restaurants and as street food: so I wasn’t dissatisfied to discover that the Takoyaki tasted much better in Japan than the Takoyaki obtainable in Korea due to it’s minimal seafood taste and the contents the batter being creamy rather than dry or hollow.
One of the main things we wanted to accomplish during our visit was to see Osaka Castle, so it became the day’s priority. The slopped climb leading up to the castle was a little tiring after walking through Shinsaibashi; though the trek was work the effort. The original completion of Osakajo was in the year 1583; being reconstructed several times by numerous leaders as parts had been demolished to the fault of battles. The golden embellishments to the castle’s exterior are shaped around symbolic flowers and tigers. Tigers didn’t reside in Japan during that time period. In order to carve tigers to place as a vicious warning to intruders, the Japanese took inspiration from Korean paintings that had been imported to Japan via China or in rare cases directly from Korea.
The Castle is now home to a museum containing exhibits from rulers of the Castle. Some artifacts include hand written letters with paint, folding screens decorated with art detailing events of that time, inscribed wepons, armor belonging to ancient leaders and models indicating the restorations of the castle. Overall the castle is estonishing when glazed upon from outside; the 8th floor giving a panoramic view of Osaka’s skyscrapers. If there is at least one historical place you make time for during a trip to Osaka, I definitely persuade you to tour Osakajo.
During the late evening we waited to have dinner with our friends by meeting them in cafe called Spoonbill. Not an exaggeration: it’s the prettiest cafe I have ever seen. Half of the cafe serves as a gardening centre for indoor plants and flowers whereas the other half situates tables for enjoying a drink or cake and sells some clothes and accessories. I drank a warming mocha latte which had a sprinkle of granola ontop of it’s foam.
For dinner we settled upon more deep fried foods (such a wise, healthy choice) in the town of Shinsekai. One of the most favourable dishes among the resturants within this area is Kushikatsu (fried meats, seafood or vegetables on skewers). There was many ingredients to choice from; I choice shrimp, mochi (-rice cake), banana, bundkuchen (a German cake) and Chinese yam. Kushikatsu is typically dipped in a communal pot of soy sauce which I hope no one had redipped their food into after taking bites. As we had eaten only small portions of food so far we spontaneously decided to try teriyaki mackerel followed by a plate of 30 Takoyaki! Before heading back to the station for returning to the Airbnb, we admired the lights of Tsutenkaku: a landmark tower which advertises Hitachi as well as the illuminated decorations of the buildings in Shinsekai.