Hozenji Temple, located at the eastern end of Hozenji Yokocho, was established in 1637. The temple's main feature is the moss-covered statue called Mizukakefudo. Instead of donating money, worshipers splash water on the green sculptures. It is said the moss covered statue is the only thing in the area to survive the bombings of World War II, but the ally and temple were rebuilt to recreate the historic spaces.
Hozenji Yokocho is a narrow cobblestone street just 80 meters long and 2.7 meters wide. While quiet and unassuming, it is a historic street with roots dating back to the 1600s. The quiet street is lined with fancy restaurants and shops, and at the eastern end is a small temple, famous for its moss-covered Buddha statues.
Osaka Castle has a wonderful observation deck on the 8th floor (which might be the fifth floor above the entrance level. Since the tower is built on a high hill, and the surrounding area is mostly park with no tall buildings, the tower feels even taller, actually 50 meters above the city. Nearby the tower are the castle grounds, now mostly park, and including the castle walls, moats, and several historic buildings. Farther is the distance are the buildings of Osaka, including many large, modern buildings. Finally, even farther ware are the edges of the surrounding mountains.
Admission is 600 Yen, which includes entrance to the castle museum.
Founded over 1,400 years ago as the first -- and therefore oldest -- officially established temple in Japan, ***ennoji Temple is the spiritual heart of Osaka. It was constructed in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Japan. However, like most wooden structures in Japan, its buildings have been destroyed repeatedly through the centuries by fire and war, including the 1615 Tokugawa raid on Osaka Castle and World War II. And through the centuries, the buildings have been faithfully reconstructed exactly as they were in the 6th century, with the Main Gate, the five-story Buddhist Pagoda, the Main Golden Hall, and the Lecture Hall all on a north-south axis. Japanese flock to ***ennoji to pay respects to Prince Shotoku, who remains a revered, popular figure even today. There's also a turtle sanctuary. But the best thing to do here is wander the temple's newly restored Japanese Landscape Garden, first laid out during the Tokugawa regime and a lovely oasis with its manicured bushes, meandering streams, and waterfall.
300 Yens to get into complex and 200 Yens for Gardens .... Well worth it !!!!
Also you can climb the main pagoda but be warned you must take off your shoes and the higher you go up the narrower the stairs get !!!!!
Spa World is said to be the World's Largest Spa (or World's Largest Onsen) and regardless of whether or not that's true, it's definitely big!
There are two main spa areas: The Asian Zone, which features onsen, saunas, etc. where the atmosphere and design is Asian-inspired, from Persia to Bali to traditional Japanese. The other is the European Zone, which features Roman, Greek, Finnish, and Italian-inspired baths and saunas among others.
You cannot choose which zone to enter and you cannot travel between them: Men will be assigned to one and women will be assigned to the other. If you are a man and the European Zone has been designated for men you CANNOT go to the Asian Zone (which will be for women) and vice versa. However, they alternate months, so if you want to go to the other zone, it should be for your gender the next month (see the website to find out which sex is in which zone for each month).
I went to the European Zone. It was very relaxing and the atmosphere is nice with the various themes. For those who like saunas, there are many options.
In addition to the zones, there is also a pool and a fitness gym.
Prices vary depending on time of day and length of stay, but 3 hour use is 2400 yen. If you stay on weekdays and 2700 yen on weekends and holidays. For only 300 yen more, you can stay all day (10am to midnight). There are additional fees for those staying past midnight in order to discourage using the spas as a hotel (and encourage you to use their hotel).
The Osaka Hikari Rennaissance is Osaka's December Light-up festival. At night, the Nakanoshima area is lit up with light displays. There is a light show, river boat rides, and other activities. There is also a lot of great food and other displays, such as the Christmas tree and sand sculptures from Tottori city. The light shows and displays are all free to view. The river rides and food are not, of course.
Easy to get to, with one of the four departure/arrival docks at the park beside Osaka castle. Good way to see a unique perspective of the city.
Take it from point to point, or do a circuit if you have some time to kill. Takes about an hour, and costs 17-1800 Yen for an adult.
The boat is unique in that the whole roof/ceiling lowers for low bridges, and raises again after passing. Beer/snacks available on board.
Info on the website's English page. They also run other boating tours in Osaka.
I was lucky, in that all the blossoms were blooming when I had time in Osaka.
End of March, beginning of April is the best time to see them.
Great place to view them is the park around Osaka castle.
Pink, white, and red. Some trees are rare, and have a mix of colours.
Although it is not one of the official top three tenjin shrines, Osaka Tenmangu has gained fame as the host of the Tenjin Festival, one of the biggest festivals in Japan. The current shrine dates back to 1845, but the history of the shrine is hundreds of years old. Like all tenjin shrines, it was built for the deity Susano no Michizane.
Entrance to the shrine grounds is free.
Isshinji Temple is a small but interesting temple. The three Buddha statues that you see were actually made with human bones (mixed with the materials to give it shape). Bones were first brought to the temple in 1887. To this day, 12 of these statues have been made and bones are still able to be collected. While many are donated by family, it is also believed that some of the bones of some of the homeless people who die are also given to the temple. Having ones bones used in creating the Buddha statues is thought by some to be a way of reaching Buddhahood themselves. It's a truly fascinating little temple!
Shi'tennoji Temple is Osaka's most famous temple and the first-built state temple in the nation, although the present temple is not the original. Prince Shotoku is said to be enshrined in the temple's Golden Hall. The pagoda is an iconic symbol of the temple, and you can enter it, along with many of the other buildings. The temple's treasure house contains many artifacts from the temple that are worth a look, if you don't mind paying 200 yen more.
Entrance to the temple is 300 yen.
Most people don't think of shrines or temples when they think of Osaka, but Osaka actually does have some great historical sites, and Sumiyoshi Shrine is one of them! Osaka's Sumiyoshi Shrine is the top Sumiyoshi shrine in all of Japan. It is said that the architectural style (sumiyoshi-zukuri) is purely Japanese. It was designated as one of the top twenty-two shrines during the Heian Period. As such, the court made offerings here. It was not destroyed during WWII, so it is one of Osaka's oldest remaining historical structures.
The large curved bridge leading to the shrine is impressive and beautiful. Roaming around the shrine grounds is a great temporary release from city life!
Entrance is free.
This museum houses a small collection of ukiyoe paintings (woodblock paintings). Kamigata Ukiyoe are those created in the Osaka and the surrounding areas during the Edo Period. The interior of the museum is rather unique, as it looks like an adobe.
Entrance is 400 yen.
Built in the 17th century, this small temple building seems highly out-of-place in Osaka's ultra-modern and upbeat Namba area! Even for those who came here to get away from traditional Japan will probably enjoy the Mizukake Fudo statue. It's a Fudomyo statue covered in moss that visitors come and splash water on as they pray for good fortunes and happiness.
This is not the main temple building, but it is the only part of the temple that remains. It is free to enter and pour water on the statue.
The Aquarium in Yokohama was the very best I ever saw, because they have basins that are 3 floors high and you can walk down endless corridors of these 3 floors and look into the basis through walls made of glass only and they have some really hughe fishes and other creatures there, that was amazing. A whale-shark was my favorite in that aquarium, you will see it in my main photo. The aquarium also has a tunnel made of glass, see it in my 2nd photo !