Friday, October 24, 2014

Japan Trip 2014 Day 2 - Osaka

Konbanwa! It's finally time for Day 2 (after much procrastination). Today's journey would be to focus more on the temples and shrines of Osaka. After much needed rest from yesterday, we had a quick morning breakfast with buns from the nearest convenience store and we head off!

Itinerary (Day 2)
  • Shitennou-ji
  • Sumiyoshi-Taisha
  • Q's Mall
  • Dotonbori & Houzen-ji
After a little travelling from Nipponbashi Station to Shitennou-ji Mae Yuuhigaoka Station and approximately 5 minutes walk, we arrived at the side gate of Shitennou-ji.

Shitennou-ji is a Buddhist temple so most of what we see here is somewhat familiar to what we see in Malaysia.

A stone holding water to prepare for any fire emergencies. Mostly all the temples/shrines you'll notice buckets around the temple grounds or small pools of water such as above. 

The excited me went to the main temple building and got myself an Omikuji!

Aaaaand my first Omikuji is a Kichi (吉)! Omikuji is a piece of paper containing your fortune. And mine's looking great so far XD Although not a Daikichi (大吉) but I'm still satisfied. Most Omikuji in Japan are about ¥100 and some maybe ¥200 depending on what's the Omikuji. The one I picked is a general Omikuji which contains fortune such as my studies, finance, health etc. There are specialty Omikuji such as relationship/love Omikuji too!

One of the temple building of Shitennou-ji.

In Japan, all the temples and shrines have these small wooden boards available for a small price to write your wish and hang them. The priests would then collect the boards later on and pray to help you fulfill your wish. Most of the boards here are hoping to pass their entrance exams. All the best to y'all :D

Shitennou-ji is surprisingly huge. I thought it's only a small temple but it's hugggeee. There are a lot of small temples also surrounding the main temple building.

Obligatory jakun-ness of me to do this at every temple/shrine I visit haha! Get all the blessings I can (cough).

This is where people tie their bad luck Omikuji. If you get Kyou (凶) or Dai-Kyou (大凶) (bad luck or terrible luck), in order to prevent all the misfortune to happen to you, usually you'd tie your omikuji to this thing.

Another big temple building in Shitennou-ji.

Opposite that big temple is this huge stage in the centre of the temple.

More of these wooden boards! Yuuko-san hopes not to play Pachinko ever again. Ganbatte Yuuko-san :D

Well, haha this cheered me up XD

After we finished walking the grounds surrounding the temple, it's time to visit the main temple building!

The front entrance.

It looks magnificent with the red and white colours.

The rocks surrounding the temple building is so well maintained they actually have to plow it everyday so that it looks even. Such dedication. 

We went up to the tower on the left. It's actually 5 floors and you go up in a spiral motion and it gets narrower and narrower as you go up. Photos are not allowed inside so I guess you'll just have to go and see for yourself :P

Shitennou-ji is overall a good visit, it has a calm feeling to it. And since I visited on a Monday morning, there wasn't a lot of people there. It also has a garden named Gokuraku Jodo Garden which you'll have to pay an extra ¥300 yen to enter. My family decided to pass that and also the Treasure House. Apparently the Treasure House has a lot of old artifacts from the temple and are stored there for protection.

Once we finished touring Shitennou-ji, it was a headache for me because to get to our next destination which is Sumiyoshi-taisha, there's no connecting subway to that area. We have to make several transfers and switch to using the trams to get there. Sounds interesting, but headache for me as I'm the one who has to navigate ;w; 

But after much staring at the train map and thank god for the kind uncles at the train station and train station masters, I managed to hop on the Hankai Line which is the tram line in Osaka.

Trams!! They're so cute!!

Since Sumiyoshi-taisha is located at the outskirts of Osaka, the scenery is like a trip back in the streets of Melaka. Low buildings, old shops and houses lining the tram tracks provides a nice view.

The journey was slightly long (approximately 20 minutes) but well, we arrived! The tram stops at exactly in front of the shrine so you can never miss it. Plus, the entrance has this huge Torii gate to welcome you!

And upon entering, Sumiyoshi-taisha's famous bridge, Sorihashi bridge welcomes you with it's bright red colour!

Sumiyoshi-taisha is the first Shinto shrine that I visited, so I was pretty psyched about it.

Side view of Sorihashi bridge. 

There's a lot of great photo spots here as long as you come on a weekday. Less people :D

Old tree tied with charms!

Another shot of Sorihashi bridge.


Parents: What are they praying? There's no statue of their god there also?
Me: :v

The Shinto gods love sake, so you can see a lot of rice wine barrels here at Sumiyoshi-taisha.

This is a bunko (文庫). Bunko is a place where they would store all their important paper documents and lock them in this warehouse for safekeeping. Most shrines have this and they're pretty easy to discern by the structure and the door knob-thingy pattern.

One of the small shrines. 

More Omikuji tied to a string.

The words written on the paper is Hattatsu Mairi (初辰まいり). This is a shrine ritual usually for Osaka businessmen to pray for their business to be prosperous. 

After walking around the shrine, it's time to head back and we decided to walk the Sorihashi bridge. It's reaaaaally steep but luckily there's wooden steps to help you get a steady footing so there's not much of a problem :D This photo is taken on the top of the bridge.

Last shot of the tram lines :D

Since it was noon, we decided to stop by Q's Mall, a shopping mall just next to Tennouji Station and have lunch there. I had Char Siew Ramen. It was goooooooood.

And then Taiyaki for a snack! I ordered the one with azuki beans whilst my parents ordered the one with custard. Taiyaki is surprisingly filling, I guess it's cuz mine is azuki beans :O

After walking around the mall we head back to our ryokan to have a rest. And then at night, we head off once more to Dotonbori, but this time I remembered to visit Houzen-ji haha!

With the help of Google Maps, we're here! Houzen-ji is a relatively small shrine. It's famous for its moss-covered Buddha. You can come during the day to have a better look at it, but I decided to come at night because of the lighting :D I didn't take a picture of that moss-covered Buddha though.

More shops! Fugu specialty shop and it's deco and opposite is Daiso!

This time I also took the opportunity to find the famous Glicoman neon sign. Unfortunately it's under construction. WHYYYYY ;w;

Dotonbori is fun and is filled with eatery shops too. I regret not trying all the funky foods there D: Maybe next time I guess.

And so my Osaka day 2 ended with Dotonbori. The next day is Kyoto! The beautiful old capital of Japan! Until my next post then :)

A few places that I wanted to go but was unable to due to time constraints, Umeda (Umeda Sky Building, Pokemon Centre etc), Shinsekai, Universal Studios Japan, and Den Den Town (yes, I didn't go there although it's so near me). Maybe next time ;w;

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