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Waterways of Osaka

Who knew that Osaka looks so much better from the water?  I revisited some old favourite places during the Silver Week holiday but saw them from a whole new angle.  And the significance of the giant rubber duck?  I have no idea; it was just floating on the river near Tenmanbashi.

Big rubber duck floating on the river outside Tenmanbashi

After visiting Sannomiya, I stayed overnight with my Akiyo, old high school host family sister and her family.  Getting ready for a visit to Osaka the next day, we had a dinner of takoyaki (octopus dumplings – an Osaka delicacy).  The two kids (a 6 year old and an 8 year old) are quite adept at turning the round dumplings in the grill.

We started at Namba.  The Dotonbori River has been upgraded since I was last here a few years ago.  It’s been opened up to pedestrians with walkways constructed along the banks.

I don’t remember river boats cruising along here before, but there are now “Suijo Buses” (not only Tokyo has a Suijo Bus) and other tourist boats that take people through the rivers and canals of Osaka.  The two kids (and me too) were quite excited to got for a boat ride.  We got on a Suijo Bus which headed up the river, and looped around clockwise travelling along the Dotonbori River, into the Kizu River, then along the Doshima River past Nakanoshima all the way to Osaka Castle.

Dotonbori River - the new boardwalk

The giant crab along Dotonbori is still there, waving its arms around.

The giant crab at Dotonbori, still going strong

Melbourne has the Skipping Girl Vinegar neon sign, and Osaka has the Glico man.  This sign has been renovated along with the works along the river at Dotonbori.

The renovated Glico neon sign - an Osaka landmark.  Melbourne has the Skipping Girl Vinegar sign, Osaka has the Glico man.

As our boat cruised along the river, it became more apparent how much of a waterway town Osaka can be, and that there is a lot if infrastructure in place to support it.  We travelled through this lock, which lets boats through the entrance to the Dotonbori River.  Depending on the tide level in the Kizu River outside, the water level may be a little different between the two rivers.  We were lowered a few centimetres, and then cruised on our way.

Through the Dotonbori River lock and onto the main river.

I had no idea just how many bridges there are in Osaka.  On our hour-long cruise, we went under around 38 bridges.  The one in the photo below was quite low, and we barely squeezed under.  All the passengers ducked to avoid hitting their heads, while the kids tried to stretch up and touch the underside of the bridge.

The bridges of Osaka. This one was low and we had to duck.

The bridges of Osaka

As we cruised past Nakanoshima, there were some elegant old bridges.  We chugged past some outdoor displays and events on Nakanoshima, before eventually heading around the corner towards Osaka Castle.

More bridges

 

We got off the Suijo Bus, and walked through Osaka-jo Koen (Osaka Castle Park).  This is a large space which is where the castle and outlying buildings and defences once stood.  The present castle is not original, being rebuilt after WW2, and renovated even more recently.  However, the moat and castle walls and ramparts are original, and extremely impressive.  Osaka Castle is the scene of some monumental and important battles in Japanese history.  These days, it’s a lot more tranquil.

The moat of Osaka Castle

It’s hard to imagine how the castle walls and moat were constructed in days before heavy machinery.

Osaka Castle

The views from the donjon (keep of the castle) are sweeping across Osaka.  In the foreground of the below photo are Osaka Business Park and Osaka-jo Hall, a major concert venue in Osaka.

Osaka-jo Koen

The view across Osaka-jo Koen (Osaka Castle Park)

Osaka Castle

Inside Osaka Castle is now a museum to the history of the castle and the battles of the 15th and 16th centuries.  It’s probably Osaka’s most impressive tourist attraction.  Coupled with a cruise on the waterways, this was a good touristic day well spent in Osaka.

The walls and moat of Osaka Castle

2 Comments

  1. JapanSoc says:

    Giant rubber duck floats on Osaka river…

    Osaka has a suijo bus (water ferry) perfect for exploring the city’s waterways. I rode from Dotonbori to Osaka Castle, and we went under lots and lots of bridges, and past a giant yellow rubber duck….

  2. sathish says:

    hi this is sathish from india, very nice photographs,

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