Unlike nearby Kyoto, which is famous for its many ancient temples and castles of the past, industrial Osaka was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Today, Osaka is one of Japan's most modern cities.
The Seven Seas Voyager stayed overnight in Osaka, allowing the passengers to take day trips to Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. The cruise ship dock was right next to the giant ferris wheel at the Tempozan Marketplace and just a short walk from the excellent Osaka Aquarium.
Osaka Bridge - One of Many Modern Bridges in Osaka, Japan
Osaka Is Gateway to Kyoto and Popular Japanese Port of Call for Cruise Ships
We spent a full day in Kyoto and then toured Osaka our second day in port. Most of our Osaka tour time was spent at "must-see" Osaka Castle, the most famous tourist site in the city. This castle dates back to the 17th century, but has been rebuilt many times. The history surrounding the Osaka Castle was fascinating.
We also spent an hour at the Shitennoji Temple, which is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. For those who enjoy learning about other religions, seeing the inner-workings of the temple was interesting.
Passengers on the Seven Seas Voyager had a good view of this bridge in the Osaka harbor.
Osaka Castle or Osaka-jo
The original Osaka Castle has been destroyed many times. This recreation dates back to 1931.
Osaka Castle Wall and Moat
At one point, over 100,000 men worked on the Osaka Castle wall and other fortifications.
Ancient Well at Osaka Castle in Osaka, Japan
This Osaka Castle well was known as the "gold water well" because the Japanese lord Hideyoshi sank gold bars in the well to improve the water quality.
Osaka Castle Entrance
The walk from the bus parking lot to the entrance gate is about four blocks. Subways are also near the castle.
Osaka Castle Dry Moat
This moat is often filled with water, but it was empty during our February visit to Osaka.
Osaka Castle in Osaka, Japan
View of the multi-level Osaka Castle. Be sure to take an elevator or climb to the top of the castle; the views of Osaka and the mountains are impressive.
Osaka Castle Close-up View
The beautiful gold figures of the Osaka Castle can be clearly seen in this close-up photo of the Osaka Castle Tower.
Golden Tiger in the Osaka Castle
The exterior of Osaka Castle is decorated with large golden dolphins and crouching tigers such as this one.
View of Osaka History Museum from the Osaka Castle
Osaka History Museum is one of the newest museums in Osaka. It is shaped like a sail.
View from Osaka Castle of Giant Ferris Wheel in the Tempozan Area of Osaka
The 8th level of Osaka Castle provides great views. This one is of the Tempozan Area, where cruise ships dock next to the giant ferris wheel.
Octopus Stone at the Osaka Castle
This large stone in the Osaka Castle wall dates back to the 15th century and weighs over 130 tons.
Shitennoji Temple in Osaka, the Oldest Buddhist Temple in Japan
The Shitennoji Temple has been destroyed by fire and wars through the centuries. Today's temple was reconstructed using Asuka period architecture.
Ceremonial Fortunes at the Shitennoji Temple in Osaka
These strings of paper fortunes are picked off the strings by believers who contribute to the temple.