Osaka, Japan
Feb 18 - 20, 2007
Our first day in Osaka was a Sunday. We rode the subway into the center of town and walked around.
The city was very clean everywhere.
Sometimes the view was cluttered by all the overhead wires and cables. This was one of the few level crossings we saw. Most highways and trains were either elevated or below ground.
We were looking for something called the Floating Garden Observatory. It turned out to be this building. Those two steel structures angled through the circle are escalators. We rode an elevator to the base of the escalator and then rode up to the top.
From there we went up a stairway and outside to the viewing platform. Osaka is huge--2.5 million.
Looking back down at the area where we were walking earlier. You can see the level train crossing and elevated highways, one of which goes right through a building. I wonder which came first. Was the building there and they put the highway through it? Or did they build the building around the highway?
Expo Park
On our second afternoon, I rode the monorail to this park outside Osaka. It is built on the grounds of the Expo-70 that was held here. Most of the plants were planted in the 1970's. The park reopened in 1980. It now contains many gardens, orchards and wooded areas.  I could have spent another day in this park and not seen all of it.
This is just a small sampling of the many pictures I took.
The tower above is called the sun tower. I have many more pictures of this monstrosity, but I thought this was enough to give you the idea.
I spent most of my time walking around this huge Japanese garden. I have seen Japanese gardens around the world, but this is the biggest one I've seen.
This section of the garden had two tea houses and ladies in kimonos were serving tea in one of them.
I didn't expect to find the plum trees in bloom, so this was a wonderful surprise. I think some people knew about this, though, because there were an awful lot of photographers with very large cameras, lenses and tripods in the orchard.
Click on the images below to see larger versions of them.
I saw a few camellias, but most of them were done and dropping their flowers on the ground.
Back to the city now and the next day.
San Francisco has its Chinatown and Osaka has its America-town.
How many things do you see here that say "America?" (to make it easier click on the picture for a larger version.)
Many people in Japan wear uniforms, including most students.
This looks like a theater somewhere in a large American city.
This is the Dotombori canal in another part of Osaka.
This is a part of a very large underground shopping center. This is called Chicago Gallery. I believe these are copies of paintings in the Chicago Art Gallery.
Then I walked outside to this new complex of shops and restaurants called Namba Parks. Steps wind up through terraced gardens on the left to that flying saucer sort of thing, which is at the top of an elevator.
I stopped here on my way up.
This is a bit farther up.
Here you see restaurants below me. There are some on this level and more above. And that is the elevator.
I rode the elevator down to this level called "canyon."  I think you can see why. Walking straight ahead here I was back where I started.
More pictures from Osaka, Senri and  Mino
Hina Matsuri Dolls