I woke early so decided to walk to Namba rather than catch the subway; I was expecting a lengthy walk back to an area I know quite well from previous trips but I was surprised to find it’s only 5 minutes walk from my new accommodation.
While at Namba I bought my rail passes for the entire trip before heading for Hommachi via the subway where I changed trains for the brief trip to Morinomiya and Osaka Castle Park.
I arrived quite early at the park but was surprised to find it very busy.
I made my way through the crowds towards the castle and the gardens and while there was still a large amount of green left in the trees, it was clear autumn had taken hold, with brilliant red and orange coloured trees lining the many paths. After walking around the entire moat (quite a distance in the warm sun while still jet-lagged!) I made my way into the castle via the main bridge and was pleased to see that most of the trees within the main concourse were in full autumn colours.
After taking some photos I decided to try the seasonal delicacy of deep fried autumn maple leaves. These were popular with the many visitors but not as popular as the green tea ice cream as the temperature rose quickly which isn’t something I was expecting for November in Japan!
Soon I discovered the reason for the early crowds, as the noise from hundreds of drums and bells and whisles rose up from the surrounding parkland.
Today, it seems, was Osakas Danjiri Matsuri Festival, a celebration of a bountiful harvest and the hope of a prosperous autumn.
It was quite a sight as hundreds of people dragged beautifully decorated carts filled with shrines, drummers and bell players through the streets. It looked hard work and apparently there are several casualties every year, which I could easily understand as some of the carts weigh over 3 tonnes and are entirely steered and moved by nothing more than brute strength!
After taking in some of the festival (and grabbing lots of photos) i was back on the subway to Hommachi for some lunch and a beer before returning to the castle in time to catch the sunset and the castle being lit for the night.
I’d never seen the park lit up before and the combination of autumn colours and lights really made for a lovely walk in the dark.
After the night walk it was back to the apartment for some noodles and an early night.
I have a 6.30am start tomorrow and a day which should see me busy right through until 10pm…