Winter in Japan – day 3

Day 3 began rather dull and overcast so the planned early morning trip to the Shi’tennoji temple was postponed for a few days. 

Instead the day started with a trip to Hommachi to see some of the 2017 women’s marathon pass by then a quick lunch at the Hard Rock cafe before heading out on the Chuo line to Morinomiya for a walk around Osaka Castle Park.

Followers of this blog will know I’ve visited the castle park every time I’ve been to Japan and I’m still surprised how no matter how often I visit I manage to find a new location or viewpoint I’d never noticed before. Today was no exception as I discovered a beautiful little pond which I must have stood next to several times before but only noticed today as the branches on the surrounding trees were stripped of all their leaves  for the first time.

After the castle, a nice walk through the park ended at the Plum Grove which lies between the Inner Moat and the eastern Outer Moat.  This little garden which contains rows of small (5-6ft high) Plum trees has lovely views over the moat to the castle. 

I read before that the Japanese Plum tree is often the first to blossom, according to one source “sometimes as early as late February” but the blossoms on the Plum trees around Osaka are already beginning to bloom in January this year which, if the reactions of the locals are anything to go by, is unusually early! (There were people queuing to photograph themselves with the blossoms in the background!) 

As the day drew to a close the rain begun to fall (no snow today) and i decided to head back to the apartment for an early night. It’s an early start tomorrow as I’m off to Wakayama prefecture and the ancient Buddhist temples of Mount Koya, the graveyards of Okunoin and the Shinto shrines which, at 3500ft, surely must have some snow!?

I’ll let you know tomorrow! 🙂 

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