Osaka - A Futuristic Dystopia (Part 2) - Waku Waku

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Osaka - A Futuristic Dystopia (Part 2)

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Osaka - A Futuristic Dystopia (Part 2)

When I was a university student in Japan, I’ve always been fascinated by the Japanese history.

Waku Waku

Waku Waku

Published on 19 Mar 2020, 21:01

I'm so glad to see you again and thank you for being here with me to continue this wonderful trip. For those who have not read part 1 yet, you can click on the link below:

1400 years ago, when transportation by train or car was still an impossible dream, the Osaka Bay had proved to be an important gateway that underpinned economic activities and welcomed traders and travelers from all across Asia.

The outsiders who came from China, Korea, and other Asian countries are said to bring with them many valuable commodities, knowledge and a way of life, such as architecture, textiles, novel crafts and pottery, forging techniques, etc. It was also around this 5th century that Buddhism began to widespread across the country, and in 593, the first Buddhist temple Shitennoji was founded by Prince Shotoku.

3/ Praying to the Buddhist deities at Shitennoji Buddhist Temple

Shitennoji is regarded as the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. It laid the foundation for Buddhism to develop and flourish first in the Kansai region, then make way for this religion to widespread throughout the whole country Japan. Make sure to pray to God when you come here, and I wish your dream will come true.

Shitennoji Buddhist Temple
Shitennoji Buddhist Temple

4/ Hanami at Osaka Park – seeing Sakura (cherry blossom) with your own eyes

Finally, here comes the part that everyone has been waiting for. Every year, from the beginning of March to the middle of April, a huge number of overseas tourists and domestic travelers flock to the Kansai area to witness a once in a lifetime event, which is "Hanami".

Breaking down the word "Hanami", we have the "Hana" part which means "flower", and the "Mi" part which means "to watch". Usually, the word "Hanami" refers to the activity of flower watching during Spring, however, the same term can also be used when we watch other blossoming flowers

What is so interesting about Japanese culture is that some physical activities and physical beings have been spiritualized and sanctified, in order to show respect to nature and the deities.

"Hanami" is not only the act of admiring the beauty of nature but is also considered as the way for Japanese people to unite, to refresh, to be reborn and to connect to the gods. If you want to make a big impression with your lover, make sure to at least for once bring him/her to the Kansai region to immerse yourself into this wonderful of Sakura.

Many couples are enjoying the Hanami activity near the Neya River (within the Osaka castle compound)
Many couples are enjoying the Hanami activity near the Neya River (within the Osaka castle compound)

Facts about Sakura flower

As romantic as Sakura may seem, people have a love-hate relationship with Sakura. The facts below are some interesting information that I’ve heard from Japanese people.

  • Those who love Sakura consider the flower as the symbol of rejuvenation and rebirth. When Sakura blossoms, it brings a new change in the appearance of the landscapes, marking the beginning of a new year. Couples usually choose the Sakura season as a way to express their affection to the significant other.
  • However, people are also not fund of Sakura for a variety of reasons. Some may be allergic to the pollen of Sakura, and this hinders them to join some Spring events. Some don’t like the short life span of Sakura, and they regard this as a bad omen. A minority of the population also doesn’t like the Sakura season to come to an end, because it seems to be a real struggle to clean up all the fallen flowers.
Sakura blossom at the Osaka Park
Sakura blossom at the Osaka Park

Tips for the first-time traveler to Japan during Sakura season

  • Accessibility

When you visit Osaka from overseas, usually the destination airport will be Kansai airport (KIX). What’s so special about this airport is that it situates on a man-made island which is a little bit far from land.

The only viable means of transportation are the train and car. Therefore, make sure to schedule in advance so that you will have enough time to travel around. If you bring a lot of heavy luggage, be prepared for some potential struggles ahead!

Taxi is an expensive means of transportation, but is convenient when you are in a rush or when you have too many pieces of luggages
Taxi is an expensive means of transportation, but is convenient when you are in a rush or when you have too many pieces of luggages
  • Weather

The weather in March and April is still a little bit cold, therefore make sure to bring along a set of warm jackets.

  • Accommodation

Even though Osaka may become very crowded especially during the Sakura season, there is no need to worry about the lack of accommodation. There is plenty of options that you can choose, depending on your budget. From capsule hotel, dormitory, guest house, normal hotel, and the list goes on.

But make sure to book a room in advance because the booking rate may fluctuate quite a lot. In Japan, a hostel or shared dormitory is very popular. Room service and many unnecessary amenities are removed to reduce costs.

Picture taken when I stayed in Wasabi Hostel, Namba
Picture taken when I stayed in Wasabi Hostel, Namba
  • Pollinosis issue

To those who have an allergy to flower or pollen, please be careful when approaching the Sakura flower. It is reported that there are several cases where visitors are affected by the pollen of Sakura’s flowers.

In fact, during the Spring season, masks, nasal sprays, nose plugs, glasses, eye drops, and over-the-counter medicines are bought by millions of people who suffer from "kafunsho" (allergy with pollen). Therefore, make sure you have equipped yourself with one of the aforementioned protective "gears" before enjoying the flower watching activity!

I hope you will have a great time in Osaka like I did and see you very soon on another trip!

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