Trip Start Mar 04, 2012
13Trip End Apr 15, 2012
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We had an interesting day in Osaka. We had a tour booked to take us to Osaka Castle followed by a visit to Sumiyoshi Shrine.
The castle is built on two raised platforms (for those who know it, in a similar fashion to Castille place in Malta). The Castle itself was rebuilt in the 50's, exactly as it was before but the moats and the walls and gates round the moats were the original built in the late 1500’s.
The interior of the castle did include some modern conveniences, like lifts and bathrooms. They also had two sets of concrete stairwells, one to go up and the other to come down. The rest of the structure was wood
On some of the other floors they had reconstructions of famous Japanese battles with models in full battle dress and weaponry . They looked interesting but meant more to the Japanese visitors as there was very little English description. Lastly we came to the souvenir shop. Amazingly they had some nice goods, much better than the usual souvenirs.
There were extensive gardens round the Castle but unfortunately, this has been a cold winter and spring has only just arrived so the cherry blossom is not yet in bloom. In fact many of the deciduous trees had little or no bud. Local opinion is that the trees need another couple of weeks to come into bloom. Our guide said that it was snowing only last week.
After that we went to the Sumiyoshi shrine. This is a Shinto shrine and whilst interesting was in fact very bare ie not ornate at all. However it is certainly popular to the Japanese as the shrine is maintained by donations only and is well kept up.
Apparently most Japanese believe in Shintoism and Buddhism as Shinto is the deity for the living person and Budda is the deity for the dead person
Just by where the ship was moored, there was a huge ferris wheel. It was the largest in the world until the London eye was built. As it was a sunny clear day, I thought that it would be nice to go up. However, I did not take account of the wind. Have to say it got a bit scary, the higher up we went but once in, you are committed. Was very glad to get out some 20 minutes later.
The wind has now developed into a force 10 gale so we are sailing through some rough seas with a swell of 9 to 10 metres. There are noticeably fewer people around as many have succumbed to seasickness. There is even a notice on the medical centre door advising passengers that the sea sickness pills are available from the on board convenience store. So far Ray and I are fine.
All the doors to the promenade decks (which are on level 7) have been locked. Mind you, you need to be nuts to go out there but I guess they are not taking any chances of someone falling overboard.
The only disconcerting thing is now and again we hear big thumps when huge waves break against the ship. Two bits of the funnel decoration have broken off. We are due in a Yokohama tomorrow and hopefully the storm will have abated by the time we set off again on Monday morning.