Flavor of 17th century Japan and more.
Osaka Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
The hotel I stayed in Osaka was Shin Osaka hotel annex. It is very close to Shin-Osaka station, so you can use JR(Japan Railway) very conveniently. JR is quite close to Amtrak, frankly say perhaps more of Amtrak but a combination of subway plus train. A couple of types of trains in Japan are called Chikadetsu (subway or tube), Kintetsu (link to suburban area more of metronorth in Northeast area of US), and JR. You may not find such difficulty in Osaka to find station name and transport, as most of them are quite accurate and written in English. Still Shin-Osaka (Shin means New)station is pretty big, and a center of transportation in that area, so overall the location of hotel is not bad at all. Later I would write a review on this hotel and would link it to this blog so that you can use it as information. From the airport to downtown, using Nankai line, you can get to Namba. Namba is sort of grand-central New York. You cand find almost any train to go to places nearby or within Osaka.
If you see the map, you will find lots of similar names at the end of location names in the subway. For example, -Bashi (NihonBashi, Simbashi) means bridge. Interesting that these names were made way before these stations were made, so we can infer that in old days still these places were important for transportation using horses, walking, or any other means. Another name is - Mae at the end of the name, meaning "In front of". A few more examples are still there, but I will leave them for next travel to Japan. The point is if you can detach these names from original name, it is quite easy to remember the name of the places. For most of Western travelers, reading chinese characters is not an option for travelling Japan, and the writing of English names sometimes confusing (e,g, why all the bashis are around the map?) , but once you can understand one by one, it is way more easier to travel Japan naturally.
Osaka castle is a feature of 8 story one, and you can climb up through stairs. The top is open so you can look around city of Osaka, and the feeling could be compared to the top of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy though not the same. Osaka castle was a stronghold of Tokugawa family who prevailed Japan followed by 100 years of war from mid 15th to mid 16th century. Later on, this Osaka castle was once demolished, but rebuilt in 1930s.
There is a cannon which notified time every day at noon, and you can sometimes see a lot of tourists get aroudn this cannon and take picture.