Wena and I left the Osaka Castle Complex after we tasted the green tea ice cream sold at one of the shops outside the castle. We also debated into buying takoyaki but opted not to. It was still Day 2 of our trip and we had to make sure we don’t get tempted to buy those yummy-looking treats in Japan. We simply allowed our eyes to feast on the mouth watering sight. We were like hungry wolves staring at the Japanese guy making the takoyaki. We almost ordered but hesitated and then we found ourselves walking away. Tsk! It was, I think 300 pesos for 8 pieces of takoyaki, 150 if split in two. In our place in Cebu, it only costs around 40 pesos I think. So we just let the nerves from our eyes flow to our tummies hoping that the sight will make our tummy full.
Enough about the Takoyaki talk. On our way out of the castle grounds, we followed the markers that show the way to the Plum Grove Garden. There was actually a Cherry blossoms garden on the other side but you have to pay a fee to get in. Besides, I think that garden has a set operating hours schedule so we chose to see the Plum Garden within the Osaka Castle, instead.
The gates on this side of castle are huge. The gate at the main entrance was getting renovated so we didn’t have a glimpse of how huge it was. Good thing was there’s another gate that wasn’t being renovated and we got to see it.
When we made the final steps out of the moat bridge, we saw how huge the space is. We turned left and started looking for the
There were people riding bikes on this part of the castle complex. I don’t think automobiles are allowed entry here though. The place was really huge. The air was free to blow on any direction and that didn’t help at all in keeping us warm. Not knowing where we were headed, we just followed the road and saw other locals waking in front of us. At some point, we passed by what looked like a small stone shrine. Finally we started seeing the trees that we saw at the top of the castle. But still, I don’t know if my eyesight was poor or if the camera I brought with me was acting up because what registers in the camera are faded branches. I couldn’t figure out why the trees looked blurry from afar. I will learn later on the reason for their appearance.
[My friend Nikka of www.two2travel.com was so kind enough to lend me her Nikon D90. However, I was having a hard time taking photos of the beautiful scenery. I’m not a pro in using the DSLR and I’d have to say that it was a struggle to make sure I capture photos with great quality. The cold weather didn’t help too because the cam’s lens gets fogged from time to time.]
Nevertheless, I was happy at some of the photos I took of the Plum Garden in Osaka, Japan. Oh, in case you have no idea, this is article is also a photo blog. I’m in the process of fixing my writer’s block dilemma so pardon the lack of proper narratives for this particular article 😆
Still uncertain where we were, we decided to just continue and go on our little adventure of finding cherry blossoms. At that point, we were already cold and tired from the walks we did since morning. However, we didn’t want to leave Osaka without seeing cherry blossoms. My friends said that sometimes cherry blossoms bloom early. Holding on to that fact, we continued to walk until we reached the top of a slope. And as we craned our heads to see what lies ahead at the bottom of the slope, we found a marker along with a beautiful path waiting for us below.
The canopy of trees ahead gave us hope that there might be something beautiful waiting for us at the end of that road.
indeed there was!
As we continued walking down the slope, we saw a marker that read:
The Ni-no-maru (Outer Bailey) that surrounds the Hommaru (Inner Bailey) of Osaka Castle becomes lower toward the north. This passage located to the east of the inner moat, is a steep downward slope from the south to the north. This stairway was called Gangizaka from the stone steps laid on the slope to make a long stairway (gangi meaning stone steps) in the Edo period. At the top of the slope, there was Gangizaka Gate furnished with a room on the upper level, and a guard station was located beside the gate to watch over the passage of samurais. When the castle was placed under the control of the army after the Meiji Restoration, Gangizaka was also called Dara-dara-zaka, meaning an extended slope. The slope was later filled with earth and is now less steep that it used to be.
And then we got a glimpse of what we were looking for. Cherry blossoms! We got excited once we saw the huge number of pretty colors popping up from the garden. White, dark pink, light pink and greens! It was a lovely sight to behold.
Our visit was still too early for the trees haven’t bloomed completely. Nevertheless, we were so happy that we got to finally see one of the prettiest flowers in Japan.
Walking down the Gangizaka Slope, we couldn’t take our eyes off those beautiful flowers.
Finally, we were almost near the gates of the flower garden. The road at the farthest end was where we came from.
We honestly thought that we stumbled into the cherry blossom garden in Osaka. But we found out later on that those pretty flowers were actually plums as derived from the garden’s name, Plum Garden. (duh!) Those plums really looked like cherry blossoms but I guess there’s no telling as we were not familiar with how they’re supposed to look. Either way, those were really lovely flowers!
The plums come in different colors. There are red or dark pink-colored plum flowers.
there are white plums.
And then there are pink plums.
I can just imagine how pretty the garden will look like once all of the flowers on all of the trees bloom altogether.
While admiring the beauty of the plum trees, we promised ourselves that we should go back to Japan to witness what it will look like to see all those flowers bloom.
A white plum tree
When we started heading home, we saw a cat roaming along the garden’s fence.
Wena, patting the sweet cat
There are also local tourists in the area. Some were taking photos of the plum flowers.
Others probably see those gardens as therapeutic. I’m not too sure really. But who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by those beautiful flowers?
The flowers from the trees of the Plum Garden are so lovely seeing that they started blooming. I wonder how those trees will look like once they all bloom.
There’s no entrance fee to get inside this plum grove garden in Osaka. To get back to the train station, you just have to follow the road as it will lead you to where you originally entered when reaching the castle grounds.