Osaka - from Castle to crazy shopping

We walked around Osaka for nearly 10 hours on Friday! 
So come and follow us around....

First we went to Osaka Castle and found this lovely little park / rose garden on the way. It's situated on an island in the middle of the river.

Nice design on the streets.
Then we arrived at the castle walls - there's the castle roof in the center.
Old and new buildings.
Castle gate
Every sight in Japan has a mascot and so does this castle! It's a Samurai, just much cuter :-)
View from the walls
Here it is!
There were literally hundreds of school children walking around the castle and its parks. All in their school uniforms. Here are some girls in sailor dresses, having their picknicks.
We hadn't planned to climb another tower - but the castle tour officially starts on the 8th floor!
See more school kids and the first autumn leaves.

Samurai armour - most of the exhibits were dedicated to the two wars of Osaka, one of them just had its 400 years anniversary. Actually the castle is a replica, the former castles burned down several times. So you can't see any original rooms inside.
Another gate
There is also a temple next to the castle. And I now have a Hello Kitty bottle holder...

There's a big park area around the castle.
Just a few subway stations to the west we went for a stroll on this posh street.
Old front on a new building

More old and new - and loads of bicyclers!
All luxury cars have their shops here.
Ecclectic architecture
Daimaru, the big department store
Crazy shop, just the first of many we saw!
Proofing my theory that cafes are only for girls - and the odd guy they take along.
Mont Blanc pancake - because chestnuts!
This river marked the change from luxury shops to cheaper stores.
It's a big street!
All the side streets are calling for your attention.
The HIPS building
We shortly stepped into a Pachinko hall - the noise of all the the falling metall balls is ear shattering! Described by Olivier as "the most boring game in the world". But many people in Japan seem to be hooked on it!
Thank you McDonald's for adding a white burger. Just what we needed.
Sweet beans - yes, they do special Japan edition foods!
Expressing personal style through bikes!
We walked back on the parallel street which is something like the Japanese version of Istanbul's Grand Bazar! Complete with school girls in uniforms.
This entire wall is dedicated to contact lenses in all kinds of colors and designs!
Crazy shops, I am telling you!
And the street goes on and on...
The arms of this crab actually move!
We bought hats!

And then I decided to buy a pink wig here.... Although we soon decided that the plastic-pop-from-hell music thah they played was pure torture. It was a non-stop medley of everything from Ave Maria to the Mickey Mouse song - horrible! I felt like I neede my ears cleaned afterwards.
I am Japanese now :-)

We could have shopped on, but had really had enough for the day. Thanks to the GPS in our iPhones we found the way back to the apartment - it's in a smaller street and we already had a hard time finding it like it was.

Yuko made a very tasty dinner for us and some of those really big, expensive grapes. When we tasted them we found that they were worth every Yen - so delicious!