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Osaka is the other side of Mount Fuji from Tokyo, and like many cities in Japan is a highly developed sprawling metropolis. By most measures it is the third city in Japan (the second being Yokohama) and it has a population something in the order of four million.

A friend of ours happened to playing with the Royal Philharmonic in Osaka, so we headed over to see if we could catch the show. Unfortunately it was sold out, so we went to get some of those tasty Japanese pancakes instead. We met up with the RP after the show and had a night on the lash - musicians fairly like a good bucket.

Umeda Sky Garden

The Umeda Sky Garden is one of many examples of modern architecture in Osaka, but this one has a public observation deck on top. It reminded me of the Grand Arch in Paris in the way that the lifts go up in glass tubes between the towers.

Osaka cityscape as viewed from the roof of the Umeda Sky Garden. There was very little evidence of actual garden to be seen up there, it must be noted.

Downtown Osaka

Sky Garden escalators

Escalators strung high between the towers of the Umeda Sky Garden. An impressive engineering sight, if not particularly pleasing on the eye.

Looking north to the river flowing through Osaka, a mighty sweep of water. The city seems endless, and certainly felt that way when walking back from our night out with the Royal Philharmonic.

Osaka metropolis

Weird heads

Weird head sculptures form part of the support columns of an Osaka hotel. I wonder if they're supposed to be anyone famous?

Space is at such a premium in Japan that many car parks operate like a giant vending machine, with turntables and cassettes. Press a button and hopefully your car will reappear.

Vehicular vending machine

Fine day for the races

We spent many hours in Japanese arcades, with particular focus on vintage Street Fighter. However there were some more practical arcade attractions, such as this model horse racing.

Our hotel was a standard cheap business hotel, very much Premier Travelodge Inn, but it was in Dotonbori district which looks pretty cool at night. Plenty of bars and eateries along this way.

Dotonbori night scene

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2010