Japan: images and observations

My family and I visited Japan in October 2017; these pages record my impressions, both photographically and verbally.

On these pages I have concentrated on what I found particularly interesting, surprising, or different in Japan to Australia, where I live.

There is too much to be placed on a single Internet page, so the material has been divided among several pages.

We only had a part of a day in Osaka during a day trip from Nara.

This page started 2017/11/08, substantially finished 2017/12/26, last edited 2021/03/06
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

Wind turbines
It was a chilly morning, I was wearing my Australian Wind Alliance beanie, and we walked beneath these decorative wind turbines near the aquarium in Osaka. I couldn't resist a selfie.

(Over the last ten years or so I have spent a lot of time and effort in countering the lies, exaggerations and misrepresentations made by those who oppose wind power.)

The Ferris wheel just happened to be in the same area.

Photo taken 2017/10/19

Approaching the aquarium in Osaka. The ferris wheel (shown in the photo above) would be out of sight on the right.

Photo taken 2017/10/19

The aquarium was as impressive as might be expected in a city such as Osaka; the highlight was two whale sharks, one to be seen on the right in this photo.

We were fortunate enough to see them being fed. Buckets of small fish or similar were tipped onto the surface of the water and the whale sharks sucked in what must have been 50-100 litres of water including the fish, filtered it, expelled the water and retained the fish.

Photo taken 2017/10/19

Street cleaning
Washing, scrubbing, and vacuuming up the dirt from paving bricks on the footpath near the Osaka Ferris Wheel. Only in Japan?

The traffic on the bridge in the background was crawling bumper-to-bumper all the time we were in the area; and a large proportion of the traffic consisted of trucks.

Photo taken 2017/10/19

View from Ferris Wheel
A view of Osaka from near the top of the Ferris Wheel; the same bridge as in the previous photo.

It looks like much of Osaka, like Tokyo, is low lying and will suffer from the sea level rise to be expected with climate change (as will low lying Tokyo and the delta areas of Vietnam).

Photo taken 2017/10/19

Osaka-jo (Osaka castle)

Before going to Japan the impression I had of Japanese castles was one of beautiful buildings with many oriental style roofs stacked up something like a child might imagine when building a castle out of mud.

What we don't see without going to Japan is the hugely impressive and multiple kilometre-long walls and moats made of colossal stones that surround the central 'castle' buildings. This photo shows a small part of the extensive walls surrounding Osaka castle.

The biggest stone in the walls of Osaka-jo has been measured at 59 square-metre surface area and estimated at 108 tonnes weight. Imagine the skill, organisation, resources and learning involved in cutting these stones to the right shape and size and then moving them into place without the machinery available to us today!

Photo taken 2017/10/19

The only way that I could see to do justice to Osaka-jo on this page was to include this map. It shows two concentric moats, each of which was bounded by tall walls made of huge stones.

Photo taken 2017/10/19

A panorama of a part of the wall on one of the two moats around Osaka-jo. The angle in the wall is actually about 90°.

I believe that the wall that people are walking across on the left (see the high-definition image – click on this image) would be the Tamatsukun-guchi entrance to the castle proper (shown at the lower right of the map above).

Photo taken 2017/10/19

Huge stone
The stone that has the little sign on it is the one mentioned above: the biggest stone in the walls of Osaka-jo, measured at 59 square-metre surface area and estimated at 108 tonnes weight.

For comparison, the Great Pyramid in Egypt is made up of stones that weigh about three tonnes each.

My Son Ken is in the foreground.

Photo taken 2017/10/19

The central part of Osaka-jo (Osaka castle). A beautiful building certainly, but dwarfed by the fortifications surrounding it.

Photo taken 2017/10/19

Inner moat
A part of the inner moat – boat tours available

Photo taken 2017/10/19

Inner moat
A panorama taking in a wider angle of the inner moat view above.

Photo taken 2017/10/19