I was drawn to visit Japan because of cherry blossoms. It was April and the weather was perfect for a Spring-lover like me. It was nighttime when I got to Osaka. Wearing my white hoodie did not help much to warm me. So I was there, standing in one of their train platforms, praying train would arrive on time. It did and luckily, I did not freeze to death. After one hour, I got off and walked to my hotel. It was midnight but the man in the hotel reception made me feel the day just started. Yes, he was that warm. I would later on realize Japanese are innately warm people.
The following day, I started early and headed to Universal Studios then Osaka Aquarium. Osaka Aquarium proved to be one of the finest aquariums in the world. It is comprised of 27 tanks in 16 main exhibits. Kids wandered and wondered with me. I’ve seen sea lions and dolphins interact with aquarium visitors but this was the first time I have experienced it with stingrays and sharks. Admittedly, I was scared but seeing this little kid touch the stingray shamed me. So I conquered and it was pretty amazing.
My first cherry blossom experience happened when I went to Osaka Castle. This castle is one of the most visited site in Osaka for history suckers like me. Osaka Castle played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century.
It was getting busy so I went to one of their Sakura Gates to head to Osakajo-Koen and what a way to leave an impression to a first timer like me.
My last stop was a vast park covering about two square kilometers, where both locals and visitors like me spend their leisure time. I walked around Nishinomaru Garden planted with more than 600 cherry trees and I saw picnics everywhere. Then I saw this couple and cherry blossoms never felt so romantic: my cue to go home.
“In a cherry blossom’s shade
there is no such thing
as a stranger”
– Kobayashi Issa