We started off the morning with a good, hearty breakfast provided by the hotel at 6:30 am. They had quite a nice set up and a good variety of delicious food! After that we had an early start and headed out the door around 7:00 am. We only needed to get directions from the man at the hotel desk to subway station that would be closest to our first stop for the day. We were able to figure it out for the rest of the day pretty much on our own!
First Stop: Shitennoji Kishindo Temple
What a beautiful place! We got there before it opened, so we were able to walk around the outside of the gates and check stuff out and take pictures on the outside before we went in. We saw a few people doing their prayers, which was cool to see.
The wheel he is praying to was really neat! It was constantly spinning, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. Then all of a sudden, it would switch directions all on it’s own. I’m not sure what the meaning of this was, but I thought that was really neat and I’m very curious why it does that and what the meaning of it is. We also lit some incense and put it in a giant cauldron at the center of the entrance. The gates to the inside of the temples opened at 9:00 am. Inside the gates wasn’t what I expected. There were two temples and a big stone garden. Inside the buildings was quite a bit different. There were giant golden shrines with offerings of books, apples, jewelery, etc. Of course, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the temples. We also witnessed a Buddhist monk say some prayers in front of one of the shrines.
After that, we were headed to the Temple’s garden. But first, a bathroom break was in order…
Too bad we didn’t have a nice set up like this guy…
The Temple’s garden was beautiful! Flowers, ponds, fish, a couple waterfalls, and a cute little blue gazebo. It was very peaceful.
On to the Tennoji Zoo
Next was the Tennoji Zoo. We asked a lady at a shop outside of the temple for some directions. A man overheard us and insisted that he walk us there himself. His English was very good and talked to us the whole walk to the zoo. It only took about 10 minutes to get to the zoo gate, but he insisted on walking us up to the ticket counter and making sure we got through. A wonderful, overly-helpful Japanese man! The zoo was like any other zoo, but better because it had the cutest little Asian kids running around everywhere! Had it not been for the parents looking at me, I would’ve definitely taken more pictures of kids than animals. (As a big fan of people watching, I’ve found it quite difficult being in Asia because now I am the one everyone is watching.) This is my favorite picture from the zoo…
We also found a pretty neat water fountain to get a little drink from.
Then we made our way to Tsutenkaku Tower. We had to walk through a crowded marketplace, which was the image I always imagined whenever I thought of Japan…
We first got in line and it took about 30 minutes to get the elevator… Which brought us to another line that lead to the ticket counter… Which brought us to another line to go upstairs… Which brought us to another line that weaved in and out, in and out, and in and out of rooms… Which lead us to an elevator that finally brought us to the top! It was a really great 360° view of the city! This city is HUGE!! There were also a bunch of Billiken dolls everywhere. Billiken is the God of Things as They Ought to Be.
Tennoji is the Old Osaka area… From what I saw. It’s a really lively place! Exactly what I thought of when I thought of Japan!! A great start to Day 2 of our trip! 🙂