I've always conceived of Osaka as something like the quintessential younger brother of the more serious Tokyo - everything is a bit louder, a bit brighter and more extroverted, a tiny bit gauche but just enough to be endearing instead of tacky (okay, maybe a little tacky). I've spoken before about tourist bingo - namely, I'm usually determined to avoid going to the most 'famous' monuments, at least during normal hours of the day - but I figured that since my last visit to Osaka was a quick two-day affair in 2013, dominated by aquarium wanderings and food, I had to at least pay its most iconic tourist landmarks a visit.
Usually, tourist bingo landmarks tend to be a little underwhelming - an inevitable byproduct of being hyped by everyone under the sun and their mothers - but I was pleasantly surprised by Osaka Castle.
Something I have begun to try and look out for is travel photography burnout. It's partly because general weariness from travel sets in and it becomes a huge chore to pull out your camera at every opportunity, but it's also because I think the process of after the photos gets overlooked. For a photographer, the day doesn't end until you've backed up and transferred all photos to your hard-drive, perhaps even picked the photos to edit and imported into Lightroom. Depending on how many photos you took, this could take anywhere between 1-3hrs all up. That's all before you actually start editing.
For the most part, it's fine - I love the process, it's why I do it.
However, there's always a noticeable drop in the number of photos I end up taking at the end of the trip, and sometimes I'm so burnt out from the process that the photos sit in my harddrive for months, untouched, and some of them never see the light of day. So Osaka was also the start of my current shooting philosophy of be generous when shooting but ruthless about deleting. I'm liking how it's working out for me so far.
I actually really, really enjoyed the Osaka Castle area and the gardens surrounding it. It was my first day of travelling alone and I was revelling in the glow of being able to wander at my own pace and people watch, while eating a Mister Donut and admiring the teal and gold detailing on the castle itself. Either way, I found the castle and its surrounds so peaceful and pleasant. This is also a 'how many Japanese school groups will you spot every 50m exercise' because I swear every school in Japan sent a group that day. Every. single. one.
UMEDA SKY BUILDING
Honestly...if it's not going to be a beautiful sunset, I wouldn't bother going to the top of the Umeda Sky Building because Osaka's skyline is...well, somewhat generic and most people up the top are either wielding selfie-sticks (sadly, I don't own one though I should for these solo traveller moments) or are part of a couple (see: solo traveller moments); I actually found myself more fascinated by the construction workers on the side of the building. The tower is a gorgeous structure to stare at from the bottom though.