A Day With Taeko And Her Family

No visit to Osaka would feel complete if we didn't spend time with our friend Taeko. Every time we have visited the area she has offered to show us around and has introduced us to her family and friends. This trip was no exception. We began our time together in a private room in a bustling Izakaya. The kids alternately bounced around and sat quietly folding origami while we enjoyed beer, plates of fried foods, noodles, and sushi.

The next day Taeko's husband Masaya picked us up at our hotel. The first stop of our action-packed day was a visit to a festival at the school their oldest daughter attends. The children had set up various types of games and everyone was playing enthusiastically. Walt tried a bowling game.

After enjoying the jovial festival atmosphere, we walked to the nearby Mint Museum. The museum is housed in a historical Meiji era building and is a very popular spot for viewing cherry trees. The season for cherry blossom viewing had passed, but the grounds were still lovely. The original main gate for the Mint Bureau and gas lamps that are said to be the oldest in Japan can also be found on the grounds along with some coin making equipment.

We took some pictures of the kids as we strolled through the grounds.

Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside the museum, but there are interesting exhibits of coins and displays which describe the process of making them. The signs describing the exhibits are only written in Japanese, but an English audio guide is available.

After our visit to the museum, we had a quick look at some other historic buildings across the street and then headed off to lunch.

We spent the afternoon wandering through the impressive Osaka Museum of History and taking a tour of the archaeological site it is built upon. A visit to the museum begins on the 10th floor where there is a partial reconstruction of the Great Audience Hall of Naniwa Palace as it existed around 700 AD when Osaka was the capital of Japan. There are many life-sized figures in period dress throughout the display. We worked our way down through the 7th floor which contains exhibits depicting life in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, once again photography was not allowed so I copied these pictures from the web. The one on the left shows the exhibit on the 10th floor, and the one on the right shows the exhibit on the 7th.

We ended the day with a long walk past Osaka Castle to the train that would take us back to our hotel.

Just before we reached the station, we saw this cat and this interesting fountain.

Our feet were aching, but it had been a lovely day, and we hope to see Taeko and her family again soon.