Osaka Castle

When we woke up on our second morning in Kyoto, it was obvious that there would not be a repeat performance of the beautiful weather of the day before. The clouds were moving in quickly and the rain was beginning to fall.

Undaunted, we grabbed our jackets and umbrellas and took a local train to Osaka where we met our intrepid guide, Taeko, her friend Mikki, and Mikki's mother, Sumi. Our first stop that day was Osaka Castle which was build by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1583. In 1615, the castle was completely destroyed by fire, but soon after that it was reconstructed by the Tokugawa Shogunat. The castle is surrounded by two moats encased by the most amazing stacked stone walls.

You can climb the many steps to the observation deck at the top of the castle and enjoy the view of the city. Inside, the history of the castle is presented in a number of interesting ways. Our favorite was the diorama viewing screens where scenes from the life of Hideyoshi Toyotomi are enacted. It was like watching holograms in "Star Wars". The dialog was entirely in Japanese, but English signs summarized each scene.

By the time we finished our tour of the castle, the misty rain of the morning was getting more serious, and on the way out of the grounds, I clicked a picture of the wet, unhappy little cat.