Apr 21, 2015

Cherry Blossoms @ Kita-Ku, Osaka (Seeking SailorMoon Cafe!)

On the 3rd day of my Kansai trip, I decided to stay within Osaka city and for the first part of my day I decided to lounge in the Sailor Moon Cafe called Cafe Talismen.  I arrived at Hankyu Nakatsu Station (中津駅 Nakatsu-eki?) on the Hankyu Railway around noon and tried to navigate myself with GPS.




Nakatsu Station (中津駅 Nakatsu-eki?) is a railway station in Osaka on the Hankyu Kobe Line and the Hankyu Takarazuka Line, and is operated by Hankyu Railway. There is another train station with the same name nearby but they are not linked. Nakatsu is within Kita-Ku (北区 Kita-ku?), which is one of 24 wards of Osaka, Japan. This particular area is 1 train station away from Umeda and is primarily a housing estate area.


“ Kita-ku, particularly the Umeda area surrounding Osaka Station, is one of the main commercial centers of Osaka. Kita-ku is also a financial administration center, housing the headquarters of the Japan Mint and the Osaka branch of the Bank of Japan. “

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kita-ku,_Osaka#Shrine_and_Temple




The website stated the walking distance to be around 10 minutes but it sure wasn't! Thankfully, the scenery throughout the journey was a comfort even amidst the drizzle which I braved with only a scarf.


The beautiful thing about Kansai is that even in such a quiet and normal neighbourhood, there will be beautiful corners for you to discover. And visiting Japan in Spring meant that at every corner, there will be cherry blossoms waiting to take your breath away! Come and share the sceneries I saw on my long walk to the cafe.





First walked past a playground with some very weird and bare looking trees. Does anyone know what trees these are?


Surrounding the little playground are Cherry Blossom trees. It was 29th March and was still a little early for Sakuras but the trees here had already started flowering, much to my delight.It was not full bloom yet but good enough!









The rain and wind however, had caused this branch and many petals to fall.





What a romantic forest of pink!




The 2nd surprise that came my way was this little Shrine shrouded amongst pink and white cherry blossoms. It is the Toyosaki Shrine.


豊崎神社 大阪市北区豊崎6丁目6-4
Toyosaki Shrine Osaka JP


The Emperor Kotoku and others are enshrined in this shrine.

A small shrine was said to be founded originally by someone who was sorry for the ruins of Nagara Toyosakinomiya which had been erected by Kotoku. All the historic records to prove its origin were burned to ashes because of a fire in the 9th year of Meiwa(1772). According to the investigation by excavation of the site of Naniwanomiya, Toyosakinomiya was equal to the first term of Naniwanomiya, so the view that the site of Toyosakinomiya was situated here has now been denied.

source: http://www.city.osaka.lg.jp/










The hand wash area. You are expected the cleanse your hands with the water and bamboo ladle here before entering the shrine as a sign of respect and spiritual cleansing.







There was also a smaller shrine within Toyosaki Shrine’s compound with a small row of red gates (Torii) in front of it.


A torii (鳥居?, lit. bird abode, /ˈtɔəri./) is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred (see Sacred-profane dichotomy).

source: Wikipedia







The shrine is not only small, it is also right smacked in the middle of a living estate, entirely surrounded by apartments. Having been so used to visiting the big and well promoted Shrines in Japan, Toyosaki Shrine was a stark comparison in terms of grandness. However, the tranquillity and beauty of the small compound was nothing short of beautiful. 





Like I mentioned above, it was drizzling when I was there. While the rain was annoying, it did allow me to capture pretty nice photographs of water droplets on Sakura.
















It was a beautiful little place that caused me to overstay haha. I think I stayed in the little compound for around 30 minutes before I sternly ushered myself out of the shrine and stepped back onto my path towards the Cafe.


I begrudgingly walked away and at the next corner, I saw more Cherry Blossom trees!






Cherry Blossoms were not the only flower in season it seems as Camellias could be found blossoming too!






I went through this dark tunnel under the Hankyu railway which had been on my right so far and finally found the cafe!







Sadly the Cafe was closed and from the looks of it, they have closed down. I peeked in through the glass window and saw no Sailor Moon merchandise or posters, neither was there tables or chairs. Only a bare wooden floor with boxes of stuffs and cleaning gears could be seen. After spending so much time and money to get here (in the rain), it was an understatement to describe my feelings as sad.





The only thing that could cheer me up at that point was a nice warm can of coffee, conveniently bought from this vending machine 10 steps away. Vending machines with hot can drinks are my favourite things in Japan during the colder seasons. Not only do they provide affordable beverage, the hot drinks also serves as hand warmers.  At this point I was tired, wet and hungry and I desperately needed warmth and food. I paced around the area unsure of what to do and unwilling to believe the cafe had closed down. But I soon came to terms with it and ventured back to the train station.





The rows of bare trees reflecting my state of the moment -_-;






The cherry Blossoms doesn’t translate well into my pictures here because they are still budding .




Saw this interesting pair of canines on my way back. Check out who’s poster models eh?






I grumpily got back to the Hankyu Nakatsu Station and ventured off to my next location; Sakuranomiya Park.


It had been a wasted trip but I’m glad I got to see the shrine and the sakura trees! Hope you guys liked the photographs! Remember to check back soon as I will blog about the 2nd part of my day at the Sakuranomiya Park which had amazing Sakuras =)

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