Lots of Rock at Osaka Castle Park
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 200mm — 1 / 125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 200mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos

As you might have noticed in my posts about the paper airplanes and impromptu portraits in Osaka Castle Park, it's a place with a lot of carved granite. A lot.

As the name “Osaka Castle Park” might imply to the astute reader, it's a park in Osaka Japan that contains a castle. Despite having lived not very far away on and off for the better part of 20 years, my visit last weekend was my first. I'd never been very interested in seeing it because it's not very old – it was built about 20 years ago, as the current Wikipedia entry on Osaka Castle notes:

1997: Restoration was completed. The castle is a concrete reproduction (including elevators) of the original; the inside does not resemble a Japanese castle at all.

However, the site itself – the huge park with all the moats and ramparts of huge cut stone – turns out to be a wonderful place to visit on a pleasant afternoon. And while the castle is modern, much of the reset (the aforementioned moats and ramparts) date back almost 400 years. Quoting again from the Wikipedia entry:

1620: Tokugawa Hidetada began to reconstruct and rearm Osaka Castle. He built a new elevated main tower, five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and assigned the task of constructing new walls to individual samurai clans. The walls built in the 1620s still stand today, and are made out of interlocked granite boulders with no mortar whatsoever; they are held together solely by each other. Many of the stones were brought from rock quarries in the Seto Inland Sea, and bear inscribed crests of the various families who laid them into the walls.

Their authenticity is an added bonus, because even when I thought that it was all a modern reconstruction, it was an impressive and beautiful site/sight. My only complaint might be that at the moment, the water in the moats seems a bit low and stagnant (and hence ugly), so that could have been better.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 24mm — 1 / 350 sec, f/3.8, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Viewing the Formidable Inner Moat -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 24mm — 1/350 sec, f/3.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Viewing the Formidable Inner Moat

As you might expect of a castle, the place was designed for defense, and to both intimidate and impress visitors. The site is huge, with two concentric moats, each with its own multi-story rampart of cut stone, leading up to a castle that itself sits atop a further three-story wall of smoothly-cut rock.

Some areas of the moat are currently dry, but to give you an idea of the impressive layout, in the picture below I colored in the moat areas to make them easily visible. The castle itself is marked with red....

Google Maps -- http://regex.info/blog/
Google Maps

Thus, if you had it in your mind to lay siege to the castle and were actually able to get across the moat and up the sheer rock face of the rampart (all without getting speared or arrowed), you then faced another moat above which this view would present itself.....

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 56mm — 1 / 250 sec, f/4.8, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos View From Between the Moats -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 56mm — 1/250 sec, f/4.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
View From Between the Moats

That view might leave those that are more warrior than worrier with a sense of “almost there!” but they would be fatally mistaken, because after crossing the moat and after scaling the wall, they would indeed be done with the watter barriers, but would still have narrow well-defended paths and four stories worth of wall in their way just to get to the base of the three-story rampart upon which the castle actually sits.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 82mm — 1 / 160 sec, f/5, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Nao Holds up the Wall -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 82mm — 1/160 sec, f/5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Nao Holds up the Wall
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 60mm — 1 / 125 sec, f/4.8, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Weathered -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 60mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Weathered

One small area of the park was littered with stones both big and small, making it a wonderful place for the kids to play (and for family portraits).

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Naomi, Kana, and Emi Play -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Naomi, Kana, and Emi Play
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Emi Climbs while Nao Lounges -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Emi Climbs while Nao Lounges

At times you walk right beside the huge walls, the bases of which are composed of huge stone. The aforementioned “intimidated and impressed” feeling is still in effect.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Dwarfed by the Base of the Wall -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Dwarfed by the Base of the Wall

Once you finally wind your way to the top plateau, you find the fake castle on its three-story rampart....

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 18mm — 1 / 90 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Base of the Castle Proper -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 18mm — 1/90 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Base of the Castle Proper

(You can see an external glass-sided elevator to the right of center)

Being fake, I still wasn't interested in the castle itself, but the miles of rock wall were fascinating. Turning around, the view was of a section of the inner moat that was currently without water...

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 55mm — 1 / 20 sec, f/4.8, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos Inner Moat in Drydock -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 55mm — 1/20 sec, f/4.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Inner Moat in Drydock
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18 -200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 36mm — 1 / 80 sec, f/4.2, ISO 800 — map & image data — nearby photos Old and New -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR @ 36mm — 1/80 sec, f/4.2, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Old and New

The lip of the rampart above the inner moat had both old and new stone. I'm not sure what the notches in the rock are for. They're too small to provide protection to archers, and they're no good for pouring hot oil, unless you wanted to pour it all over your own feet. At first blush, they actually look like something to hold a rope that would allow someone to scale the wall, but that makes no sense, so I don't know.

In the fading light after sunset, I made this fuzzy handheld shot of a section of the inner moat that still had a bit of water.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1 / 25 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 — map & image data — nearby photos Business Side of the Inner Moat -- Osaka, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/25 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Business Side of the Inner Moat

All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Only your family will understand my quiet but great satisfaction to see at least one of my sons developing an appreciation for the Joy of Rocks.

— comment by Grandma Friedl on November 9th, 2007 at 11:29pm JST (10 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Nice pictures, interesting place.

Also, I see that typo fixes seem approved here, so I’ll point out that the water is stagnant. You used the verb form, “stagnate”.

— comment by Steve S on December 10th, 2007 at 7:33pm JST (10 years ago) comment permalink

I think the notches are for archers, since the lower half of the bow would hit the wall in quite a few cases

— comment by Anonymous on July 26th, 2016 at 1:00am JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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