Monday, October 2nd, 2023

Osaka Castle: November 2020

Photograph of Osaka Castle seen from across a pond and with no one around.

As my 3rd Anniversary of living in Japan closes, this is a scene that stands out for those early days. I arrived in Osaka in the middle of the state of emergency when tourism was banned, and we were asked to limit our internal travel.

Living barely 20 minutes’ walk from Osaka Castle, it became a regular haunt for our exercise and need to leave the confines of a two room house tucked away in a narrow street.

A part of me was sad to see the Castle, always so full of people and life, all but empty. A selfish part enjoyed wandering around in relative peace and quiet. Able to take the photos I wanted without people in the way. Listening to birdsong usually hidden by the burble of people talking.

In a strange way I feel lucky I arrived in the middle of the pandemic. It gave me a chance to see a side of Japan normally hidden. But I also feel guilt that while I was enjoying settling in to my new life, times were much tougher for others.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.