Friday, April 29th, 2022

Photowalk: Osaka Expo Commemorative Park

Photograph of the top half of the tower of the sun rising above green trees and a blue bed of flowers

In the 1970s, Osaka hosted the world’s fair. A grand park was built outside the city, to which hundreds of thousands of Japanese flocked. For many it was their first encounter with foreign cultures beyond the television set.

The Expo ended. Countries packed up their pavilions and made their way home. The tourists stopped coming. Attention drifted away from Osaka.

Yet it left a stunning legacy. Tower of the Sun is half statue, half sculpture, standing seventy metres high over the Expo Commemoration Park. The park has been transformed into a collection of stunning gardens and open spaces. The National Ethnographic Museum entertains and informs visitors about the world’s cultures, continuing the work started by the 1970 Expo.

Families still visit. They enjoy the open spaces, walk through ornate gardens and pause for a coffee or meal. Occasionally there are festivals and concerts.

And if you look hard enough, you’ll find Tower of the Sun keeping a watchful eye.

Photograph of purple wisteria flowers hanging down in front of green grass. A large bee is in centre of frame
A wide variety of flowers and plants are spread across the park. These are wisteria being pollinated by a helpful bee.
Photograph of a totem pole with three figures sat one on top of another and painted in bright yellows and blues
A gift from the Canadian People to Osaka. It stands outside the Ethnographic Museum
Photograph of a plinth with an anvil and a sword stuck into it. The caption reads, "Peace Rose Garden". In the background is an orb representing the moon and the tower of the sun
The Peace Rose Garden. Many messages of peace feature in the park.
Photograph of a sculptured stick figure sat with its feet up on a desk.
Art appears widely across the park.
Photograph of a fibre glass hippopotamus walling in a small pond
Local wildlife. This is likely a “left over” from the 1970 Expo.
Photograph of a lake with a Japanese style building to the right and lush green ornamental trees behind
The Japanese Garden, which features many different forms of local and historic horticulture.
Photograph of bright pink azalea flowers against the green foliage
Azalea Hill is renown for its curated collection of azalea variations

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.