We started the day with an early morning trip to Uji to to see the Byōdō-in temple. We'd tried to do this the previous day on our way back from Nara, but the line was much too long and the grounds were very crowded. Going early was definitely the way to go! We were able to enter the grounds almost immediately, it was much cooler than the afternoon before and the light was much better for photography. It's too bad there's only one morning per day as this seemed the best time of day to go to many of the sights in Japan for so many reasons. If you visit Japan, or anywhere scenic for that matter, don't waste your mornings by sleeping in!
By the time we left Uji on our way to Osaka Castle, the Byōdō-in temple was getting very crowded. It was nice to leave the crowds behind and head to our next site.
Taking the JR train back to Kyoto we then caught another train to Osaka to visit the Osaka Castle. According to one of our tour guides, it's preferable to live in Kyoto, though maybe that's if you like the big city life which our tour guide seemed to. To him Osaka seemed to be a less expensive but less desirable area to live if you like the big city ameneties. Perhaps similar to our urban (Kyoto) versus suburban (Osaka) relationship in the US.
By then the castle was also getting a bit crowded, but it's a much larger area since the Osaka Castle is in the middle of a larger park like setting. It was here we saw probably more families with children than I think we'd seen anywhere else in Japan. I guess just like in the US, people find it easier to raise children in the suburbs instead of the big city. Though Osaka is still much more of a city than any of the US suburbs we've visited. Still, it did seem like a very nice place to raise a family and a bit more open and less crowded than Kyoto.
If I lived in Japan I think Osaka might be my #1 choice. Not only does it have a bit more open feel than Kyoto but it's also right on the water. And thanks to Japan's outstanding rail system you still have an easy half hour trip to the larger city of Kyoto, even less to Kobe.