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Osaka: Tennoji Zoo and Light Up

Tennoji zoo has a reputation for being one of the worst kept and depressing zoos in Japan. It’s rating on TripAdvisor and comments left by visitors are not complimentary. With that and it being closed on Mondays Id never been before. A new evening winter light up just started in the park nearby as part of Osaka Castles 400th year celebrations. So we decided to finally go.

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Osaka: Shitennoji Urabon-e Manto Kuyo

O-bon week is about remembering your ancestors, many people return to their hometowns and clean their family graves.

Shitennoji temple hosts Urabon-e Manto Kuyo, a prayer candle event, you write the name of your ancestor on the paper which is burnt and sent to the gods.

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It was really hot and the heat of the burning candles just made it even hotter! Monks were chanting prayers over the speaker systems and there was certainly two different vibes to the evening. One was a part celebratory matsuri vibe with the festival stalls with fish and cotton candy but also also another more somber vibe with an older crowd and people praying with prayer beads over the candles.

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According to the website there are about 10,000 candles burnt during the event. I’m really glad we went it was definitely a sight to behold.